Archbishop Charles Chaput issued the following statement Feb. 15, the day after a shooting at a Florida high school left at least 17 people dead. Read more about it here.
“Nineteen years ago I sat with the parents of children murdered in the Columbine High School massacre, and buried some of their dead. Nothing seems to change, no matter how brutal the cost. Terrible things happen; pious statements are released, and the nation goes back to its self-absorbed distractions.
“The latest massacre in south Florida requires two things from all of us. We need to pray for the victims and their families because — as I witnessed firsthand at Columbine — their suffering is intense and long lasting.
“And we need to be angry: angry at our lawmakers for doing so little to prevent these catastrophes; angry at our news and entertainment media for simultaneously feeding off these tragedies and fueling them with a steady stream of sensationalism and moral incoherence; angry at ourselves for perversely tolerating these things, and then forgetting them until the next round of violence.
“This is Lent. As a people, we have a lot to repent and confess. And let’s not lie to ourselves that tighter gun restrictions — as vital and urgent as they now are — will solve the problem. We’ve lost our respect for human life on a much broader scale, and this is the utterly predictable result.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Archbishop Chaput announces six clergy appointments
NEXT: Young church musicians can earn college scholarship
I heard that the gunman in the Virginia Tech massacre/murders was supposed to go for an exorcism, but never got there. It wasn’t by the Catholic Church, but by a Protestant Church. His parents had wanted an exorcism for him, but, sadly, he never got there. I don’t know about the guy in Florida, but he was supposedly not so nice to animals and outright write online that he wanted to do violent acts. He should have been picked up then for questioning, etc.
However, taking away our gun rights will not stop massacres. Criminals do NOT obey gun laws,… so it’s the law abiding citizens who are made defenseless by the gun laws, while criminals remain armed. It was people with guns who stopped the criminals from killing more people. If their guns are taken away, what will happen is that more people may die. Police cannot be everywhere at all times.
My husband told me about a woman in Atlanta who was about to be attacked by 2 men when she was just going to her car. There were no police there to save her. Thankfully, she pulled out a gun and the attackers fled.
In addition, Hitler and the Nazis believed in gun control. Dictatorships believe in gun control. Democrats/Socialists/Communists/Fascists believe in gun control.
Don’t ever give away your gun rights. Right now, Trump is in office, but after he’s out of office, whether after 1 or 2 terms, Heaven only knows who will try to take over this country. Every opportunity that the Democrats get to take control of our guns, they’re on it.
Gun control is not about guns as it is about CONTROL. Listen to the people who were fortunate to survive under totalitarian governments. They try to warn us to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER EVER GIVE UP OUR GUNS or ANY OF OUR RIGHTS!!!
Sure, making guns harder to get might have some marginal effect in particular cases. The “culture of death” provides a fertile seedbed for violent activity. But I would suggest there is another thing at work. Self-esteem (which in previous times was NEVER considered a virtue) breaks down any innate (or learnt) attitudes which in the mind of some folks can excuse and even promote acts of great evil. Try reading the opening pages of Chesterton’s Orthodoxy and see what he says about “Believing in oneself”, which is taught in modern schools and presented as a virtue.
In August of 2016 you declared yourself unable to see any difference between a pro-life candidate and an abortion fanatic.
Now, here you are denying or disparaging the natural right of self-defense, which our Constitution protects.
There’s a great movie about a wonderful country where only the police and soldiers have guns. It’s called “Schindler’s List.”
As a nation we have stumbled across the perfect recipe for driving our children mad, including especially hypersexuality and resulting broken homes, televison and practically anything on it, not giving them any kind of moral foundation or good example. As Catholics we dither on about “The New Evangelization” without EVER having addressed the Old De-Evangelization that has been coming at us through all forms of the mass media for the past 70 yrs and more. We Catholics have replaced the Family Rosary with TV, have given up our penitential practices, have abandoned the sacrament of Confession and we wonder why we are out of grace and why our young people are so lost. And it is not just those who act out by committing mass murder, for young people pass me all the time on the street without looking me in the eye and saying hello. Many, many are sick and lost, confused about their sexuality, about life, and have NO idea why they even exist. No wonder so many commit suicide, and a few commit mass murder. Gun control is not remotely a solution to these problems!
Barbara, believe if you read the good Bishop’s statement more carefully you won’t be so sad. Yes he believes tighter gun restrictions may be necessary – a debatable position whether or not one agrees with it. But he clearly makes the same point you do when he states “And let’s not lie to ourselves that tighter gun restrictions… will solve the problem. We’ve lost our respect for human life on a much broader scale, and this is the utterly predictable result.”
I support the 2nd amendment wholeheartedly, but that is not to say there’s absolutely no room for discussing any possible tweaking or changing of current gun regulations for the better. To say that is not politicizing anything. He is stating his point in a very respectful an measured way as all american have a right to do – as much as they have a right to own a gun. To malign the good Bishop and question his spiritual integrity because you don’t agree is well the kind of thing the radical left loves to do to us.
It is saddening to realize the good Bishop does not understand that it is people who use guns to kill, not the guns themselves. The problems today, as actor Samuel Jackson has said, is due to the disrespect for life that was not present when he grew up in a poor neighborhood. ‘There were guns all over the place when I was growing up, but there were very few shootings because people had more respect for life.’ When a Catholic bishop turns the issue into a political debate we know how impoverished our spiritual leaders are. I suggest the Bishop read up on Catholic mystical and moral theology instead of politicizing his views on ‘gun control’.
Yes, we need to tighten the background check so people that should not be able to buy firearms cannot buy them. BUT… like so many point out very eloquently , we need a lot of prayer to change our culture. Our society is creating these monsters and we are going to need our Blessed Lord and our Mother in Heaven’s intercession so we value human life again. The NRA is the NRA but that is not even the problem, we need far more than just blame the NRA instead of ourselves for tolerating the intolerable in our TV’s and movies and all around celebrating things that should not be celebrated.
And while we are at it, bring GOD back to public schools !!! Now that would be a good first step.
We have to stop pointing fingers at others and look at ourselves. It’s easy to blame our president, politicians and the NRA, but it truly begins with us and how we are raising our children. I feel we live in such a narcissistic society where we only look out for ourselves, and don’t understand others. It’s been a slow bleed throughout many generations that got us to this point. Trauma not transformed is transmitted!! Instead of finding joy in loving and helping one another, we look at materialistic things and self image. On our judgement day, God’s not going to ask how big your house was or how much money you made, he’s more concerned on how we treat each other and what we do for each other. We should be more understanding of people and what they’re going through! You might just stop the next major tragedy.
I like your response, Mark! It prompted me to suggest to you that God also will not judge us on how passionate we are about getting others to change themselves no matter how sincere we believe that we are. “Before you worry about the speck in your brother’s eye, remove the log in your own head!”
Furthermore, change for change’s sake is also not the answer. This backlash against the NRA and “the gun culture” (whatever that is) reminds me of the duped crowd that yelled, “No, not Jesus! We want Barabas!!!”
Thankyou Archbishop for your honesty and truth. May the victims of this tragedy and their families be comforted by the love of God, and may everybody be more attuned to respecting human life in every form.
Yes, we need more medical help for those who are suffering with mental illness. We need help available for young people who exhibit signs of possible violence. But in addition to enforcing existing gun regulations, we must protect our children. Schools must be safe for all. As citizens, let’s NEVER vote for anyone who accepts even a dollar from the NRA !
….. And nobody should ever vote for anyone who takes donations from Planned Parenthood. That would be much worse that voting for an NRA-endorsed candidate. After all, we’re all just fetuses in various stages of development.
So, when are we going to talk about the real problem? “Culture of Death” has infected society most especially through abortion but also in video games, rap music, television shows like SVU that promote the rape of politically conservative women, Olympians who curse Christians and their beliefs on sexuality!
Guns are not the cause of the violence, but they certainly are one of many choices of tools to carry out violence. Rather, the demonic force that exists or builds in the minds of these people is the starting point. Violent viewing of trashy movies, along with pornography, and lack of recognizing and keeping a God in our lives are certainly contributing factors. There have been many killings performed by using vehicles to deliberately driving into crowds. So then, we must also have tighter controls regarding vehicles and who should drive them. We could then go on to to those who use pipe bombs, other types of bombs, knives, box cutters and in the case of 9/11, planes. The fact remains, this country is morally bankrupt. Human life has no value. God alone can return the values we need. On this level, every person has responsibility to self and to their families. Of course, it would have helped in this instance had the FBI acted on the tip they received about this guy recently, that he was a potential school shooter.
This is a very good starting point. Violence results from hatred. The purpose of the second amendment of the Constitution is to protect individuals from tyrannical government. Our culture has been corrupted and has been called properly the Culture of Death. When the most defenseless among us is not safe (the unborn children) no one is safe. At least 65,000,000 unborn children have been murdered since the infamous Roe V. Wade decision in 1973. What kind of political leadership and judiciary can think this is sound reasoning?
St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta:
February 1997 – National Prayer Breakfast in Washington attended by the President and the First Lady. “What is taking place in America,” she said, “is a war against the child. And if we accept that the mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another.”
If Believers can continue to pretend that we aren’t killing a MILLION children in the USA a year why should anyone think it is wrong to kill a few students??????????
As believers we and particularly the Bishops should be ANGRY that this lie is being perpetuated
as we witness the end of western civilization at breathtaking speed. All life must be respected and protected under the Constitution or this country will be destroyed from within. “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked”. Gal. 6:7
When reverence, respect and gratitude for our own life given to each of us by a loving God is exchanged for power,notoriety, wealth,thinking that only self is what counts,life becomes cheap and cruel destruction of any life becomes more frequent, and even promoted and encouraged,and the culture of death prevails, but the Creator of us all who has conquered death will hear the prayers of those who know Him and the culture of death will be no more.
How do you change a culture for the better but through prayer, discussion with the young,media control and friends control;while they are young enough to respond to us. 2 additional,practical ideas come to mind:
1)Make Pennsylvania’s involuntary commitment laws, including commitment to mandatory out-patient treatment a lot tougher, with a significantly lower threshold.
2) More incentives to go into child psychiatry and mental health clinical care, in general.We have only 5000 child psychiatrists,nationwide. Because of the low salary and student high debts, psychiatry is dying.
Excellent! Thank you.
Perhaps families can make sure there are no guns in their homes or in any way accessible or visible to their children
That’s only a first step
Amen to that, Betsy! You must be with the NRA!