Open Letter To Pope Benedict

To: His Holiness, Pope Benedict
From: Mitch Berg, Protestant
Re: None Of Your Business

Your Holiness,

With all respect due to your eminence in your church on spiritual issues, and to your predecessor’s stances in defense of freedom, I must confess that when I see you and your various ecclesiastical bureaucrats saying things like this…:

In an editorial aired yesterday on Vatican Radio, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the press office of the Holy See, called “initiatives announced by the United States government in view of limiting and controlling the diffusion and use of arms … a step in the right direction.


“Forty-seven religious leaders of various confessions and religions have issued a call to American politicians to limit firearms, which ‘are making society pay an unacceptable price in terms of massacres and senseless deaths,’” Lombardi stated in his address. “I’m with them.”

…and especially twaddle like this (I’ll add emphasis)…:

While acknowledging “that arms, throughout the world, are also instruments for legitimate defense,” and even admitting “No one can be under the illusion that limiting their number and use would be enough to impede horrendous massacres in the future,” Lombardi nonetheless asserted “it is necessary to repeat tirelessly our calls for disarmament, to oppose the production, trade, and smuggling of arms of all types.

“If results are achieved, such as international conventions … all the better!” he proclaimed.

…it fills me with protestant pride.

Your line, it seems, is “sorry about all the dead innocents who won’t  be able to defend themselves, but let’s hear it for those great guardians of the sanctity of human life, the U F****ng N”.

Sorry, Fr. Lombardi.  We fought a war in this country at least in part to be free of the rule of monarchs, whether secular or ecclesiastical.  And when I read your church’s official word on self-defense (again, emphasis added)…:

“According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, individuals have a right and a duty to protect their own lives when in danger, and someone who ‘defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow,’” CNS concedes, but offers a significant caveat. “According to the catechism, the right to use firearms to ‘repel aggressors’ or render them harmless is specifically sanctioned for ‘those who legitimately hold authority’ and have been given the duty of protecting the community.

…it puts me in mind of the fact that functional representative democracy came much, much later to the Catholic than the Protestant world for a good reason.

In other words, Fr. Lombardi, your assistance is not needed here.  Thanks.

7 thoughts on “Open Letter To Pope Benedict

  1. Yet, the Vatican has its own small army of highly trained soldiers to defend morons like him from crazies.

  2. Yes, the Church often seems to embrace a naive European pacifism. But read in context, the Catechism sections you quote are referring to self-defense and societal defense, not precluding means:

    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: (2196)

    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.66

    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. (2240)

  3. I think that it is the Pope’s place to counsel individuals as to the proper way to live and demonstrate love and compassion to others. In this light, his direction to each member of his flock to avoid weapons used for gratuitous violence and criminal purposes could be welcomed. Then, leave it up to the individual to recouncile these teachings with their individual circumstances.

    Religion and politics should be avoided as conversational topics and should never be allowed to intermingle.

    Perhaps this Pope needs to compensate for The Church’s less popular stands on abortion, other reproductive issues, and the bad PR generated by its handling of incidents of pedophilia.

  4. The energy within the Church is someplace other than Europe. When Benedict leaves the stage, and it won’t be very long from now, you’ll see some big changes.

  5. It saddens me to watch my Church wander astray into error. If anybody should understand that the cause of evil acts is Evil, not tools, it ought to be the Church.

  6. It matters not who builds the silos. Silos protect those on the inside. Unfortunately silos also keep those on the inside from seeing the Light.

    And that includes the Roman Catholic Hierarchy.

  7. Ya think maybe Catholics should keep in mind this bit of history?:

    The right to keep and bear arms is a civil right. If you doubt that, consider the history of arms control in England, where members of the Catholic minority (and non-Protestants generally) were prohibited from bearing arms as part of the campaign of general political oppression against them. The Act of Disenfranchisement was still in effect when our Constitution was being written, a fact that surely was on the mind of such Founding Fathers as Daniel Carroll, to say nothing of his brother, Archbishop John Carroll.

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