Skip to comments.WAR and The Right to Life: The Just War Doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church
Posted on 09/20/2001 9:56:56 AM PDT by Slyfox
While most of us stand in full support of President George W. Bush in this time of national tragedy and impending military action, some are already preparing to second-guess and protest his decisions and those of his advisers.
Various pacifist and left-wing individuals and groups are beginning to surface, many of which were organizers of anti-war protests during the Reagan era. Typically, they attempt to convince people that there is no circumstance that justifies war, not even a vicious and barbaric attack such as America experienced on September 11, 2001 at the hands of Islamic terrorists. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit Thomas Gumbleton, the far-left-wing National Lawyer's Guild, the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, the Nicaragua Network, Al-Awda Palestine Right of Return Coalition and others, plan a demonstration on September 29 in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House, to "stop President Bush from carrying out a new, wider war in the Middle East and beyond." (Press release, "Stand Against Racism and War! Beat Back the Bush Attack!" - 9/16/01)
Others can be expected to claim that in order to be pro-life, one must refuse to support or participate in war for any reason. Those who make that claim abdicate their responsibility to protect the lives of those under their care and authority.
Over many hundreds of years, the Roman Catholic Church has developed the principles under which
war may be justified. It is called the Just War Doctrine. To the extent that this teaching will assist you in forming your own conscience in this regard, we offer to you the pertinent citations from The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition.
Sec. 1898. Every human community needs an authority to govern it. The foundation of such authority lies in human nature. It is necessary for the unity of the state. Its role is to ensure as far as possible the common good of the society. [Under the Constitution, the President has the responsibility, indeed, the obligation to provide for the common defense and promote the general Welfare of our people.]
Sec. 1925. The common good consists of three essential elements: respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of society; the peace and security of the group and of its members.
Sec. 1909. The common good requires peace, that is, the stability and security of a just order. It presupposes that authority should ensure by morally acceptable means the security of society and its members. It is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and collective defense.
Sec. 2297. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity.
Sec. 2308. All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war. However, 'as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed." (Gaudium et Spes, p. 79)
Sec. 2209. The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
· The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; [This condition has been fulfilled]
· All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; [In a 1998 interview with ABC News, Osama bin Laden explained that his group's goal, for starters, is the total withdrawal of the United States from the Middle East. Al-Quaida's actions, he said, are responses to the military campaigns and attacks launched by the United States around the Middle East during the last two decades. Mr. bin Laden said that there is no room for negotiation and that the United States must leave the Middle East unconditionally. Until it does, all Americans, including children, will be potential targets for indiscriminate attack, he told ABC News. (Dallas Morning News, 9/14/01) This condition has been fulfilled.]
· There must be serious prospects of success. [** See reference below to the prudential judgment of those who bear the responsibility for the common good.]
· The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine. ** The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
When George W. Bush campaigned for the Presidency, it is likely he did not anticipate the great burden that has been placed upon his shoulders. As loyal Americans we must now share that burden, not for the sake of revenge or retribution, but because we pray that the actions taken by the President and his advisers will restore an international order of justice and peace, which requires the elimination of terrorism.
Finally, let us all, especially President Bush, remember that abortion is America's great national sin, along with infanticide, assisted suicide, deadly experiments on human embryos, and the use of aborted babies' body parts in scientific research, all of which have either been funded outright or aided and abetted by our government, often involving American taxpayers through coercive tax policies. Over and over again, throughout scripture, God has pleaded with us to repent and reform our lives. As long as our nation continues to make a mockery of His authority as the Lord and giver of life, is it not the height of presumption to expect Him to continue to bless America?
As we pray for wisdom and discernment on the part of our leaders, protection for our men and women in the Armed Forces, and peace and justice throughout the world, let us resolve anew that we will not rest until every unborn child enjoys the safety and protection in his mother's womb or in the petri dish that we hope for in our homes, our workplaces and our public buildings.
May God Bless and watch over us all.
How appropriate it is at this time of war for us to turn to Saint Michael the Archangel:
I am so proud of President George W. Bush. He will truly go down as one of the greatest presidents in American history. I have expat-American friends here in Oz who voted for Gore, and they too are proud of our president.
God bless America, and God bless the US government. May God give them the wisdom to wage this just war.
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