Amarillo, TX - With the recent legalization of open-carry, Texas churches are having to decide if they will permit guns inside their parishes.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Amarillo says it has yet to decide whether it will allow open carry in their parishes, because of the struggle between religious beliefs and cultural surroundings.
"I think different diocese in Texas are discussing that among themselves not only obviously from a theological perspective, again we are the church where we revere and adore and worship the one who gave his life instead of taking up arms even against his own enemies," Father Scott Raef of Saint Mary's Cathedral said. "So we're always trying to balance that with the real practical things that are happening in our culture."
Saint Mary's Cathedral has decided to further protect the members of their parish by having police in the church during Sunday Masses. Raef said they have had police patrol during masses but never inside the church. He said police will be there to handle situations that Ushers cannot handle. He also wants the police presence to make people feel safe.
However, many leaders within the church believe open carry will not be permitted.
"My expectation is that they will not," Fred Griffin, Attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Amarillo said. "The Bishop believes that it is inconsistent with the mission and ministry of the Catholic Church to allow a weapon within the churches."
Even though the Catholic Diocese of Amarillo has not made a decision regarding open-carry, the church has been working on a policy that prohibits it. The non-finalized policy reads "the purpose of this building is to serve human life in all its stages, from conception until natural death. The presence of any weapon which could cause physical harm would be incompatible with this purpose. Therefore, concealed or open carry weapons are not permitted in this building."
Later this month the Bishop will meet with the Presbyteral Council to decide a policy on how to approach the open carry issue and discuss how it will be implemented.