From the Editor: Chaput your mouth

I gave up on Catholicism a while ago. 

Originally raised Catholic, I just couldn’t get down with the idea that men within the faith I’m supposed to follow continually sexually molest children — and that those who are supposed to be preeminent men in power simply shuffle those same men around like casino playing cards to somewhere else where they can do it all over again. 

So I’m not sure if that bias carries into the latest column I just read from Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput who, in reference to the weekend that featured a pair of horrific mass shootings, waited until the penultimate paragraph to drop some real pot calling the kettle black shit. 

In his latest column on the website, entitled Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton — and Columbine, Chaput recalled his written sentiments from that particular school shooting. When speaking in reference to the carnage in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, he said the following: 

“…only a fool can believe that ‘gun control’ will solve the problem of mass violence. The people using the guns in these loathsome incidents are moral agents with twisted hearts. And the twisting is done by the culture of sexual anarchy, personal excess, political hatreds, intellectual dishonesty, and perverted freedoms that we’ve systematically created over the past half-century.”

After reading Chaput’s column, I really had to laugh that this idea came from a leader of the Catholic Church. Next to mass shootings and the drug epidemic, I’d put child molestation as one of the big asterisks on the myriad lists of crimes that plague American society. The cloth is essentially running the anchor leg on the relay team of rape culture.

Chaput surmises that mass shootings can’t be curbed by stricter laws and subsequent law enforcement. Instead, he argues, if there were less sexual improprieties going on, maybe people wouldn’t buy AR-15s and shoot up nightclubs. Huh?

Also, I would love to know what “perverted freedoms” are. If we’re talking masturbation, there is actual scientific proof that masturbation raises people’s moods as it offers joy and pleasure by virtue of releasing endorphins throughout the body. If we’re talking about an LGBT lifestyle, I know plenty of happy gay people, none of whom own guns. 

So I’m not sure “perverted freedoms” are a true root cause here, Archbishop. 

It is undoubtedly a fact that a pissed off person can go to a sporting goods store, fill out a form and, in less than an hour, walk out with an assault rifle, magazines and a box of bullets. There’s little in regulations beyond a background check and a promissory agreement to stop the next mass shooting, as this assuredly won’t be the last. Tighter regulations on who can purchase a firearm, a background check into their psychological status and perhaps a complete ban on the average American being able to walk into a Wal-Mart and purchase a gun given to people after basic training in our Armed Forces. 

There have been 12 mass shootings in America since the beginning of the year. That’s 1.5 a month. At the time of this issue, with the shootings in Gilroy, California (July 28), El Paso, Texas (Aug. 3) and Dayton, Ohio (Aug. 4) it’ll only be within 12 days that America has had three. I don’t think the tons of porn out there (see: “sexual anarchy”) or the all-you-can-eat buffets (see: personal excess) are the main culprits. 

I already know what’s going to happen by writing this week’s column. I’m going to get a ton of hate mail (both physical and electronic) coming to the office from upset Catholics that can’t see beyond the decades of pledging allegiance to the faith to see that Chaput’s comment was asinine. He probably knows that they were asinine, which is why he waited until the end of his column to write them. 

But let’s state the hard truths here. 

Other countries have strict regulations on guns and they aren’t mourning the loss of scores of citizens because of mass shootings. Our government isn’t going to do much to curb it as there are gun lobbyists padding campaign coffers to keep them at bay. 

Passing tighter laws upsets a lot of sensibilities and stands to hurt those that benefit from a fucked up system. It’s no different in the food, big pharma and health insurance sectors. Taking a stand means financial loss, and no one is ready to cut cheddar, regardless of how many lives they may or may not know are lost. 

That’s the real reason. It’s certainly not “sexual anarchy.” Gay men and women sharing a kiss at a pride parade or someone perusing a porn website isn’t the reason someone shoots up a school or an office building — or a garlic festival. It’s because they were given the means to buy weaponry by weak laws designed to keep the cycle going. 

Until they’re amended, in true fashion of the faith, we’ll just continue to offer our “thoughts and prayers.”


  • Kerith Gabriel's Headshot

    Kerith Gabriel is the former editor-in-chief at Philadelphia Weekly but somehow hasn’t figured out that means he doesn’t have to write nearly as much. As a routine contributor, journalism has been in his blood since his beginnings as a sports writer over a decade ago for the Philadelphia Daily News.

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