Catholic Bishop: Gun Control is a ‘Social Justice Issue’

Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego. (Photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Reactions in the wake of the mass murder in Sutherland Springs, TX, have followed all-too-predictable lines as Americans attempt to blame inanimate “machines” for human evil. Two religious thinkers have joined the fray, arguing that Christians have a moral obligation to support gun control.

The first comes from the Roman Catholic Church, where San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy called gun control a “social justice issue” because “the problem of guns in our culture leads to so many deaths by guns.”

“One of the problems is the organized opposition to gun control, taking the position that any limitation against guns is a limitation on the core rights of individuals,” he said. “The notion that to restrict automatic and semi-automatic weapons is a restriction on personal rights that should be given to society, to me, seems unacceptable.”

The Bishop claimed that “the majority of gun owners” support “specific pieces of legislation” that would bring “sensible, targeted, and effective gun control,” but he failed to name the legislation he had in mind.

He may be referring to an “assault weapons ban,” which CNN and like-minded outlets claim enjoys “majority support from both parties.” Other, less-biased sources, however, have reached much different conclusions. A 2016 Gallup poll found that only 36 percent of Americans favor a ban on “assault rifles,” the lowest number ever recorded.

SEE ALSO: Obama Calls for Gun Control Less than 6 Hours after Texas Shooting

McElroy may also be referring to a variety of surveys that have indicated broad support for universal background checks, but these surveys do not differentiate between gun owners and non-gun owners. It also isn’t clear how effectively universal background checks would stop mass murders, considering the Texas shooter was able to acquire a firearm even though he should have been a prohibited person.

The second Christian to call for gun control published an op-ed in (of all places) the New York Times. A journalist named Richard Parker followed McElroy’s lead by blaming the “machine” for mass murders rather than the murderer.

Parker refers to AR-15s as “machines” no less than five times throughout the course of the article, arguing that we must “remove the killing machines that have put tens of thousands of Americans in their graves or hospital beds in this century.”

He says we must “confront these machines and the profiteering behind them” by stopping the “the proliferation of machines solely designed to kill large numbers of people quickly, machines that bear no more semblance to a rifle than a nuclear weapon does to a firework.”

Reading Parker’s article without knowledge of the incident, one might assume that firearms, rather than the shooter, are the real evil at play. In the end, Parker blames nearly everything for the shooting except the shooter himself, concluding that “God will never forgive us” if we let “the machines of war and profit win over faith.”

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at

{ 51 comments… add one }
  • johnsmith November 21, 2017, 2:55 am

    Maybe the priesrly catholick diocese should ban young boys, Surely that would stop wanker priests from
    raping them, thus lowering crime.

  • JoeUSooner November 17, 2017, 8:32 pm

    Bishop, if you are truly that damnably stupid, then I don’t care – actually, read that, “wouldn’t give a rat’s ass” for – what (if anything) “seems unacceptable” to an idiot like you.

  • Boss November 17, 2017, 7:41 pm

    Maybe the Bishop should read the Bible.

    “Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side.” Nehemiah 4:18

  • Rick November 17, 2017, 7:01 pm

    I am a Christian and I also believe in gun control and you should too. After all, It is easier to hit your target using two hands instead of one.

  • Boss November 17, 2017, 5:32 pm

    Maybe the Bishop should read the bible!
    “Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side.” Nehemiah 4:18

  • Dan November 17, 2017, 4:42 pm

    How many altar boys could be saved by simply banning priests?

    • Torquemada November 17, 2017, 6:42 pm


  • Dan November 17, 2017, 4:39 pm

    He wants stricter gun control to make sure his altar boy doesn’t get a hold of one!

  • Dan November 17, 2017, 4:38 pm

    I am completely shocked to hear hypocrisy coming from a religious leader!

  • Dan November 17, 2017, 4:36 pm

    What makes this Bishop think that more gun control laws will stop violence when laws against pedophilia did not stop his priests?

  • TONY BELL November 17, 2017, 2:36 pm

    For reference: Catholic social teaching is the Catholic doctrines on matters of human dignity and common good in society. The ideas address oppression, the role of the state, subsidiarity, social organization, concern for social justice, issues of wealth distribution.
    The definition: Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity and social privileges.

    I can think of nothing more oppressive than the “infringement of anyone’s right to defend themselves against evil” which is exactly what the ill conceived ideas of “gun control” aim to do. To use a phrase “the toothpaste is out of the tube” guns have been a part of our culture from inception and before. Want to minimize violence in this country, stop the PC bull shit, stop the movement toward reversing good and evil. That would go along way toward deescalating the anger that causes many to become violent. Immediate publicly displayed capitol punishment for anyone convicted of capitol offenses. Let the punishment fit the crime. Issue everyone opportunity to complete training and be issued a self defense weapon upon their 21st birthday. Education of law, responsibility, proper control and use of weapons is the key folks. Evil would not stand a chance.

  • Charlie November 17, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Where is the separation of church and state. He should be tending to the religious needs of his flock.NOT GETTING INTO THE POLITICAL OBOMA ARENA. Why don’t his flock inform him where his duty lies. Enough said.

  • Mark Bigley November 17, 2017, 2:05 pm

    It’s hard to believe that a bishop with a minimum of a Master’s degree in theology (MDiv.) falls for the symptom of guns rather than the causation of evil or mrntal illness for violence. Gun control fails to respect the dignity of human beings to act as stewards for the protection of themselves, families and communities. Too much of the Marxist propaganda has weaseled its way into the church. Evidently he hasn’t read Augustine and others who have affirmed the responsibility of self defense. Bishop, sir, go back and do some research. The Gospel calls us to transform evil not by the ego but by the power of God. not to make ourselves unnecessarily vulnerable to it.

  • Dan Knowlton November 17, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Makes me ashamed to live in the same county as that hypocritical piece of garbage! Before you tell me how to live my life, take care of the social justice issues in your own yard – child abuse, sexual abuse, theft, coercion and all the other issues proven in the recent past. Then, remove the walls that protect you and keep evil-doers out. When you have removed the beam in your own eye, you can start talking to the rest of us.

    I own guns for two reasons – I like to shoot targets and the average response time to critical emergencies in my home area exceeds 5 minutes. I have a family to protect and you advocate that I be required to leave them defenseless! HYPOCRITE!

    • TONY BELL November 17, 2017, 2:12 pm

      Amen brother.

  • Bob November 17, 2017, 12:22 pm

    In reading this article I thought I would employ the logic used by San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy on a different issue. That would be the pedophile priests problem the catholic church has had forever. So bishop, rather than just moving those pedophile priests around to different parts of the country so they can prey on other young boys, why don’t you actually have them prosecuted and imprisoned for their crimes thus removing them from your church? Practice what you preach….

    • True Catholic November 17, 2017, 5:08 pm

      They are not protecting these priests for the priest’s sake, they are protecting their incoming flow of money. Most people believe the lies that the pedophile priest issue has been taken care of, they do not want to know the truth. Bishop McElroy states “the problem of guns in our culture leads to so many deaths by guns.” Do you know why victims of priest sexual abuse who are alive today call themselves survivors, because thousands have committed suicide. Tens of thousands who are alive have had their lives destroyed by these heinous acts. The church does not want to recognize the value of these lives. What most people do not know is that the same Constitution Bishop McElroy wants to change, the Second Amendment, is the same document they use to protect these sexual predators. It is called the First Amendment. Talk to any lawyer who has battled the church on a sex abuse case, they protect themselves under freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Remember, they have centuries of experience and are the best at protecting themselves. It was not the Romans who crucified our Lord, it was the church leaders. Christ was threatening their Power, Control and most importantly, their source of income. Be it our Lord or sacrificing children to these predators, they will do what it takes to protect themselves and their lifestyle.

  • James Summers November 17, 2017, 11:41 am

    Then mark their insistence on having Tax free status for one of the richest organizations in the world should be revoked. It is only fair and socially acceptable for the church to pay its way in what ever country they are getting donations and operating. The fact they protect child molesters and have possibly billions to help their parishioners but fail to do so and rely on the government to give assistance should be stopped. They have their own bank so let them pay to play in the world of politics.

    • deanbob November 17, 2017, 11:52 am

      Roger that.

  • KurtW November 17, 2017, 11:28 am

    Labeling it a “Social Justice Issue” just provided the best reason to OPPOSE gun control.

    • deanbob November 17, 2017, 11:57 am

      And what over the car(s) and trucks used recently for mass murder? Do these “gun control” advocates advocate banning them as well? Of course, they either say “That is different” or “we can’t do that.”. When will they ever realize it is the individual who is responsible, not the weapon (of of choice)?

  • Dave November 17, 2017, 11:16 am

    Last time I checked the “Swiss GUARD” had a VERY large ARSENAL of automatic weapons which they use to protect the Pope and the Vatican. Why is it always those who are WELL protected, by GUNS, or live behind fortified walls, the one’s who want to take OUR guns away? Nobody wants “lunatics” to have access to guns, but we also don’t want our RIGHT to protect ourselves and our families, interfered with. Let this bishop see how safe his church or his person would be, if the police, who protect him with GUNS stopped doing their job. There would be NO church in that CHAOTIC world.

  • Leighton Cavendish November 17, 2017, 11:16 am

    Then so would obesity…smoking…driving…wasting food…wasting water…etc etc etc

  • Doc November 17, 2017, 11:15 am

    So is pedophilia you self righteous pompass asshole. Don’t hear you speaking out loudly about the social injustice of that. Could it be that it is something that strikes near and dear to your heart your unholiness

  • Paul Becher November 17, 2017, 11:05 am

    Considering he represents the Catholic Church, and all it has done regarding human rights “violations” throughout it long and sordid history He has no moral authority to be preaching. Perhaps instead he aught to be smelting the plunder they’ve stolen over the ages and give it back to the poor they robbed of their treasure and dignity.

  • Michael Keim November 17, 2017, 10:45 am

    The only “social justice” issue any member of the Catholic church clergy should concern themselves with is their.ongoing problem with sexually abusing children.

  • Tom Gruff November 17, 2017, 9:16 am

    I like the article and I like this site. Some things to remember as you dispute:
    Neither bishops, nor popes “make” doctrine. Civil disagreement on non-doctrinal issues is allowed. Social Justice is not a doctrine and can be well argued to be a heresy for it’s supplanting Christ, our Lord, and God, with a “practicality” of means in order to pursue a man-made “heaven” on earth. Property rights: one’s God-given body, mind, and property are intrinsic to the Catholic Faith. Rights require an ability to be upheld, thus gun rights can be reasonably argued to flow from Free Will. Yes, buggery is a problem in the church, but the fallenness or even “possession” of its members does not delegitimize this Institution. Buggery is a problem in all Western institutions now and often at much higher rates depending on the secularity of the institution and/or it’s surrounding culture(ie., watch out for your kids in left-leaning school districts). This is a gun enthusiasts’ site: I expect accuracy and precision in y’alls’ arguments.

    • Dan November 17, 2017, 5:00 pm

      Sounds like you are attempting to defend an organization that not only perpetrated sexual crimes against children, but went to great lengths to cover up those crimes! I have not seen, nor heard of, any evidence of a conspiracy of that scale involving any of our school districts regardless of their political affiliation or ideology!

      I believe we are in jeopardy of losing our rights due to decades of de-funding of programs meant to address mental illness, the prescribing of powerful antidepressants without adequate oversight, and the failure to enforce existing laws! These are the things your priest should be speaking out about!

    • bart November 18, 2017, 5:08 am

      @tom gruff Go lie down by your dish under the porch, your moms still out chasing cars, and quit smoking that stuff, or quit inhaling while in your loco house of (worship?)….People ,watch out for your kids around THIS hombre, or others of his ilk….

  • Hal November 17, 2017, 9:03 am

    HERE’S THE BIG LIE: “The Bishop claimed that “the majority of gun owners” support “specific pieces of legislation” that would bring “sensible, targeted, and effective gun control,”
    Doesn’t the so-called bishop know it is a sin to lie? Figures he’s from the Left Coast.

    To ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow…
    Society does not control crime, ever, by forcing the law-abiding to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of criminals. Society controls crime by forcing the criminals to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of the law-abiding.

  • Mike S. November 17, 2017, 8:24 am

    The Reformation was a social justice issue.

  • mauser6863 November 17, 2017, 8:14 am

    The Roman Catholic Church has been an “On Going Criminal Enterprise” for centuries and should be treated like what it is, no better then one of its partners, the Italian Mafia.

    Besides the institutional practice of child molestation, homosexual behavior, torture and persecution, they are guilty of many other crimes. All of the land they own is tax free, yet they have their own Bank, The Institute for Religious Works, sits on likely a Trillion Dollars in capital. The fascist dictator, Mussolini gave the church statehood, which was foolishly allowed to continue after the end of World War II.

    Why would anyone be surprised that Catholic leaders would call for gun control. Anything that makes state and religious control easier and harder to resist is a win in their eyes. Our founders escaped Europe so they could leave Kings and the Pope behind.

    How the church was allowed to come to America is very puzzling to me. Like Islam, the Catholic Church is a complete system that has no room for the rule of the people. We should throw them out and tear down their churches, just as we should do to all the Mosques. All institutions, especially those that claim to have a divine mandate, at their core, that call for the end of our Republic need to be abolished. So I guess the Democratic Party needs to be added to the list too.

    I was born and raised Catholic and was educated with their lies. I walked away from these criminals at the age of 12 and never looked back. The church serves itself and no one else.

    • Michael November 17, 2017, 9:11 am

      I too am a “non-practicing” Catholic and cringe every time the Pope or one of his henchmen delve into other than religious issues. The Pope et al should first clean their own house of their homosexuals and pedophiles, their Nazi sympathizers, their un-American, democracy-hating clergy, and begin to distribute their ill-gotten riches to the poor throughout the world, and then, and only then, would a good, Catholic boy consider crossing the threshold of the local Catholic Church. Kiss the ring of the pope – I think not.

  • MJB November 17, 2017, 8:12 am

    I support insanity and criminal control. Take the insane off the streets and prosecute criminals and never let either have a gun. Also, get illegals out of this country. We don’t need more people to police.

  • mka November 17, 2017, 8:03 am

    Ask how they feel about liquor control. It would stop drunk driving and some pedophile priests.
    Since there is also a liquor problem in the country,perhaps he could come onboard and tell all catholics to
    quit imbibing.

  • Brian November 17, 2017, 7:08 am

    Tell the pope to tear down his wall and disarm his guards.

    • Andy Buckmichael November 17, 2017, 8:29 am

      Pope boy is just another pervert.

  • Andy Buckmichael November 17, 2017, 6:55 am

    This guy is a member of an organization that is full of perverts and he wants to run his nasty mouth.

  • Roy F. Wilt November 17, 2017, 6:45 am

    Here we go again! Want mine? I’ll give you the ammo first!

  • Robert A Hafetz November 17, 2017, 6:35 am

    When they institute priest control then he can talk

  • Dennis November 17, 2017, 5:08 am

    Screw these Papists, that’s what the Framers called them. They were not happy with a Roman Catholic Provence set up in Canada. The Council of Nicaea that the Vatholic Church was born from killed off 200 Bishops to create their Abomination. The Bible calls it the Great Harlot. Just like the Jewish Church and the Babylonian system, the partnered with the government and made the people subservient to them.

  • Trapper November 17, 2017, 3:01 am

    That’s not what John Paul II would’ve said. He experienced the Nazis.

    • Tim November 17, 2017, 5:47 am

      I agree wholeheartedly. Sad state of affairs.

  • clay martin November 15, 2017, 11:42 am

    Its much easier to have an Inquisition if the populace is unarmed.

  • Chris Cole November 15, 2017, 6:52 am

    And why do a catholic bishops lies carry more weight then a non catholic bishops lies?

  • LHTwist November 14, 2017, 10:47 pm

    Given the number of deaths caused by firearms each year, compared to all of the other weapons (including motorized vehicles), calling gun control a solution to mass murderers seems to be misguided. By that logic, we should enact priest control in order to eliminate pedophilia. After all, it’s a matter of social justice.

    • SuperG November 15, 2017, 10:39 am

      Well said. I think we should enable priest control, after all, if we can save just one child from being raped, it would be worth it.

    • Tim November 17, 2017, 5:53 am

      I totally agree as a Catholic, furthermore, I would favor death sentences for these Priest if convicted in a court of Law. It’s time to clean the plates.

      • MJB November 17, 2017, 8:17 am

        I am Catholic too and the church is and has addressed this serious problem. One thing that would help is ending celibacy. It’s a church law that needs to go.

  • Dilligaf November 14, 2017, 9:52 pm

    Ya know what padre, you just stick to your pedo rampant religion and I will worry about my gun rights.

    • True Catholic November 17, 2017, 8:15 am

      Bishop McElroy belongs to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The USCCB developed and publishes the Charter for The Protection of Children and Young People to be followed by all Bishops in the United States. There is NO enforcement power for anyone to follow these rules to protect our children from sexual predator Catholic Clergy. Call the USSCB in Washington and they will confirm what I am saying, and if that does not work, I have it in writing. The sexual abuse of our children is ongoing and they continue to hide it, as they hide behind their decrees and doctrines.Their concern for life is a SHAM, designed to keep the money flowing so they can live their luxurious life styles. It was my children you allowed to be sexually abused in Cincinnati in the last 5 years and you do not care. Bishop McElroy, clean up your own house and leave our Second Amendment rights alone.

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