Listen to debate


To the Editor:
It was disturbing to read Jim McInteer’s letter in today’s Catholic Messenger (Jan. 31). If anything, it reinforces the argument that many people do not understand the implications of the current debate in our country over gun rights.
I, too, am a law-abiding practicing Catholic. I do not own a firearm, but have been in charge of a classroom of children who could have been potential victims, much like the victims of the mass shooting in Connecticut. The need to lessen the possibility of a tragedy like this is urgent and overdue.
Politicians have shirked their responsibilities over this issue for years. This has occurred because of views such as Mr. McInteer’s. The Messenger editorial of Jan. 24 reflects what most sensible, law-abiding Catholics feel. I applaud Frank Wessling’s courage for speaking out.
Our religious rights have not been trampled upon in the past four years. My family and I go to Mass regularly, participate in parish activities, interact with fellow parishioners and clergy, volunteer where needed, and continue to explore our rich Catholic tradition, in spite of many disagreements with the hierarchy in recent years. It is refreshing to think we are all different. We have opposing ideas often, but isn’t that what makes us think, collaborate and solve problems together? It is a myth that our religious freedom has been restricted. We are not persecuted for our practices.
The weapons industry has been allowed to proliferate for too long and needs to be contained.  That is where our attention and anger should be directed.
It is not helpful to jump to conclusions on either side of this debate. We need to listen more carefully, reflect, and then contribute something constructive to the conversation.
Thank you for listening to your readers — all of us.  We are all one body of Christ.
Rosalea Ragland
Iowa City

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