GodsBigBlog: Wisconsin — Concealed Weapons OK, but Not in Church

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Gun toting Catholics in Wisconsin might be thinking twice right now about whether they really want to carry hidden guns around with them — especially on a Sunday morning:

The Wisconsin state legislature recently passed a new law permitting the carrying of concealed weapons. But the state’s five Catholic bishops are asking their flocks to reflect a moment on the church’s teaching of nonviolent resolution of conflicts as well as the church’s traditional role as a place of sanctuary for those fleeing violence.

In a signed statement, the five Wisconsin bishops have requested that parishioners not carry weapons in church, even though it would be perfectly legal to do so.

To advocates of the right to carry concealed weapons, the bishops’ statement says, ”God has created us to be truly free, as we exercise our liberty to build a society of respect, justice, peace and prosperity. Both natural law and our constitutional tradition uphold this understanding of individual freedom as an intrinsic human right. This freedom includes both religious liberty and the right to self-defense. True freedom, however, is not license to do whatever we choose.”

That said, the bishop’s take a stand for nonviolence saying that, “While the Church has always upheld the right to self-defense, peaceful means of reconciling conflicts and differences, both as individuals and nations, is the preferred method. We think of Jesus who told His disciples “to put their sword away” rather than to act violently to defend Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:52).”

The document goes on to name several martyrs who were actually killed in a church: Thomas Becket, Wenceslaus, and Josaphat.

Well said, bishops.

© 2011 BF Newhall




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  1. Andrius Varnas
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The trouble with gun free zones is that they become shooting galleries. I do not own any guns, but last week 8 people were killed in a nail salon in a domestic dispute. A few years ago I worked for an aerospace firm which had armed guards. A distraught husband wanted to see his wife but the guards told him he could not enter but that he could call her. She had a cubicle not far from mine and foolishly agreed to meet her husband outside. The guards were suspicious and called for backup and the police. The man shot his wife but was detained by the security guards until the cops arrived. Had he entered no telling what would have happened.

    • admin
      Posted November 5, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Interesting. As far as gun-free churches are concerned, this would be a very old problem. Churches as sanctuaries of nonviolence for those fleeing violence go way back in Western history. No doubt the sanctuary was abused many times in history. The bishops’ statement I cited names a few of those instances….

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