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Message from Father Paul

July 21, 2024

Last weekend our country endured yet another act of gun violence in the attempted assassination of former president Donald Trump. At least one other man was killed and another wounded in this reckless act. As I write this, very little is known about the shooter or his motive. Regardless of that, the incident itself indicates something about our society and its pathologies.

In the United States, the way we deal with politicians we like or don’t like is through the power of the ballot. Voting is a sacred right and a serious responsibility. Yet, so few Americans bother. Not voting, not exercising this central act of democracy is a sign of apathy in a time when no one has that luxury.

Voting has its problems, especially for us Catholics. No candidate or major political party’s platform in recent history has walked along our moral path. And so we are caught in having to choose between the lesser of two less-than-perfect candidates. Making any single issue our only guide is not consistent with our teaching or responsible citizenship.

Our perverse fetish with guns is the core of so many fears people have about daily living. People won’t go downtown out of fear. We put alarms and cameras on our homes

and businesses out of fear. And some of us have guns — and some have arsenals of guns — in their homes out of fear. Not long ago as  I was driving through the neighborhood, I saw a man walking to his truck with a handgun in each hand. No bag. No case. Just a gun in each hand.

Too many of our fellow citizens are subject to crazed conspiracy theories, started by crackpots and spread by manipulative and sinister podcasts and influencers. They want us to be suspicious people of other countries, races, religions, political perspectives, even our government itself and the core foundations on which our democracy stands. This kind of rhetoric, coming from either end  of the political spectrum, is dangerous and can lead to what we have witnessed. The attack on the former president only highlights what goes on every single day in the United States.

People of goodwill have to make a decision to make a difference. As Catholics, we need to be at the forefront against violence. We need to work to make our society a better place and eliminate the tools of violence. We need to pray for former President Trump, the other victims of the shooting and victims of all violence. We as Catholics and Americans have so much more to offer. We are better than this.