In an interview with The Pillar, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, elaborated on a tweet he made following the horrific mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas and admonished gun-owning Catholics -- and all Americans -- that there is no "divine right" argument to be made about owning a weapon.
Following the shooting that claimed the lives of 19 children and two adults, Flores tweeted. "Don’t tell me that guns aren’t the problem, people are. I’m sick of hearing it. The darkness first takes our children who then kill our children, using the guns that are easier to obtain than aspirin. We sacralize death’s instruments and then are surprised that death uses them."
\u201cDon\u2019t tell me that guns aren\u2019t the problem, people are. I\u2019m sick of hearing it. The darkness first takes our children who then kill our children, using the guns that are easier to obtain than aspirin. We sacralize death\u2019s instruments and then are surprised that death uses them.\u201d— Amigo de Frodo (@Amigo de Frodo) 1653478645
In his interview, Flores -- chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on doctrine -- was asked about the church's view of guns.
"The larger framework, theologically, is the Church’s expectation that civil society must seek after the common good - and that means protecting the vulnerable and exercising reasonable prudence with regard to the order of things. And that's a responsibility not primarily of the Church, but for the human good that any society would have no matter what political system it happens to operate under," he explained before adding. "There is a moral dimension to how we organize ourselves, for the sake of, for example, the good of children, the good of the elderly, the good of the sick, and so on, there are certain laws that need to be constructed in a way that promote the best possible stewardship of human life, and of a peaceable community, so that everyone can live in peace in their local communities and in their countries."
Digging deeper into the issue of the mass proliferation of gun -- and the endless conversation about what to do about them -- Flores made the point that those who believe in unfettered access to weapons think they are dealing from the high ground -- which he disputes.
"I was referring to the fact that the discourse we’ve had now for decades, about any attempt to control weapons that can cause grave damage — some of which moves have been enacted into law and others which have been resisted — is countered with a description that [gun ownership] is basically an individual’s sacred right, that no matter what the cost, it must be preserved," he explained. "And when I say 'sacralized,' I mean that we make it seem almost as if it detracts from human dignity, or the human good, simply to say that we need to have some reasonable limit on these things. To say something is sacralized is to say it’s almost taken out of any possibility for conversation."
"I must say that in some sense, we have kind of sacralized the whole idea of the individual right, such that it trumps any communal concern. It becomes an untouchable aspect in the discourse, that the common concern for the good of the vulnerable is not in any way sufficient to limit the individual right to determine whether or not I want to own this kind of a gun, or that kind of gun, or, you know, a hand grenade for that matter," he added.
"So when you sacralize it, you kind of make it basically closed for discussion, because we practically treat it as if it were sacred," he continued.
As for what should be done, he claimed there should be a discussion over "access to these weapons" that "... almost gets cut off when we've kind of elevated the individual right beyond proportion."
"When one is talking about the order of society, and access to guns and things like that, it is at a certain level a question of order — and in the noblest sense of the term, it’s a political question," he admitted before adding, "And the failure is that we haven’t been able to deal with it in a political way, and in the noblest sense of what politics is supposed to be, which is the gathering of a consensus within the community, to fulfill its responsibilities for the whole."
You can read his whole interview here.