Now, this is the part 2 that I promised in my post about a week ago. I won’t cover everything, since I believe this is going to be more of an ongoing “series” than anything else. For this one, I want to talk about the idea that guns provide “protection” or “self-defense”. People seem to increasingly feel it is within their rights to own ludicrous firearms that go above and beyond that dictum.
Self-defense is a simple enough concept. It is the action of defending oneself from an aggressor, or an individual who strikes out at your person first. The US has long been a proponent of it, courtesy of our 2nd Amendment. Over the more recent years, there has been an extension of this action by virtue of Stand Your Ground Laws and others.
For the Catholic what does this mean for us? The CCC dictates, “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.” (taken from http://www.vatican.va/) In short, it boils down to intention. This is why I have to take issue with those persons that wish to defend their property with more lethal weapons and assault rifles that are much more likely to kill someone than a handgun.
In truth, the Church would rather there be no violence, but in dealing with humanity’s fallen nature that cannot be so. Instead, there have to be concessions, which by no means make killing acceptable. The quote that I offered before is in context about protecting yourself and/or loved ones. That is all. It is quite simply as that.
Therefore, this attitude of paranoia towards neighbors, strangers and the rest of the world is entirely unfounded, especially for Catholics. The Conservative Right has hijacked Christianity by consistently claiming that we align the most with their values, but in reality Christianity does not at all. The Catholics that do consider themselves part of the GOP(because they need to belong to some political party for some reason) agree with this need to be armed to the teeth or to pull the trigger first and ask questions later.
This is not only hypocritical of Catholics and Christians everywhere, but just incredibly wrong to believe such a thing. I am not saying that we have to be pacifist in a break in or threatening situation, only that we keep our intentions purely for defense rather than attack.
I will return to this topic yet again to talk about how the principle for self defense should not be extended beyond our individual persons, but until then stay safe and warm during this wintery months.