Newark Cardinal Urges Faithful to Forgo 2nd Amendment Rights

Joseph Tobin
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin has launched an appeal to Catholics to voluntarily forgo their Second Amendment rights by refusing to bear arms.

“It’s true that we have a second amendment right to bear arms, but rights always involve responsibilities — in this case, the responsibility to protect the innocent and to secure public safety and good order,” the cardinal declares in a recent pastoral letter. “The mass shootings we are witnessing almost weekly now are a grave threat to the lives and well-being of all people.”

In what he calls his “most challenging and controversial proposal,” Tobin urges “voluntary self-restraint” involving the waiving of the right to purchase and own firearms.

“Let’s voluntarily set aside our rights in order to witness the truth that only peace, and never violence, is the way to build a free society that is lived concretely in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, our nation and our world,” he writes.

“I honestly believe it is the best thing we can do to change the culture of violence that threatens us today,” he states.

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“Unrestrained gun ownership is a serious threat to the weak in our communities,” Tobin contends in concluding his letter. “Easy access to assault weapons encourages people suffering from emotional illnesses and those who have political agendas that are destructive of human rights, especially the right to life, to take out their rage on innocent bystanders and on first responders who give their lives to serve and protect our communities.”

The voluntary self-restraint that I am calling for “will not solve the problem of gun violence all by itself, but it can help us change our culture from one that is obsessively focused on individuals’ rights to a society dedicated to ensuring the common good,” he writes.

Cardinal Tobin made headlines in 2017 when he waded into U.S. politics, trashing then-President Donald Trump in an interview with a French Catholic newspaper and accusing Trump of appealing to the “dark side of Americans.”

As an apparent slam to the estimated 52 percent of U.S. Catholics who voted for Donald Trump, the cardinal insisted that that the climate of insecurity “has caused an exaggerated patriotism in the United States,” adding that Trump plays on Americans’ fears and their desires to see America “great again.”

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“I think President Trump appeals to the dark side of Americans,” Tobin said. “He speaks to fears, to insecurities.”

Tobin later called Trump “malicious” for his decision to hand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legislation over to the U.S. Congress.

“The bishops must beware of him, because he tells them that he will be against abortion, that he won’t force them to pay for contraception, and in return, he asks for silence concerning his disrespectful remarks toward others or on the deportation of migrants. It’s dangerous,” Tobin said.

“We, American Catholics, are a Church of migrants. We have always pleaded their cause,” he said.


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