Monday, November 26, 2018

Lawyer: Buffalo priest aimed gun at boy's head while molesting him



A deceased former Buffalo Diocese priest is accused of pointing a gun at the head of a teenage boy he was molesting in the mid-1980s.


The sexual abuses are alleged to have happened after Buffalo Diocese officials were told the Rev. Michael R. Freeman had molested other boys and young men, but kept him in ministry.
Freeman was serving as associate pastor at St. Mary parish in Lancaster in the mid-1980s when he allegedly pointed a gun at the boy to persuade him to have sexual contact.


That startling new allegation was made by the now-49-year-old man in a compensation claim submitted to a Buffalo Diocese program offering monetary settlements to victims of childhood sexual abuse.


The man also said in his claim that Freeman provided absolution of the boy’s sins immediately following the acts of abuse, according to Steve Boyd, an Amherst attorney who represents the man. Catholics believe that priests alone, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, have the power to free those who confess their sins from the spiritual consequences of those transgressions.

“This was the pattern that began, that Freeman would have this child perform oral sex on him and then absolve him of the sin afterwards,” said Boyd.


The priest began having sexual contact with the boy when the boy was about 14, according to Boyd.


Boyd submitted the claim for the man, who declined to be interviewed by The News but authorized Boyd to speak on his behalf. The man lives outside of Western New York, said Boyd. He is married and has children.


The man also said that Freeman, a former Buffalo police and military chaplain, regularly carried a silver-plated .38-caliber revolver, according to Boyd.


“And if the child would not participate willingly in Freeman’s sexual abuse, Freeman would jokingly threaten him with the revolver,” said Boyd. “He always carried it concealed. And several times, Freeman put the gun to the boy’s head.”


In addition, the man accused Freeman of paying a male prostitute in Toronto to have sex with them both, said Boyd.


“Freeman would take the child to Toronto with him and on one occasion Freeman paid a prostitute whose name was Scott to have sex with Freeman and the boy,” he said.


The abuse began in 1984 or 1985 and continued through the victim’s high school years, said Boyd.

Report: Diocese knew of history

Buffalo Diocese officials knew in 1981 that Freeman had a history of abuse, according to a Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August.


Edward D. Head was the bishop of Buffalo at the time. One of his top administrators was Monsignor Donald W. Trautman, who served as diocesan chancellor and vicar general and was later named auxiliary bishop in Buffalo. Trautman became bishop of the Erie Diocese in 1990.


The Buffalo Diocese did not inform the public about Freeman until March 2018, when Bishop Richard J. Malone released a list of 42 priests who had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors.


The Pennsylvania grand jury, in its investigation of clergy sex abuse in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, included Freeman in its report because it found that the Buffalo priest had ministered in various assignments in Pennsylvania.


The report said Freeman admitted to committing sexual misconduct with minors at St. Margaret and St. Lawrence parishes in Buffalo, where he served in the early 1970s, and at other clergy assignments. He also taught at Bishop Turner High School.


“The Grand Jury found no documentation in Freeman’s file that indicated that the Dioceses of Buffalo or Erie ever notified law enforcement officials, despite the fact that Freeman admitted to sexually violating children in at least five of his six ministry assignments,” the grand jury report said.
The News sought additional information about the allegations against Freeman from the Buffalo Diocese. Diocese spokeswoman Kathy Spangler said that officials could not provide answers at the moment because Freeman's personnel file - along with the files of other priests accused of abuse - has been handed over to the state Attorney General's office in response to a subpoena.


"At some point, when it is returned to us, time frame unknown, we will be able to respond to your questions," said Spangler.



An early accuser

One of Freeman's accusers, Paul Barr of Niagara Falls, said he first notified the diocese about Freeman in the early 1980s.
Barr said in an interview with The News that Freeman molested him in 1980 in the rectory of Sacred Heart Church in Niagara Falls, and he was outraged to learn the priest later victimized someone else.
“They knew, and they just turned a blind eye. What kills me is he abused people after I reported it. I think that bothers me more than anything,” said Barr, an attorney in Niagara Falls.


Barr also filed a claim this year for compensation from the diocese.  
Barr said his abuse happened after the priest invited him to the rectory to talk about staying involved in the parish’s youth ministry program. The invitation seemed innocuous enough: Barr, who was 16 at the time, took his Catholic faith seriously and was flattered by the priest’s interest in him.
“The first thing he did was hand me a beer,” said Barr. “I didn’t even like beer, but I said to myself, ‘This is cool, I’m drinking beer with a priest.’ "


But at the meeting, Barr said, the priest told him he needed to be checked for a sports injury that could be serious if not detected early. “He said, ‘You want me to check you out, make sure you’re all right?’ ” recalled Barr, who was a high school wrestler. “He seemed to be stressing it was something that athletes got. So he was flattering me, saying, ‘You must be an athlete.’ ”




Barr said he trusted the priest. But then Freeman fondled him, he said. “It wasn’t an examination touch,” said Barr.


Barr said he reported the molestation to the Buffalo Diocese a couple years later, at the urging of a youth minister who drove him to the chancery offices. Barr didn’t recall the name of the woman to whom he gave the report.


“I don’t know if it was a nun or a social worker. I told her the story, just as I’m telling you,” he said. “She more or less thanked me for coming in. And that was it. There was no follow up or anything.”
Barr said he’s gone to counseling for years to work through the emotional impact of the abuse.

Grand jury report

A summary of Freeman’s sexual misconduct was included in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, but it’s not clear if the grand jury obtained information about Freeman from the Buffalo Diocese or from a diocese in Pennsylvania.


The report stated that Freeman was assigned to St. Christopher in Tonawanda, Pa., in 1982 and to St. Mary in Lancaster, Pa., in 1984. However, there is no Tonawanda in Pennsylvania, and Freeman is listed in Buffalo Diocese directories as assigned to St. Christopher in Tonawanda, N.Y., in 1982 and to St. Mary in Lancaster, N.Y., in 1984.


A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Attorney General's Office declined to comment on the discrepancies.


Trautman, who retired in 2012 and is now bishop emeritus of Erie, said he doesn’t remember Freeman working in any parishes in the Erie Diocese.


“I think it’s a mistake. He was never a priest of the Erie Diocese,” said Trautman. “I think his crime was he brought a young boy from Jamestown into the Erie Diocese and molested him.”


Trautman on Freeman allegations

Trautman was a high-ranking administrator in the Buffalo Diocese for more than 15 years prior to his appointment in 1990 as bishop of Erie. In his administrative roles in the Buffalo Diocese – he served as Head’s second-in-command for much of the 1970s and 1980s – he likely would have dealt with abuse allegations against Freeman and other priests.


But Trautman, 82, said in a telephone interview that he didn’t recall the accusations against Freeman or how the priest’s case was handled in Buffalo.


“The general practice was if the priest has proven sins against him, he’s taken out of ministry,” he said.


Trautman was heavily criticized in the grand jury report for his handling of sex abuse complaints in the Erie Diocese.


But Trautman said he removed many priests from ministry and years ago handed over diocesan files on abusive priests to the Erie County (Pa.) District Attorney’s Office. He served as Erie bishop until his retirement in 2012.


“Not everything in that grand jury report is accurate,” he said. “I think there are many instances where the report is not factual.”


The grand jury report stated that Freeman’s faculties as a priest were revoked in 1989 and that the diocese continued to provide financial aid to Freeman until July 31, 1999, when he told diocese officials that he had a new job that would provide a salary and health insurance.


Freeman went on to work for the Veterans Health Administration. He was listed in 2009 as a social worker with the Canandaigua VA Medical Center in Ontario County, according to federalpay.org, a website that tracks federal employees.


He died in 2010, at age 63, in Highland Hospital in Rochester after a brief illness, according to an obituary in the Niagara Gazette.


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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Cardinal DiNardo - US Bishops repeat calls for gun control after Chicago hospital shooting


Cardinal DiNardo calls for 'reasonable' gun control after Chicago hospital shooting
Chicago, Ill., Nov 20, 2018 / 12:29 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago left four dead, including the gunman, on ...
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US Bishops repeat calls for gun control after Chicago hospital shooting
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling for prayers and steps to curb gun violence after the latest shooting incident, at the ...

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Faith-Based Anti-Gun Coalition Formed to Take Down a Gun Manufacturer...From The Inside Out

Faith-Based Anti-Gun Coalition Formed to Take Down a Gun Manufacturer...From The Inside Out

Faith-Based Anti-Gun Coalition Formed to Take Down a Gun Manufacturer...From The Inside Out
A group of 11 Catholic groups came together to purchase stock in Smith & Wesson. The group purchased 200 shares, the minimum number required to for shareholders to demand reports from the company. Now, they want the gun manufacturer to provide a report that details what the company is doing to promote "gun safety measures" and "produce safer gun and gun products."
According to an SEC filing, which is submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), here's what the group wants to see from Smith & Wesson:
Shareholders request the Board of Directors issue a report by February 8, 2019, at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information, on the company’s activities related to gun safety measures and the mitigation of harm associated with gun products, including the following (emphasis mine):
Shareholders request the Board of Directors issue a report by February 8, 2019, at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information, on the company’s activities related to gun safety measures and the mitigation of harm associated with gun products, including the following:
• Evidence of monitoring of violent events associated with products produced by the company.
• Efforts underway to research and produce safer guns and gun products.
• Assessment of the corporate reputational and financial risks related to gun violence in the U.S.

The resolution asks American Outdoor Brands Company (AOBC) to report on activities underway to mitigate the risks that its products may be misused in criminal acts of gun violence. Contrary to what the company suggests, AOBC has both the responsibility and capacity to play a more active role in how its products are used; the requested assessment and reporting are the first steps towards acceptance of this responsibility.  As a result of several high profile mass shootings in the past year, most recently the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, gun violence is increasingly being seen as a public health crisis with extraordinary human and financial costs.
Importantly, events of gun violence have led to mounting public backlash against gun makers and retailers including calls for boycotts, divestment and demands for gun safety regulation at both the federal and state levels. This environment presents serious business risks which demand a meaningful response from AOBC. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights make clear the corporate responsibility to seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships, even if they have not contributed to those impacts.
AOBC has a responsibility to mitigate potential impacts through improved monitoring of its distribution and retail sales channels and enhanced reporting on research and development efforts to improve the safety features of its consumer products. The resolution does not request that AOBC produce smart guns or other specific products; nor does it call for the company to endorse a gun control regulatory or policy agenda. The resolution does, however, ask for reporting because existing disclosures of current risk mitigation measures are seen as insufficient for investors to assess their effectiveness.
The argument in favor of the proxy ballot vote:
Given recent events of gun violence, weapons manufacturers are facing an extraordinary climate of heightened and sustained scrutiny which may negatively impact their businesses if they do not take more meaningful efforts to mitigate risks.
James Debney, the President and CEO of American Outdoor Brands Corporation, the parent company of Smith & Wesson, the entire saga is a political ploy.

“Unlike a bonafide investor, this proponent purchased just 200 shares, the bare minimum needed under SEC rules to place an item on the proxy with the sole objective to push an anti-firearms agenda, designed to harm our company, disrupt the local sale of our products and destroy stockholder value,” Debney said Thursday during a conference call with investors, Guns.com reported. “This proponent will gladly sacrifice its investments and yours to achieve its political objectives.”
 
 
During his call, Debney said this report does absolutely nothing to improve community safety. He believes this is just a move by gun control advocates.

"We find it curious that the proponents of this proposal overlook our long-standing call for and involvement in actions that truly have meaningful impacts, such as greater vigilance in enforcing the laws and criminal penalties on the books, and the need to meaningfully address the role that mental illness plays in senseless violence,” he said. “In contrast, the proponents’ efforts appear to be more about their anti-gun agenda.”

Sturm, Ruger and Company went through a similar situation back in May where they were forced to prepare a similar report.
The coalition who purchased stocks in Smith & Wesson include:
• Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S.-Ontario Province
• Adrian Dominican Sisters
• Catholic Health Initiatives
• Congregation of St. Joseph
• Daughters of Charity, Province of St Louise
• Mercy Health
• Mercy Investment Services
• Sisters of Bon Secours, USA
• Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province
• Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
• Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet - St. Louis Province

 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Catholic Priest Michael Pfleger and Thousands shut down Chicago highway with gun control march

Thousands of Chicago protesters shut down a major highway on Saturday to oppose gun violence and call for stronger gun laws.

After an hour-long standstill, police announced they were shutting down all northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway to allow protesters to march on the road.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police superintendent had voiced support for the protest, which was led by the Rev Michael Pfleger, the charismatic Catholic priest heading a largely African American church in one of the South Side neighborhoods hard-hit by gang violence.

Illinois state police have jurisdiction over the interstate, and had threatened to arrest anyone who stepped on to the entry ramp.

But protesters were allowed on to several lanes of highway on Saturday as corrections department buses waited alongside. Protestors chanted “shut it down.”

Pfleger, the Rev Jesse Jackson and Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson were walking side-by-side among them.


 After long negotiations between police and march leaders, the protest was eventually allowed to take over the whole highway northbound and proceed.

Daniel Blalock, 35, said had been willing to get arrested if necessary: “I didn’t come here planning to go home. I want peace, just peace. It’s going to take a long time but this is the first step.”
Shortly before the march began, Illinois’s governor, Bruce Rauner, said that Pfleger and other organizers had agreed to limit their demonstration to the highway shoulder, without taking over the road. In a tweet, Pfleger called the assertion a “LIE” and said the protest would go on as planned.
Later in the day, Rauner called the shutdown “unacceptable.” The Republican said in a tweet Saturday that he was “disappointed” in Emanuel, and called on him to “take swift and decisive action to put an end to this kind of chaos.”

Emanuel responded in a tweet : “It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account.”

Protesters said they hoped the march would push public officials to pass stronger gun control laws and address the underlying causes of gun violence in Chicago.

“If Governor Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel can meet in secret to decide to give Amazon a billion dollars,” referring to officials’ attempts to lure the company to Chicago, “they can meet and decide to do something about not only gun violence but inequality,” said attorney Eric Martin White, 50, carrying an American flag.
I’m hoping that this is just a little spark that encourages people to continue to lift their voices and demand a redress of grievances,” he said.  Katherine Pisabaj, 19, wore a black halter top to the march to show the scar running down her stomach, where doctors operated after she was shot in the back on 25 February in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood, a hipster enclave that also sees gang violence. 



Her mother, Yolanda Segura, held a sign calling on President Trump to help Chicago. Pisabaj’s four young nephews joined them, sitting on the hot concrete of the highway as protesters waited for news of the lane closures. “This can’t be a shared experience any more, I don’t want my nephews to have to go through what I went through,” she said. “Now that young people are speaking up and getting involved, we have a lot more power. I don’t think this will be an issue my whole life, we’re going to make a change.”  Pisabaj, a college student planning to study nutrition science, said police found that a gang member had shot her in a case of mistaken identity. “It can happen to anyone of any age anywhere,” said Segura. “We need stronger laws on guns.”  Pfleger and his parishioners are calling for “commonsense” gun laws and for city and state officials to meet with them to talk about what they see as the root causes of the city’s notorious gun violence: poverty, lack of jobs, subpar or shuttered schools for largely African American residents on the city’s South and West sides.   Last year more than 3,000 people were shot in Chicago, more than 600 of them fatally.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Ohio’s GOP legislators nix a 'sensible' gun-control law

They rejected the treasonous conspiracy against the 2nd amendment by a "broad coalition of students, teachers, school counselors, police chiefs, pediatricians and Catholic clergy demanding" gun control...

Source: http://www.vindy.com/news/2018/jun/21/ohios-gop-legislators-nix-a-sensible-gun/
Republican leaders in the Ohio House and Senate have largely ignored Republican Gov. John Kasich’s appeal for expedited action on his proposal to update the state’s gun laws.
But they will be hard-pressed to turn a deaf ear to a broad coalition of students, teachers, school counselors, police chiefs, pediatricians and Catholic clergy demanding a vote on the governor’s packages of reform.

Indeed, in a joint letter sent last week to state legislative leaders, the groups representing the police chiefs and others criticized the Ohio General Assembly’s seeming “lack of urgency” in updating Ohio’s gun laws.

There are companion bills in the House and Senate containing changes recommended by a bipartisan advisory panel convened by Kasich. The measures have been stalled since mid-April.
Two months ago, we suggested that Republican majorities in Congress and in the Ohio Legislature are dragging their feet on enacting sensible gun-control legislation because they fear the politically powerful National Rifle Association.

It is noteworthy that Republican President Donald J, Trump and Republican Gov. Kasich are pushing for changes to existing guns laws, but are unable to get GOP lawmakers to act.
In early March, Trump met with members of Congress from both parties and made it clear he would take on the NRA to get national gun-control legislation enacted.

Gov. Kasich, recognizing that this is an issue that crosses political lines, formed a bipartisan gun-policy advisory group after a sniper killed 58 people attending an open-air country music concert in Las Vegas.

Kasich is urging state lawmakers to adopt a package of reforms that would: take guns away from people at risk of hurting themselves or others; keep guns away from those convicted of domestic violence; facilitate gun-violence protection orders; close some gaps in the background check system; strengthen the law against “straw man” gun purchases; and ban bump stocks and armor-piercing ammunition.

Kasich’s reassurance

As we noted in the April editorial, the governor sought to reassure pro-gun advocates that the changes he was proposing to Ohio’s laws were limited in their scope.

“No one is interested in some slippery slope in trying to go and grab everyone’s guns,” Kasich said.
The bump-stocks prohibition is similar to the one President Trump has proposed.

But there’s a measure moving through the Ohio General Assembly that Kasich says he will not sign. The so-called “Stand Your Ground” bill, which has the support of pro-gun groups, would remove the requirement to try and retreat before taking lethal action.

The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association is opposed to the bill, saying it would make it harder to convict criminals.

The very fact that Republicans lawmakers consider this more important than the sensible, much-needed measure sought by the governor speaks volumes about their legislative priorities.
It’s time they received a reality check.

Here’s what the letter from the coalition urging legislative action on Kasich’s package of reforms said, in part:

“Within this past month alone, Americans have grieved for those killed or injured in three school massacres and our nation continues to average more than one shooting at a school per week. This issue is not going away and we cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that this violence won’t happen here – because it has. And it will again.”

There was a meeting Tuesday of House Republicans to judge the level of interest in moving forward with House Bill 585.

The legislation also would require that gun purchases be entered into the statewide law-enforcement database, something the governor has urged local agencies to do.

Before Tuesday’s GOP caucus, the measure, sponsored by Rep. Mike Henne of Clayton, had no co-sponsors and was languishing in committee.

Not much has changed today, which means the chances of passage are slim at best.
Here’s what House Speaker Ryan Smith of Bidwell had to say about the Kasich measure:
“That bill has frankly caused a lot of consternation with our caucus. It’s not to say that we’re insensitive to it or don’t want to do something on it, it’s just people are very protective of the Second Amendment.”

Such justification for inaction is a cop-out because there’s nothing Kasich has proposed that’s an assault on the Second Amendment.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

CCRKBA Rips Hypocrisy Of Anti-Gun Chicago Priest

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Pope calls for banning "all weapons"... YES HE DID.

Yes He did call for the banning of all weapons. Snopes and the other propaganda rags trying to help cover it up are liars. Total abolishment of private gun ownership is the official doctrine of the Catholic cult!

But look at all the guns on the Vatican's compound




Sturm Ruger Shareholders Adopt Measure Backed by Gun Control Activists

Sturm Ruger Shareholders Adopt Measure Backed by Gun Control Activists

Image
A Sturm Ruger display at a gun show. The firearms manufacturer will face proposals from gun-control activists at its annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday.CreditDaniel Acker/Bloomberg
Sturm Ruger, one of the country’s largest firearms makers, had urged shareholders for weeks to reject a proposal from a group of Roman Catholic nuns demanding more transparency from the company on whether it planned to develop safer products and monitor the ones already in circulation.

But when the votes were counted at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday, a majority of investors sided with the nuns.

Ruger, which makes a variety of weapons, including a style of rifle often used in mass shootings, must now produce a report by February on how it tracks violence associated with its firearms, what kind of research it is conducting related to so-called smart gun technology and its assessment of the risks that gun-related crimes pose to the company’s reputation and finances.

The vote was a rebuke to the company’s leaders and victory for guncontrol activists who had prepared the resolution. But the chief executive, Christopher J. Killoy, played down the impact of the measure’s passage

“This proposal requires Ruger to prepare a report,” Mr. Killoy told shareholders after the vote was announced. “That’s it, a report. It cannot force us to change our business, which is lawful and constitutionally protected.”

The Ruger meeting was the first chance for activist shareholders to confront a publicly held American gun maker since 17 people died in Parkland, Fla., in a school shooting in February.

Shareholder approval of the proposal faced long odds, but activists had prepared for months to challenge Ruger. They plan to raise similar issues at other shareholder meetings this year.
Ruger did not support the proposal, which was submitted by 11 members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a shareholder advocacy organization that included health care networks and several groups of nuns. The company said in a public filing that “the intentional criminal misuse of firearms is beyond our control.”

But Institutional Shareholder Services, an advisory firm, backed the proposal, describing it as a push for “concrete evidence that the board is properly assessing risks to the company’s long-term viability.”

On a separate front, Amalgamated Bank, an institutional investor and retail bank that promotes social justice issues, had worked with other groups that have tried to convince major Ruger shareholders like BlackRock and Vanguard that the company’s close ties to the National Rifle Association had exposed it to risk.

Amalgamated said on Tuesday that it would withhold its vote to reappoint Sandra Froman, the only woman on the Ruger board, to the seat she has held since 2015.

Ms. Froman won re-election on Wednesday.

Ms. Froman, a lawyer, has served on the N.R.A.’s board since 1992 and was its president from 2005 to 2007. She helped organize a breakfast at the N.R.A.’s annual meeting in Dallas this month, where President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke.

In a letter sent to Ruger last month, Amalgamated’s chief executive, Keith Mestrich, said Ms. Froman’s connections to the gun group “may inhibit objective assessment and management of the risks” that Ruger faced.

Ruger has contracted with the N.R.A. for some of its promotional and advertising activities and has made over $9 million in payments to the group over the last two years, according to public filings.
Ms. Froman did not respond to requests for comment.

Ruger is based in Southport, Conn., but held its shareholder meeting at a hotel a short drive from one of its factories in Arizona.

Ruger has faced previous pressure to open up. In 2016, New York’s public advocate asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to look into allegations that Ruger had misled investors and failed to properly disclose its reputational and liability risks.

“This is not the first time this has happened, though there’s a little more intensity now,” said Brian G. Rafn, a principal at Morgan Dempsey Capital Management, referring to calls for changes in the gun industry. “This is a very, very polarized time, with everyone lining up on either side of the fence.”
Follow Tiffany Hsu on Twitter: @tiffkhsu.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Catholic Church on gun control and gun rights: 13abc talks with Bishop Thomas

Video: http://www.13abc.com/content/news/--481305921.html

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Abortion, gay marriage, immigration rights are divisive and debatable issues, but in the eyes of the Roman Catholic church those are issues where there is little if any room for debate.

 
 
In an interview with Toledo Bishop Daniel Thomas, we get a closer look at the church's position on what is perhaps the most hot button issue in our country right now, gun control.
Bishop Thomas addresses questions over assault weapons, the second amendment and arming teachers more.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Francis-appointed cardinals march for immigration, gun control on Good Friday

April 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Good Friday, two Pope Francis-appointed cardinals participated in processions that focused on immigration and gun control.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey joined a walk “for justice, for immigrants, and for all.” Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich participated in a “peace walk” and praised anti-gun teenagers for giving “all of us a lesson in courage.” 


Read More

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Bishops take to Twitter to back 'March for Our Lives'

Bishops take to Twitter to back ‘March for Our Lives’
In this March 14, 2018, file photo, Abbey Kadlec, left, and her classmates stand on the stairs and sidewalk of Lewis and Clark High School to protest gun violence, part of a nationwide movement, in Spokane, Wash. (Credit: Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review via AP.)
NEW YORK - As thousands marched on Washington and around the country in support of tighter gun control policies, a number of Catholic bishops took to social media to offer support for those participating in the events.

At a Mass for Peace, Justice, and Healing in Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley praised the young people of Parkland, Florida - the most recent school massacre, where 17 students and teachers were killed in February, and which set off a new wave of public activism in protest of gun violence. There was a school shooting in Maryland last week as well.

“The extraordinary role of the students from Parkland in focusing the country on this critical social problem should be a sign of hope for all of us. The manner by which the students have presented their case has already impacted the tone of the debate about guns and violence,” said O’Malley.

“They have helped us to realize that these tragedies victimize people from all walks of life, from every class and ethnicity. We owe these students and those who will join them today our support and our gratitude,” he said.

O’Malley acknowledged that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution affirms the right for citizens to bear arms, but added that all rights are subject to regulation.

Throughout the day on Saturday, he took to Twitter to offer commentary on gun violence and used the official hash tag for the event, #MarchforOurLives.

Meanwhile, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island - who is a new adaptor to Twitter, having only joined last month - posted the following message: “It seems to me that private citizens shouldn’t be permitted to own assault rifles any more than then they can own chemical weapons of mass destruction. How about a little common sense in this public debate?”

Tobin identifies on his Twitter bio as “ardently pro-life,” and in 2013 publicly announced he had switched his party affiliation from the Democratic party to join the Republicans over the issue of abortion.

In San Antonio, Texas, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller also weighed in on the March for Our Lives events, writing on Twitter: “What is a common factor in all those horrible killings in our country? Guns, bombs, arms. Let’s listen to the wisdom of our young people in Washington, Florida, throughout the US. Let’s listen to those affected directly by these crimes. We’ve not been able to solve it. Let’s listen!”

Garcia-Siller has frequently used Twitter to call for greater action on guns, especially following the shooting at a Texas church in Sutherland Springs in November 2017, which left 26 people dead and 20 others injured.

Cardinal Blase Cupich - who recently started his own initiative to end gun violence in Chicago - met with high school students from his archdiocese who were traveling to Washington on Friday to participate in the March on Saturday to offer a special blessing. He also posted on Twitter on Saturday that “I want to assure all our young people that “I am with you” and all those marching in Chicago and around the nation today to #EndGunViolence.”

RELATED: Students join March for Our Lives against gun violence, in racial solidarity

Meanwhile, Bishop Bill Wack of the diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, and one of the nation’s youngest Catholic bishops, applauded the young people marching against gun violence, drawing a comparison to the annual March for Life against abortion.

“It’s good to see so many young people raising their voices against gun violence, just as it is inspiring to see them at the March For Life every year. We must be pro-life in all of life’s beautiful forms and stages. God, give us the gift of peace,” he wrote on Twitter.

Earlier this month, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called on Congress to work together to find “concrete proposals” in response to the “crisis of gun violence.”
“We must explore ways to curb violent images and experiences with which we inundate our youth, and ensure that law enforcement have the necessary tools and incentives to identify troubled individuals and get them help,” they wrote.

The U.S. bishops have long advocated for a comprehensive approach to reducing gun violence that addresses mental illness without stigmatization, which they reiterated in their most recent statement.
They concluded their appeal by noting that in light of the Parkland massacre, it was time for action, instead of mere talk.

“In the words of St. John, ‘let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth,’” they wrote.

Related Posts

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A day after March for Our Lives, Pope urges youth to speak out

Pope Francis blesses attendees and palm leaves during at St Peter's square on March 25, 2018

"Dear young people, you have it in you to shout," the Pope said in his Palm Sunday address at St. Peter's Square in Rome.
Pope Francis at the the end of Palm Sunday Mass in Vatican City

Palm Sunday -- celebrated on the Sunday before Easter -- is commemorated by Christians as the day Jesus entered Jerusalem in the week of his crucifixion, when palm leaves were strewn in his path. Noting that this Palm Sunday coincides with World Youth Day, the pontiff used the opportunity to compare youth to Jesus's followers, who were scorned by his detractors.

"It is up to you not to keep quiet," Pope Francis said. "Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders -- so often corrupt -- keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?"

A day earlier, survivors of the shooting massacre at a Parkland, Florida high school led protests around the country and even abroad in favor of stricter gun control laws.
That followed the National School Walkout in mid-March, when thousands of students protesting gun violence left their classrooms for 17 minutes -- one for each of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.
In a message prepared in advance of World Youth Day, the Pope told young people: "Do not be afraid to face your fears honestly, to recognize them for what they are and to come to terms with them."

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Keep spirit of march going, Catholic college students urged

Keep spirit of march going, Catholic college students urged
A person reads information about gun violence during a panel discussion about gun policy analysis and citizen activism at Trinity Washington University March 23. The March for Our Lives protest against gun violence is scheduled for March 24 in the nation's capital. (Credit: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn.)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a standing-room-only lecture hall at Trinity Washington University March 23, a presenter asked for a show of hands for how many planned to attend the March for Our Lives the next day in Washington.


Most hands in the room went up and they also went up again for the next question: “How many know someone who died from gun violence?”


The hands weren’t raised quite as much for questions about how many in the room had done lobbying work, had written letters to the editor or called members of Congress about gun legislation. The presenters urged them to do so, that afternoon even, saying they should step up during this moment of heightened citizen activism.


“The march is great, but it doesn’t stop tomorrow; you have to keep marching,” said Vernon Scott, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Trinity Washington and moderator of a panel discussion on preventing gun violence - one of six presentations at the school’s teach-in on gun violence the day before the March for Our Lives.


Scott and the other panelists urged students to think about other things they could do to affect change with everything from voting, to addressing members of Congress or taking a stand on issues beyond just gun control.


One young woman in the audience said it’s hard to believe change can happen when you’ve seen so much firsthand. Her brother was shot and killed in 2004 and her husband was severely injured when he was shot two years ago. Her family won a lawsuit for her brother’s death, which wasn’t what they really wanted, and when her husband was shot, police questioned his lifestyle as if he had been to blame.


“I want to see a change,” she said after another woman in the audience said she saw someone get shot right in front of her. “Just like you’re in pain, I’m in pain too,” she said. “The reason we’re here”- talking about doing something to stop gun violence - “is because of your story. The more we push, the closer we’re going to get” to see things happen.


The overall sense from this panel was that change in gun laws and even treatment of mental illness was inevitable from the momentum that began with the Parkland, Florida, high school students who said, “Enough.” And history has shown that societal change, such as the civil rights movement, occurred because people stood up and fought for it.


“We’re at a tipping point,” said Sister Mary Johnson, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, and a professor of sociology and religious studies at Trinity.


She also urged students to be as involved as they could in this current moment addressing gun violence and said that no matter one’s religious beliefs, there is a role religion can play to bring about change. This crisis demands moral language, she said, where people speak up and say: “To take the life of another person is evil and can’t be allowed anymore.”

The panel discussion did not offer easy answers nor did the presenters indicate that change would be around the corner.

“This is lifelong work,” said one of the speakers, a Trinity graduate who works with the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

At the end of the hourlong session, Pat McGuire, president of Trinity, gave a mini pep talk of sorts to the students telling them never to be afraid or intimidated to call members of Congress.

“Their power comes from us; they work for us,” she said, encouraging students to “speak the truth to that power.”

Thursday, March 22, 2018

US Catholic sisters plan participation in March For Our Lives



Students at St. Mary's Dominican High School in New Orleans gather March 14 for 17 minutes to pray and remember the 17 students and faculty members killed in a Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida. Students carried signs with the names of those who died, and the Hail Mary was recited after each name was read. The school is run by the Dominican Sisters of Peace. (Courtesy of the Dominican Sisters of Peace)

Thousands of people are expected to take part in the March For Our Lives event March 24 in Washington, D.C., and the more than 800 "sibling marches" planned worldwide. Hundreds of sisters will be among them.


The march is to demand that children be safe from gun violence in their schools.


"We have worked for years and years to support all sorts of efforts at much more comprehensive gun control at local and national levels and even internationally," said Eileen Harrington, a co-member of the Loretto Community and its mission activities coordinator. "But the problem of gun violence just continues to escalate."

Loretto sisters will participate in local marches, and Loretto volunteers will join the national march, she said.

And the community has another tool at its disposal: prayer.

"Several years ago, we really found ourselves at a loss for what else we could do beyond what we had been doing," Harrington said. "So we decided we needed to turn to prayer. We are, after all, a faith community."

At 9 a.m. on the first Monday of every month, the community — at the motherhouse, staff offices, Loretto-sponsored schools and everywhere Loretto community members live — stops and prays for an end to gun violence.

"Our community's mission is to work for justice and act for peace. Ending gun violence is one of our priority concerns," Harrington said in an email. "We remain resolute and hopeful that, as is the case with big change, something will shift in ways we could not predict or foresee, and we as a people will make progress. This is why we pray."



Students at St. Mary's Dominican High School in New Orleans March 14 (Courtesy of the Dominican Sisters of Peace)
In addition, the community's Franciscan Spirituality Center will host its annual Good Friday Justice and Peace Stations of the Cross, which this year will include a stop at a middle school to pray for racial harmony and an end to gun violence.

The Dominican Sisters of Peace encouraged their schools to take part in the events, including the March 14 school walkouts. The community's social justice team created a guide to help the schools plan and publicize their events and shared the guide with other Dominican congregations across the county, spokesperson Dee Holleran said in an email.

The students and staff at the congregation's Our Lady of the Elms Middle School and Upper School in Akron, Ohio, prayed March 14 for the 17 students and staff who lost their lives Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and were joined by sisters and associates in the Akron area.

A similar event was held at the St. Mary's Dominican High School in New Orleans, Holleran wrote, where 17 students carried handmade signs with the names of the victims, and a Hail Mary was recited after each name was read.

Dominican Sr. Barbara Kane, justice promoter for the community, said lawmakers need to work on behalf of citizens.

"We recognized in 2013 the importance of sensible gun safety legislation and concretized that belief with our Corporate Stance. Since that time close to 7,000 students have been killed in schools," Kane said in an email. "It's hard to understand why our legislators cannot pass legislation that would protect children and that the majority of Americans want enacted."

The Dominican Sisters in Committed Collaboration — which includes the Dominican congregations of Amityville, New York; Blauvelt, New York; Caldwell, New Jersey; Ossining, New York; Maryknoll, New York; and Sparkill, New York — will have sisters taking part in several marches and have rolled out a national postcard campaign calling on elected officials to enact gun control measures, Sr. Didi Madden wrote in an email.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in Seattle will take part in the march there, but those in New Jersey who have a regional assembly scheduled for that date are showing their support by making a $500 donation to the march in Newark, New Jersey.

The Franciscan Sisters of Clinton, Iowa, will take part in their local march, and the Felician Sisters plan to take part in the local marches where they are located, too.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious issued a statement Feb. 23, calling the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Florida that left 17 dead and another 17 wounded "a horrible tragedy that has become all too familiar to students, teachers, and parents across the country."

The statement called for mandatory background checks and waiting periods for all gun purchases, banning civilian ownership of high-capacity weapons and magazines, and for gun trafficking to be a federal crime.

"Where is the outrage? Have we become immune to the horror? Why are elected officials unwilling to confront the epidemic of gun violence that is sweeping the nation? When will the killing stop?" the statement reads. "Prayers and condolences are not enough. The killing must stop. It is well past time that we enacted sensible gun violence prevention legislation. This is not about protecting the second amendment. It is about protecting the most precious resource we have, the gift of life."
The organization, which represents about 80 percent of the sisters in the United States, urged members to participate in the March 24 events in solidarity with the students of Parkland, who have called for an end to gun violence.

"We will walk with you as together we seek to put an end to violence and follow the path of peace," the statement said. "In this Lenten season as we recall the life Jesus, the Christ, let us pray for the grace to embrace his way of nonviolence and let us never doubt that the deep darkness of these days will be overcome by the radiant light of our lives and actions lived in love."