Contact: John Snyder, St. Gabriel Possenti Society
, 202-239-8005, [email protected]
TITUSVILLE, Fla., April 29, 2014 /Christian Newswire
/ -- "The St. Gabriel Possenti Society (GunSaint.com
) rejoices in the canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II," Society chairman John M. Snyder said here today.
St. Gabriel Possenti used handguns in 1860 to rescue Italian villagers from marauders.
Possenti's biographer, the late Rev. Godfrey Poage, C.P., was a peritus during the Second Vatican Council called by Pope St. John XXIII. Fr. Poage's book, Son of the Passion, The Story of Gabriel Francis Possenti, appeared in 1962, the same year the Council began. The book detailed Possenti's proficiency with firearms.
"Pope St. John Paul's writings underscored the right and duty to defend life and the right to use force in defense as actualized by St. Gabriel Possenti," Snyder noted.
"In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae," Snyder continued, "Pope St. John Paul cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2265 that '….legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life, the common good of the family or of the state.' He wrote, 'Unfortunately, it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life.'"
Snyder recalled that, "In the autumn of 1999, my wife Ling and I were part of a small papal audience at the Apostolic Palace. We were the only Americans with a group of Poles. When Pope St. John Paul entered the reception room, he immediately exclaimed, 'Who are the two Americans!' We treasure the memory as well as the photographic record of that meeting."
Two years later, the St. Gabriel Possenti Society held a conference in Rome attended by a great grand nephew of St. Gabriel Possenti. At that time, Snyder presented a specially designed gold medallion featuring a profile of St. Gabriel Possenti to the Holy Father through the Secretary of the Papal Household. Snyder later received an official papal letter of appreciation signed by a Vatican Assessor assuring him of "His Holiness's appreciation of the devoted sentiments which prompted this presentation."
Possenti, a seminarian, died in 1862 of natural causes. Pope Benedict XV canonized him in 1920. The Society seeks his Vatican designation as Patron of Handgunners.
The international, interdenominational Society emphasizes the historical, philosophical and theological bases for the right to use force in self-defense.
"There is an obvious connection between the right to life, the right to defend life and the right to the arms necessary to defend life," commented Snyder. "With confidence we may invoke the intercession of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul as well as of St. Gabriel Possenti during our earthly pilgrimage."