Cardinal Dolan Backs Obama on Gun Control, Refutes Second Amendment Fears

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York has backed President Barack Obama's push for gun control, saying that this is an area both leaders can agree on.

"I found myself nodding in agreement," Dolan, who is also president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said of Obama's recent State of the Union address.

"Overwhelming majorities of Americans – Americans who believe in the Second Amendment – have come together around common-sense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun," the cardinal wrote in a blog last week.

President Obama has called for an assault weapons ban and more comprehensive background checks as America is still recovering from a year filled with mass shooting tragedies, but his efforts have been met by firm opposition from some conservatives who have said that no steps should be taken that would endanger the Second Amendment.

The National Rifle Association has been on the forefront of condemning the Obama administration's plans, and some religious leaders, such as Franklin Graham, have declared their opposition to any gun control, instead blaming the entertainment industry and the evil in society for the bloody incidents.

A number of interfaith and Christian groups have taken up the opposite view, however, and insisted that gun control is needed to help prevent weapons capable of mass murder from falling in the wrong hands.

In his blog "The Gospel in the Digital Age," Cardinal Dolan, who is seen as a possible candidate to replace Pope Benedict XVI at the seat of the Vatican, admitted that he was in favor of recent legislation passed by New York that constituted "the most comprehensive gun control bill in the country."

The archbishop revealed that gun control had been on his mind ever since the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn., where a 20-year-old gunman killed 27 people before turning the gun on himself. Dolan noted that the Catholic Church has long supported efforts to curb the illegal arms trade around the world, and said that "advocating for gun control is not something new for the Church."

The cardinal admitted that he receives many critical emails every time he brings up the church's support for gun control, but he insisted that "there can be no denying that, in the wake of Newtown, Aurora, Blacksburg, Tucson, Columbine, and almost countless other horrific and senseless deaths by guns, that something must be done."

The Roman Catholic Church and Obama have not been on the best of terms, particularly after last year's HHS contraceptive mandate scandal that conservatives say endangers religious freedom, but Dolan explained that he was fully behind the president when it comes to tackling America's problem in firearm-related incidents.

"For me, regulating and controlling guns is part of building a Culture of Life, of doing what we can to protect and defend human life," Dolan wrote. "The easy access to guns, including assault weapons, that exists in our nation has contributed towards a Culture of Death, where human life and dignity are cheapened by the threat of violence."

The cardinal added that effective gun control bills will be one of the things he will be praying for during the season of Lent, which began last week.