Testimony Submitted for the Record on Behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary – “Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence Protecting Our Communities While Respecting the Second Amendment“ February 12, 2013 Excerpts from the testimony: … “The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as many… Read more →
The first reading for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time is from the Book of Samuel:
Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was. The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.” Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
“I did not call you,” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.” So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. “Here I am,” he said. “You called me.” but Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet. The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth. So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, “Speak LORD, for your servant is listening.” When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.
1 Samuel 3: 3-10, 19; Translation by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
What is God trying to tell us here? As lay people, should we be asking ourselves how many times we let fear, misunderstanding, and prejudice get in the way of hearing the voice of God? Does our sincere desire to provide for and protect our families blind us to the violence that affects the most vulnerable members of our communities? Do we neglect opportunities to quiet the noise around us, to hear the stirrings of our souls? Do we let inertia drag us down, make us feel powerless and hopeless?
As clergy, do we let apprehension box us in? Do we allow our fear of losing yet more church-goers dictate our teaching? Do we avoid speaking sincerely and from the heart because we might offend ? Do we revert to the mundane and the tried and true, never risking, but never really speaking? Are we letting our word be “without effect,” wasting precious opportunities to actually renew the face of the earth?
Are we, like Samuel, asleep? How many times must we be called?
The following are some of the organizations which work to end gun violence:
Americans for Responsible Solutions www.americansforresponsiblesolutions.org
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence www.bradycampaign.org
Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence wwwfaithsagainstgunviolence.org
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America wwwmomsdemandaction.org
Newtown Action Alliance wwwnewtownaction.org
Sandy Hook Promise www2.sandyhookpromise.org
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus www.keepgunsoffcampus.org
Delaware County United for Sensible Gun Policy www.delcounited.net
Heeding God’s Call www.heedinggodscall.org
Other Useful Links:
www.vpc.org ( The Violence Policy Center)
See the award winning documentary Living for 32. It tells the story of Colin Goddard, a Virginia Tech student who survived the tragic shooting of April, 2007, which left 32 dead. In it, Goddard shares his account of the terror he and his classmates endured and the courageous journey of renewal and hope he chose to pursue.
See the latest gun violence gun violence prevention news and trends in the biweekly publication Ceasefire USA : The GVP Report. www.ceasefireusa.org/gvp-reports. Read more →
There have been 95 school shootings since the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, where 20 first grade children and 6 adults were lost. What have we done since then? How will history judge our society? Do we search our hearts honestly? Do our fears and weaknesses prevent us from seeing our way out of violence?
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your spirit, and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth.
Last week, representatives from the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City joined with other advocates, including the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, in presenting a petition to the Utah Governor’s office. Currently, colleges and universities in Utah can prohibit food, alcohol and water from being carried into assemblies on campus. They can’t, however, limit guns. Speaker Anita Sarkeesian… Read more →
HB 80, the “Preemption Provision,” was passed by Pennsylvania House and Senate in a special last minute session just before the legislative recess. It was signed by Governor Corbett last week. The provision grants special standing to outside special interest groups such as the NRA, to sue local municipalities for enacting gun safety measures. The provision grants the award of attorneys’ fees and court costs to the victor, but only if the victor is the outside interest group. The provision penalizes already strained local towns, and further lines the pockets of the already wealthy and powerful NRA. The long term effect will be a disincentive to municipalities to enact gun safety legislation. Here is a letter to a State Representative upon the passage of the provision in the House:
Two of my children attend the parochial elementary school in your district. Today they had a lockdown drill, to prepare for the event of an armed intruder. The seventh grade class discussed the best places to hide in order to avoid being shot. As I am sure you understand, this is the most disgraceful thing I have ever had to discuss with my children.
I am very disappointed to learn that you voted “yes” to the bill which gives special standing to the NRA to sue local towns. I cannot see any grounds on which this can be justified. I am aware of all the arguments – this should be a statewide consideration; municipalities should not infringe on issues relating the Crimes Code, and the like. This bill will give the NRA the special power to bully local towns and prevent them from enacting sensible gun laws, and we the taxpayers are to pay for it, period.
I speak only for myself in writing this, but I do wonder how the other parents at my children’s school would feel if they only knew the full consequences of this legislation. My guess is that many would agree with me. How you reconcile your willingness to even consider this bill with your Catholic faith is beyond me. I suppose we all do what we have to do in order to sleep at night.
With the deepest disappointment.
The Second Amendment “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Amendment II to the Constitution of the United States of America Read more →
Office of the Holy See, reflects on the need to reduce and control arms. Below is Vatican Radio’s English translation: “The initiatives announced by the United States government in view of limiting and controlling the diffusion of arms is certainly a step in the right direction. It is estimated that Americans today possess about 300 million firearms. No one can… Read more →