Armed Defense of Vatican Highlights Church Hypocrisy on Guns

There’s the Swiss Guard for show and there’s the Swiss Guard that deploys with semiautos and machineguns. (Vatican News/Facebook)

U.S.A. — “A car driven by someone with apparent psychiatric problems rushed through a Vatican gate Thursday evening and sped past Swiss Guards into a palace courtyard before the driver was apprehended by police, the Holy See said,” ABC News reports. “Vatican gendarmes fired a shot at the speeding car’s front tires after it rushed the gate, but the vehicle managed to continue on its way, the Vatican press office said in a statement late Thursday.”

Armed guards at the Vatican are willing to use deadly force to defend it…?

Yes, of course, and that’s never been a secret. Established in 1506, the Pontifical Swiss Guard is one of the world’s oldest military units, with its work augmented by the Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City State. And while tourists might find their historical plumed helmets and halberds picturesque and quaint, they’re the real deal, “lavishly equipped,” as colleague Kurt Hofmann has noted, “with some pretty hefty investments in Sig-Sauer, Heckler & Koch, Steyr Mannlicher, and Glock semi-automatic handguns, personal defense weapons, assault rifles, and submachine guns, not to mention whoever manufactures the swords, halberds, and other more traditional weapons carried by [the Pope’s] guards.” did a great piece on all their arms a few years back.

All this makes some official pronouncements by Pope Francis more problematic and hypocritical than infallible.

“Do we really want peace?” he asked. “Then let’s ban all weapons so we don’t have to live in fear of war.”

Responding “You first” hardly seems out of line here.

Pope Francis also said that weapons manufacturers can’t be Christians—leading to the paradox of what that must mean for weapons end users, like his guards.

And that leads us to the bipolar contention from the Vatican’s editorial director that being pro-life means being pro-gun control, disregarding the above-mentioned armed-to-the-teeth Swiss Guard and also the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which in 1994 declared:

“In a world marked by evil and sin, the right of legitimate defense by armed means exists. This right can become a serious duty for those who are responsible for the lives of others, for the common good of the family or of the civil community.”

Ignoring “family” and focusing exclusively on “community,” National Catholic Reporter maintains, “The … Church’s position on gun control is … resoundingly clear: Firearms in the hands of civilians should be strictly limited and eventually completely eliminated.”

“Completely eliminated.” But no one is talking about taking your guns.

“According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, individuals have a right and a duty to protect their own lives when in danger, and someone who ‘defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow,’” CNS concedes, but offers a significant caveat. “According to the catechism, the right to use firearms to ‘repel aggressors’ or render them harmless is specifically sanctioned for ‘those who legitimately hold authority’ and have been given the duty of protecting the community.”

This is a belief in authoritarian supremacy and the magic of the badge of the “Only Ones,” like the Pontifical Swiss Guard and  Gendarmerie Corps. That all citizens have this right and duty, as the Founders intended, does not enter this faulty equation.

Having written on this topic before, experience has shown that some will get angry and dismiss reports like this as “Catholic bashing.” Such people are not being honest with you and not being honest with themselves. The truth is, Church officials, going all the way to the top, are subverting rights, either through ignorance or intent. Setting that straight and discouraging further attacks is a moral duty that those who believe in unalienable rights endowed by their Creator share.

After all, we who are defending the human rights of Catholics and other gun owners aren’t their enemies. Those are the secular violence monopolists that Church leaders support who use their FBI undercover agents to paint traditionalists as “far-right white nationalists,” with all the chilling ramifications it implies.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea