Ann Arbor, MI – An Ann Arbor Catholic priest raised a few eye brows recently when he sent a letter his members of his parish urging them to arm themselves.  He invited them to take a concealed pistol class being offered at Christ the King parish.

Reverend Fride explained he felt it was necessary to get a concealed pistol license because of recent crime in the area and announced the decision to offer the class from the pulpit.

When parishioners questioned the decision, he sent a letter entitled, “We’re not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto”

In the letter he stated,

“It is very common for Christians to simply assume that they live in Mayberry, trusting that because they know the Lord Jesus, everything will always be fine and nothing bad can happen to them and their families.  How to balance faith, reality, prudence, and trust is one of those critical questions that we struggle with all our lives. Pretending we are in Mayberry, while we are clearly not, can have very negative consequences for ourselves and those we love, especially those we have a responsibility to protect. If we are not in Mayberry, is there a real threat?”

Read the revealing full letter here

However, Reverend Fride’s enthusiasm for self protection and gun classes was met with resistance by Bishop Boyea.

According to the Detroit Free Press:

“Yes, it appears that ‘We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto!’ was sent out to the parishioners of Christ the King by their pastor, Fr. Ed Fride,” Diebold wrote in an email to the Free Press.

Guns and gun lessons do not belong in a Catholic church, Lansing Catholic Bishop Earl Boyea stressed in a statement after they learned about Fride’s letter from the Free Press.

Boyea “has never given permission for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in a church or school in the Diocese of Lansing,” said a statement released by Diebold.

“Additionally, Bishop Boyea further states that Concealed Pistol License classes are inappropriate activities to be held on Church property,” wrote Diebold.

Diebold said the Lansing diocese’s ban on weapons on church makes them “gun-free zones” and extends to those who want to practice “open carry” of weapons in full view. He added that public or professional security “provide for public safety on church property.”

An updated report announced the gun classes had been cancelled and would not be held on church grounds.

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