BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Bishop of Brownsville Daniel E. Flores attracted national attention when he put out a tweet about the school shooting in Uvalde.

Flores is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on doctrine. The day after the massacre, he lamented that Americans “sacralize death’s instruments, and then are surprised that death uses them.”

The full tweet read: “Don’t tell me that guns aren’t the problem, people are. I’m sick of hearing it. The darkness first takes our children who then kill our children, using the guns that are easier to obtain than aspirin. We sacralize death’s instruments and then are surprised that death uses them.”

Soon afterwards, The Pillar, a Catholic media project focused on serious journalism, interviewed Flores in depth about guns and the theological foundations of the U.S. bishops’ approach to gun control legislation. 

Here is part of what Flores told The Pillar:

“But the larger framework, theologically, is the Church’s expectation that civil society must seek after the common good – and that means protecting the vulnerable and exercising a reasonable prudence with regard to the order of things. And that’s a responsibility not primarily of the Church, but for the human good that any society would have no matter what political system it happens to operate under.

“There is a moral dimension to how we organize ourselves, for the sake of, for example, the good of children, the good of the elderly, the good of the sick, and so on, there are certain laws that need to be constructed in a way that promote the best possible stewardship of human life, and of a peaceable community, so that everyone can live in peace in their local communities and in their countries. That’s a basic moral good.

You go back to something like Mater et magistra and even to Pius XII talking about the responsibilities of civil society. 

“And again, this is not the Church saying, “Okay, this is how you need to organize things.” 

“But instead, given their particular circumstances, it’s the responsibility of the political order and the social order to deliberate and to take seriously the responsibility for the ordering of things, for the good of the whole. So that’s a moral responsibility. 

“And, you know, the question of guns becomes a part of that. Indeed, with any kind of weaponry — there is a legitimate right of the state to exercise a vigilant and reasonable stewardship and control over the access to weapons or things which could potentially cause great damage to the good of the whole.   

“That’s a basic stance, and especially in modern society, it’s an important one, because it delineates the Church’s responsibility of forming her own people to be active and participatory in the political process that comes to a kind of consensus as to how we order things in a way that protects our children, protects our elderly protects, protects people who are vulnerable, especially when it comes to the potential of violence. So that’s the basic moral framework.”

Editor’s Note: Click here to read the full interview with Bishop Flores in The Pillar.

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