Yesterday in Parkland, FL a high school shooting took the lives of 17 people. Yesterday’s tragedy was the 18th school shooting in 2018 – only 45 days into the year. With mass shootings becoming so common, it is easy to become numb to the violence in our country. But rather than growing complacent, we must work ever harder to find solutions to this violence.
“We’re sitting talking about these things again and again and again,” said Msgr. Swetland. “We need that kind of deep conversation in our country asking why, among all the rich countries of the world, we are by far the most violent, why we have the most murders by far. What is wrong with our culture that we are so frequently talking about these things day in and day out?”
Below are some solutions that Msgr. Swetland offered:
Pray for Peace
I think it’s helpful to remember when prayer changed everything. Remember instances that are so startlingly obvious that prayer was the reason for change.
We just had the 70th documented miracle at Lourdes. We think in our own lifetime about the falling of the Berlin Wall, without shots being fired. We think of the change in South Africa that brought the end of apartheid. Those both, in my opinion, are miraculous examples of the power of prayer, coordinated with the kind of action necessary to bring about peace and justice.
I would argue that our own Civil Rights Movement in the United States, though there were instances of violence, not the least of which was the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., but a lot of its success can be attributed to the spiritual roots of that movement. So it doesn’t always have to end in violence.
We were not founded as a nation based on freedom from religion, but we were founded as a nation on the freedom to fully exercise our faith. And the elimination of religious expression in public and so many places is one of the real, gross violations of the vision of our Founding Fathers.
Ask What You Can Do
Our bishops have, for decades now, been calling on what they call ‘common sense gun restrictions.’ But of course that flies in the face of many other traditions we have here in the United States. Not least of which is the way the 2nd Amendment has been interpreted by our courts, and probably the way it was intended by our Founding Fathers.
I think it would take a Constitutional Amendment to change the right to bear arms. So my solution is to ask gun owners, and those who strongly believe in the 2nd Amendment right, what they are going to do to make this change. You can’t just keep screaming for the right to bear arms when too many people have domestic violence in their background, have mental illness in their background.
If you are for the right to bear arms, you have the duty to see those arms used correctly. So, I think the ball is not in our Congress’s court as much as it is in those who strongly lobby for the right to bear arms. What are you doing to see that those arms are used in an appropriate way?
Bring God Back to Our Culture
We are a society in crisis. We are in decay as a society. If you ever thought America was a wonderful society, you’re kidding yourself if you think that is still true. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good things about the United States. But our families, our communities, our cities, our rural areas … if you start totalling up all the evidence of decay in our society, it has to do mainly with the breakdown of the family and the fact that we have given up on God. God hasn’t given up on us, but we have given up on God.
Even among Catholics, only a quarter of Catholics even bother to go to Mass on Sunday. If you can’t give God even your obligation, then you’re not giving Him the rest of your life. And this is an indictment on all of us.
This is why we must evangelize. I think the beginning of this is getting back in right relationship with God, and through God we can be in right relationship with one another. But until God is front and center in our country, we’re going to be dealing with this again and again and again.
Listen to the full conversation below:
Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Eastern/3:00 – 6:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio®.
Msgr. Stuart Swetland is the host of Go Ask Your Father, which can be heard weekdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/10:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio.