Pusillanimous Catholic Prelates

The Pope’s fellow bishops here in the United States also buy into the “politically correct” notion of gun control. One possible reason Catholic prelates support the United Nations unrealistic small arms trade limitation is that Catholic authorities are enamored of the concept of the state according to some medieval political philosophy. This posited the state as an entity with certain duties, rights and responsibilities and considered individuals neatly situated within that framework. The state, however, is the greatest mass-murderer in history. The experience of victims under tyrannies in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China and other states clearly demonstrates this.

By John M. Snyder |August 8, 2016


Pope Francis is out of touch on some matters. One of these is the use of force and the instruments of force by individuals who are victims or potential victims of heinous acts of violence. The same appears true of many bishops, including those here in our own United States. These prelates refuse to acknowledge practically that force and access to the instruments of force sometimes are necessary for the protection of innocent life.

This is an unfortunate attitude. Its application leads to the defenselessness of innocent individuals in the face of Islamist terrorism or other acts of criminal violence.

It also is a questionable ecclesiastical attitude.

Church leaders generally ignore that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ declared at the Last Supper, “The man without a sword must sell his cloak and buy one,” according to Luke 22:36.

Institutional Catholic churchmen generally also ignore the fact that Jesus Christ is the same Word of God Who, before His Incarnation, directed Moses in leading the Chosen People out of pharonic Egypt. Through human servants He directed the settlement of what was known as the Promised Land. Through human followers He brought about the military conquest of enemies of God. The Word of God through prophets even castigated His people for neglecting the total destruction of certain idol-worshipping peoples. This shows that God is not adverse to use force against militant enemies of truth.

Through the centuries and especially in modern times some have characterized and even depicted Jesus Christ as some kind of an easy-going guy, or maybe even an effeminate personality. Some confuse Christ’s command to His followers for mercy and forgiveness with a promotion of pacifism, inane social activity and generally weak, pusillanimous behavior. This does not comport with reality. Jesus Christ is Almighty God, the Judge of the living and the dead Whom each and every one of us faces at our personal judgment and at the Final Judgment.

Today, Jesus Christ’s followers are under unrelenting attack from Islamists.

The Pope, head of the institutional church, does not defend Christians as they need to be defended. He does not with at least sufficient forceful language defend Catholics against militant Islamists who attack Christians and individual Christian churches. The same is true of many other individual bishops. They seem unaware of any individual moral obligation to resist physical evil. They seem unaware of any individual moral obligation to use force and the instruments of force to protect the innocent. In fact, it seems they sometimes seek some kind of modus Vivendi with the anti-Christian Islamists. That is shameful pusillanimity.

For the past several years, airwaves have been replete with reports of extremist Muslim acts against Catholics, Christians, Jews and others in various parts of the world. The Muslim acts have included beheadings, burnings alive, murderous stoning, mass shootings, tortures, rapes, enslavements of youth and other heinous crimes.

The current Muslim murder orgy is terrible and has far-reaching effects. Bishop Anba Suriel, who was born in Egypt and leads the Coptic Orthodox Church in the diocese of Melbourne, Australia, has denounced the “merciless and barbaric acts of genocide” against Christians in Mosul, Iraq, reported CNS News.

The Bishop said that if “we do not take a strong stance against these crimes against humanity, it is only a matter of time before such fundamentalism infects the entire world.”

In the opinion of some scholars, this mode of Islamist aggressive and murderous behavior is endemic to Islam and even is demanded by Allah, the Muslim god, according to the Koran. Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., for instance, writes :

“Allah’s mandate to Islam is progressively to subject the world to his will and to the law based on it. Terror will end and true ‘peace’ will result only when all are submissive to Allah and live under Muslim law in all its details. What we outside of Islam call acts of violence are considered within it to be the carrying out of Allah’s will. Gruesome beheadings of Christians, however innocent, are seen as acts of justice. They are acts of ‘virtue’ in this sense. The people who cannot understand this religious charge given to Islam, whether they be themselves Muslim or not, are themselves both unrealistic and dangerous. Their own presuppositions prevent them from recognizing and judging the real issue. This also prevents them from doing anything effective to hinder this expansion of Islam into Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.”

It seems that, over the centuries, the Catholic papacy and hierarchy in general have fluctuated markedly in institutional church attitudes towards the Islamist menace. We have learned, for instance, that Islamist militants and terrorists ran roughshod over Catholics and Christians generally in the early centuries of the Mohammedan phenomenon. The Church apparently was supine in the face of this threat. Christian reaction against this supine attitude led apparently to the 1095 preaching of the First Crusade by Blessed Pope Urban II. The First Crusade, primarily a defensive Christian response to Islamist militancy and terrorism, was followed by seven crusades over the following centuries through 1291.

Christians have an obligation to counter the wicked use of force with the judicious use of force.

The just must protect the innocent and use force and the instruments of force to do so when necessary. A number of Catholics seem unable to understand this. They should realize that the Christian command to pray for one’s enemies and to do good to them does not eliminate the obligation regarding the use of force. Nor does it eliminate the demands of common sense.

One pope in modern times who understood this quite clearly was the late Pope Pius XII, whose pontificate included the years of World War II. He tried unsuccessfully to coordinate repeated international attempts to kill Adolf Hitler, the German Fuhrer. Secret intelligence historian Mark Riebling detailed the particulars of these papal attempts in his book, Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler.

Another modern pope who understood this was Pope St. John Paul II. In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, he cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2265 that “…legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or of the state.” He wrote, “Unfortunately, it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life.”

Neither Pope Pius XII during World War II nor St. John Paul in Evangelium Vitae were pacifist or pusillanimous.

Vatican “politically correct” international policy

However, Vatican prelates follow a “politically correct” international policy that, if fully implemented, could eliminate access to the instruments of force needed by innocent people for the protection of life in the face of Islamist or other murderous threats.

The Vatican fully supports implementation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. Under it, governments are required to adopt policies on arms trading, including small arms, set by an international authority. The international authority could set policies requiring governments to prohibit acquisition of small arms needed by innocents for defense against murderous Islamists or others. The effect of this would render the innocent who follow the proscription helpless before Islamist and other murderers who don’t follow the proscription and couldn’t care less.

There are many news reports of murderous Islamist terrorist attacks on Catholics and others in various parts of the world, especially in the Middle East. These victims and potential victims of terrorism need firearms to be able to defend themselves against such attacks.

Given this reality, Vatican support for small arms trade limitation is unrealistic. Terrorist groups determined to kill Catholics and others would not abide by such a limitation. The limitation would only adversely affect the victims’ ability to get the guns they need to defend their families.

One possible reason Catholic prelates support the United Nations unrealistic small arms trade limitation is that Catholic authorities are enamored of the concept of the state according to some medieval political philosophy. This posited the state as an entity with certain duties, rights and responsibilities and considered individuals neatly situated within that framework.

Recent history, however, shows clearly that people can not have full confidence in the state. The state is the greatest mass-murdering monster in history. The experience of victims under tyrannies in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China and other states clearly demonstrates this. Government authority always must be questioned and limited. The independence and natural and civil rights of individuals must be protected from government.

Real effect of Vatican policy

The real effect of Vatican policy is to undermine the victim’s right to self-defense and strengthen the position of those who persecute Catholics. The Vatican should back away from this misguided policy. Instead, it should encourage the arming of the innocent for self-defense. Pope Francis fully supports the treaty, but seems surprised when world governments do not rush to the aid of Christians when they are being persecuted by Muslim entities. He even complained publicly that Christians “are persecuted, and the world tries to hide it.”

Pope Francis should promote the individual arming of individual Catholic and other innocents throughout the world so that individuals can acquire the firearms they need to protect their lives and the lives of their loved ones. If Pope Francis really wanted to aid victims and potential victims of Islamist terror, he would initiate an international special collection in Catholic churches, like the annual Peter’s pence collection. The proceeds could be used for the purchase of arms and ammunition and their distribution to the needy. That would be real charity in action. It would enable the innocent to protect life itself.

The Pope, though, seems confused. While he indicates he’s unable to judge the motivation of homosexual activity, he questions the motivation of people in the arms industry and their supporters, even though it is the product of this industry that is necessary for the protection of the innocent.

How the Pope arrived at his position regarding the motivation of people in the arms industry when he won’t even question the motivation of practicing homosexuals is a good question.

Pope Francis and other Vatican officials seem to have bought into a grievous fallacy. They think that if governments can eliminate access to guns that can be used to commit heinous acts, they can eliminate the heinous acts. History proves that this belief is nonsense. If certain guns are eliminated by law, the law-abiding follow the law and the non-law-abiding do not. The end result is that the Vatican policy puts the virtuous more at the mercy of the terrorist or other criminal.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Pope’s fellow bishops here in the United States also buy into the “politically correct” notion of gun control. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) seems to worship at the modern “politically correct” idol of gun control. Over the last several decades, USCCB has issued repeated calls for national gun control in one form or other.

USCCB has called for legislation they think will lead to the eventual elimination of handguns from society and the “near eradication” of firearms in general from society with the exception of police and military.

Whether USCCB realizes it or not, they’re calling for the creation of a police state right here in the United States. The USCCB subscribes to the dictatorial mind-set of the establishment political left. What is a nation where only the police and military and not the people have legal access to the means of self-defense? A burgeoning tyranny!

The USCCB call for the elimination of handguns and the near eradication of firearms in general shows how far removed from reality the USCCB has become. Aren’t bishops aware of the 1139 papal ban on the use of crossbows, slings and bows against Christians? The crossbow is still in use although its medieval version has been superseded by developments over time. Although the ban was thought to make physical altercations and combat less lethal and dangerous, developments in armaments over the centuries have demonstrated its impotence.

Besides, current statistics show that the proliferation of firearms corresponds with a decline in gun deaths rather than the other way around. Gun deaths in the United States have declined from 1993 through 2014 as firearms ownership has soared. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control figures show that the firearm homicide rate of 6.6 per 100,000 in 1993 dropped by more than half by 2014, to 3.43 per 100,000. According to the Washington Post, there now are more civilian-owned firearms in the country than there are people. The number of privately owned firearms increased from 192 million in 1994 to 357 million in 2013.

It is not only with regard to the individual use of force and firearms in the protection of life that the American bishops are obtuse. Take the issue of clerical pederasty, for instance. Reports indicate that the bishops have shelled out over two billion dollars in legal fees and settlement payments to victims of priestly sexual abuse. That two billion dollars has come out of the pockets of hard working parishioners who make regular contributions through Sunday and other special collections. And now the bishops are continuing to request more contributions from loyal Catholics for “charitable causes.”
Who do they think they’re kidding?

Catholic bishops and this year’s presidential election

Perhaps yet another example of American Catholic hierarchical pusillanimity is showing up this year. In Catholicism, there is absolute support for a culture of life in opposition to what St. John Paul termed “the culture of death.” There is a strong prohibition on abortion. One cannot perform an abortion or assist in the performance of an abortion. In addition, one cannot vote for a candidate for political office who promotes abortion.

The nominee of the Democratic Party for president this year is Hillary Clinton, long a promoter of abortion and of euthanasia and same-sex marriage as well.

However, according to a Pew Forum survey, Clinton holds a 56-39% advantage with Catholic voters over Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Where is the USCCB in this situation? Bishops have an obligation to inform the faithful that they should not vote for an abortion candidate for public office that they should not vote for Hillary Clinton.

If Clinton were elected president, she probably would be able to nominate two to four justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. She undoubtedly would nominate anti-right to life justices to those slots. The Court then could declare unconstitutional right to life positions and activities that Catholics and others require as matters of faith. This very well could lead to the undermining or even elimination of the right to life and of freedom of religion.

The election in November is crucial to the right to life and to the right of Catholics and other right-to-life religionists to practice the requirements of faith without fear of government persecution.

Yet, the bishops are sitting on their hands. Why?

In reality, the only chance bishops have to avert the probable general Clintonian government persecution of the Catholic Church in America is the election of the Trump-Pence ticket in a few months.

John M. Snyder, called “the dean of Washington gun lobbyists” by the Washington Post and New York Times, for 50 years has defended American gun rights as an NRA editor, director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Second Amendment Foundation, and founder/director of www.GunRightsPolicies.org. He is founder/manager of Telum Associates, LL.C, founder/chairman of the St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc., and serves on the boards of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Federation of Police & Concerned Citizens. Author of the book Gun Saint, he received his AB and MA from Georgetown University. Mr. Snyder is a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.