PopeWatch: Just War?

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In a statement sure to warm the cockles of the hearts of despots and would be despots everywhere, Peter Cardinal Turkson is signaling that Pope Francis may junk the concept of just war:

He said that while just war teachings were first developed to make wars difficult or impossible to justify, they are now used more as conditions that allow violence to be used.

“My understanding is that it was initially meant to make it difficult to wage war because you needed to justify it,” said the cardinal. “This now has been interpreted these days as a war is just when it is exercised in self-defense … or to put off an aggressor or to protect innocent people.”

Turkson continued: “In that case, Pope Francis would say: ‘You don’t stop an aggression by being an aggressor. You don’t stop a conflict by inciting another conflict. You don’t stop a war by starting another war.'”

“It doesn’t stop,” said the cardinal. “We’ve seen it all around us. Trying to stop the aggressor in Iraq has not stopped war. Trying to stop the aggressor in Libya has not stopped war. It’s not stopped the war in any place. We do not stop war by starting another war.”

Turkson said the participants at the conference promoted “another thinking:” Gospel nonviolence, or “nonviolence as Jesus was nonviolent.”

“People think that this is Utopian, but Jesus was that,” said the cardinal, calling Jesus’ instruction to his disciples to turn the other cheek if someone were to strike them as an example of “non-aggression” in response to violence.

Go here to read the rest.  If only Christ had such wisdom, He could have told the centurion whose servant He healed to give up serving in the Roman legions!  I doubt if Pope Francis has ever heard of him, but John Stuart Mill is absolutely correct on this subject:

 

 

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.”

 

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23 Comments

  1. The question to the Pope is: Is justice worth fighting for? And since there can be no mercy without justice not fighting for justice means there can be no mercy either. Again Pope Francis is incoherent.

  2. I will agree the US, in recent years, has gotten into conflicts/wars that were better handled, not through the sending of troops, but denying all foreign aid-military and humanitarian.
    .
    I must say when the Vatican is bombed by the Muslims, I really have no desire to see my son’s go defend the bureaucrats–oops, my bad!– Princes who live there.

  3. Tell it to the marines. Brevity is the soul of wit.
    .
    “Trying to stop the aggressor in Iraq has not stopped war. Trying to stop the aggressor in Libya has not stopped war.”
    .
    Uncharacteristically, that is almost reality. In fact, it’s an indictment of Obama’s and Hillary’s unnecessary and unconstitutional proxy wars in Libya and Syria (arming and funding ISIS, et al in the proxy civil war to overthrow the Assad regime). Conversely, if Obama/Hillary had not militarily evacuated Iraq, ISIS likely would not have profited from the Iraq power vacuum.
    .
    Keep deplorable my friends.

  4. Technically, we were the aggressors in Libya. I’ll allow that the situation in Iraq was murkier at the time with the WMD issue, but in hindsight it seems very difficult to defend Iraq II as a just war.
    .
    Turkson: .“This now has been interpreted these days as a war is just when it is exercised in self-defense … or to put off an aggressor or to protect innocent people.”
    .
    There’s no “now” about it: that’s the very definition of just war. They are precisely and intentionally “conditions that allow violence to be used”. Is Mark Shea now running a dicastery?
    .
    “People think that this is Utopian, but Jesus was that,” said the cardinal, calling Jesus’ instruction to his disciples to turn the other cheek if someone were to strike them as an example of “non-aggression” in response to violence.
    .
    This is morally vacuous. A man who turns his own cheek to an aggressor displays virtue; a man who turns his child’s cheek is a monster. This is reminiscent of Gandhi’s infamous letter to the Jews advising them to submit passively to Nazi depredations.

  5. Bergoglio is what the Remnant accuses him of being (see more on One Peter Five)…in so many words, a heretic.

    Popes quoting or ignoring the Just War Theory will have no effect on current or future wars. War is an extension of politics. Man governs himself by politics and nothing except the Second Coming will change that.

  6. Jesus’ turning of his cheek to injustice was not an act of submission; it was an act of defiance.

    John 15:13 wraps up our just war doctrine, perfectly.

  7. What strikes me is his implication that moral reasoning is intended to bring about desirable social change rather than, you know, get at the truth of right and wrong.

  8. To paraphrase GKC: Just War has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried at all. The problem is not with the teaching, it is with the facility of which most governments find the criteria of JW to be satisfied in conflicts that don’t even come close to meeting the criteria.

  9. The criteria are not a mathematical equation but rather fairly subjective in some of the elements. My favorite is that the war has a good chance of success, something largely unknowable at the beginning of most conflicts. If ecclesiastics wish to see fewer wars they might consider doing their own jobs better, and preaching the Gospel with better success. However, sticking to their own knitting seems to be something that contemporary ecclesiastics, of whatever denomination, aren’t very good at. Turkson and the Pope are prime examples of this phenomenon.

  10. While there certainly are many moral difficulties with jus in bello questions in modern (i.e., 19th century forward) warfare, it’s very hard to argue that most of the wars the US has engaged in did not have moral justification (jus ad bellum), with some arguable exceptions (US-Mexican War, War Between the States).

    But to suggest as a matter of principle that no conditions for a just war could exist is to embrace a pacifist ideology contrary to Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and condemned often when espoused by sects such as the Waldenses. That group, like our current clerical cartel, also rejected the death penalty on principle.

  11. Note that I (most veterans) was against the 2003 Iraq War before I was for it.
    .
    I remember in 2003 when St. Pope John Paul II opposed the invasion, that execrable sac of human flotsam Andrew Sullivan, ascribed said opposition to “traditional Catholic anti-Semitism.”
    .
    Anyhow, the global terror war against us is a crappy war, but it’s the only one we have.
    .
    Keep deplorable my friends.

  12. I’m waiting for “himself” to draft a Papal document in which he can use a year later to reference, and then implement change to the current Just War position….if it’s not broken, break it and fix it in the capacity that suits your philosophy.

  13. Violence and armed force is the difference between good and evil. The Pope needs to know this before he speaks…but the pope does not know it. Justice and Just war are predicated on intent.

  14. Miss Anscombe was, I believe right, when she wrote,“We should note first that pacifism has as its background conscription and enforced military service for all men. Without conscription, pacifism is a private opinion that will keep those who hold it out of armies, which they are in any case not obliged to join. Now universal conscription, except for the most extraordinary reasons, i.e. as a regular habit among most nations, is such a horrid evil that the refusal of it automatically commands a certain amount of respect and sympathy.”

    As to its malign effects, she noted, “Now pacifism teaches people to make no distinction between the shedding of innocent blood and the shedding of any human blood. And in this way pacifism has corrupted enormous numbers of people who will not act according to its tenets. They become convinced that a number of things are wicked which are not; hence seeing no way of avoiding wickedness, they set no limits to it. How endlessly pacifists argue that all war must be a outrance! that those wage war must go as far as technological advance permits in the destruction of the enemy’s people.”

  15. “We should note first that pacifism has as its background conscription and enforced military service for all men. Without conscription, pacifism is a private opinion that will keep those who hold it out of armies, which they are in any case not obliged to join. Now universal conscription, except for the most extraordinary reasons, i.e. as a regular habit among most nations, is such a horrid evil that the refusal of it automatically commands a certain amount of respect and sympathy.”
    ==
    Military conscription was a wartime phenomenon in the United States prior to 1947, and only enacted when the country was in a state of general mobilization. It was discontinued in this country in 1973 and no one under the age of 62 has ever been conscripted. It was not ‘universal’ in this country, either. During the last bout of conscription in this country, annual inductions were variable but clustered around 265,000. Cohorts of men of 20 were at that time typically about 1.9 million in number, so about 13% were being conscripted. (You did, of course, have a large mass who enlisted in lieu of waiting for conscription).

    Post-war conscription was discontinued in Britain in 1960. It was a continental phenomenon. Except for France, none of the continental countries had working militaries until the Afghanistan campaign.

  16. “If ecclesiastics wish to see fewer wars they might consider doing their own jobs better, and preaching the Gospel with better success.”

    Or, at the very least, stop using the prestige of their good offices to advance ideas that make war necessary.

  17. Pope Francis is a warm man to the sick and needy and a loquacious idiot in the intellectual realm. He’s like an oracle of off track gibberish. It is amazing to me….his idiocy. Who could have foreseen this theatre of the absurd.

    ” And all at once comes the howl of a far off hound….and all that I want to say, is said ….in that single sound.”

  18. Turkson doesn’t keep up even with liberal Biblical scholarship. Fr. Raymond Brown relayed the general outlook on the ” turn the other cheek passage” as needing to observe that the gospel that specifies which cheek….says the right one. Brown continued that the opponent then used his weaker left hand and this was not real violence but a mideastern insult ritual.

  19. “It was a continental phenomenon.”
    True. There, the principle that no one should be denied the right nor relieved of the responsibility of defending the nation under arms became deeply entrenched.
    Universal military service was seen as the counterpart of universal suffrage, in contrast to the Ancien Régime, where the defence of the nation had been seen as the duty of a privileged class and the sword was everywhere the badge of the gentleman; so much so that the Scottish Parliament of 1689, following the Glorious Revolution, ordered “that the papists be disarmed over all the kingdom by the ordinary magistrates and officers of the militia, excepting gentlemen wearing swords.” They were not prepared to reduce gentlemen of blood and breeding, even Papists, to the rank of “rude mechanicals.”

  20. So, we, the people have the UN small arms treaty to disarm the people. The unarmed people will have to face an unjust war, sticks and stones against tanks and bombs. The human right to self-preservation is innate. That is, God endowed and unalienable. Hence, we have the Second Amendment. If Pope Francis eschews the just war, then, Pope Francis enables the unjust war.

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