Green Room

Should pro-life Catholics back the Feinstein bill?

posted at 7:45 pm on January 24, 2013 by

As one myself, I think that’s left to prudential judgment, but some are trying to push that notion:

Pro-life citizens and elected officials have a responsibility to show greater moral leadership and political courage when it comes to confronting threats to the sanctity of life posed by easy access to military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Members of Congress who take pride in their pro-life stance and appeal to family values have no excuse for inaction, and neither do any of us who share a firm commitment to these values.

We especially encourage our fellow Catholics in Congress, including prominent leaders such as House Speaker John Boehner, to stand up to the National Rifle Association and other gun lobbyists who choose to obstruct sensible reforms.

Catholics who earn an “A” rating from the NRA – including Republicans like Speaker Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic lawmakers such as Sen. Joe Donnelly and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp – should not put powerful special interests before the common good.

While there is certainly room for a pro-life Catholic to be pro-gun control, one does not follow from the other.  I was going to write a lengthy pushback on that topic, but I’m not surprised that NRO’s Ramesh Ponnuru beat me to it:

What constitutes “the common good” and “sensible reform” is of course the substance of the controversy over proposed regulations; the letter-writers are just question-begging. I’ve said my piece recently on some changes I think we should make to the gun laws. I think those changes deserve serious consideration. If someone has a good argument against those changes, they’re not failing to uphold the sanctity of life. For that matter, if someone has a bad argument against them, they’re probably also not failing to uphold the sanctity of life: They’re just making a mistaken judgment.

I think the judgment that a ban on “assault weapons” will accomplish nothing is the correct one, and it is certainly one that pro-lifers can reasonably make (and one that the letter provides no reason to doubt). The view that the slaying of an unborn child in abortion should be legal is in no way parallel to the view that a class of weapons should be legal. It is parallel to the view that killing people with one of those weapons should be legal. And nobody is for that.

The assumption that the letter-writers do not understand these distinctions taxes my capacity for charity. I will await a statement by these liberal Catholics regarding what should be done about those Catholic politicians who earn the equivalent of an A rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood. (I will not burden readers with that shamefully lengthy list.)

Owning a gun is simply not equivalent to taking a life.  It’s absurd to equate the two, but that’s been the character of this debate for the last few weeks anyway. As Ramesh says, it’s very difficult to believe that this is simply an honest error, and sounds a lot like demagoguery.  There may be other reasons to back gun control from the perspective of Catholic doctrine (although I have yet to hear a coherent one), but this ain’t it — and it cheapens the effort to oppose abortion, which actually is explicitly opposed by Catholic doctrine, and has been for nearly 2,000 years.

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Of course they should. Have pro-life Catholics ever met a government regulation they didn’t like?

Armin Tamzarian on January 24, 2013 at 7:51 PM

The view that the slaying of an unborn child in abortion should be legal is in no way parallel to the view that a class of weapons should be legal. It is parallel to the view that killing people with one of those weapons should be legal. And nobody is for that.

What he said.

Knott Buyinit on January 24, 2013 at 8:04 PM

Grant the morally random, equivocating, All God’s Children view of the True Pro Life Catholic between the life of the assailant and the life of the victim. Grant the notion that the life of an armed robber or would-be murderer is not worth one bit less than your life or the life of your children.

Even given those dubious notions, gun control laws have no effect on violence because – once again – the violent don’t follow laws.

Gun control laws never prevent someone from dying. They only effect who dies.

HitNRun on January 24, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Take a close look at who signed that statement…without reading too much into my assumptions it reads like a who’s who of liberal Catholic academics, retired Catholic bureaucrats, wayward nuns, with a sprinkling of leftist priests speaking to themselves. This document in no way represents the thinkng of mainstream, churchgoing Catholics, many of whom are gun owners. What the statement does suggeest is that there is much more work to be done to educate Catholics about the reality of their faith.

ironmarshal on January 24, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Of course they should. Have pro-life Catholics ever met a government regulation they didn’t like?

Armin Tamzarian on January 24, 2013 at 7:51 PM

All you pro death types have is lies and logical fallacies.

In regards to the post…. will then such gun control Catholics call for disarming the police? Weapons of death ya know.

CW on January 24, 2013 at 8:32 PM

The pro-abortion Catholic left speaks! What a powerful coalition of disparate voices — the anti-Biblical Christian left, the Jewish Nancy-Boy left, the kook-fringe OWS left, the anti-gun Democrat left, the media left, the urban left.

Amazing to see them come together like this.

Jaibones on January 24, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Matthew 26:52.

But then again… Luke 22:36.

The two are not incompatible – and I believe in them both.

Red Cloud on January 24, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Only if Feinstein includes scalpels and forceps in it.

reddevil on January 24, 2013 at 10:19 PM

We especially encourage our fellow Catholics in Congress, including prominent leaders such as House Speaker John Boehner, to stand up to the National Rifle Association and other gun lobbyists who choose to obstruct sensible reforms.

As a former catholic, I don’t understand how anyone could be Catholic and vote Republican. Face it, from the pope on down, the catholic church is full of statists / socialists. The teachings are socialist. I remember being in mass one day when the priest starting listing what we were praying for in the ‘lord hear our prayers’ part of mass (yes, i forget what its called) and he slipped ‘universal healthcare’ in. Ridiculous.

Timin203 on January 24, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Catholics who claim to be pro-life then vote for democrats are not really pro-life or God Fearing. They’re big government loving phonies. It’s part of the reason I left the Catholic Church. They’re a group of fools pretending to care about life and the poor who vote for Governent who claim they’ll do the work for them so they don’t have too.

jawkneemusic on January 24, 2013 at 11:14 PM

I should note that this list is, for lack of a better way to put it, mostly composed of rather liberal Catholics.

There is not a definitive Church teaching here that is really on point in the way that there is with abortion. Note that the statement does not appeal to any such document or teaching beyond a recent USCCB statement – which has no doctrinal value.

Which is not to say that what these Catholics are doing is against Church teaching. My concern is that many of these Catholics have latched on to gun control as a way of painting themselves as “pro-life,” when many of them can barely ever be heard on genuine life issues of abortion, euthanasia, or embryonic stem cell research. It’s a way of changing the subject.

The_Jacobite on January 24, 2013 at 11:33 PM

I’m not Roman Catholic myself, but watching something on “19 Kids and Counting” of all shows, drove this point home to me. As Christians, we are commanded to “turn the other cheek” but we are also commanded to stand up in defense of those who are incapable of doing so for themselves. This is part of the reason that Christianity does not shut out soldiers, because if one were to only use the “turn the other cheek” line, then the two would not be compatible. Furthermore, there is plenty of “militant” imagery in the New Testament (i.e. “Put on the whole armor of God” etc.) that would be completely out of place as well if there is never a time to defend one’s self.

Katja on January 24, 2013 at 11:34 PM

All you pro death types have is lies and logical fallacies.

In regards to the post…. will then such gun control Catholics call for disarming the police? Weapons of death ya know.

CW on January 24, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Oh, ignore Armin-the-faux-fan-of-liberty.

ATFFOL only speaks when abortion is mentioned, and then only to work out deep-seated hatred of social conservatives. However, it seems to have toned down the racialist stuff, which shows self-preservation instincts, if nothing else.

DRPrice on January 24, 2013 at 11:38 PM

As a former catholic, I don’t understand how anyone could be Catholic and vote Republican. Face it, from the pope on down, the catholic church is full of statists / socialists. The teachings are socialist. I remember being in mass one day when the priest starting listing what we were praying for in the ‘lord hear our prayers’ part of mass (yes, i forget what its called) and he slipped ‘universal healthcare’ in. Ridiculous.

Timin203 on January 24, 2013 at 10:19 PM

As a traditional Catholic, let me say this:

The Catholic Church *was* more or less taken over by liberals in the 60′s – certainly in America, certainly in most of Western Europe, and certainly even in much of the Roman curia. And yes, I’d call Paul VI a quite liberal Pope. Which is quite ironic, given that the Roman Catholic Church has been, for almost all of its history, one of the most conservative institutions ever seen. This has created real…awkwardness in reconciling past teachings with recent statements by some prelates.

That said, it’s clearly moving back in a more traditional direction, especially in the U.S.. The quality and bearing of most of the bishops now is quite a shift from what obtained 20 or even 10 years ago. The Weaklands, Mahonys, Bernardins, and Clarks have been replaced by Chaputs, Morlinos, and Cordileones. And, well, some in between. The new priests and seminarians are even more conservative, often astonishingly so.

The problem on things like economics is that the Church *does* have a social teaching and a communitarian emphasis that goes back a very long way, one that while being hijacked in favor of statist solutions in recent decades, nonetheless could never be properly reconciled (I would argue) with a true libertarianism. This is certainly something that sets apart even traditional Catholicism from, say, Calvinist attitudes.

The_Jacobite on January 24, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Of course they should. Have pro-life Catholics ever met a government regulation they didn’t like?

Armin Tamzarian on January 24, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Sure. Have you ever heard of the HHS Mandate?

The_Jacobite on January 24, 2013 at 11:44 PM

Should pro-choice liberals be against the Feinstein bill?

The Notorious G.O.P on January 24, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Why would people of religon, who’s first ammendment rights are under assult by this administration, join with that administration to terminate the second ammendment?

Only an idiot like the crooked lieing stealing feinsatan would drag out some religous fool to promote her demonic desire to trample the US Constitution under her totalitarian boot!

One only needs to look at the massive face surgeries on frankenstein to see through her fascist beliefs.

Freddy on January 25, 2013 at 2:43 AM

So does the Catholic view disallow protecting yourself? I understand the whole turn the other cheek thing but, does that mean if I get a hammer to the right side of my head that I should then offer the left side as a target? All without defending myself?

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 25, 2013 at 6:38 AM

Pro-life citizens and elected officials have a responsibility to show greater moral leadership and political courage when it comes to confronting threats to the of sanctity life posed by easy access to military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

If they’re going to make this a pro-life argument, then why limit themselves to to certain weapons and magazines? Any firearm is capable of taking a life. Moreover, what of the lives firearms save? Are they less important? This is an intellectually dishonest attempt to distort religious teachings in order to make a political argument based on guilt. I’m not a religious person, but even I can see just how shameful this is.

RadClown on January 25, 2013 at 8:36 AM

So does the Catholic view disallow protecting yourself? I understand the whole turn the other cheek thing but, does that mean if I get a hammer to the right side of my head that I should then offer the left side as a target? All without defending myself?

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 25, 2013 at 6:38 AM

The Church has always allowed for self-defense. “2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.”

And remember: The Vatican had an army and a navy as recently as 1870.

The_Jacobite on January 25, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Interesting the Bible points out that when the Philistines would invade and occupy a portion of Israel they would then disarm the Jews. There’s a lesson there.

tommyboy on January 25, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Hogwash. Freedom is as sacred as life.

CrustyB on January 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Umm… many of the “Catholic” professors on that list are pro-abortion. Paul Lakeland is one. With a bit of searching, I’d be surprised if I didn’t find that most of these profs have given moral cover to the practice of abortion. A number of them have been formally censured by the Vatican. They speak of faith, ethics and morals only to destroy all three.

Liberals are liberals first before anything else.

theCork on January 25, 2013 at 10:43 AM

These are the same people who are probably pissed about the neo-conservative movement in the Catholic church as well.

The same people who demanded a total ban on the Latin mass, tore out the communion rails, pushed liberation theology, hid the idea of fasting and penance on every Friday, and a whole host of liturgical abuses.

These people and the USCCB attempted to destroy the heart of the Catholic faith from the inside and, quite frankly, they can blow me.

Catechism says self defense is a duty and a right. My AR-15 and Beretta 92FS are the best way to do that. Discussion ends.

Spade on January 25, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Armin Tamzarian on January 24, 2013 at 7:51 PM

So not only are you a Jew hater, but also an anti-Catholic bigot.

steebo77 on January 25, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Rev. Keenan SJ has also spoken out for abortion. And same sex marriage. And priests having carnal relations with men.

theCork on January 25, 2013 at 11:06 AM

My wife and I are practicing Catholics and she works for the parish….she just bought a firearm last night for personal protection.

tommer74 on January 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

My mother’s Alter Society sponsors CCL and basic firearms safety and handling classes for the “women of the parish and their guests” as well as any interested gentlemen. They are very well attended.

2nd Ammendment Mother on January 25, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Pro-Life Catholics (you know, REAL Catholics) should never support anything that any democrat does – especially when it comes to radical abortionists like Feinstein.

Pork-Chop on January 25, 2013 at 1:23 PM

The irony that a bunch of jewish (WW2 apparently never happened) senators along with pro-choice catholics come out for gun control, touting the “cross lobby” and invoking a prayer at the start of their clown show is just too much for me to take. You know, given all the healthcare hubub over forcing support of abortion.

Anyone who takes this argument seriously by the gun grabbers is a moron and deserves what they get.

oryguncon on January 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

My mother’s Alter Society sponsors CCL and basic firearms safety and handling classes for the “women of the parish and their guests” as well as any interested gentlemen. They are very well attended.

2nd Ammendment Mother on January 25, 2013 at 1:15 PM

God bless them for teaching self-defense. Way too many Christians think “turn the other cheek” means be an isolationist pu$$y like antifederalist, except toward local criminals instead of the world at large.

The grim reality is that the 1950′s vision of law and order we want so badly was paid for not only by the blood of soldiers…but by the blood of every worthless puke who was duly convicted and shot, gassed, or hung.

MelonCollie on January 25, 2013 at 2:38 PM

This pro-life Catholic sure doesn’t! What a bunch of hypocrites!!

The two are not incompatible – and I believe in them both.
Red Cloud on January 24, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Me, too, since it was actually Jesus who told the apostles to sell their coat to buy a sword if they didn’t have one, and when they showed him two swords he didn’t say, “those are evil; get rid of them.”

If the Lord told His apostles to buy a sword in that day, I don’t think me having a gun is any different in this.

Timin203 on January 24, 2013 at 10:19 PM

While it is quite obvious that many in the clergy have warped the teaching of the Church to suit their purposes, the Church does NOT teach statism/socialism/any sort of Marxism, even if she does teach that we have a responsibility to care for those truly in need who can not help themselves.

She has been quite clear. One example:
Pope Leo XIII Rerum Novarum:

It is no easy matter to define the relative rights and mutual duties of the rich and of the poor, of capital and of labor. And the danger lies in this, that crafty agitators are intent on making use of these differences of opinion to pervert men’s judgments and to stir up the people to revolt.

The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the levelling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal.

And it doesn’t get much more clear than Pope Benedict XVI calling it diabolical. The fact is that when politics want to bring redemption, they promise too much. When they presume to do God’s work, they do not become divine but diabolical.

And yes, I’d call Paul VI a quite liberal Pope.

The_Jacobite on January 24, 2013 at 11:42 PM

And yet it was he who promulgated Humanae Vitae. To me, this is one of the clearest pieces of evidence showing that Jesus meant what He said when He told the apostles that He would send the Paraclete that would teach them all things and that He would be with the Church always. It seems so clear to me that The Holy Spirit was guiding Pope Paul VI, good friend of Rembert Weakland and liberal Catholics. You know they were blindsided that he, of all popes, came down against contraception.

Deo Gratias!

The new priests and seminarians are even more conservative, often astonishingly so.

The_Jacobite on January 24, 2013 at 11:42 PM

I had the pleasure of meeting one of our seminarians this past summer at my parish, which has a beautiful old church where we still use the altar rail. He made a comment about liking to see the free standing altar removed and using the original one and going ad orientum and I can see my new priest doing it…someday… He already has dispensed with the use of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and has us chanting in Latin.

Oh, yes, Deo Gratias!!! Sorry for going off topic, but it is just so exciting.

pannw on January 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Should pro-life Catholics back the Feinstein bill?

No. Next question?

All the arguments for gun control, including this particularly ludicrous emotional appeal, fail because they are built on a false premise: namely, that gun control lives save lives and easy access to guns by citizens cost lives. But that is completely, demonstrably false. In fact, it is provable that the reverse is true.

When law-abiding citizens are deprived of their weapons, crime increases and more people lose their lives. When the criminals fear an armed citizenry, crime decreases and lives are saved.

No, pro-life Catholics should oppose the Feinstein bill and all efforts at gun control, because they result in more lives being lost.

Shump on January 26, 2013 at 2:21 PM

I had the pleasure of meeting one of our seminarians this past summer at my parish, which has a beautiful old church where we still use the altar rail. He made a comment about liking to see the free standing altar removed and using the original one and going ad orientum and I can see my new priest doing it…someday… He already has dispensed with the use of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and has us chanting in Latin.

Oh, yes, Deo Gratias!!! Sorry for going off topic, but it is just so exciting.

pannw on January 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

There is absolutely no question that the pendulum is swinging back in the right direction. I had a particularly wise pastor in the late 80′s and early 90′s who said that there had been at least 40 years of damage to the church by liberals and it would take at least 40 years to turn it around. And he’s proving to have been very correct.

We still have a great deal of work to do amongst the American bishops, however, who have pushed a progressive agenda for decades. Fortunately, the HHS mandate has opened some of their eyes to the effects of progessivism, but there is still far more work to be done. But there is no question at all that the new priests coming out of seminary today are far more conservative and devoted to orthodox Church teaching than has been the case in a long time. And it’s encouraging.

Shump on January 26, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Matthew 26:52.
But then again… Luke 22:36.
The two are not incompatible – and I believe in them both.
Red Cloud on January 24, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Ditto.

To go further, Jesus repected the soldiers of Rome, where the USCCB are wont to take an opposing view that soldiers are immoral agents of govt and possibly baby-killers:

Luke 7
6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

Read the rest of the chapter.


Luke 23
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

Peter & Paul also agree:

Acts 10
1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God…

Read the rest of the chapter. For an interesting perspective, not know anything of the Jewish faith, the centurion was possibly worshipping the “Unknown God”, the smae as Socrates and as addressed by Paul in Acts 17:16-34


Acts 27
1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band…

Read the rest of the chapter.

AH_C on January 30, 2013 at 2:40 PM