Pope Francis made a statement about weapons manufacturing that is stirring much controversy. Liberals are using it to prove that he is left-wing, making it seem as though the Pope is anti-gun. The conservatives are taking the quotes the media is presenting to condemn the Pope. But what most are not doing is looking at his full statement, in which he said:
It makes me think one thing: people, leaders, entrepreneurs that call themselves Christians, and produce arms! This gives some mistrust: they call themselves Christians! “No, no, Father, I don’t produce them, no, no …. I only have my savings, my investments in arms factories.” Ah! And why? “Because the interest is somewhat higher …” And a double face is also a current coin today: to say something and do another. Hypocrisy … But let’s see what happened in the last century: in ’14, ’15, in ’15 in fact. There was that great tragedy in Armenia. So many died. I don’t know the figure: more than a million certainly. But where were the great powers of the time? Were they looking elsewhere? Why? Because they were interested in war: their war! And those that died were persons, second class human beings. Then, in the 30s and 40s the tragedy of the Shoah.
The great powers had photographs of the railroad lines that took trains to the concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, to kill the Jews, and also Christians, also the Roma, also homosexuals, to kill them there. But tell me, why didn’t they bomb that? Interest! And shortly after, almost contemporaneously, were the lager in Russia: Stalin … How many Christians suffered, were killed! The great powers divided Europe among themselves as a cake. So many years had to pass before arriving at “certain” freedom. It’s that hypocrisy of speaking of peace and producing arms, and even selling arms to this one who is at war with that one, and to that one who is at war with this one!
It appears that Francis was referring to people who conduct wars for gain, and not for righteousness, such as stopping the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. If the Pope was anti-gun, he would have never asked the question, “Why didn’t they bomb that?” Bombs are weapons, and they are manufactured. And also when he speaks of the nations that should have stopped the Armenian Genocide, he says that they were “interested in war: their war!” meaning that they were not interested in righteous war to stop the genocide of Christians.
Also, Francis said in his speech: “no to an arms race which robs the poor and the vulnerable,” which is obviously referring to an arms market that is purely materialistic and ultimately evil. So I think it’s safe to say that Francis is not condemning weapons use and manufacturing arms as evils unto themselves, but rather, the use of them as a means to a materialistic end and not a noble objective.
I believe that the media is purposefully misconstruing Francis for one reason: divide and conquer. To make Francis’ statements to appear progressive will make conservative Catholics think that he is an absolute leftist, and liberal Catholics to think that he is on their side. Both of these camps will, in turn, argue with other Catholics who don’t take the media’s reports at face value, but rather wish to find out what the Pope really said and meant. This causes arguments and divisions to erupt in between Catholics and Christians in general. The Catholic Church has already been divided and conquered—by modernists, by homosexuals, by antichrist haters of God. What more would the enemy desire to do but to further this division?
As opposed to just chiding the orthodox teachings of the Church in regards to marriage and abortion, now, the progressives are trying to forcefully project an image to the conservatives that their Pope, too, is a pure leftist like them, as if to say, “You have lost the battle entirely, your own Pope is on our side.” It’s all division, and it is all a means to further widen the wound that has already been made, splitting the skin of the body so that it can eventually bleed to death.
Now, to say that investing in arms or manufacturing weapons always puts your faith in Christ into question is most definitely not true. One thing that I wish from Pope Francis is that he be more emphatic in his statements, and be more specific as to whether or not all weapons manufacturers are evil, or that only the ones who profit from evil are placing their souls in jeopardy. I doubt Francis himself takes the former position, since he is constantly surrounded by very tough Swiss Guardsmen who are all armed, all very well trained, all highly skilled marksmen; all have trained with SG 550 Assault Rifles and all sharpen their skills at a shooting range. You can watch clips of their training and weapons in these two videos:
All of the guns that the Swiss Guard uses are manufactured, and I doubt that Francis is condemning these manufacturers. Let’s not forget that, not too long ago, the Vatican was pushing for military strikes against ISIS. The bombs from the nation that answers the Vatican’s call and that drop and kill ISIS would also be manufactured. Would Francis denounce these? Would the entire Catholic Church denounce all of this? I doubt it.
Since 1990, every Swiss Guardsmen has been armed with the standard Sig P220, a manufactured weapon. And for 80 years, the Swiss Guard was armed with the Dreyse pistol.
Whether or not Francis was condemning all weapons manufacturing, we may never know (but again, I doubt it), it is absolutely wrong to emphatically affirm that one cannot be a Christian and manufacture weapons at the same time. Making weapons is not an evil unto itself, it all depends as to why one is manufacturing the weapons. If one is making weapons for the cause of evil — mass genocide and the like — then yes, that manufacturer is evil.
Look at the evil and wicked weapons provisions that America has and is doing with other nations and terrorist groups. The US has manufactured and provided weapons for the Mexican drug cartel, the FSA, the Taliban, the Indonesians and numerous other evil people. England provided the Ottoman Empire with tin to make cannons so that they could fight the Catholic nations. This providing of weapons was no doubt demonic and evil.
All sorts of weapons have been manufactured for the cause of evil. Just look at all of the poisonous gas that was concocted by the Nazis in their plan and execution to mass murder millions of Jews, Christians, and other peoples. I remember when I was in High School, my history teacher, Ms. Lisa Schalla, asked the class a series of questions regarding particular crimes that were done in the Holocaust, to which the class was to give the sentence, stating either “innocent or guilty.” Schalla stated one of the crimes: ‘A factory that manufactures poisonous gas for the gas chambers.’ The majority of the class (and I am not making this up) voted, “Innocent,” with only maybe two or three students (including myself) saying that it was evil. I remember one really stupid student saying, “I think they are innocent because they [the manufacturers] are not making a profit,” as if to say that as long profit is not made, your soul is right.
I, on the other hand, was yelling for most of the time, that the whole class, and the test “questions,” were absolute rubbish (I used a much less cordial word).
Now, the point of me sharing this story with you (besides demonstrating how diabolical modern education is) is to illustrate my position on this controversy: poisonous gas is a weapon, and it was being manufactured and used for evil, and while most of the students (who were far left) said that they were on the right, I (as a Christian) understood enough at that time to affirm that such a thing was sinister.
In other words I have a fair and balanced approach when it comes to weapons use within the context of the Christian Faith. I do believe strongly in Holy War, I believe in Christian Empire, laws that ban evil and false religions, ideologies and cults (and no, I don’t mean Catholicism), laws that enable the state to execute people for homosexuality and teaching the sodomite agenda, and I do believe in the use of force for the order of society. But I do not believe in mob violence and the indiscriminate killing of human beings.
This balance comes from a reading of the Christian Faith, both in the Scriptures, Church Councils, and the writings of the Church Fathers. After all of the years of research and writing I have been doing on Christian militancy, I must affirm that to say that the manufacturing of weapons is contrary to the Christian Faith is false, based on the authority of Scripture and the writings of the holy Fathers of the Church.
Right in the beginning, in the Book of Genesis, it reads of how, when Lot was captured, Abraham “armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants” (Genesis 14:14). The holy prophet armed the warriors, which means that there was a manufacturer of weapons in his time, and the warriors were trained, which means that there was a system of martial arts in which these valiant men conducted training exercises. They were like the Swiss Guard that protects the Pope, and in the history of the Church, Abraham was the Pope of his time.
The Scriptures, in a most beautiful piece of prose, describe some warriors of David’s armies as “men trained for battle, who could handle shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains” (1 Chronicles 12:8). Here are men who have not only undergone martial training in weaponry, but who use weapons that were manufactured. Shields and spears were formed by blacksmiths who were masters in the craft of weapons making, just as you have masters in gun making today.
Christianity is so pro-weapon that the Temple of God itself in ancient Israel was filled with weapons. The high priest Jehoiada privately formed an army against the usurping queen Athaliah, and provided them with the weapons from the Temple:
And the priest gave the captains of hundreds the spears and shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of the Lord. (2 Kings 11:10)
Again, no doubt these weapons were manufactured by the finest blacksmiths. Jehoiada, in the Catholic perspective, would be the equivalent to the Pope of his time; this is why, for example, St. Robert Bellarmine referenced Jehoiada when defending the case for Papal Infallibility.
Our Lord Himself believes in the righteous purchasing, selling, and using of arms. For in the Scripture, He says to His Disciples:
But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. (Luke 22:36)
Here our Lord commands for the purchasing of a weapon, and here we have a purchase, or really a trade, for an arm. A garment is sold, the money is used to purchase a weapon, a weapon that is manufactured. The weapon is manufactured, the weapon is bought, and thus the weapon is sold. Here we have the manufacturing of weapons, the purchase and selling of weapons, all merited in this short verse. St. Peter tells Christ, “Lord, look, here are two swords,” and Christ responds: “It is enough.” (Luke 22:38) Those two swords were manufactured, they were most likely purchased by and sold to some of the Disciples (or least just to St. Peter).
When the Jews were trying to kill St. Paul, the commander who was watching over him wrote to two centurions,
Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor. (Acts 23:23-24)
The swords of these soldiers and the spears of the spearmen were most definitely manufactured. Was this also evil? Absolutely not. Was Paul evil for allowing the soldiers to protect him with their arms? Only a heretic would think so. Moreover, St. Paul says that the ruler of a nation “does not bear the sword in vain” (Romans 13:4). Tell me, the sword used by the ruler’s soldiers, were they not manufactured? What of those of his officers? Of course they were. There is thus no sin in the manufacturing, purchasing and selling of arms, as long as it is done for a practical purpose (such as self-defense), or a noble purpose (the defense of Christians and the Church). This is the affirmation of the Catholic Church itself. St. Robert Bellarmine said:
Self-defense is lawful for anybody, not only for a prince, but also for a private citizen (Bellarmine, On Laymen or Secular People, ch. 15, ed. Tutino, pp. 68-69)
St. Odo of Cluny, amongst the holiest of monks, affirmed that if the churches cannot defend themselves from persecutors, then the laymen have every right to pick up their arms to protect themselves:
It was lawful, therefore, for a layman to carry the sword in battle that he might protect defenseless people, as the harmless flock from evening wolves according to the saying of Scripture [Acts 20:29], and that he might restrain by arms or by the law those whom ecclesiastical censure was not able to subdue. (Odo of Cluny, Life of Gerald of Aurillac, 1.8)
St. Odo also wrote, in regards to righteous kings and prophets using arms:
Let no one be worried because a just man sometimes made use of fighting, which seems incompatible with religion. For some of the Fathers, and of these the most holy and most patient, when the cause of justice demanded, valiantly took up arms against their adversaries, as Abraham, who destroyed a great multitude of the enemy to rescue his nephew, and King David who sent his forces even against his own son. (Odo of Cluny, Life of St. Gerald of Aurillac, 1.8)
St. Bernard, one of the most influential and authoritative fathers of the Catholic Church, advocated for the use of the sword against the Muslims when they were persecuting Christians in the Holy Land:
If it is never legitimate for a Christian to strike with the sword, why then did the Saviour’s precursor [John the Baptist] bid soldiers be content with their pay, and not rather ban military service to them? But if, as is the case, it is legitimate for all those ordained to it by the Almighty–provided they have not embraced a higher calling–then to whom, I ask, may it more rightly be allowed than to those into whose hands and hearts is committed on behalf of all of us Sion, the city of our strength?
So that once the transgressors of divine law have been expelled, the righteous nation that preserves the truth enters in surety. Surely, then, the nations who chose warfare should be scattered, those who molest us should be cut away, and all the workers of iniquity should be dispersed from the city of the Lord–those who busy themselves carrying off the incalculable riches placed in Jerusalem by Christian people, profaning holy things and possessing the sanctuary of God as their heritage. Let both swords of the faithful fall upon the necks of the foe to the destruction of which is the Christian faith, lest the Gentiles should say, ‘Where is their God.'” (St. Bernard, In Praise of the New Knighthood, ch. 3, 5)
So, the teaching of the Catholic Church is that the sword can be used, but only for righteousness and for a just and noble cause. With all of this said, let us contemplate on one verse of Scripture:
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stand upright. (Psalm 20:7-8)
We do not trust in weapons, but on God, but it is through the arms of His saints that Christ destroys His enemies.