We all know that the lamestream media’s favorite topic is gun control: how evil gun owners are, how guns are the source of all our problems, how they manage to fire themselves and are to blame for every gun-related tragedy, and most of all, how much they should be banned.
Our dear Pope Francis has, unfortunately, made the lamestream media’s week with the comments he made to a youth rally during his visit to Turin. Of course, all of them immediately jump on the “Pope Francis says you can’t be Christian and own a gun!” which is, of course, the biggest load of bulls**t on the internet, which is saying a lot.
Of course, Catholics who own guns freak out over it; non-Catholics who own guns say “See? See? I TOLD you those Catholics were insane!”; liberal non-Christians say, “Now look, even the Pope agrees with us!”
Well, looks like we’re going to have to clear this up.
There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.
This is one of those instances. What the Church says and what people say She says are two completely different things.
We’re going to do you a favor and give you Four Reasons Not To Freak Out.
Reason Number One: Not an Ex-Cathedra Statement
I hate it when liberals reduce everything to the context in which it was spoken, and disregard it the rest of the time (like the reader-response criticism method). But context is important, to a certain extent, and it’s very important here.
People sometimes get hung up on the idea that the Pope is infallible. Yes, he is infallible, but only on matter of faith and morals. Saying that the Pope is infallible is not the same thing as saying that he can’t make a mistake, or that everything he says is perfectly right all the time. The Pope is still a man, and as such, is prone to the same mistakes that plague the rest of us. The only time he is infallible is when he is making an ex cathedra statement on faith and morals, in his position as the Successor of Peter and the Bishop of Rome, and those statements have a very particular formula to be followed (like John Paul II’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis on the ordination of women, for example).
He was doing no such thing at the time.
Francis was making an impromptu speech to a bunch of teenagers while he was in Turin, and as we all know from experience, he has a bad habit of not being careful about what he says. Just take the outcry and media crap over his “who am I to judge?” statement (which was totally taken out of context to be used for another liberal political agenda. Sound familiar?). He’s not perfect; sometimes he isn’t careful about what he says. We can get over that.
Reason Number Two: This Is a Bad Translation
Another thing people seem to forget is that the Pope rarely gives his statements in English. Everything you read about him has been translated, usually from Italian, sometimes Spanish, depending on where he was when he said it. This time, it was in Italian.
Now, his exact words were:
Se ti fidi solo degli uomini, hai perso! Imprenditori che si dicono cristiani e fabbricano armi: quello dà un po’ di sfiducia!
The important word here is the one that has been translated as “weapons” in the English versions of his statement: armi. This is mostly accurate, but still deceptive, because it means “any weapon of violence,” and it doesn’t come across with the same meaning in English. When we say “weapons” these days, we mean “guns” most of the time. “Armi” also where we get the word “army,” of course. If he meant “pistol,” as the lamestream media seems to interpret his statement, he would have said “pistola” or “fucile,” the latter including rifles. The more common word he would have used would be “carabina,” which is where we get the word “carbine.” It’s also why the Italian military/national police are called “Carabineri.”
Oh, by the way, “armi” includes swords. So he’s condemned sword manufacturers, too.
So, if you look at the whole statement (which no one wants to do when they’re trying to make it sound like he said something he didn’t), you can see that when he says “weapons,” he probably means something very different from “guns.”
Which brings me to the next good Reason Not To Freak Out.
Reason Number Three: He’s Probably Talking About WMDs
Immediately after he says that about weapons, he says:
They say one thing and do another. Hypocrisy … But we see what happened during the last century: in 1914, or rather in 1915 precisely. There was the great tragedy in Armenia. Many people died. I do not know how many, but certainly more than a million. Where were the great powers of the time? They looked away. Why? Because they were interested in war: their war! And those who died, they were second class people, human beings. Then, in the 1930s and 1940s, the tragedy of the Shoah. The great powers had photographed the railway lines that carried the trains to the concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, to kill Jews, and also Christians, Roma, homosexuals, to kill them there. But tell me, why did they not bomb them? Interests! And soon after, almost at the same time, there were the lagers in Russia: Stalin … how many Christians suffered and were killed. The great powers divided Europe like a cake. Many years had to pass before reaching a certain ‘freedom’. There is the hypocrisy of speaking about peace and producing arms, and even selling weapons to this one, who is at war with that one, and to that one who is at war with this!
Oh, look at that. He’s talking about arms dealers and genocide, not privately owned legal firearms. The “great tragedy in Armenia” was a genocide attempt. The “Shoah” is the Holocaust. Stalin slaughtered how many Russians, again?
Francis isn’t talking about you or me owning a legal firearm for sports, hunting, or self-defense. He’s talking about war and genocide. Did he say that clearly? No, but as we have seen before, this is a personal problem of his, where he says things off the cuff that come back to bite him in the butt, and make the media and paranoid Catholics everywhere lose their minds.
Given the combination of his use of the Italian word “armi” and the rest of his statement, I don’t think there’s anything for us legal gun owners to worry about. The media, once again, has taken it out of its real context and perverted his already unclear meaning. That’s Francis’ fault for not being clear, but that doesn’t make him the Antichrist.
Reason Number Four: He Wouldn’t Contradict Church Teaching
Even if he was unclear, Francis, as Pope, is no doubt very VERY familiar with Church teaching on weapons of all kinds, and their use. So, why don’t we look at what the Church actually says, instead of relying on Reuters to tell us?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
2263: The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.“
2264: Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
- If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . 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.
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 entrusted to their responsibility.
That’s plain enough, isn’t it? Here, the Catechism is talking about legitimate self-defense, which is why most of us own guns. There’s no mention of war or genocide, which is what Francis was talking about in his statement. The Catechism addresses that later, when it says:
2308: All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.
However, “as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed.”
2309: The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
– the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
– all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
– there must be serious prospects of success;
– the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine.
The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
2310: Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens the obligations necessary for national defense.
Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.
2311: Public authorities should make equitable provision for those who for reasons of conscience refuse to bear arms; these are nonetheless obliged to serve the human community in some other way.
2312: The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. “The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties.”
2313: Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.
Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide.
Oh, holy cow. I think that’s what Francis was just talking about, huh? Imagine that.
2314: “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.” A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons – to commit such crimes.
2315: The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations; it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.
You know, maybe Francis was thinking of those two paragraphs when he made that statement.
2316: The production and the sale of arms affect the common good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.
Again, maybe he had this in mind when he said that these genocides happened because people “were interested in war!” He was talking about the “interests” of nations coming before the good of the people who lived in them (and not the “common good” crap that liberals like to use to justify everything; the real good of people in a nation), and that is exactly what the Catechism says. Repeatedly. In clear and precise language.
So, tell me again how Pope Francis has said something scandalous and against Church teaching? Or even anything against the conservative principles of the right to bear arms?
He didn’t; get over it. Or I’ll set these Sisters on you.
We’ll just have to become reconciled to the fact that Pope Francis says things that are unclear sometimes. That doesn’t make him the Antichrist, and it doesn’t undermine Church teaching. Calm down, Rad Trads. He’s not the Antipope, either. He has NEVER said a single thing in direct contradiction to Church teaching.
I think that most of the problem here is that the last century has given us so many rockstar popes that we’re spoiled. Four of them were saints (Pius X, Pius XII, John XXIII, John Paul II), and even those who haven’t been canonized have been exceptional (Benedict XVI, Paul VI). We’re used to having wonderful popes. Now we may have one that’s just normal, or maybe even bad. The Church has had bad popes before, and yet She is still here.
Stop listening to the lamestream media. It’s a wonder they can get his name right, they’re such liars. You know this, so why do you keep listening to them?! Don’t believe a word they say, especially not about Pope Francis.
If you do, that’s your own problem, not his, and not the Catholic Church’s.
Follow the squirrel minion to get to Lori’s website, Little Squirrel Books.