I was disappointed at the impression created in the April 25 letters to the editor from Eileen Colianni and Rose Ferraro, who take the Roman Catholic Church to task for not being "pro-life" because of what they allege is the church's silence on responsible gun control.
The truth is that in their 2000 statement, "Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice," the bishops of the United States urged all Americans and especially legislators, to: (1) support measures that control the sale and use of firearms; (2) support measures that make guns safer (especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children and anyone other than the owner); (3) call for sensible regulations of handguns; (4) support legislative efforts that seek to protect society from the violence associated with easy access to deadly weapons including assault weapons; and (5) make a serious commitment to confront the pervasive role of addiction and mental illness in crime.
This is in addition to statements in 1975 on handgun control, in 1978 on community and crime, in 1990 on the use of guns in drug commerce and in 1995 on confronting a culture of violence. In December 2012, bishops from several committees issued a joint statement calling on all Americans, especially legislators, to address national policies that will strengthen regulations of firearms and improve access to health care for those with mental health needs.
Locally, the Pittsburgh Catholic in the April 19 issue carried a story regarding the bishops' April 8 statement in support of a bill that "builds a culture of life by promoting policies that reduce gun violence." This edition of the paper was mailed to over 160,000 homes with an estimated readership in excess of 400,000.
The message may fall on deaf ears, but the Roman Catholic Church has certainly not been silent.
Secretary for Parish Life
Roman Catholic Diocese of