EDITORIAL

Archbishop Chaput calls Americans to ‘go deeper’ after gun violence

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In response to recent comments on America’s mass shootings, Mike Newall of The Philadelphia Inquirer criticized Archbishop Charles Chaput for “failing to identify” the true evil at the heart of the crisis. In fact, the Archbishop did just that. Chaput offers blunt but nevertheless prescient cultural commentary on the moral licentiousness of our times: “When we live in this kind of contradiction, why are we surprised by the results? We need to look deeper.” Newall criticizes Chaput for his reference to abortion and other moral evils, but applauds his care for refugees and immigrants as culturally woke. His biggest criticism, however, lies with these striking words from the Archbishop: “Only a fool can believe that ‘gun control’ will solve the problem of mass violence.” At face value, the Archbishop’s words engender controversy. But in many ways, he’s right. Without ever commenting on the political issue at hand, which is a real one, Chaput challenges Americans to go deeper. Placing tighter restrictions on automatic weapons—even banning them altogether—are legitimate discussions for policy makers. But guns are instruments. In order to solve the problem of mass violence, one must cut to the deeper issues at the heart of the agents who use those instruments. Newall should give Chaput more credit. The Archbishop never denies the need for legitimate policy discussions. Rather, he’s looking deeper. Erasing instruments will not stop bad agents from moral depravity. For that, we need changes of hearts. No one should ever fail to identify the evil lurking within.