In the wake of Pope Francis’s visit to America late last month, one archbishop has decided to take the opportunity to speak out against guns and especially so-called “assault weapons.” In an opinion piece for the Chicago Tribune, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago, railed against weapons manufacturers and urged Congress to consider tighter regulations. Cupich also wrote about what he viewed as abuse of the Second Amendment and asks for a compromise.
“Let’s be honest. The Second Amendment was passed in an era when organized police forces were few and citizen militias were useful in maintaining the peace. Its original authors could not have anticipated a time when the weapons we have a right to bear now include military-grade assault weapons that have turned our streets into battlefields,” Cupich wrote. “The Second Amendment’s original intent has been perverted by those who, as Pope Francis recently commented, have profited mightily. Surely there is a middle ground between the original intent of the amendment and the carnage we see today.”
Cupich pointed to Chicago’s own gun laws as an example of how to regulate retailers and lower gun violence.
Some observers have noted Chicago’s high rate of crime-related shootings despite the city’s tight leash on guns, and others voiced their concern over the clergy taking a stance on what they view as a purely secular issue.
“With all due respect Archbishop, why must my rights be infringed because others can’t control themselves?” wrote one commenter on the opinion piece. “As a law abiding citizen who has never fired a weapon, in civilian life, in anger, why should I be burdened with more laws that the criminals won’t follow anyway?”
Archbishop Cupich also recently announced his support of banning concealed firearms in Chicago-area churches. Gun owners were only recently allowed to carry weapons into houses of worship after concealed carry was legalized last year, and the decision to allow guns inside was left up to the individual churches.
“I know that in many dioceses there are policies that firearms are not permitted in churches, and I think that’s that’s only reasonable,” Cupich said during a news conference in July.
You can hear the Archbishop speak more about guns in churches below.
Cupich’s harsh critique of gun culture in his opinion piece comes only weeks after Pope Francis visited the United States. In the past Pope Francis also criticized weapons manufacturers, adding that “everything is done for money.”