A Catholic priest in Ann Arbor, Michigan has contradicted diocese policy by urging parishioners to arm themselves in self defense.
Rev. Edward Fride of Christ the King Catholic Church sent a letter earlier this month to parishioners telling them they do not live in Mayberry.
“Pretending we are in Mayberry, while we are clearly not, can have very negative consequences for ourselves and those we love, especially those we have a responsibility to protect. If we are not in Mayberry, is there a real threat?” Fride asked.
Mayberry is as fictional town portrayed on the Andy Griffith Show. The 1960s television show “was popular because it showed a kind of life that everybody wished were true, no threats, everything is fine, everybody’s perfectly safe, etc.,” Fride writes in the letter.
“It is very common for Christians to simply assume that they live in Mayberry, trusting that because they know the Lord Jesus, everything will always be fine and nothing bad can happen to them and their families. Those who have followed the Lord Jesus for more than 20 minutes, however, have often experienced first-hand that the reality of living in a fallen universe can be very different.”
Fride writes that there are very specific threats not adequately addressed by civil authorities and police. He then mentions the chief of police of the City of Detroit who last year repeatedly called on “good” and “law-abiding” Detroiters to arm themselves against criminals in the city.
“When we look at the good community members who have concealed weapons permits,” James Craig said, “the likelihood they’ll shoot is based on a lack of confidence in this Police Department.”
Fride advises his flock to seek CPL (Concealed Pistol License) and is offering classes to earn the permit.
A Michigan Catholic Bishop, however, has taken issue with the classes. Earl Boyea said after Fride sent out his letter and offered classes that he “has never given permission for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in a church or school in the Diocese of Lansing,” said Michael Diebold, a spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing which includes the Ann Arbor parish.
“Additionally, Bishop Boyea further states that Concealed Pistol License classes are inappropriate activities to be held on Church property,” Diebold said.
Diebold added that the Catholic Church believes parish churches are gun free zones. He said private security is adequate to protect churches.
“We are followers of Jesus Christ, who raised not a hand against those who mocked, tortured, and finally murdered him,” Boyea said in 2012. “While we grasp both the Second Amendment and the legitimate right of some persons to defend themselves, our churches and our schools are dedicated to a far different approach to life’s problems.”
Taking issue with Diebold’s assertion that churches are protected by security, Fride mentioned the massacre at Columbine in 1999 and a recent incident at nearby Father Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor.
“The fact that two active shooters got within yards of Father Gabriel Richard before they were taken down by SWAT demonstrates that the threat is real. This druggie couple from Detroit stole a car and it broke down at Plymouth and Dixboro. They went through the woods and had almost reached the high school when they were stopped,” Fride writes.