Skip to main content

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.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Pope Francis: Gun-makers are hypocrites if they call themselves Christians

MAX ROSSI/REUTERS Pope Francis criticized weapons manufacturers who call themselves Christians on Sunday. “They say one thing and do another,” he said. TURIN, Italy — People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.
Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.
"If you trust only men you have lost," he told the young people in a long, rambling talk about war, trust and politics after putting aside his prepared address.
"It makes me think of ... people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn't it?" he said to applause.
He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying "duplicity is the currency of today ... they sa…

Gun control: Church firmly, quietly opposes firearms for civilians

VATICAN CITY -- The Catholic Church's position on gun control is not easy to find; there are dozens of speeches and talks and a few documents that call for much tighter regulation of the global arms trade, but what about private gun ownership?

The answer is resoundingly clear: Firearms in the hands of civilians should be strictly limited and eventually completely eliminated.

"The answer is resoundingly clear: Firearms in the hands of civilians should be strictly limited and eventually completely eliminated."

But you won't find that statement in a headline or a document subheading. It's almost hidden in a footnote in a document on crime by the U.S. bishops' conference and it's mentioned in passing in dozens of official Vatican texts on the global arms trade.

The most direct statement comes in the bishops' "Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice" from November 2000.

"…

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…