The Vatican praised President Barack Obama's proposals for curbing gun violence, calling them a "step in a right direction," the Huffington Post reports. The Vatican's chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Saturday that 47 religious leaders had appealed to members of Congress "to limit firearms that are making society pay an unacceptable price in terms of massacres and senseless deaths," adding: "I am with them. The initiatives announced by the American administration for limiting and controlling the spread and use of weapons are certainly a step in the right direction." Lombardi renewed Vatican appeals for disarmament and encouragement for measures to fight "the production, commerce and contraband of all types of arms." Obama, who is trying to rally support for reinstating a ban on assault weapons and requiring background checks on all gun sales, faces stiff opposition in Congress and from pro-Second Amendment groups.