Thursday, November 8, 2018


Church security in action—do we need this today on Sundays on our church campuses?
Most churches have congregants entering the church from behind the congregation or the nave. Unless you have an armed guard at the entrance of the building, no one would know that a person with murderous intent is entering the church as all in the nave have their eyes fixed on the altar at the front, not on the doors behind them.

While I have not solicited help from my parishioners who are in law enforcement or in the army, active or retired, I have had at least two approach me and tell me that they are carried legally concealed weapons and have asked others they know to do so as well in order to intervene if, God forbid, someone entered and began firing.

What should bishops and pastors being doing to be more proactive about security at our church doors?

We have had long standing protocols in place at our schools with all the doors locked and ways to alert teachers if some emergency is developing.

We don’t have similar safeguards for CCD classes, especially on Sunday when our CCD buildings have a more fluid entry and exit similar to our church buildings.

Are we liable if some crazed gunman takes advantage of our lax security both for the church and any ancillary buildings on Sundays.

Do we have to pay off-duty law enforcement to guard us?


Anonymous said...

Jack here...

Do we have to pay off-duty law enforcement to guard us?
Short answer: Yes.

Daniel said...

Call it the NRA tax. Send the bill to your elected representative & senator.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Unless you have an armed guard at the entrance of the building, no one would know that a person with murderous intent..."

Unless the person entering with murderous intent does so with guns in plain sight, no armed guard is going to be able to pick him out of the crowd.

Given the reports we hear of shootings we are being conditioned to think that our lives are in danger almost constantly. There are many things that may threaten our lives, but being a victim of a mass shooting is way down the list. For example, it is more likely that we will be killed in our homes by falling furniture or outside our homes by a dog attack. As of 2016, 869 people have been killed in mass shootings in the USA since 1966.

An armed guard at the front door of the Cathedral or a church architecturally similar like yours is going to be mightily challenged to stop a shooter during a mass with 400 or 600 people in the pews if that shooter has taken a place in one of the transept seating areas.

The last consideration is that we have, for whatever reasons, come to think that our safety should be guaranteed 100% of the time. While no one is expecting a large tree to fall on his/her house in calm weather, it happens. No one is expecting natural gas lines to explode, but it happens. No one is expecting to have a severe adverse reaction to some medication, but it happens.

Our lives are temporary things. We do what is reasonable to care for ourselves, we avoid legitimate risks. But we also have to avoid falling into the trap of being paranoid.

Daniel said...

Most large clubs and bars have armed security. Many schools have campus police -- Parkland did, of course. Colleges do. Military bases do, of course. All of those places have experienced mass shootings. The idea that a "good guy with a gun" is going to protect a church congregation from a heavily armed nut who wants to kill people is a fantasy.

Dan said...

Agree with Fr. K.

rcg said...

Generally there is much more value having a plan and practicing it for emergencies. For example, the actions for a room full of people being attacked by a mad gunner are very similar to a tornado warning. I am in favor of the armed and trained citizen but can contribute to the problem if the training isn’t rehersed frequently. If the nutjob attacks an individual parishioner the reaction is very different than in the nave for Easter Mass with (hopefully) hundreds packed close in.