Catholic Conference of Ohio
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Gun Violence

Church Teaching and Statements

The USCCB has been a consistent advocate for peace and the prevention of gun and other forms of violence that strike at the life and dignity of persons. In 1994, recalling the words of Pope Paul VI, “if you want peace, work for justice,” the U.S. bishops issued their pastoral message, Confronting a Culture of Violence: A Catholic Framework for Action. In their message the bishops stated, “We have an obligation to respond. Violence -- in our homes, our schools and streets, our nation and world -- is destroying the lives, dignity and hopes of millions of our sisters and brothers.”

The USCCB was also a supporter of the Assault Weapons Ban initially passed in 1994 but which expired in 2004. In 2000, the U.S. bishops issued their pastoral statement, Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice. In the statement the bishops called for all people to work for a culture of life and to do more to end violence in our homes and to help victims break out of patterns of abuse. In regard to gun violence prevention the bishops wrote, “We support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer (especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children or anyone other than the owner), and we reiterate our call for sensible regulation of handguns.” 

On November 7, 2017, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, urged national leaders to engage in a true debate about solutions to gun violence.

In Ohio, the Catholic Bishops issued statements regarding proposed changes to  "stand your ground" provisions, and the carrying of concealed guns in our churches.

Ohio Senate Amends and Passes Gun Bill that Keeps Ohio's Current "Duty to Retreat"

Catholic Conference of Ohio Supported and Advocated for this Change

Amended Substitute HB 228 passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 19-10.  The House concurred by a vote of 59-21. The Catholic Conference of Ohio opposed the provision within HB 228 that would have substantially expanded the locations at which a person has no duty to retreat when under a perceived threat of violence. This provision was removed from the bill prior to passage.  The governor has indicated that he will veto this bill due to other provisions in this legislation. The Senate needs 20 votes to over-ride a veto; the House needs 60.

Hannah News Story

Watch the Sente Floor Debate

 

Catholic Conference of Ohio Urges Caution in Enacting Legislation Changing Ohio's "Duty to Retreat" Provisions in Self-defense Situations

HB 228 makes changes to current "retreat" standards as they relate to the use of guns and other defense weapons

HB 228 recently passed the Ohio House by a vote of 65-32.  The Senate is expected to hold hearings this November and December.  The Catholic Conference of Ohio has a long-standing concern over changing provisions that may weaken one's "duty to retreat" in self-defense situations.

In a previous statement, the Ohio Bishops wrote:  "[We] believe that the duty to avoid violence (retreat), when possible, is an essential component of self-defense and respect for life. Defending one’s life can, at times, justly require the use of lethal force, but the use of lethal force should be a last resort and of absolute necessity. Other criteria for deciding between retreat and force include the imminent threat to life and the need for a proportional response. Our Church’s teaching cautions that if a person in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it is immoral [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2264].

The Bishops also encourage that HB 228 be expanded to include provisions from the Governor's workgroup on addressing gun violence.

Watch the House floor debate here

  

Church Statements on the Synagogue Tragedy in Pittsburgh

Chairman of U.S. Bishops' Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs:

"...Anti-Semitism is to be condemned and has to be confronted by our nation. The Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stands with our Jewish brothers and sisters during this time of great distress. May God grant peace to the dead, healing to the injured, and comfort to the families of those hurt and killed and to all the Jewish Community." More

President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

"...We condemn all acts of violence and hate and yet again, call on our nation and public officials to confront the plague of gun violence. Violence as a response to political, racial, or religious differences must be confronted with all possible effort. God asks nothing less of us. He begs us back to our common humanity as His sons and daughters..." More

Pope Francis:

"...May the Almighty welcome the deceased in His peace, console their families and support the injured. In reality we are all wounded by this inhuman act of violence. May the Lord help us to extinguish the outbreaks of hatred that develop in our societies, reinforcing the sense of humanity, respect for life, moral and civil values, and the holy fear of God, Who is Love and the Father of all." More

Catholic Conference of Ohio Adds Voice to Legislative Action Addressing Gun Violence

Coalition representing Ohio medical professionals, clergy, teachers, school counselors, law enforcement and mental health advocates urge passage of HB 585 and SB 288

This joint letter to Ohio legislative leaders reflects the need for urgency in passing constructive legislation addressing gun violence.

"Within this past month alone, Americans have grieved for those killed or injured in three school massacres and our nation continues to average more than one shooting at a school per week. This issue is not going away and we cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that this violence won’t happen here – because it has. And it will again.

We urge the Ohio General Assembly to take action the package of sensible reforms contained in HB 585 and SB 288 – reforms developed by a bipartisan group representing both sides of the issue. We believe these bills and their common sense reforms would have the support necessary for passage, if only they can be brought to the floor for a vote."

Click here for the full letter

Governor Kasich Issues Executive Order To Improve Criminal Background Checks

Aim is to better ensure that dangerous people are less like to purchase guns

The reliability of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is dependent upon the information submitted by reporting agencies, such as clerks of court and local law enforcement agencies. Getting this required information into the system in a timely fashion makes it less likely that a prohibited individual is able to purchase a firearm.

The order reconvenes a 2015 working group composed of the Office of Criminal Justice Service (OCJS) of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and Ohio Supreme Court and charges them with assessing the current level of compliance across the state, as well as requiring the OCJS to issue a report on to the current status of the reporting of NICS data and any barriers that exist to achieving comprehensive reporting.

In addition, Ohio will publish a reporting compliance manual for local governments and elected officials who have responsibility for imputing data into NICS, and make recommendations on how to overcome remaining compliance barriers.

Finally, the Governor has requested that the Ohio Auditor of State immediately begin to include compliance with NICS reporting in any annual or biennial audit of local public offices and make those finding available on the Auditor’s website.

Executive Order

Catholic Conference of Ohio's Response to the Order

Ohio "Consensus" Legislation Introduced to Curb Gun Violence

Governor Kasich's Workgroup Recommendations Introduced in both House and Senate

HB 585, sponsored by Representative Henne (R - Clayton),  and SB 288 sponsored by Senator Eklund ( R - Munson Township) and Senator Kunze (R - Hilliard), are companion bills that reflect the recommendations made by Governor Kasich's responses to gun violence workgroup.  The Catholic Conference of Ohio staff participated in the workgroup.

 

Contact Your Representative and Senator.  Urge Support for HB 585 & SB 288.

 

Recommendations from the Workgroup

Catholic Bishops of Ohio Statement on the Workgroup Recommendations

Ohio Bishops Issue Statement on Gun Violence

Encourage elected leaders to adopt prudent policies to help curb gun violence.

The Catholic Bishops of Ohio call upon Ohio’s elected leaders to adopt prudent policies to help curb gun violence. Now is the time for action. Now is the time to promote the culture of life.

We urge open and civil discourse that will result in the enactment of bipartisan reforms. We pray that Ohio’s leaders will set aside political agendas and achieve solutions that promote the common good and safety of all people. We believe just solutions can be found that will not violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

We commend state leaders who are actively seeking solutions to the pressing issue of gun violence. We applaud Governor Kasich for calling together persons with differing perspectives and for his leadership in seeking points of common agreement...

Governor Kasich's Recommendations

Governor Kasich Proposes "Consensus" Changes to Help Reduce Gun Violence

Catholic Conference of Ohio Applauds the Governor's Leadership in this Area

On March 1, 2018,  Governor John R. Kasich offered the Ohio General Assembly recommendations to help reduce gun violence.  A group of leaders from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of views came together to search for common ground on such policies.  The Catholic Conference of Ohio participated in this process. Through this process, the group reached unanimous agreement on several proposals.

USCCB Domestic Justice Chairman Urges True Debate On Gun Violence

Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development Calls for "Reasonable Steps"

Excerpt from the Statement: "...Violence in our society will not be solved by a single piece of legislation, and many factors contribute to what we see going on all around us. Even so, our leaders must engage in a real debate about needed measures to save lives and make our communities safer. The USCCB continues to urge a total ban on assault weapons, which we supported when the ban passed in 1994 and when Congress failed to renew it in 2004..."

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Prayer for an End to Human Trafficking

Oh God, we didn't see them.

But you did-

The hundreds and thousands of human beings trafficked each year to join the millions who are trapped in modern-day slavery.

Under terrible conditions, they work in factories, plow fields, harvest crops, work quarries, fill brothels, clean homes, and haul water.

Many are children with tiny fingers for weaving rugs and small shoulders for bearing rifles.

Their labor is forced, their bodies beaten, their faces hidden from those who don't really want to see them.

But you see them all, God of the poor.

You hear their cry and you answer by opening our eyes, and breaking our hearts and loosening our tongues to insist:

No mas. No more.

Amen