The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has “pledged to affirm the intrinsic value of human life,” and that’s lead the group to support a number of political positions. One of them is restricting semi-automatic rifles, and there’s an emotional case for doing so. A factual case?
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According to the FBI, rifles of all types combined are used in less than three percent of murders. What’s more, so-called “assault weapons” have characteristics that can make them particularly useful to vulnerable people. The much maligned AR-15’s light weight and low recoil are both female friendly features, and its ability to accept high capacity magazines can allow a lone individual to fend off multiple armed attackers. That doesn’t sway the USCCB, however: its website touts ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s support for restricting semi-automatics. Now, it’s true that McCarrick does know something about assault weapons.
He is one.
McCarrick is a notorious sexual predator who spent decades preying on boys and young men. Although now defrocked, he continues to receive meals and housing at a friary in Kansas, a privilege not afforded to any other lay Catholic (that his home is located near an elementary school hasn’t gone unnoticed).
McCarrick was able to operate for so long because no one stopped him. Two dioceses secretly paid settlements to his victims and multiple reports were made over the years to Church officials–with no results. Others claim to have been oblivious: Cardinal Kevin Farrell was McCarrick’s roommate for over half a decade and yet claims he saw nothing that would raise concern. That hasn’t affected his career, as Farrell was recently made Cardinal Camerlango by Pope Francis, which will make him acting head of the Church upon Francis’ demise. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the pope doesn’t take the matter seriously. After all, there are now allegations that he was explicitly told of McCarrick’s activities but did nothing.
The USCCB’s members are concerned about guns falling into the wrong hands; they should spend more time worrying about victims falling into the hands of abusers. Because for years, sexual deviants have taken an awful toll. So have those who enabled them.