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Possenti Society Chairman Defends First Amendment

Contact:  John Snyder, 703-212-9863

 

ARLINGTON, Va., July 6 /Christian Newswire/ -- St. Gabriel Possenti Society Chairman John Snyder today issued the following response to an attempt by the National Catholic Register to censor statements made in other media:

I reject your demand, per your publisher Father Owen Kearns, L.C., that I retract the statement made as part of criticism of Vatican UN Permanent Observer Archbishop Celestino Migliore’s support for international gun control policies of a United Nations Conference.

Contrary to your July 5, 2006 email, the statement did not appear on our website. It appeared elsewhere in an electronically distributed news release, which stated, “We understand this initiative not as an attack on the Church, but rather as a protest of a terribly misguided secular political initiative undertaken by a Vatican agency and at the very least implicitly supported by equally misguided American bishops.” Just for the record, I stand by this statement.

It is most ironic that Father Owen Kearns, a priest of the Legionaries of Christ, is attempting to intimidate me into accepting his “dictat.” This is the same Legionaries of Christ whose founder, Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, according to Catholic World News (CWNews.com) June 23, 2006, “was recently removed from public ministry after a Vatican investigation of sex-abuse accusations against him.” According to a New York Times report datelined Rome of May 19, 2006, the Vatican by this action against Maciel “cautiously acknowledged today long-standing allegations of sexual abuse by the founder of a prominent Catholic order, asking him to give up his public ministry in favor of a ‘quiet life of prayer and penitence.’”

Interestingly, Fr. Kearns is also abusing his authority. By attempting to prohibit freedom of expression of other points of view, he is abusing his position as publisher of the National Catholic Register to promote censorship.

I am outraged at your attempt to dictate and intimidate us in this way. I am outraged that Circle Media, Inc., publisher of the National Catholic Register, attempts to use its advertising acceptance policy to intimidate the St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc. into conforming to your point of view.

The ad from St. Gabriel Possenti Society has been running in your paper every week since February 2006. The 3-line ad in your newspaper reads: Honoring a Holy Handgun Hero: WWW.GUNSAINT.COM St. Gabriel Possenti Society, and includes an image of St. Gabriel Possenti.

Now, after five months, in order to continue running my ad in your newspaper, you want me to retract a statement, a statement that was not even made in the ad in your newspaper. Nor was it made on the website. It was made elsewhere in an electronic press release.

This is a blatant attempt to infringe the right to freedom of speech and press under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Shame on you, you yourself a newspaper, in attempting to subvert the First Amendment!

Again, just for the record, I reaffirm the statement, made as part of criticism of Vatican UN Permanent Observer Archbishop Celestino Migliore’s support for international gun control policies of a United Nations Conference. “We understand this initiative not as an attack on the Church, but rather as a protest of a terribly misguided secular political initiative undertaken by a Vatican agency and at the very least implicitly supported by equally misguided American bishops.”

Let me emphasize that the right to self defense is a God given right . . . a right to life itself . . . a right of law abiding citizens to protect themselves against criminals and against organizations and governments that abuse their authority.