Interfaith council expresses support for ‘sensible gun control’
(CNS file photo/Mike Segar, Reuters)
SPRINGFIELD – The Interfaith Council of Western Massachusetts is calling for “sensible gun control” legislation to help alleviate “the epidemic of violence in America.”
Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell was among 53 local clergy members and leaders of religious congregations who signed a letter that was published today in the “Plus Papers” sections of The Republican, Springfield’s daily newspaper.
Other Catholic leaders who signed the letter include Franciscan Sister of St. Joseph M. Andrea Ciszewski, superintendent of Catholic schools in the Springfield Diocese; Miriam Najimy, superior of the Holyoke-based Daughters of the Heart of Mary; Sister Kathleen Popko, president of the Holyoke-based Sisters of Providence; and Sister Maxyne Schneider, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, also based in Holyoke.
The text of the letter follows:
To the Springfield Community –
We are neither politicians, lobbyists, nor social scientists. We are leaders of the faith community who have come together to express our grief and concern over the epidemic of gun violence in America.
Although the nation has been shocked into radical awareness of gun violence because of Newtown, we know that gun violence has for too long been a plague throughout the country and in our own Springfield community. As much as we are saddened by Newtown, we are gravely worried about our town. This is where we live; this is where we want to live in safety and security.
We call to mind a medieval commentator who explained the commandment, “You shall not murder” in this manner: “One may murder by carelessness, by indifference, by the failure to save human life when it is in your power to do so.”
With that teaching in mind, we call on the members of our faith communities to step forward and support national, state, and local efforts for sensible gun control. We do not imagine that gun control laws will bring an end to deaths in America by guns, but we do know that something is horribly wrong in America. Consider the fact that in 2010 in 22 developed countries around the globe there were a total of 7,653 firearms deaths. That same year there were 29,771 deaths in the U.S. from guns.
Our traditions treasure the sanctity of life. We believe every human being contains a spark of the divine. If changing our gun laws can save one precious human life, we will have succeeded. If achieving sensible gun control does more than that (which we believe it will), we will all have done what our faith compels us to do. Indifference is not possible. Acting now is what we must do.