(Lansing, Mich.) — While gun violence lingers as a complex and pressing public concern, the Catholic Church offers a response that embraces life-saving policies while also calling attention to the deeper systemic issues that fuel violence in society, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) articulates through the latest edition of its public policy publication released this week to elected officials, Catholic entities and interested parties.
For the first time, Focus — MCC’s quarterly publication that examines public policy issues through the lens of Catholic social teaching — is addressing the topic of gun violence with the hope of provoking thoughtful reflection for readers mindful of differing perspectives about guns and gun regulation.
“Each week we hear about more innocent lives in this country that are unnecessarily taken by gun violence. As chronicled in this edition of Focus, the Church in its opposition to violence of any kind stands in solidarity with individuals and families impacted by gun violence and advocates for public policies that protect life through sensible regulation of deadly weapons,” said Paul A. Long, president and CEO of Michigan Catholic Conference.
Amidst a polarized public discourse over gun violence, the Catholic Church proposes a “yes, and…” approach to the conversation that is consistent with Catholic social teaching and supported by academic research: Catholics and all people of goodwill can support common-sense gun safety policies while at the same time acknowledging that those policies alone cannot solve the ongoing reality of violence that plagues society.
It is in that context that MCC offered support for the gun safety legislative package recently passed by the Michigan Legislature, positions that conform with those adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in support of gun safety legislation while at the same time calling for a deeper conversation about violence in society.
The spring edition of Focus introduces the story of Pat and Jeanne Damer, the parents of three daughters, two of whom survived school shootings — one at Oxford High School, and the other at Michigan State University. The family’s close encounter with gun violence prompted the Damers to join a committee at their local parish that initiated a letter-writing campaign to state lawmakers advocating for gun safety legislation.
“As Catholics, we have this responsibility — we are the universal Church — we need to wrap our arms around this topic and embrace it like any other pro-life topic,” Damer said in an online video testimonial that accompanies the digital edition. “Guns are the number one killer of kids… as a Catholic community, all of us have an obligation to do what we can do to end it.”
The Damers’ story is one of several shared in Focus about Catholics whose faith propelled a response to the growing concern of gun violence as one that impacts human life and the most vulnerable among us, including children.
The edition of Focus makes the case for why gun violence is an issue of widespread public concern, and why gun safety regulation is part of the conversation for addressing the violence that fuels gun deaths. The publication includes a list of common objections to gun safety reforms for the purpose of informing dialogue among those who have differing views on gun regulation, as well as more information about gun safety legislation supported by MCC that was recently signed into law.
Focus is published in print and online. Copies are distributed to Catholic parishes, schools, and other locations, as well as elected officials and other interested parties across the state. A digital version of the publication, together with a brief video featuring Mr. and Mrs. Damer, can be found at micatholic.org/gun-violence.
Note to media: To request an interview with any of the individuals present in this edition of Focus, contact Jacob Kanclerz, MCC Communications Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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