Cupich bans guns in all Chicago Archdiocese parishes and schools – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich has issued a decree banning guns in all parishes, schools and other facilities across the archdiocese.

The decree, effective Thursday, echoes statements the cardinal has made over the past two years in support of banning guns from churches. It stipulates that anyone found with a gun on archdiocesan property will be asked to remove it from the premises and won’t be allowed to return until it’s gone. Clerics and staff members also will face disciplinary action.

The decree does not prevent clergy who own guns legally for hunting or sports from keeping their firearms inside a rectory, as long as the weapons are unloaded and stored in a lockbox or safe.

“The intent of this policy is to balance the rights of all who approach Archdiocesan churches, schools or other facilities with the greatest possible protection for children, the elderly, and otherwise vulnerable people in our society, Cupich told priests and parish staff in a memo sent Monday.

Though individual priests could ban firearms from their parishes after Illinois passed a concealed carry law in 2013, not all of them did. The decree imposes a blanket ban and leaves less room for pastoral discretion.

Referring to the rise in shootings across the U.S., the archdiocese said in a statement, “We thought it would be prudent to issue a policy on firearms as a ‘particular law’ so there would be absolute clarity on our position.”

The policy comes amid a larger effort by the archdiocese to curb gun violence. In April, Cupich pledged $250,000 to support grass-roots anti-violence initiatives and called on parishes to invest in social services and youth programs to reduce poverty and violence throughout the city.

The 2013 concealed carry law preserved absolute bans for a variety of public spaces, including

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