Bishops issue statement on new law

By | November 2, 2011

In discussing freedom, the bishops wrote that both natural law and our constitutional tradition uphold individual freedom as an intrinsic human right.

“True freedom, however, is not a license to do whatever we choose. Rather, it is the ability to do what we morally ought to do, to build a just society, and to glorify God who is the author of all liberty and the source of human dignity,” they noted.

“We are called to apply this teaching to our right to carry concealed weapons. The right to bear arms is protected under our Constitution, but like all rights, it must be exercised responsibly and in accordance with applicable laws,” they wrote. “We are obligated to use this particular freedom with due respect for others and for the desires of those who welcome us into their homes, places of business, and other public spaces, such as churches and religious institutions.”

The bishops also urged Catholics to reflect on Catholic teaching, which is committed to non-violence.

“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,” they said.

The bishops asked Catholics to remember that the church and church facilities are “sacred spaces” where all come to find peace. They urged pastors and others who exercise leadership in parishes and religious institutions to consider these factors in determining whether to prohibit concealed weapons in parishes and other buildings owned by the church and Catholic organizations.

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