Skip to comments.Fans of patron saint of clerics see him as patron of ’handgunnners’
Posted on 07/25/2009 9:16:08 AM PDT by marktwain
The book "Gun Saint" by John Michael Snyder takes a close look at St. Gabriel Francis Possenti. The cover features an illustration of a shooting incident connected to the 19th-century Passionist priest. Using a revolver, the priest is shown shooting and killing a lizard with one shot in his attempt to reign in a group of armed criminals.
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- From lost causes to the unattractive, patron saints are associated with virtually every occupation, ailment and activity.
St. Gabriel Francis Possenti, a 19th-century Passionist monk and patron saint of Italy's Abruzzi region, clerics and youths, is gaining a line of followers who feel he should be recognized by the Vatican as the patron saint of "handgunners."
The St. Gabriel Possenti Society of Arlington, Va., is an interdenominational society dedicated to promoting the public recognition of the saint and advocating his Vatican designation as patron of "handgunners." It emphasizes historical, philosophical and theological bases for the right to self-defense.
Advocates of the designation base their argument on an often-told story -- not historically documented but believed by many -- of St. Possenti using a handgun to rescue a woman from marauders attacking his village in Italy but without killing any of the attackers.
John Snyder, founder of the society and author of "Gun Saint," has advocated for the official patron saint designation of St. Possenti for more than two decades.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' 1975 document, "Handgun Violence: A Threat to Life," states the bishops' position on gun control. In the document, the USCCB calls for an "effective and courageous action to control handguns, leading to their eventual elimination from our society."
The document lists exceptions that should be made for the police, military and pistol clubs where guns are secured on the premises. The USCCB supports the use of guns for hunting and recreational purposes.
Snyder, a former Jesuit seminarian and graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, said he thinks the USCCB's statement is inane.
"I think it is hypocritical for Catholics to take that position," he told Catholic News Service. "If the objective of the statement were to be achieved, only military and police would have the capacity to protect its citizens. That would be the establishment of a military police state -- a horrendous idea."
Snyder, who is a member of the National Rifle Association, said he also thinks the Catholic Church is hypocritical by not supporting the constitutional right to bear arms found in the Second Amendment when it is "the prime supporter of the right to life."
"To deny the ability of law-abiding citizens of the U.S. or any other nation to protect themselves is a denial of the right to life," he told CNS.
While Snyder rejects the idea of universal gun control, he does believe that restrictions should apply to those who may abuse the right to carry a weapon, including criminals and the mentally unstable. He iterated that guns are a means of protection and self-defense and should not be used carelessly.
In their 1975 document, the bishops acknowledge the rights of the individual, "grounded in the Constitution," but said their position was "entirely in accord" with those rights, including the Second Amendment as clarified by the U.S. Supreme Court. They added that individual rights are "limited by the universal demands of social order and human safety as well as the common good."
Lack of historical evidence for the particular incident involving St. Possenti and a handgun -- the basis for Snyder's campaign -- is cause for some to protest his efforts. Though Snyder has yet to obtain hard evidence, he points to St. Possenti's biography, written by Father Godfrey Poage, which includes the incident.
If it is moral for a policeman or soldier to use deadly force in certain circumstances it is moral for anyone to do as well.
The morality comes from the circumstance not a state authorization.
Singing to the choir......
I have a new favorite saint.
My Priest had a “blessing of the guns” last February on St. Gabriel Possenti’s feast day.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very clear on the right of self defense, and protecting one’s property, even if it means taking the life of someone who means harm to you, your property, your family, etc.
I think many of the left leaning members of the USCCB are retiring or dying off.
'St Michael is also considered in many Christian circles as the patron saint of the warrior. Police officers and soldiers, particularly paratroopers and fighter pilots, regard him as their patron.'Seems like a perfect fit to me.
'Michael tramples Satan.'
Have you read the story of Gabriel Possenti shooting the lizard? The boy could shoot!
St. Michael has always been one of my favorites. By the way, he is not only a RC saint, but his history goes way back into old Hebrew tradition.
Although depicted usually with a drawn sword, this is merely a symbolic illustration of his spirit. He could just as well be shown with an assault rifle, a tank, or anything else which is aimed at the Devil and Evil.
“The common good”
“We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” - our Socialist SECSTATE Hillary Clinton