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News & Editorials

Pope Accepts Gun Saint Society Medallion

For Immediate Release

Contact: John Snyder, 703-418-4480, 703-418-0849, 202-326-5259

ARLINGTON, VA - His Holiness Pope John Paul II has accepted the presentation of a special St. Gabriel Possenti Society medallion, John Michael Snyder, Society Founder/Chairman, announced here today.

As an 1860 Italian Catholic seminarian, Possenti rescued the villagers of Isola del Gran Sasso from a gang of 20 terrorists with a striking, one-shot, lizard-slaying demonstration of handgun marksmanship. He died in 1862. Pope Benedict XV canonized him in 1920. Snyder seeks Possenti's Vatican designation as Patron of Handgunners. The international, interdenominational Society highlights the historical, philosophical and theological bases for the doctrine of legitimate self-defense.

"I personally brought the medal, along with a letter for His Holiness, to the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City on March 5, 2001," said Snyder. "The March 12 letter of acceptance, signed by Msgr. Pedro Lopez Quintana of the Vatican Secretariat of State, assures me of 'His Holiness's appreciation of the devoted sentiments which prompted this presentation.'"

The special medallion features a profile of Possenti on the obverse, encircled by the words, "St. Gabriel Possenti, Patron of Marksmen," and on the reverse, an outline of a target below the prayer, "Guide our aim to strike at the center. Protect us from the enemies of love, justice and liberty."

In his March 5 letter, Snyder wrote His Holiness that, "we devote ourselves most particularly to St. Gabriel Possenti because his life shows us the intimate and consistent connection between the right to life, the right to self-defense, the right to the means necessary for self-defense, and the right to arms for self-defense."

Earlier, on February 27, the Feast Day of St. Gabriel Possenti, during a luncheon and conference held in a hotel a short distance from the Vatican, Snyder presented medallions to Col. Jeff Cooper, Founder of the Gunsite Ranch in Paulden, Arizona, Francesco Possenti, a great grandnephew of St. Gabriel Possenti, Most Rev. Archbishop Custodio Alvim Pereira, Vice President of the Chapter of St. Peter's Basilica, Paolo Tagini, Editor of ARMI magazine, and Piero Raggi, author of the book CROCIATA.


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Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Nations and peoples who forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms. Robert Heinlein

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