Conversation Corner
St. Francis of Assisi, Patron of Peace

Does the military action the U.S. is contemplating against Iraq meet the standards of a just war?


Date: 4/3/2003 10:55:19 PM
Name or Pseudonym: c.p.
Subject: To Bruce and TomH

When a war is waged, it needs a legitimate authority. The President of US is surely a legitimate authority over the American people. He can take action to protect his people IF America is under attack. Iraq is a threat, but a threat does not justify a war. Otherwise it is also justifiable if India and Pakistan attack each other since they both see each other a threat. The politicians and military leaders can judge at what time the war is most effective, but the MORAL criteria for a military action is much more stringent than the POLITICAL and MILITARY ones. So the moral justification of the claim of self-defense in THIS war is moot.

As for the liberation of Iraq people, it is still moot. The President of US has NO legitimate authority over Iraqi people. This does not mean that we should close our eyes to their sufferings. We could help them in all nonviolent ways. But unless the Iraqi people clearly request an alliance (e.g. in a revolution), US has no right to send army there. You may have good intention to wage the war, but the good intention is entirely marred by the lack of legitimacy in the military action itself.

As for the pope’s opinion. I don’t think it is an ex cathedra declaration, but neither do I think it is only "private", especially in the morals. Pope’s opinions about politics may be wrong, but when he speaks about morals, though it is not ex cathdra, he is still assisted by the Holy Spirit. Please read the Catechism about the non-ex-cathedra teachings of the Pope.

Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a "definitive manner," they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent" which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it. (#892)

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