ST. FRANCIS — Individuals may not carry concealed weapons into the Cousins Center, according to the Board of Directors of De Sales Preparatory Seminary, the owner of the property encompassing the Cousins Center.

Recently passed legislation in Wisconsin permits certified individuals to carry concealed weapons in the state, yet weapons are not allowed in schools and certain government buildings.

Those prohibitions do not extend to most other places such as churches, yet owners of these types of property may impose restrictions by posting notices prohibiting the presence of weapons upon the property.

The resolution that prohibits weapons from being in the Cousins Center was passed by the five-member De Sales Preparatory Seminary board that includes Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. It became effective Tuesday, Nov. 22, according to John Marek, archdiocesan treasurer and chief financial officer.

Marek circulated a message on Friday, Dec. 9 informing archdiocesan staff and parishes of the resolution.

Signs noting this decision are posted at the entrances of the Cousins Center.

In his message, Marek explained that because the Archdiocese of Milwaukee does not own the properties of the parishes in the archdiocese, it is up to each individual parish to determine whether or not to prohibit concealed weapons on their property.

“The archdiocese cannot mandate parishes take action identical with its policy, but urges parishes to favorably consider adopting policies in a manner consistent with the action of the archdiocese,” reads the message.

On Oct. 31, Wisconsin’s Catholic bishops offered their pastoral guidance on Wisconsin’s concealed carry law, urging that people seriously consider not carrying weapons into church buildings as a sign of reverence for those sacred spaces.

“The church has always upheld the right to self-defense, peaceful means of reconciling conflicts and differences, both as individuals and nations, is the preferred method,” the statement said. “The Catholic Church has a long tradition of sanctuary, allowing people fleeing violence to take refuge in church buildings as a place of safety and protection.”

The statement also said true freedom is not a license to do what we choose, rather, it’s the ability to do what we morally ought to do, to build a just society, and to glorify God who is the author of all liberty and the source of human dignity.

“Whatever an individual parish decides to do regarding its policy on concealed weapons, we ask that all people seriously consider not carrying weapons into church buildings as a sign of reverence for these sacred spaces,” the statement said. “This decision should be firmly grounded in our teaching and made with due regard for the pastoral reality and customs of the local community. All decisions should also reflect good stewardship of parish resources and the ability to address legal issues of liability that may arise from local decisions. Thus, we encourage you to consult with your insurance carriers as you proceed, and to consider how posting signs helps pastors balance the need for reverence in sacred space with their desire for security.”

– Ricardo Torres contributed to this story.