VATICAN CITY - A top Vatican cardinal with a passion for shooting defended his rich collection of rifles and handguns in comments on Thursday to Italian newspapers that have already dubbed him "Cardinal Rambo."
"This passion for weapons is long-standing. I used to go to shooting ranges. Unfortunately since I've been at the Vatican I had to stop," Domenico Calcagno, head of the Administration of Vatican Patrimony, told Il Fatto Quotidiano.
After reading this article, I found myself again annoyed by the typical response of the media. "Oh, he has GUNS! He must be violent! Let's call him Cardinal Rambo!" This response has been nurtured so that the general population also reacts in horror upon learning someone enjoys shooting, or even, heaven forbid, carries a gun for self protection.
This man is a successor to the apostles, a man of God, a man who chose to go without having his own wife and family because God called him to serve all men and women as a spiritual father. There is no disconnect with those glorious attributes and owning several guns, enjoying using them, and being a good Christian. Are men who collect stamps grilled about their hobby? Men who train to run marathons? Men who enjoy fine wine?
Those who enjoy shooting and hunting typically personify many good qualities. A gun owner often adheres to upstanding ideals: family, home, country, God. He most likely will be the one who steps forward to serve others, to defend his rights, to protect himself and those around him.
A gun is a tool, used by generations of men, women and children to protect and feed the family. As our culture moved to be more urban, few families continued to learn how to use this tool. But it is simply a skill to be learned and a device to be used. Knowing how to shoot can put food on the table, save a life, and can be used as an enjoyable hobby improving motor, reaction and strategy skills. Every family member should be comfortable with them, learning to use them under proper guidance and supervised training.
I am not a Catholic Cardinal being covered by the press using derogatory names, but I have had people recoil and "joke" that they will be careful not to make me angry when they learn that I shoot. I am no different because I know how to shoot a gun. I do not transform into mindless fury because of a piece of metal I carry. I am the same me, but with skills (I hope never to use) that literally could be the reason for my survival and those in my care.
See "Vatican 'Cardinal Rambo' defends passion for guns" for the rest of media hysteria.