Tuesday, January 12, 2016

U.S. Bishops: Turn In Your Guns

One of the Lost Posts. The Bear doubts much has changed since 2013. Note especially the kind of people the USCCB are proudly relying on, especially the George Soros-connected New America Foundation. Why is George Soros behind the scenes of the USCCB? Who are our bishops really answering to?

A 2011 Catholic News Service piece entitled "Gun Control: Church quietly, firmly opposes firearms for civilians" by Carol Glatz is making the rounds again. It is breathtakingly dishonest, and relies heavily on quotes from Dr. Tommaso di Ruzza, identified as "the expert on disarmament and arms control at the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace." (When Glatz wanted to write an anti-death penalty article for CNS, Dr. Di Ruzza was "a Vatican expert on capital punishment.")

I wish this could be as entertaining as I imagine some of my other entries are. (Please allow me my fond delusions if I am mistaken.) This is factually rich. I have long been suspicious of the USCCB, and things are even worse than I thought.

As we deconstruct this mess, keep in mind two things: (1) the Catholic News Service is the official party organ of the problematical United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); and (2) neither the USCCB nor any Pontifical Council speaks with the authority of the Roman Catholic Church on matters of faith or morals. Their official documents are theoretically worthy of consideration, and, to the extent they reflect actual Church teaching and promote reasonable discussion, they might be useful. They are not the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which remains the official, authoritative handbook of what Catholics must believe.

Send In the Clowns

A Pontifical Council is a sort of think tank within the Roman Curia. For example, when you want to find a document reflecting current Vatican thinking on carnies, you would go to the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and consult the Sector on Circus, Carnival People. There you would find a document issued following the 2004 International Congress for the Pastoral Care of Circus and Travelling Show People. The event was reported to be quite entertaining, and input was sought from all manner of traveling show folk.

In other words, clowns helped prepare it.

There is also a Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace (hereafter J & P). It is a creature of Vatican II, established as a Pontifical Commission by Pope Paul VI in 1967. In 1988, Pope John Paul II changed its name to the current "Pontifical Council etc." It works closely with the World Council of Churches, the United Nations, and non-governmental organizations to promote peace and justice It, too, issues documents. In 2006 it issued one in support of UN efforts to restrict trade in conventional weapons, which include "light arms and those of small calibre." It cited another one of its documents, The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, paragraph 508, reminding us that "general, balanced and controlled disarmament" remains the goal of the Church. It, too, relies on input from numerous persons, including laymen. The expert consultant on disarmament for J & P is a 37-year-old lawyer and academic, Dr. Tommaso di Ruzza.

Tracking his activities online, he also seems to be an expert in torture (You Tube clip of him speaking on behalf of Italian anti-torture group ACTA); the death penalty (already covered); and money laundering (observer at the Council of Europe's MONEYVAL conference). He is obviously well-connected, and cares about human rights. Other than that, I could not discover a curriculum vitae for him, or how he became an expert on so many topics, including the military. (I forgot to mention an article he wrote for the Brussels-published Military Law and the Law of War Review, vol. 47, no. 3-4, 2008, p. 441, on cluster munitions.)

I do know Dr. Di Ruzza's authority to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church is no greater than my mine.

"Resoundingly Clear" Gun Ban "Hidden in Footnote"
 In Non-Binding Anonymous Committee Paper

Returning to the Catholic News Service article about the Catholic gun ban, the author Glatz asks, "But what about private gun ownership? The answer is resoundingly clear: Firearms in the hands of civilians should be strictly limited and eventually completely eliminated." Then she produced the authority: a footnote in an anonymously drafted document from a 2000 USCCB committee entitled "Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice."
However, we believe that in the long run and with few exceptions (i.e., police officers, military use), handguns should be eliminated from our society. "Furthermore, the widespread use of handguns and automatic weapons in connection with drug commerce reinforces our repeated 'call for effective and courageous action to control handguns, leading to their eventual elimination from our society.'" U.S. Catholic Bishops, New Slavery, New Freedom: A Pastoral Message on Substance Abuse (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1990)
It is from the Committee on Domestic Policy of the USCCB. On the USCCB website, the document is actually found through the Office of Domestic Social Development's "Issues" link, "Criminal Justice/Restorative Justice." There it is featured as a "Foundational Document." Backtracking to "Who We Are" reveals consultants and observers apparently associated with the Bishops' "gun ban" paper, and other documents American bishops routinely sign off on.

"Who They Are" is startling and disturbing. Supporters or members of the Obama administration are thick, and the New America Foundation (NAF) (substantially funded by atheist ultra-leftist billionaire George Soros) has an unusual presence. Add some disaffected religious and the USCCB Domestic Policy headliners emerge as old Reds, renegade nuns and Obama crony capitalists. Keep in mind, this only scratches the surface. Drill down into any of these organizations and you will find decidedly non-Catholic beliefs and programs, not to mention the Obama administration's open hostility toward the Church.

  • John Sweeny (former SEIU, AFL-CIO head and member of Democratic Socialists of America, awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.)
  • Sister Janet Mock (Executive Director of disaffected nuns' Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which was investigated and corrected by Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith for significant departures from orthodoxy.) 
  • Sister Miriam Mitchell (Region 12 Chairperson, LCWR )
  • Rev. John A. Pavlik (Executive Director, Conference of Major Superiors of Men; issued press release: "The Conference... has a long and rich history of cooperation with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. We have been mutually enriched by this collaborative spirit to the greater glory of God.")
  • Sister Carol Keehan (President of Catholic Health Association and very vocal Catholic Obamacare supporter when it counted; incidentally draws a salary of $962,467 from CHA.)
  • Ray Boshara (former Senior Fellow NAF, ostensibly non-partisan, but pushes Obamacare, is anti-gun, and heavily funded by left-wing heavyweights such as George Soros, through his Open Society Foundation. In fact, Soros' son Jonathan is a NAF officer.)
  • Eric Schmidt ( Google ex-boss worth $7 billion. Chairman New America Foundation, extremely close relationship with President Obama, massive contributor to Democrat candidates and NAF, plus a Bilderberger for the conspiracy-minded. Company he keeps: NAF board member and Obama "car czar" Stephen Rattner recently wrote a New York Times op-ed entitled "Beyond Obamacare" which began "We need death panels.")
  • Anthony A. Williams (Democrat, vociferously anti-gun ex-Mayor Washington, D.C.) 

Of course, I doubt any of these people took time out of their busy lives to take part in drafting the USCCB gun ban. We have no idea who wrote the thing. The point is, this is the public face the USCCB is proud to put on on it. There can be no doubt it reflects the values and agendas of whoever did draft it.

Catechism Chaos Courtesy Catholic News Service

To make her point, Glatz deliberately mixes up the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) through Dr. Di Ruzza. (Remember him? The Italian lawyer and one-stop quote shop for all Vatican human rights positions?). She writes that the CCC reserves the use of firearms to authorities to protect the whole community. Here she  must be referring to paragraph 2265.
Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community to their responsibility.
Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with private gun ownership or self-defense. (Query, however: is a father as head of his household responsible for the safety of his wife and children sleeping in their own beds?) It is a canard to suggest that only police or military are authorized to have or use guns. Di Ruzza then goes on about how a citizen in a functioning democracy "relinquishes his right to revenge onto the state," then trusts the court system to mete out justice. Otherwise, gun ownership merely promotes "a lawless kind of street justice where if you steal my car, I shoot you."

This is a law professor at Roma Tre?

What in the world are they talking about? If you steal my car and I shoot you, that is not only a sin but First Degree Murder! No one is justifying private gun ownership by these arguments. But having triumphantly defeated the straw man, Glatz next at least gets to the proper paragraph in the CCC. She writes:
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, individuals have a right and a duty to protect their own lives when in danger, and someone who "defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow."
This is correct (2264). But then she starts babbling.
How that "lethal blow" could be licitly wielded is unclear, but the catechism clarifies that repelling the aggressor must be done "with moderation" in order to be "lawful" in the eyes of the church; using "more than necessary violence" would be unlawful, it says.
There is nothing clearer than dealing a lethal blow. It means to kill the aggressor with whatever means are at your disposal. Nor is there any mystery about moderation. The force must be proportional to the attack. If you are confident the aggressor merely intends to punch you in the nose, you cannot shoot him. On the other hand, you need not allow yourself to be beaten to death if you have the means to defend yourself with lethal force. Glatz is deliberately trying to make nonsense of a crystal clear paragraph from the CCC by enclosing selective words and phrases in scare quotes, as if the Catholic Church has officially taught self-contradictory gibberish that provides no practical guidance to the faithful.

In fact, the CCC suggests the defender does not have to risk his own life by being overly scrupulous about whether his response is moderate enough, since one is obliged under these circumstances to put one's own life before an aggressor's. For obvious reasons, Glatz fails to add this essential quote from paragraph 2264:
"Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s." Reference Note : 66 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 64, 7, corp. art.

The Bear Has the Final Growl

No doubt, you will hear more nonsense about the Church's position on private ownership of guns. I have no doubt that the natural inclination of Church bureaucrats in both the USCCB and the Roman Curia is to turn as many liberal fancies into Church doctrine as they can get away with. They are going to have to do better than this, though. 

As long as the Church retains a duty of self-defense, it is unlikely She will  or can take the only reasonable means of exercising that duty in this day and age out of the hands of the faithful. St. Peter himself wore a sword, and although he did not always use it wisely, Jesus did not demand that he surrender it to Caesar.

The Vatican and the Pope's home are protected by Swiss Guards armed with semi-automatic Glock 19 pistols and Heckler & Koch MP7 fully automatic submachine guns firing rifle rounds, instead of the more common pistol rounds for submachine guns. This is for extra punch and the ability to defeat armor.(Even the traditional halberd was designed in its day to inflict some of the most gruesome fatalities imaginable.)

Dr. Di Ruzza, I will be waiting for your principled explanation why the Vatican state has not set the example of unilaterally disarming, and why the papal residence is permitted the protection of firearms, but you would deny the same to my family. It is a fallen world, and private Catholics face the same danger as the Pope, even though we are not, individually, symbolic targets or heads of state.

The Pope, on the other hand, is less likely to be killed by some crackhead stealing his flat screen TV.


  1. This was and is a great piece. What you find when you "drill down" is, indeed, appalling and alarming (Micharl Voris has also done some great investigative work along thrse lines). But the vastly powerful hydra-headed monster that investigation reveals is so intimidating that the action-information ratio shuts down potential opposition before that opposition can even be organized in any meaningful way :-(

  2. The oddest thing is this Soros-funded leftist New America Foundation that looks to be quite sinister having such a dominating presence in the USCCB. No doubt, the USCCB gets substantial money from NAF and organizations like it. It makes you wonder who our bishops' master really is. It's like a siege. We ordinary Catholics have made our stand, but everywhere you look there is some new threat that is so bizarre as to border on the ridiculous. George Soros. The Homosexual Collective. Bishops who cannot agree on orthodox belief. The Germans. And swelling their ranks clueless Catholics who don't know or care about sound doctrine and lap up the latest random thought of Pope Francis like it was the very words of Christ.

    But then I remember I'm a Bear and I don't worry so much.

  3. Thanks Bear. The USCCB has been suspect for some time. It is a political arm of the Democrat Party and uses whatever credibility it has to intimidate Catholics into believing that they have a moral obligation to follow it's subversive and socialist directives. This organization should be abolished.

    I would like to see a group, of say, 1000-5000 priests stand up against this nonsense which is harmful to all Catholics spiritual lives by equating soul killing and irrational Communist political propaganda with virtues necessary to attain eternal life.

    But where is the courage to do this? Perhaps it too has been declared morally illicit by the USCCB who considers it harmful to the State's ability to exercise supreme control.

    1. Far from being abolished, I fear the idea is to grant national conferences their own authority in matters of discipline (doctrine). Like I said before, when you've got some creepy Soros-funded organization like NAF overrepresented on USCCB boards, we're living in a Malachi Martin novel. Satan is busy, and the people love him. Why? Because he sounds "nice?" No. Because by far most people simply prefer Satan to Our Lord. That's hard to say, but true.

  4. http://bishopkevinfarrell.org/2016/01/open-carry/

  5. Bear, I think you are entirely correct. I just, for what it's worth (little) wrote an email to the USCCB, just because I am tired of their yammering about how we ought to allow Muslim invaders and the continent of South America to come flooding over our borders. It especially galls me about Muslims. Do these men have any moral obligation to the survival of either Catholicism or Catholics? I admit, I am 100% fed up with the USCCB, and your George Soros connection is the capper. We attend a Latin Rite mass now. There is no going back. I will not ever give one dime to support the USCCB. It kind of feels horrible, but, I can't in good conscience support anti-Americanism or the confused mess that is now our beloved Catholic church. These men are the enemy. God help us.
    I have given up hope for courageous clergy. It was a hope, when PF showed his true colors. But that hope is gone. Unless a name is in the same sentence with the word "heretic", it's not enough. Disappointed again. It would be a career ender, certainly.
    A relative of mine works for a company with a rather maniacal boss. He said if one wants to make an impression on rabbits, kill one in front of them, and all the rest will behave. When I think of how Cardinal Burke was treated, it makes me wonder if he was the rabbit.


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