Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Priorities, Guns and Church Etiquette

As the long-overdue concealed carry law in Wisconsin takes effect (joining the rest of the 48 states), Wisconsin's bishops have made clear that they hope parishioners leave the guns at home. From Reuters:
MILWAUKEE (Reuters)- Wisconsin Catholic bishops are asking parishioners to avoid carrying guns into church, now that a new law permitting residents of the state to carry concealed weapons has gone into effect.

"Intuitively, we understand that acts of violence, destruction, and murder are antithetical to the message and person of Jesus Christ and have no rightful place in our society, especially sacred places," the bishops said in a statement on Monday on the eve of the law's Tuesday enactment.

"Whatever an individual parish decides to do regarding its policy on concealed weapons, we ask that all people seriously consider not carrying weapons into church buildings as a sign of reverence for these sacred spaces."

To be frank, I think this statement unfairly associates law-abiding citizens, who merely wish to practice their constitutional right to bear arms, to Yosemite Sam lunatics. Those who choose to legally bear arms do so precisely to combat "acts of violence, destruction, and murder." That is the point behind the law, after all. And while I am not surprised that the bishops recommended leaving the firearms at home, I think that they, and the parish pastors, would help better foster "a sign of reverence for these sacred spaces" by focusing their energies elsewhere, like on appropriate dress for Mass, appropriate sacred music for liturgy, the proper, reverent celebration of the liturgy, etc. These are concerns closer to the prerogatives of the bishops.

A case could easily be made that immodest dress and rampant liturgical abuses are far more harmful to Catholics than the Second Amendment.

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