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Cardinal Joseph Tobin (CNS/Bob Roller)

Amid a mounting debate in the US over gun control, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark has entered the fray with a different argument: That people should voluntarily forgo their Second Amendment right to bear arms, for the betterment of society. Source: Crux.

“I honestly believe it is the best thing we can do to change the culture of violence that threatens us today,” Cardinal Tobin said.

“Let’s voluntarily set aside our rights in order to witness the truth that only peace and never violence is the way to build a free society that is lived concretely in our homes, our neighbourhoods, our communities, our nation and our world,” he said.

Cardinal Tobin made the plea in a recent letter, “Pray for an end to all instances of violence,” where he called on community leaders and Catholic bishops to call for a “synodal effort” to actively resist gun violence. He proposed a threefold process that includes prayer and work, advocacy, and voluntary self-restraint from the Second Amendment.

The May 26 letter is the latest call to action amid a spate of mass shootings in recent months. May 30 marked the 150th day of 2023, over which time there have been 263 mass shootings – incidents with four or more people shot – that have led to 327 deaths.

Last weekend, the Memorial Day holiday weekend, was especially violent. Nationwide there were at least 20 mass shootings that left 16 people dead, and at least 80 more injured.

Cardinal Tobin made the case that while legislation and regulations are necessary, in the case of gun violence, as with all life issues, it’s equally as important to “regulate our behaviour in order to protect the vulnerable and ensure the common good.”

“It’s true that we have a Second Amendment right to bear arms, but rights always involve responsibilities – in this case, the responsibility to protect the innocent and to secure public safety and good order,” Cardinal Tobin said. 


Newark cardinal asks Americans to voluntarily forgo right to guns (By John Lavenburg, Crux)