Titusville, FL - “A saint who used handguns to save the innocent from bad guys is commemorated this week,” Catholic right to self-defense expert John M. Snyder announced here today.
Snyder also countered attacks on the accuracy of the account of the heroic handgun use
“On February 27, we commemorate the feast day of St. Gabriel Possenti,” noted Snyder, chairman of the international St. Gabriel Possenti Society (www.GunSaint.com)
“This year is the 25th anniversary of the founding of the interdenominational Society,” Snyder added
“The life of St. Gabriel Possenti shows clearly that a person of goodness, even holiness, can use firearms to promote peace and justice,” Snyder commented. “Sometimes people need guns to defend truth and freedom. St. Gabriel Possenti, pray for us.”
In 1860, St. Gabriel Possenti rescued the villagers of Isola del Gran Sasso, Italy from a marauding gang of about 20 renegade soldiers with an outstanding display of handgun marksmanship.
St. Gabriel Possenti freed a young woman from would-be rapists by taking the rapists’ revolvers. He then confronted the onrushing brigands, pointing the revolvers at them. Possenti fired at a lizard that happened to be running across the road. He killed it with one shot. Having demonstrated his excellent handgun marksmanship, St. Gabriel Possenti took command of the situation and ran the now-frightened brigands out of town
St. Gabriel Possenti performed this feat of courage without causing physical harm to a single human being
St. Gabriel Possenti died in 1862. He was known for his devotion to Christ and His Blessed Mother. Pope Benedict XV canonized him in 1920
Snyder noted that some dispute the historicity of the shooting and rescue incident. He stated that, “in response to lizard incident challenges, let me point out that the late Rev. Godfrey Poage, C.P., who wrote about the incident was a Passionist, the same religious order as St. Gabriel Possenti.”
Snyder further noted that, “Fr. Poage was the author of ‘Son of the Passion, The Story of Gabriel Francis Possenti.’ It was published in 1962 by the Bruce Publishing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and republished in 1977 by the Daughters of St. Paul. The book carried the nihil obstat of Frederick Sucher, C.P., S.T.D., Censor for the Congregation of the Passion, the imprimi potest of Walter Kaelin, C.P, Provincial of the Holy Cross Province (of the Passionists), dated February 27, 1962, the nihil obstat of John F. Murphy, S.T.D., Censor librorum, and the imprimatur of Most Reverend William E. Cousins, Archbishop of Milwaukee, dated April 13, 1962
“The account of the lizard incident, Chapter 7, ‘The Savior of Isola,’ is one of the book’s eight chapters. In the book’s introduction, Fr. Poage explained that, ‘nothing was said that had not been quoted by eyewitnesses, at least in the third person.’”
“When challenged re the accuracy of his report of the lizard incident, Rev. Poage stood by its historicity,” Snyder stated. “Father Poage said that challenges to the accuracy of his writing came from people who didn’t have any evidence to the contrary. Father Poage said this to Mark Pattison of the Catholic News Service on February 10, 1992. The CNS report appeared in The Catholic Sun of Phoenix, Arizona on February 20, 1992. Pattison reported that, ‘Fr. Poage said the episode was witnessed by a ‘lay helper’ at the monastery. The documentation was uncovered during his research in Italy in 1947-48.’
“Fr. Poage, who had been a peritus at the Second Vatican Council, died June 25, 2001. The Passionist Family Circle Newsletter, in its Fall/Winter 2001 issue, stated that he was ‘a man of extraordinary talents and great kindness’ and ‘a trusted servant of God.’”
Snyder stated that, “The Poage account of the lizard incident remained non-controversial for over a quarter of a century. To the best of my knowledge, it was not disputed or questioned. It was not until I began promoting St. Gabriel Possenti as a Patron of Handgunners in the late 1980s that there began a belated attempt to attack the account of the lizard incident
“It appears there is such bigotry in some quarters against the very idea of a Catholic saint using force and handguns to defeat evil that there is a preference for anti-gun political correctness over historical accuracy.”
The St. Gabriel Possenti Society seeks official Vatican recognition of St. Gabriel Possenti as Patron of Handgunners
Snyder is the author of Gun Saint, a book about St. Gabriel Possenti and the St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc., published by Telum Associates, LL.CGunRightsPolicies.org
John M. Snyder
Telum Associates, LLC
About John Snyder:
Named the Gun Dean by Human Events, “the senior rights activist in Washington” by Shotgun News, a “champion of the right to self-defense” by The Washington Times, and “dean of gun lobbyists” by The Washington Post and The New York Times, John M. Snyder has spent 45 years as a proponent of the individual Second Amendment civil right to keep and bear arms as a National Rifle Association editor, public affairs director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, treasurer of the Second Amendment Foundation, and founder of www.GunRightsPolicies.org.
A former Jesuit seminarian, Snyder is founder/manager of Telum Associates, LL.C., founder/chairman of the St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc., a director of Council for America, and serves on the boards of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Federation of Police & Concerned Citizens. He is also the author of the book Gun Saint. Visit: www.GunRightsPolicies.org