Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Guns be gone at Church at least in the state of Georgia. Bishop Gregory Hartmayer joins Archbishop Wilton Gregory in issuing the DECREE which you can read HERE.

The following is the Georgia Bulletin's news article on the decree:

ATLANTA—Guns and other weapons are officially unwelcome at Catholic churches, schools and other buildings owned, leased or operated by the Catholic dioceses of Georgia.
On behalf of the dioceses, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and Savannah Bishop Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv., have issued a decree prohibiting guns and knives with blades longer than five inches from parishes, churches, schools, administrative offices and other buildings owned or used by the Catholic community. It includes both handguns and long guns. It takes effect July 1.
The bishops said, in a statement, Catholic places of worship are sanctuaries where “ways of peace and reconciliation” should be the rule.
“This decree is rooted in the belief that our churches and other places of worship are intended to be sanctuaries—holy sites where people come to pray and to worship God. In this nation of ours, they have seldom been the locations where violence has disrupted the otherwise peaceful atmosphere. Should it be necessary, we will seek the assistance of trained law enforcement personnel for protection, but among ourselves we will first seek ways of peace and reconciliation,” said the statement.
Any parishioner or visitor unlawfully carrying a weapon in violation of this decree may be charged with trespassing. They will be asked to leave the facility and return only once they have removed the weapon.
The policy will also apply to activities sponsored by the Catholic Church in Georgia, such as conferences, parish and school trips.
Law enforcement workers and authorized security personnel, including campus police officers, are exempt from the ban, according to the decree.
The new policy is in response to Georgia’s Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014, which goes into effect on July 1. The act still prohibits weapons in places of worship but allows religious leaders to opt out of that requirement, an option the Catholic Church in Georgia has declined to exercise.
This decree continues the exclusion of guns and weapons in the facilities and churches of the Atlanta Archdiocese and the Savannah Diocese.
In addition to the requirements of this decree, Georgia law already prohibits a number of other weapons from being brought into schools.
There are several exemptions to the Catholic dioceses’ policy. Clergy are permitted to own and keep a weapon securely in a rectory. Ceremonial swords used by the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Peter Claver, and similar organizations are allowed. Students that use rifles for training, such as at the Benedictine Military School, in Savannah, can continue to use them.

Also, a person who has a license to carry a weapon may still drop off and pick up a person at a church facility or be in a car in the parking area, as long as the weapon is secured.


Gene said...

Yeah, boy, that'll really put a kink in crime! And, for anyone who just might decide they want to shoot up a Church, nothing like knowing there won't be anybody shooting back.

Cameron said...

Oh Lord Gene...

Gene said...

Common sense, people. Felons, thugs, gang bangers are going to have guns…PERIOD. You cannot pass enough laws or confiscate enough guns to prevent it.
People who have no regard for law are, de facto, above it. Preventing law-abiding citizens from going armed makes no sense in light of this simple fact. We have got to stop paying attention to a bunch of guilt-ridden, hand-wringing, hysterical liberals and feel goods who think being nice replaces fire power.

JBS said...

So, a criminal intent on violence will read this policy and then change his mind about shooting someone in a Georgia church? Perhaps some of the chancery staff need to do more prison ministry, where they'll discover that violent criminals are not deterred by laws or policies.

Anonymous said...

Not that I'm a gun nut, but knowing Bishop Gregory's political leanings--which he has made little effort to hide--one cannot help but wonder if he is just playing to the folks he perceives as "his crowd"?

Politicians have the reality of facing re-election every few years, while bishops have no such concerns. They tend to surround themselves with people who will reinforce what they want to hear and screen out those who disagree with them easily. This might explain why so many are completely out of touch with their flock.

rob said...

So, I guess you'll be eating out A LOT!

"For the purpose of this Decree, a weapon is:
any offensive or defensive knife or cutting instrument with a blade that is greater than five inches in length."

"For the purposes of this Decree, a facility is :
any cathedral, church, parish building, RECTORY..."

By the way, what's an "offensive or defensive knife?

CPT Tom said...

The Pilgrims made it made it mandatory for all men to be armed going to Church services. Reason? The Indians figured out they should attack during Church services as no one was armed. In this time of religious motivated terrorism and other violence This isn't rocket science.

Gene said...

Well, maybe when the thugs come to St. Jo's, Anon 2 will be in attendance at Mass and he can talk them unconscious with a lengthy deliberation regarding gun laws, voting Democratic, and other sophistic miss mash. Or, maybe they will go to Ignotus' Church and he can bless them..they are sure to go to Hell then.

Anonymous said...

I think what it means is the Knights of Columbus and others, and off duty police officers will just need to coordinate their mass schedules so there will always be at least 1-2 at each weekend Mass - sort of like the air marshal program. That way the pastor can reasonably expect there to be at least 1 lawfully armed Catholic at Mass and tell the rest to leave their pistols in their cars while at Mass.... thus the doomsday scenario of a nut coming in to Mass to shoot up the place - the boogie man we're rightfully concerned wit - is nullified somewhat and people can be better satisfied that they're not completely defenseless.

People on 'both sides' need to take a moment to show empathy to the fears of the other side.

Gun control nuts presume that anyone who doesn't get paid by the government is simply untrustworthy while they implicitly trust anyone with a government pay check. See, all their lives, movies, books, shows, have featured the cops as good guys and the bad guys are always big businessmen or evil militia nuts. So they assume we the people can't be trusted with guns. But we can trust cops.

On the other side, it's not that gun owners distrust the cops, it's that they don't think calling 911 creates an instant and magical force field around the victims of violent crime. All the shooting incidents are over within 4-5 minutes...meaning most of the casualties come from the initial assault. Therefore they conclude only the civilians at the immediate scene can stop the shooter - and only if they're armed.

So it's a world view based on presumptions about other people and presumptions about how frequent/likely some violent act may occur.

The gun controller will assume that if 5-6 people out of 200 in St. Joseph are armed, someone may 'flip out' some day (but they'd never think that if the 6 are all police.)

The handgun owners will assume they're the SAFE ONES... the trustworthy people who are good guys....whereas the gun control folk assume they're untrustworthy.

Gun owners fear nuts and appreciate that cops don't magically arrive when 911 is dialed.

Gun controllers fear armed civilians and discount nuts and assume that calling 911 magically conjures up a force field immediately stopping assaults.

So a middle ground would be to just post armed guards outside of Church from among parish ushers who are police and deputize ushers to be on the look out for nuts. Then everyone can feel safer and leave their guns in their cars.

Gene said...

Any person with a Concealed Carry License is a "lawfully armed Catholic." A lot of us are far better shots than the local cops, most of whom could not hit the Church standing inside it.

Templar said...

Or, you could just give the decree the same amount of consideration that the Diocese has given Decree's it doesn't like (like SP for example) and ignore it. Or will Ushers be wanding people on the way into Church now? Or shall we have a Capital Campaign to install metal detectors?

Oh, and please don't forget to send the Bishop money for his annual appeal.

Anonymous said...

We all know that the reason mentally
disturbed people and criminals haven't been shooting up congregations in recent times and not so recent times is because they were aware that most were armed.

There's an old saying that says something like: The fact that somebody wants to run for county sheriff is reason enough not to vote for them. Similarly, the person who most wants a gun is the very person who should not have one.

JBS said...


A "defensive knife" is a knife that cannot take criticism.

Gene said...

Anonymous (12:11), I do believe there are some people who obsessively want to carry a gun. They are the people with "licensed carrier" stickers all over their car or who have jackets and shirts announcing they are armed. Some want to open carry. These are foolish things to do and will only alert the bad guy to the fact that they are armed. You NEVER want your potential enemy to know your abilities or your weaponry. Most of these people are good citizens and would not use a firearm irresponsibly. They simply have unrealistic ideas about their self-image.
Most of us who carry, carry concealed and discreetly. Most of us have been around guns all our lives and see them as necessary tools. We do not carry because we so badly want a gun…we carry as a matter of fact and practicality in a dangerous and criminal society. None of us wants a confrontation, and would not draw our weapon unless we judged that there was real, imminent danger. We also know our limitations…drawing and firing in a crowded Church or public building has many contingencies. That is why we go to the range a lot and practice drawing and firing from various positions. In a crisis situation where many lives may be at risk, one must make the judgment as to whether the risk to people in the target area is justified to prevent greater harm to more people. If you carry, you have a responsibility to be a good shot with a steady hand and resolute mind.
Sometimes you just have to shoot. I hope I never have to make that decision.

Gene said...

An offensive knife would be one with a picture of Obama on it.

Pater Ignotus said...

How many people, other than law enforcement officers, have regular training on how to deal with a shooting in a crowded, public location? My guess is none.

The average person with firing range training is going to be thinking about his/her own safety first, not that of the priest, the altar servers, the choir, the ushers, or the others in the congregation. "Self"-defense is the primary reason people use in arguing in favor of our new "Guns Everywhere" law.

Mass shooters are deranged - they will not be deterred by the knowledge that some number of people in a crowded, public location may be armed.

There are lots of legally armed citizens out there. Yet, not ONE has every stopped a mass shooter.

Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, had had a "Resource Office" (armed guard) for two years before the mass killings there. Armed bystanders don't stop mass shooters.

Wayne LaPierre's infamous "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" is a fantasy. It is also a prescription for a grotesque increase in gun violence. And that gun violence will result in more, not fewer, innocent people getting killed or wounded.

Gene said...

Ignotus, There are numerous examples of people defending themselves with firearms in public places.
The American Rifleman magazine publishes these news articles every month because the national media would not dare post them and admit that citizens successfully defend themselves all the time. Now, it is a safe bet that you do not know doodley squat about guns, self-defense, reaction under stress, being shot at, or how to engage multiple targets in rapid fire. Many of us do know about those things. No one knows how they will react in such a situation unless they have been there before and, if before was a long time ago, they may not know now. But, no situation is the same and there may well be many citizens out there who are perfectly capable of responding appropriately and effectively to a mass shooter. Mass shooters most often pick their times and targets carefully…like midday Mass where they know no one is armed or a high school where likely no one is armed, either.

The "average person" will be concerned with stopping the threat…period. He won't have time to think of self or anything else but immediate elimination of the attacker. Things happen fast…really fast.

I dare say that most law enforcement officers do not have regular training in how to deal with shooting in a crowded location. The only ones with such training on a consistent basis are SWAT teams and folks like Delta force and the Israeli army, for heaven sakes. I still feel better knowing that there are responsible armed citizens about.

rcg said...

I will manage to offend all here this way: I do not care for all the congregation to be armed because the average person has no idea how to control his fire in a crowd. Likewise I think the bishop is nutty for trying to relate this to peace in the Catholic sense. I therefore think people should be encouraged to bring their weapons to Mass and check them, except for the knives, with the assigned outside guards. They will then retrieve them after Mass for coffee and donuts in the Parish Hall.

Gene said...

RCG, But, what if the person I want to shoot only shows up for coffee and donuts?

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - There are many reports of people using guns to stop an attacker in an un-crowded, face to face situation.

I said, "There are lots of legally armed citizens out there. Yet, not ONE has ever stopped a mass shooter."

No, "many" people do not know about the things you mention because many people have never been trained in this, nor do they keep training.

Mass shooters do not pick their targets carefully. They start shooting and keep shooting at anyone that moves.

I dare say that law enforcement officer have far, far more training in the proper and effective use of guns in any situation than Jane or John Doe Pewsitter.

Joe Potillor said...

Knowing a priest friend's parish where a shooting did happen, I'm most certainly opposed to disarming the laity, espeically in situations where cops could be hours or even min away. Those precious minutes could be the difference between a tragedy and minimal damage.

What I would say is this: There should be a team of CCW in every parish to prepare for situations where a gunman can come in and start shooting. This training could take place with the law enforcement officers or what not. They should be parishoners that Father (aka Father, do the interviews yourselves) can trust to act decisively and with prudence in these kind of situations. We should always be prepared, as we never know when people who are trying to commit evil will show up.

Criminals do not follow laws, if they did, they'd be ordinary citizens. While I think it is a well intentioned letter by His Excellency, I do not think it will solve the problem

Anonymous said...

Preacher Gene i:00 PM
I don't know what kinds of stickers you have on your car or about your NRA or "Carrier" jackets or tee shirts. But I do know how you LOVE to brag on this blog about what a bad-ass gunslinger you are.

Anonymous said...

Not an offensive idea....just REALLY dumb.

Pater Ignotus said...

Joe - What gives you the idea that a priest has the background to know who he can trust to shoot accurately in the hysteria of a deranged gunman in church.

Ask a sheriff or a chief of police or a general. Priests have no training to determine such things.

Gene said...

Anonymous, I have no stickers on my car and I have never bragged about being a bad ass on this blog. Show me. You forced an issue once and I responded with some of my experience. That is not bragging. You sound like a real punk.

George said...

I agree with Joe Pollitor that Church's and religious assemblies should have contingency plans and make preparations for what could happen as regards an act of violence. Having a law enforcement officer or two on hand or perhaps some private security guards would hopefully deter anyone with criminal intent in mind. I wouldn't want to see a the Diocese being held responsible and having to defend itself in a lawsuit because someone was hurt or killed on Church property.

Gene said...

Well, you can go two ways with the private security guards or LEO's. You can have them highly visible in uniform and with M-4's or AR 15's and wearing vests, or you can have them in street clothes and blending in. In the first case, a serious shooter will kill them first, but there is a deterrence factor for the half-hearted or merely incompetent. In the second case, the guards themselves would not be a primary target, but the attack would probably penetrate further before being stopped. Plain clothes can't conceal as much fire power. Security in that situation need to be armed with M-4's, AR's or carbines of some kind. What about it, RCG?

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene said: “[M]aybe Anon 2 will be in attendance at Mass and he can talk them unconscious with a lengthy deliberation regarding gun laws, voting Democratic, and other sophistic miss mash.”

I see that Thrasymachus is in his element and in characteristic form in this thread.

rcg said...

Gene, as our plaster told me, if the bad guy has a plan you're probably dead. If it is an opportunity attack then you have a chance. In our case we have city cops, not police, cops, who are parish members. Everyone wears a suit to Mass, or a long skirt and covers the shoulders. What they have under there is what they have under there. If there was a known threat and Mass was held anyway then visible uniformed guards (aka 'bait') would make sense. For some reason when we have a procession it is not unusual to see a patrol car make a traffic stop in front of the Church and take almost the entire hour to fill out the report. I think this is line with Bishop Hartmeyer's guidance.

In our case there is only the common, although somewhat organized criminal in our area. They are rarely available for events before about noon any weekday and usually only mid afternoons on Sundays so the threat is minimal.

Again, in our parish, everyone ducks to one knee when they cross the axis of the nave. So there is that lane open in a pinch.

When I got out of the military to took a concealed carry course from a local club run by cops, at least a couple are SWAT. I was surprised at how eager the civilians were to engage a threat without thinking about first communicating the situation to police (notwithstanding the lead time to arrival, waiting to call only makes it longer) and more alarmingly no thought to their surroundings. If someone bursts into Mass and is shooting his neighbour for fooling around with his wife (hopefully confessed just prior) I would not fire unless I had a certain kill with no pass through and no chance of return fire that might strike the people around me.

Anonymous said...

I usually do not comment on such things. Because of the lack of information and the use of emotion to try and steer the conversation. Also the sheer ignorance of some causes me to seek out my confessor.

Pater Ignotus brings up a good strawman point and then makes grand sweeping statements that he should know better than to make.

What priest would know who would respond correctly in an emotion charged shoot? He would not, neither do the police nor the military. Studies with the military show huge numbers of soldiers seldom fire their weapons in combat. Go to youtube and pull up the combat footage from our recent wars. Very few fire or fire well. This was stuff I was taught at The Basic School and Infantry Officers School while an officer in the USMC. I dare say a Bishop also has not inside information on how some one will act in a hostile situation.

As a priest, I am different than most priests. In combat I have order the deaths of others, my Marines and I have killed. Direct and indirect fire. It was disgusting and I wish not necessary. But evil in the world forbids pollyanna thinking.

Why are mass shooting happening at schools, malls and theaters? Gun free zones. Only Arnie as the terminator shoots up a police station. Terrorists and evil people pick soft targets...schools.

Columbine HS. The resource officer per the final FBI report was not in he usual position but was outside the buildings in his car when the shooting began. His guard post, if he had been there, was where the shooting began. He could have made a difference if he was where he was suppose to be.

Pater states no one has ever stopped a mass shooter. Here are 3 examples.
1) Oct 1 1997 Pearl River, Mississippi. Vice Principal Joel Myrick used his .45 pistol to stop Luke Woodham as he was killing students. Luke killed his mother, 2 students and wounded 7.
2)Dec 17, 2012 Clackamass Mall. Nick Meli used his concealed pistol to confront the shooter. Shooter committed suicide. He killed two others.
3) June 8, 2014 Las Vegas. Two shooters killed two police, entered a Walmart firing. Confronted by a citizen with a concealed pistol. Citizen was murdered, but delayed the shooters long enough for police to arrive and Walmart customers to flee. Police entered walmart engaged shooters in a firefight. Shooter wife shot husband and committed suicide. Police credit slain citizen with saving lives.

Can concealed weapons carriers stop all violence? No. Neither can the police. Gene mentioned the American Rifleman. I read it each time I go to my parents. Each month they have police accounts of armed citizens stopping shooters and criminals.

Sometimes the police get lucky and stop a mass shooter. Most of the time they are reacting just like an armed citizen. After the fact. To use Pater's logic, since armed citizens can not stop mass shooters they should not be armed. Well, since police can not stop mass shooters prior to the crime like the citizens, they should not have weapons. Sounds silly does it. But a good strawman position I must say.

And I am sorry, most police are poorly trained in controlling their fire. I witnessed in Pensacola, Florida, about 20 years ago Escambia County deputies shoot a man over 20 times. Yes they stopped and reloaded. On a busy street surrounded by citizens. I heard the first pop of the pistol grabbed my then 2 year daughter and hit the floor of McDonald's. The medical examiner determined the suspect committed suicide prior to being shot by the so called better trained police. Luckily no citizens were hit. Spent bullets were found everywhere. Thank you guardian angels.

I would suggest some of us use google before talking about things we like to speculate about.

The Anglican Priest

Joe Potillor said...

PI, for those without competence, let law enforcement help, but the idea works, if you're going to have help, it should be people that the priest can trust.

Gene said...

Mark, Thanks for a very good post. "Evil in the world forbids Pollyanna thinking." Now, there's a sermon in seven words….LOL!

Pater Ignotus said...

Mark - I stand corrected. I did not find those examples in my research.

The rejection of violence is not Pollyanna thinking. On the contrary, it is Gospel thinking. In our fallen state, we choose to act violently, we choose to do every kind of evil, believing that it is "necessary" or even "God's will."

Two recent mass shootings took place on military bases - Ft. Hood and the US Navy yard. No, mass shooters do not choose "soft" targets. Nor are the deterred by the knowledge that the people they are going to attack are, likely, armed and trained in the use of arms.

Yes, carrying guns will not prevent shootings. So why are we arguing that carrying guns will prevent mass shootings?

Gene said...

Ignotus, on military bases, soldiers and Marines do not go armed. We have Clinton to thank for that. A military base is a very soft target if you are already on it. We should not allow Muslims in our military, anyway. That is just amazingly, stunningly, incomprehensibly stupid.

Anonymous said...

Oh for Pete's sake, Pater Ignotus, please take the time to actually do some research before opining again on this issue!

Both Ft. Hood and the Navy yard were gun free zones! The only people authorized to be armed in either facility were the front gate guards. No one else were trusted with pistols (merely trusted with million dollar machines etc.).

And it was Bill Clinton who mandated the gun-free zones (proving once again that he's not half a smart as he thinks he is).

The shooter in both cases knew everyone he'd meet would be unarmed. In both cases the shooter had time to calmly reload (so banning hi-cap or standard capacity magazines wouldn't have helped a bit).

As for civilians being untrained...no one is going to spend $600 on a pistol, $200 on ammo, another $100 on the safety training sessions and then read all the very strict GA GUN LAWS and then be trigger happy.

Statistics show that armed civilians shoot fewer shots and hit fewer bystanders than police do (also because unlike police, civilians are personally liable for every bullet).

It's just embarrassing that priests don't do their homework on this issue.

I accept the bishop's authority (and pastor's) to make churches gun-free but please don't make your argument on flimsy, easy to knock down strawmen. Remember, laity have our competency in the secular realm and guns definitely fall under our purview.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I've been in downtown parishes (inner-city) for 29 of my 34 years as a priest. We've had people act up during Mass or come in and make a scene, but no one brandishing a weapon. The only time that I was concerned for my safety at a Sunday Mass was in the 1990's at Most Holy Trinity in Augusta at our 10 AM Mass as I stood preaching in front of the altar, not behind a pulpit/ambo, and I saw a street person enter the church and with a determined walk approach me as I was preaching and then go to my left and stand before the life size crucifix that is there starring at it and he had a duffel bag and I was thinking as I was preaching why the ushers weren't doing anything and no one else was and I finally asked him, "May I help you" at when point I also said that we need some help in escorting this young man out. But he could have had a weapon in his bag and i thought he might have. But I would not have expected anyone in the congregation to get their guns ready to shoot him, but I did expect able bodied men to come forward and take him out of the Church, strong arming him if they had to do so.
This new GA law is complicating things and in the past it was a non-issue. If someone brought a gun to church concealed, who knew. But if we need security, then we need to hire someone who is security and can intervene even with a weapon if necessary, but they need to be hired to do such.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anonymous - Guards at gates with guns is 100% more weaponry than a shooter commonly encounters in a mall, a church, or a school.

I suspect that both the Navy Yard and Ft. Hood were populated with military police, all armed and trained.

According to reports, the Navy Yard shooter DID encounter an armed security officer: "At some point, Alexis shot and killed Richard Ridgell, a security officer and former Maryland state trooper, near the building entrance and took his Beretta 9mm semiautomatic pistol, using it after running out of ammunition for his shotgun."

According to reports, Ft. Hood civilian police were also armed: "Hasan fired at Sgt. Kimberly Munley, who exchanged shots with him using her 9mm M9 pistol."

Hasan also encountered armed civilian police officer Sgt. Mark Todd: "Sergeant Mark Todd arrived and shouted commands at Hasan to surrender. Todd said: "Then he turned and fired a couple of rounds at me. I didn't hear him say a word, he just turned and fired."The two exchanged shots, and Hasan was felled by five shots from Todd, who kicked the pistol out of his hand and put handcuffs on him as he fell unconscious."

No, the only armed personnel on these bases were not the guards at the gates.

You were saying about competency...?

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness. Read the accounts again father! The gunmen opened fire inside the base (you do realize how big Ft. Hood is, right?) where no one had guns. He calmly opened fire inside a building where he was the only one armed. The police had to be called as no one there was armed (though as soldiers all were trained).

The Navy yard situation was similar - no one but designated security had weapons. Yes, eventually armed personnel arrive to 'stop' these assaults - but the point is, when an active shooter opens fire, either the immediate victims are armed or they're not. If they're not, then they're sitting ducks.

Mass shootings are almost all done and over in under 5 minutes.

In a big open building like St. Joe's where there's few exits, people would have to dive for cover and someone or someones would need to bum rush the shooter from behind or risk point blank fire.

The solution is of course to coordinate with local police who are Catholic so one attends each of the weekend Masses, perhaps as an usher. Like air marshals - no one knows who is armed but someone is. That person is already trained and falls in the approved category of this statement.

The presence of at least 1 formally approved weapons carrier would allay the just fears of anyone who has a concealed carry license and thus satisfy their fears. It would also satisfy the fears of those who believe no one but police officers are sane enough and trained enough to handle pistols.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - Like you, in my 29 years of priesthood, I have never worried about a "mass mass killing" taking place. This is not Pollyanna-ish thinking, either. It is reality. Is it possible? Of course. Is it likely? Of course not. Are hits from meteorites possible? Of course. Are we installing anti-meteorite shielding on our churches and houses? Nope.

The NRA and pro-gun folks want everyone to believe that, at any moment and in any place, the "bad guy with a gun" is gonna pop up and start shooting.

Balderdash. It's all fear-mongering.

I like your "May I help you" comment. I suspect I'd have said the same thing! Calmness in such situations is often the most powerful weapon. When the bullets start flying from the pew-sitters, however, look out!

Anonymous said...

You people are truly amazing....you practically wet your britches because some dangerous little old man is gonna destroy the Church by standing up to receive Communion....then calmly and determinedly discuss having dudes with AK47s roaming the aisles during Mass. Certainly would create a prayerful atmosphere,,, Have you all gone nuts?

Anonymous said...

Pater Ignotus,

Look at your attitude with respect to 'pewsitters' and with respect to police.

Notice anything?

You presume the average Mass going Catholic (already a minority of registered Catholics) is less than trustworthy with a concealed weapon.

But you also presume the average policeman or woman has some super-duper training with firearms that civilians can't possibly match, plus they get paid by the government which means they are super-duper in control of emotions, fears, paranoia, etc.

This is a presumption.

So armed laity, assumed to be incompetent and untrustworthy... armed police, assumed to be competent and trustworthy.

Criminals - assumed to not exist or at least not be a threat.

And yet all these laws are precisely being raised on account of a series of mass shooter events that almost all occur at officially designated 'gun free zones'.

Those presumed incompetent and untrustworthy laity read the same Media you do. But their frame of reference is not a leader but bystanders. In almost every case of mass shooting, the shooter opens fire on the random bystanders, not the top leader.

So empathy is called for. Put yourself in the shoes of the average person you are dialoguing with. The armed civilian is afraid of criminals below him and corrupt governments above him. The armed civilian knows he can be sued and is personally liable for any stray bullet (while the police are not held to such a standard). The armed civilian knows he has no armor, no immediate backup. Call 911 to report a shooter and you'll get all available squad cars. But if a police unit calls, the entire department comes crashing down.

To allay the fears of civilians then, it behooves us to show that our temples are not really gun free zones - defenseless, but that someone is officially authorized to carry at all times but you won't say who.

That reduces the fear of the civilians, it reduces the target of the crazies, and we move on.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anonymous - Yes, I am more leery of a minimally trained pew-sitter with a gun than a law enforcement officer with a gun. We have two of the latter in our parish and I have no problem whatsoever when they show up in uniform with a handgun on their hip.

I am not empathetic, nor should I be, to those who feel the need to carry weapons in order to protect themselves from corrupt governments. Nor am I worried about the remote possibility of a meteorite crashing through the roof of the church at the elevation of the chalice.

I am the "average person" who is concerned about crime. I live in a fairly high crime area and am watchful when I come and go, especially at night. But this concern does not translate into the paranoia of "I have to have a gun to kill anyone who I suspect of intending to do me harm."

Putting anonymous armed guards in churches is not a solution to paranoia. I think it will only lead to greater fears, encouraging more people to want to pretend it is 1880 and we're in Dodge City waiting for the desperados to start ridin' into town.

Anonymous said...

BUT....there is something we could do and should do and MUST do....immediately. Ready? This is brilliant.....BOOBY TRAP the TABERNACLE....

Anonymous said...

Proposed new entrance hymn...
"Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition". Look it up if you're too young. It's from WWII. John Nolan could translate to Latin.

Gene said...

"Praise the Lord and pass there ammunition,
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition ,
And we'll all stay free."

So, what's wrong with that?

The average cop is a mediocre to awful marksman. Time requirements on the range have been gradually reduced over the years and officers do not practice very much unless they re SWAT or interested in guns and shooting outside of work.
Plus, I have always maintained that police should train and maintain themselves like a paramilitary organization. Most cops I see would have to dig through three rolls of fat to even locate their weapon, and then God knows what they'll hit. Most of them could not chase a felon from here to the corner without having a cardiac event. These are not the people I want to rely upon in an immediate crisis. Many lay people in Churches received firearms training in the USMC or some combat branch of the Army. Many are veterans, hunters, marksmen, martial artists, etc. who keep themselves in good physical and mental condition and who practice shooting regularly. Put RCG, or someone like him, against your average cop at the range or on the mat. See what happens…now, who do you want armed in Church?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I do want to go on record as stating I think our Archbishop and Bishop's policy concerning this is the right policy, very wise and prudent. The last thing we need is vigilantism in our Catholic Churches and at Mass! God help us if it has come to that, which it hasn't! It is all contrived!

Anonymous said...

Poor Eugene. Fr. McD, can't you see that he's hinting and hoping that you'll invite him to be your secret, undercover Rambo parish gunslinger.

The only thing worse than a bad guy with a gun is an insecure wannabe badass with a gun. Stand your ground Father.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous at 12:42:

“Have you all gone nuts?”

Now, you don’t really need an answer, do you? The real question is whether there is any hope for recovery.That’s a bit of a problem when the lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

Gene said...

Anonymous, I would not take the job if it was offered.
But, enjoy your fantasy about the macho gunslinger.

Anonymous said...

The new policy allows for pastors to designate individuals as security personnel.

We all acknowledge that there are Catholics who are police (and hence as per this new policy retain the right to come to Mass armed with their service pistol, concealed).

While we disagree about who is a better marksman with a pistol (civilian enthusiast or cop) we can all agree that the cop does have the authority to make an arrest on the spot, and does have the human experience dealing with criminals to handle a trespasser in a less than lethal manner.

So, given that there are always 4-5 ushers in the back at all times, it wouldn't be a distraction at all to have one of them be an off duty officer.

Then, for a pastoral way of allaying the fears of laity, one could allow for the possibility that some ushers are off duty and thus it's OK folks, should anything happen, we'll be alright (no need to ID the guy or gal, no need for open carry, no need to grandstand or make a big deal about this). But it does allay fears and also may preclude the idea that our Churches are gun free zones (aka, soft targets) for the nuts.

Absolutely NO ONE on this thread argued for open carry of pistols much less rifles (ak47s). When people need to go to exaggerations they tacitly acknowledge their argument is weak.

No one on this thread is in favor of self-proclaimed Rambo militia men taking this role on themselves. It's the Pastor's place to invite anyone to function as de facto (and discrete) security officer.

To take a page from the Holy Father's own praxis, the Swiss Guard and Vatican Police are all packing 9mm pistols CONCEALED.... they almost never draw those weapons when nuts attempt to assault the Pope.

God forbid we ever have an active shooter situation - it's less likely to the degree we Catholics don't hype the fact our Churches are disarmed or unarmed and thus 'soft' targets.

Anonymous said...

Anon. Jul 3, 1:28 PM
See Gene Jul 1, 8:09 PM re. M4, AR, RCG

Gene said...

Anonymous, Your reading comprehension is as bad as Ignotus'. I was not advocating for anyone carrying a carbine, only pointing out that that might be a better weapon for serious security.

Anonymous said...

and up is down and black is white left is right

Anonymous said...


Pollyanna is not the rejection of violence. I believe violence is not called for in every situation and should always be a last resort.

Pollyanna is the view that proclaiming a gun free zone in the face of evil is a good thing. That law abiding citizens are unable to act reasonably and only the police and military are able to act reasonably. That the police can protect us. Look up Supreme Court decisions....per them the job of the police is not to stop crime, but to investigate and arrest criminals. Sometimes the arrest occurs in the commission, sometimes after the fact. Have you noticed many police cars no longer have "to protect and serve" on them.

Military post are soft targets. As a veteran I have been to many. Far too many do not even have gate guards at certain times. Much less armed ones. Military police and the guard platoon have a reaction time in minutes.

Anger and violence can be righteous at times...ie Jesus in the temple with a whip and flipping tables. In Luke, Jesus advised getting a sword. And also rebuked Peter for using the sword. No Jesus is not bi-polar. Peter for a second time was interfering with God's plan of salvation. Trying to prevent Jesus on the cross and using violence inappropriately and for the wrong reason.

Pater, I also agree with you that some do evil and call it good or are sick enough to call it God's will. But we are not talking about that in this conversation. In debate this is called a red herring tactic.

The Anglican Priest
(not yet a robot)

Anonymous said...

Oh and for the record, I do not want guns in the church. Neither do I want the flag. My ideal world would have no military or police for we would all follow Christ.

ok now I am being pollyanna!

How to balance reality to idealism is the key.

The Anglican Priest

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mark.
The Anglican Priest

Gene said...

I agree, Mark…but, you and I well know that "we sleep peaceably in our beds at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would do us harm…" (variously attributed). Hell, we stand ready to visit violence on them…LOL!

Greg said...

Churches are businesses and as such legally have the right to decree whether or not they want their customers (parishioners) to bring their weapons inside.

Those customers then have the right to choose to obey the sign, get the business owner to change his mind, and/or take their business elsewhere.

While I want to exercise MY right to carry concealed, I also choose to obey the law and to respect the rights of others as well.