Catholic Church: July 2003 Archives

There Are Spirits In the Material World. . .

Father Jim proposes a most interesting discussion starter concerning the presence of spirits, neither angels or demons, in the world. What a curious thing to consider, and how interesting!

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More on Just War


More on Just War

John da Fiesole at Disputations has a remarkable and helpful post on Just War Theory. I posted what appear below in response to his discussion. I repeat it here in the interest of full disclosure and making it possible for other responses. Reasoned answers help me find the way through this dark abyss.

(copy of the response to Mr. da Fiesole)

Thank you for the clarity of this exposition. Believe it or not, my aim is to think with the Church, but I have incredible difficulty wrestling with this for a whole panoply of reasons. More important than my subjective opinion is to strive to speak in conformity with Church teaching. I accept that JWT seems to be written into the Catechism and therefore should be received as part of the deposit of faith--but I also suppose how one interprets it, and the weight one gives to the issues must shape one's view. I think you ask or suggest a very important question in your post. Can a preemptive strike ever be truly moral? Can we truly have exhausted all possible solutions to a problem to avoid such an action? Can only defensive wars be regarded as just? I don't know the answer to these things. But I keep butting up against the incredible hardness of heart that makes this doctrine necessary. And it isn't the hardness of "their" hearts, but my own hardness of heart that I must face when I face this teaching. Perhaps that is what makes it particularly difficult.

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In Order that the Conversation May Continue

I have been much edified by the comments on the post below. Please read Thomas's comment et seq. and continue the conversation if you desire. I find myself much in agreement with Thomas on nearly everything he has articulated, and I would be most interested in responses regarding Just War Theory and precisely what we are to make of it in the world today. Is it dogmatic, does it have the weight of doctrine? Or is it something taught by theologians with long and venerable history, but not necessarily with the might of the magisterium behind it. This makes a large difference in how one is to appreciate and analyze the doctrine. Even if taught by the magisterium, how do Vatican comments regarding the justness of the war weigh into the calculation? Or do they? Is there an objective standard possible, or is everything subjective--if so, on what basis can one reliably determine the justness of a war. And even if those in the government determine that a war is just, is it necessarily? If Hitler decides that the Sudetenland has historically been a province of Germany and poses a threat to German security, do we have a just war? That is, once a government has decided a war is just is it licit for every individual or is it possible that an individual could find that the war is not just and thus not participate or support it (Render unto Caesar, etc.) Or are all of my questions simply the result of a very muddled notion of what Just War doctrine is?

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This page is a archive of entries in the Catholic Church category from July 2003.

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