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Catholic Bishops: 'Would you mind not bringing guns to church?'

Wishy-washy response on Wisconsin's weapons rules

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Wisconsin's Catholic hierarchy have told the faithful that they'd really prefer them not to pack heat when they go to Mass, after the state enacted a new law authorising the carrying of concealed weapons.

But, the Bishops add, if parishoners do want to come to mass with guns, tasers, knives and billy clubs, well, that's OK too.

The newly enacted law allows the State's residents to carry a concealed weapon, as long as they have the appropriate licence and training, are over 21 and not banned from possessing a weapon because of legal problems, mental incapacity, etc. Emergency licences are also available.

The licence also covered tasers, knives and billy clubs, but sadly, not machine guns, or short-barrelled rifles and shotguns. The only major concealed weapon no-no appears to be flick knives.

The Bishops have sought to give their flock guidance, pointing out that Catholics believe "God has created us to be truly free" and "This freedom includes both religious liberty and the right to self-defence."

"Intuitively, we understand that acts of violence, destruction, and murder are antithetical to the message and person of Jesus Christ and have no rightful place in our society, especially sacred places."

So there you go, turn the other cheek, live by the sword, die by the sword, etc.

Except the law doesn't actually mention swords, so it actually it seems to an issue of personal conscience.

"Whatever an individual parish decides to do regarding its policy on concealed weapons, we ask that all people seriously consider not carrying weapons into church buildings as a sign of reverence for these sacred spaces," the Bishops say.

Which given the strength of Catholic pronouncements on other issues (English Catholics were recently banned from eating meat on Fridays) appears positively Anglican.

At which point, Catholic Mutual Insurance's advice might come in handy. Essentially, it tells its customers, "Your coverage ... is not affected by the passage of the new laws," whether or not Churches and the like post "signage banning CCW [carrying a concealed weapon] on your property".

However, the insurance group does "recommend you implement a complete weapons ban, including CCW licensees, for employees and volunteers".

Presumably this leaves Bishops free to wield enormous gilded croziers - after all, they would hardly count as a concealed weapon. ®

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