The director of the Vatican press office says initiatives announced by the U.S. government to limit and control the spread and use of firearms is a “step in the right direction.”
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi affirmed this in the most recent edition of his weekly editorial “Octava Dies.”
“It is estimated that Americans today possess about 300 million firearms,” the priest observed. “No one can be under the illusion that limiting their number and use would be enough to impede horrendous massacres in the future, such as the one in Newtown, which shook the conscience of Americans and of the world, of children and adults alike. But it would be much worse if we were to satisfy ourselves with only words.”
Father Lombardi reflected that massacres might be carried out by people with mental illnesses or those “distorted by hate,” but still, “there is no doubt that they are carried out with arms.”
“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.’ I’m with them,” Father Lombardi declared.
Father Lombardi apparently was referencing a Jan. 15 letter to members of Congress, prepared by a group called Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. Father Larry Snyder of Catholic Charities is among the signatories of that letter.
From the heart
The Vatican spokesman spoke of arms as “instruments for legitimate defense,” but added that “surely they are everywhere the main instruments used to bring threats, violence and death.”
“Therefore, it is necessary to repeat tirelessly our calls for disarmament, to oppose the production, trade, and smuggling of arms of all types, fueled by dishonorable interests for power or financial gain. If results are achieved, such as international conventions, the ban of land mines and other deadly arms, the reduction of the immense and disproportionate number of nuclear warheads … all the better! But weapons are and will always be too many.
“As the Pope said while traveling to Lebanon, we are all distraught by the massacres in Syria, but the weapons continue to arrive. Peace is born from the heart, but it will be easier to achieve if we have fewer weapons in hand.”
The Holy See is a vocal leader in advocating disarmament and regulation of arms trade at the international level.
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On the Net:
Vatican Radio’s full translation of Fr. Lombardi’s editorial: www.news.va/en/news/lombardi-editorial-against-arms