After a violent weekend in which two mass shootings claimed the lives of 31 people in Texas and Ohio, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput didn’t offer thoughts and prayers.

He offered criticism of those who think gun control is the solution.

“...only a fool can believe that ‘gun control’ will solve the problem of mass violence,” he wrote in his weekly column, which was posted on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s website, CatholicPhilly.com, and his Facebook page.

Chaput further wrote: “The people using the guns in these loathsome incidents are moral agents with twisted hearts. And the twisting is done by the culture of sexual anarchy, personal excess, political hatreds, intellectual dishonesty, and perverted freedoms that we’ve systemically created over the past half-century."

Chaput, 74, who hosted Pope Francis during the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015, has been the city’s archbishop since 2011, during which time he has been outspokenly conservative.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and Pope Francis during the pope's visit to Philadelphia in 2015.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and Pope Francis during the pope's visit to Philadelphia in 2015.

Before coming to Philadelphia, Chaput served as archbishop of Denver and was there when the Columbine (Colo.) High School shooting occurred. In his recent column, Chaput recalled that he buried some of the Columbine victims and comforted their relatives.

Chaput said those experiences “taught me that assault rifles are not a birthright, and the Second Amendment is not a Golden Calf." He said he supports background checks and “more restrictive access to guns” but said the Columbine experience also taught him to believe that “only a fool" could believe mass violence could be solved by gun control.

Chaput also recounted the testimony he delivered to the U.S. Senate 20 years ago following the Columbine shooting, in which he said of those murders: “They’re a wound felt by the entire country — but I don’t think they’ll be the last.”

An archdiocese spokesperson said Chaput was traveling and unable to comment further.

The reaction to the piece has been mixed, with some saying he isn’t off base and others calling him a fool for his remarks.