The largest group of Catholic priests in the United States, the AUSCP wants to do its part to put an end to the shootings that regularly plague the country. “AUSCP Calls for Ban on All Semi-Automatic Weapons”, it appears from a short press release from the association published on Wednesday 14 December. This date marks the tenth anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which 27 people – including 20 children – were murdered, precisely with the help of a semi-automatic weapon.
In its press release, AUSCP urges the United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB) to make this ban a “official position of the bishops of the United States”. The Clergy Association continues to request that the US Episcopate mourn “catechetical material and for sermons” to support and defend this “moral position”. These elements are all the more necessary, explains the association, when priests are confronted with a “resistance” comes from “certain gun lobby groups”.
For pastors, this position is one “an important opportunity for our faith to renew our moral responsibility to shape a culture of life in all its dimensions”. They therefore regret that if the USCCB has already called for a ban on semi-automatic weapons, that position remains unknown. “among priests and Catholics”.
More than 600 shootings since January
AUSCP, which has about 1,200 clergy in its ranks, is the largest association of clergy in the United States. It was founded in 2011 as a support group for priests inspired by the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and its implementation.
Since the start of the year, the United States has suffered a series of high-profile shootings, with 628 shootings that left 654 dead and more than 2,600 injured, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit, which tracks incidents of gun violence across the country, defines a mass shooting as an event in which at least four people are injured, excluding the shooter.
On July 4 of this year, for example, a 21-year-old man with a military-style rifle climbed onto a roof during a National Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing six people and injuring 31 others. After this mass shooting, three high-ranking bishops had called for bans on semi-automatic weapons and restrictions on high-capacity magazines.
“Not a day without a shooting”
“It seems like there isn’t a single day of the year when our nation isn’t grieving another mass shooting. It hasn’t always been like that, and the situation is getting worse’., said the press release from Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. All three were then chairmen of important committees within the USCCB. “We support a total ban on semi-automatic weapons and limiting civilian access to high-capacity magazines”they said.
The deadliest mass shooting in the United States so far this year occurred in May, when 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. “I am devastated by the Texas elementary school massacre,” Pope Francis then responded. He already felt that he “It’s time to say ‘enough’ to the indiscriminate arms trade”.