Gun violence has emerged as one of the most significant issues in modern America. Thousands lose their lives daily to guns, and more still are severely injured with ever increasing frequency. Despite consensus that the status quo is untenable, meaningful progress to decrease gun violence has been elusive. As with many social issues, the loudest voices in the gun control debate are often those on the far extremes, making common ground difficult. Political, legislative and judicial measures to curb violence are only as effective as their foundational will and intent. As Catholics, we see the Church as the place where what separates us yields to the faith that unites us. Our faith is the common ground upon which we come together to find solutions to the problem of gun violence.
Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus. servant of the high priest and one of those who had come to arrest Jesus. But Jesus saw a different way. He healed Malchus, and told Peter to put his sword back into its sheath. This story illuminates the call to forgiveness and restraint, and highlights the unpredictability and frailness of human emotion, factors to consider when deciding to own or use a weapon. It also reminds us of the healing power of faith, a hopeful glimmer in the face of seemingly insurmountable difficulty.
The Malchus Project is an initiative of Catholic laity seeking to illuminate gun reform within the context of Catholic and Christian faith. Our mission is twofold. First, we facilitate broad dissemination of the Catholic perspective on the relationship among individuals, society, and guns, grounded in scripture, sacred tradition, and Catholic social teaching.
Second, we serve as a forum for research, study, reflection, and application of the more refined analysis which Catholic teaching has historically applied to other social issues, such as racism and poverty. The gun control debate is uniquely American. It is particularly challenging for persons of faith, as there is potential tension between the Second Amendment right to bear arms on the one hand, and the message of the Gospel on the other. Although our faith does not provide easy answers, it does provide a strong foundation for reflection, dialogue, and discernment. The witness of the saints, the writings of the Holy Father and Doctors of the Church, and the academic contributions of contemporary religious and philosophical scholars, all serve as resource for inspired consideration of the gun violence issue.
We seek to engage the rich Catholic tradition of research, education, and outreach in the pursuit of a faith based approach to gun policy.
Our Board Members
Nancy B. Grogan
Nancy Grogan is a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University (B.A. Politics, 1984) and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law (Juris Doctor, 1987). She practiced as a trial attorney for over fifteen years and currently co-manages a litigation consulting practice focused on forensic economics and finance.
Nancy has been a long-standing advocate for reasonable gun regulation, particularly within the framework of Christian faith. She writes online and is a regular contributor of op-ed pieces to regional news outlets. She has served on the boards of regional and statewide non-profit organizations devoted to advocacy of rational gun policy. She lives in Wallingford, Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters.
Patrick Hayes, Ph.D., is the archivist for the Redemptorists, a Roman Catholic religious order. He obtained his doctorate in religious studies from the Catholic University of America in 2003 and has taught around the United States and in Sierra Leone. He is the author or editor of a number of books, including A Catholic Brain Trust: The History of the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011); The Making of Modern Immigration: An Encyclopedia of People and Ideas (ABC-CLIO, 2012); with Christopher Denny and Nicholas Rademacher, A Realist’s Church: Essays in Honor of Joseph A. Komonchak (Orbis, 2015); The Civil War Diary of Father James Sheeran, C.Ss.R.: Confederate Chaplain and Redemptorist (Catholic University of America Press, 2016); and Miracles: An Encyclopedia of People, Places, and Supernatural Events from Antiquity to the Present (ABC-CLIO, 2016). Hayes serves on the board of the American Catholic Historical Society and the American Catholic Historical Association. He lives in Philadelphia.
Marvin Lim, a Yale Law School graduate, practices primarily in the field of civil rights. In the field of gun violence prevention, he has served as Counsel for the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, as well as for the Brennan Center. Previously, he worked with the ACLU of Georgia and the national office of the ACLU, at the latter of which he particularly worked on issues at the intersection of religious freedom and equal treatment. He is a frequent writer on issues of law, religion, and ethics of life, particularly from the Roman Catholic perspective.