Moral Principles

Regarding “Supreme Illogic: Catholic social teaching and gun control,” by Joe Nangle, OFM (November 2008): Pope John Paul II’s 1994 document by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace stated that in a world marked by evil, “the right of legitimate defense by armed means exists. This right can become a serious duty for those who are responsible for the lives of others, for the common good of the family or of the civil community. It is this right alone that can justify the possession or the transfer of arms.” The Holy Father, as opposed to the changing political views of various Vatican diplomats and the bishops’ conference, clearly apprehended the distinction between innocent and non-innocent life. By exhibiting such a lack of understanding of legal and moral principles, it is by no means clear that Nangle does.

John Rufe, Washington, D.C.

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