by David Carroll Cochran, Commonweal
Last July Pope Francis spoke about the hundredth anniversary of World War I to a crowd gathered for the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square. He used the occasion to exhort his listeners to abolish war: “Never war! Never war! I think most of all about children, whose hopes for a dignified life, a future, are dashed, dead children, wounded children, mutilated children, orphans, children who have the leftovers of war for toys, children who don’t know how to smile. Stop it, please! I beg you with all my heart! It’s time to stop!”
But the pope has since suggested that military action to protect civilians from massacre at the hands of groups such as the Islamic State can be just. This tension—between calls to abolish war and cautious support for the use of armed force to protect the vulnerable from violence—is nothing new at the Vatican. In 1991, St. John Paul II wrote, “No, never again war” and called on humanity to “proceed resolutely toward outlawing war completely,” but the same year he also said, “We are not pacifists, we do not want peace at any cost.”
So what’s going on here? Does contemporary Catholic teaching reject war or not? The answer is yes and no. The church still deems military action to be permissible in certain narrow circumstances, while simultaneously urging us to work for a world in which war is never necessary, and insisting that such a world is possible. In other words, church teaching is not pacifist, but it is abolitionist…
One thought on “REFLECTION: A world without war – why it’s no fantasy”
What happened to a country where people could walk around freely and did not have to watch their back.