DALLAS (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Texas bishop is saying parishioners must still be disarmed on church property after 28 people are murdered by a gunman.
Bishop Edward Burns of the diocese of Dallas is responding to the November 5 murder of 28 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas, by telling Catholics in his diocese they don't have permission to carry guns for self-protection in Church.
In a statement released on November 6, Burns requests that parishes "consider appropriate safety measures" by removing signs forbidding concealed carry in churches in order to "eliminate any perception that any of our parishes would be an easy target for terror."
The statement goes on, however, to note that concealed carry is still forbidden on diocesan property.
On November 5, Devin Kelly murdered 26 people at a Baptist service. He shot people laying on the floor and crying babies at point-blank range. More than 20 other people were injured but have so-far survived.
Two citizens stopped Kelly's killing spree by retrieving their own firearm and going after him. Kelly was found dead by police in his car, which he crashed. He died of gunshot wounds.
Investigators are revealing Kelly had a long history of violence and possible mental illness. In 2012, he escaped from a mental institution after being kicked out of the Air Force, cracking an infant's skull, beating his wife, abusing a dog and solicited sex from a 13-year-old girl.
Despite the fact that Kelly did not follow state law regarding firearms in church, Democrats and some Catholic bishops are still claiming churchgoers should still be victims.
In January 2016, Bp. Kevin Farrell — then-bishop of Dallas — slammed a newly-passed law allowing open carry on college campuses and other places firearms had previously been banned.
In September 2017, Cdl. Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, banned firearms from diocesan property, declaring, "The intent of this policy is to balance the rights of all who approach archdiocesan churches, schools or other facilities with the greatest possible protection for children, the elderly and otherwise vulnerable people in our society."
Father Edward Fride, the pastor of Christ the King parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan, wrote a letter to parishioners in 2015, titled "We're Not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto!" – a reference to the 1960s-era "Andy Griffith Show" and its portrayal of a fictional North Carolina town, as well as Dorothy's dog from the Wizard of Oz.
He told parishioners, "It is very common for Christians to simply assume that they live in Mayberry, trusting that because they know the Lord Jesus, everything will always be fine and nothing bad can happen to them and their families."
"How to balance faith, reality, prudence and trust is one of those critical questions that we struggle with all our lives. Pretending we are in Mayberry, while we are clearly not, can have very negative consequences for ourselves and those we love, especially those we have a responsibility to protect."
Fride told parishioners in the letter that Catholic teachings do not preclude carrying a gun for self-defense and to defend others. Fride then asserted that crime is up and that because of budget cuts, "There has been a significant reduction in the availability of an armed police response."
The bishop of the Lansing diocese, Bp. Earl Boyea, however, responded to Fride's letter by claiming he had never given anyone in the diocese permission to carry firearms on diocesan property.
A diocesan spokesman noted that Boyea addressed the issue in 2012, quoting the bishop, "We are followers of Jesus Christ, who raised not a hand against those who mocked, tortured and finally murdered him," adding, "While we grasp both the Second Amendment and the legitimate right of some persons to defend themselves, our churches and our schools are dedicated to a far different approach to life's problems."