BlogWatcher - Gun control is a pro-life issue

BY MICHAEL MULLINS

Following Friday’s Colorado cinema massacre, America’s James Martin SJ blogs on gun control.

I am not a political person ... Many of my political opinions, then, are formed by my religious ideals ... A respect for the sanctity of life from natural conception to natural death.

That is why I believe that gun control is a religious issue.  It is as much of a “life issue” or a “pro-life issue,” as some religious people say, as is abortion, euthanasia or the death penalty (all of which I am against) ... 

In the wake of last week's tragedy in Colorado many were moved to prayer ... [But] deep emotions may be one way that God encourages us to act.  Simply praying, “God, never let this happen again” is insufficient for the person who believes that God gave us the intelligence to bring about lasting change ... These shootings would not have happened if the shooter did not have such easy access to firearms and ammunition. .... The oft-cited argument, “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” seems unconvincing.

There is blogging on the Vatican Curia, partly in the wake of the Moneyval report that confirmed the poor opinion most already had on the Vatican Bank. But the National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen thought it could have been worse and was moved to include this in his observations:

Journalists probably need to update their draft obituaries of Pope Benedict XVI. Up to this point, the consensus has been that Benedict is a teaching pope, not a governor, and that his inattention to management has allowed a string of train-wrecks to happen. There’s still truth to that assessment, but we now have independent secular evaluators saying that considerable progress on financial rigour has been made on Benedict’s watch. 

Benedict also has launched various reforms on the clerical sexual abuse scandals, and while their effectiveness is still debated, few observers doubt that the Vatican is in a better place today than seven years ago. His record may thus have to be reconsidered: Still primarily a teaching pope, perhaps, but one who’s made management strides in at least a couple of key areas.

Sandro Magister quotes from George Weigel’s new biography of John Paul II, on the widely recognised incompetence of the past two Vatican secretaries of state, and the less known incompetence of their predecessor Cardinal Agostino Casaroli. He argues that John Paul was aware of Casaroli’s limitations, but interested in adding diversity to his line-up – “‘another string to his bow,’ albeit modest and marked by failures.”

John Paul II [valued] Casaroli's aptitude in disciplining the Vatican curia, a task in which the pope had not the slightest intention of involving himself personally and which Casaroli effectively was able to perform at acceptable levels, before the disaster with the next two secretaries of state.

Richard Rohr does not refer specifically to the Vatican Curia but to the need for ageing priests and religious to be honest about the wavering of their own religious faith and ideals.

More and more people, in all fields of life, seem more and more trapped and unfree. They seem unable to adjust to their own growing truth ... I see bishops, priests, and ministers, who in moments of private honesty, reveal they do not really believe this or that any more, but they have to pretend to believe it to be faithful to the persona they built and created in their first 40-50 years ...

It is so much easier to repeat formulas and keep everybody–and your own soul–at bay. I would say this pattern represents the norm not the exception, at least in the church. So many are split personalities. And why wouldn’t they be? In fact, it would seemingly be predictable with the mystery of God always unfolding and leading us to ever further depths. ... Hold onto your first half of life agendas with a light grip. ... Many of our politicians are more eager to be loyal Democrats or Republicans than honest about their own human experience. Image wins out over substance far too often.

There was discussion of liberal Christianity following New York Times blogger Ross Douthat’s piece on the failure of liberal Christianity. 

Few of the outraged critiques of the Vatican’s investigation of progressive nuns mentioned the fact that Rome had intervened because otherwise the orders in question were likely to disappear in a generation. Fewer still noted the consequences of this eclipse: Because progressive Catholicism has failed to inspire a new generation of sisters, Catholic hospitals across the country are passing into the hands of more bottom-line-focused administrators, with inevitable consequences for how they serve the poor. 

America’s editor in chief Drew Christensen SJ replied that “even if the numbers of sisters in active orders had held up, the nursing orders never had the numbers or the resources to sustain their care of the poor in today’s costly healthcare environment.”

The liberal versus new conservative theme is also taken up in Australian by Country Priest in the account of his attendance at last week’s National Council of Priests convention at Warrnambool. He saw him self as a “John Paul II priest” who was a welcome guest at a gathering of “Vatican II priests”.

At best, I expected to receive deeper insight into the minds and hearts of self-styled “Vatican II priests,” while enduring unfair and inaccurate characterisations of my own generation. ... But I received much more than that. I received the hospitality of priests who were sincere in their welcome, and quite willing to engage. ... In many ways, I was more “at home” at last month’s ACCC Conference. But I felt a welcome guest at the NCP Convention, and I will go again. I recommend it.


Michael MullinsMichael Mullins, founding editor of CathNews, compiles this 'Blog Watcher' column every week.

Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.

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