Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kevin Whiteman on Catholic Gun Policy

Recently we discussed the US Catholic Bishop's position on gun ownership, namely that it's not for civilians. This article clarifies what the position of the Catholic Church is and one man's understanding of it.

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:

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.
Mr. Whiteman's understanding is this.

In the name of Christian Charity, if an individual or individuals break into my home with the thought of committing unspeakable acts of violence on my family, God knows I have the right to deal the lethal blow to the aggressor(s).

After all, I'm the one who has the primary responsibility to protect hearth and home, not the police.
Do you see the problem with that? He said if they break in "with the thought of committing unspeakable acts of violence on my family."

He can't know that. You see. That's the same old macho gun-owner talk we hear all the time from the protect-the-family guys. 

Mr. Whiteman, or any other gun owner faced with that frightening situation would have to make a determination of how great the threat really is and what would be the appropriate response.  Dealing a "lethal blow," as cool as that sounds, would have to be the last resort used only in the worst case.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. To assume or not to assume that is the question. One can never tell what someone is thinking. In security it is wise to assume that all people who enter onto a site are there to case it. To think otherwise leaves you open for troubles. That is not to say, draw down on every person. It just means prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

  2. So Mikey

    Are you saying that we should give criminals -- people who have broken the already -- the benefit the doubt?

    When should action be taken to protect your family?

    When the wife is being raped or after?

    When the thugs have murdered your children or after?

    Are you saying you would believe a thug when he said "Hey, I'm just going to nip into the tyke's room and grab his tv/radio?"

  3. Frankly, Kevin Whiteman is just a kook who pretends to be an expert on Catholicism. If you take a look at his other articles, he rails against Muslims, gays, and Democrats. So, taking anything he says on *any* issue as gospel is foolish.

    The Catholic Bishops' position is clear: they support gun control, to make guns safer and to regulate their sale to ensure guns don't get into the hands of those who shouldn't have them.

    Whiteman dishonestly creates a strawman that somehow the Catholic Church said gun ownership is sinful.

  4. I like the question of when exactly is it acceptable to shoot an intruder. Cops often face the same dilemma in their work, too much hesitation can be fatal, not enough can lead to unnecessary gun violence.

    There's no simple guideline, but the ones who pose those antagonistic questions like Mr. Anonymous (with his readily recognizable writing style) poses. This attitude leads to guaranteed misuse of the gun in a supposed DGU.

  5. Oh so glad you said that Mikey,

    Now I get to ask you to support your statement about the misuse of Defensive Gun Uses.

    Let's see some evidence, not numbers you've made up, but actual evidence that crimes are being misclassified.

    Let's see some evidence that the police officers, the prosecutors, the judges in city after city, county after county are lying?

    And how about answering the questions?

    Do should you trust the criminals word? Should you believe -- without evidence that a person who has broken into your home, violating numerous laws isn't there to physically harm you?