The War in Iraq and the Requirement of Moral Certainty

Recognizing that Catholic Just War Theory as well as Catholic Moral Theology have a certain amount of practical elasticity built into them, nevertheless, this can be stretched to the moral breaking point. That point has been passed long, long ago in relation to this War on Iraq. The past four years of dead silence as death madly rampages through Iraq is false witness on a grand scale by the U.S. Catholic Episcopacy. False witness to what? False witness to the Gospel and to the
most fundamental and well-established tenents of the Catholic moral tradition. Emotionally a person could experience this War as morally repugnant, but this is not what I am speaking about. I am speaking about the public dismissal, the undermining and the bracketing out of incontestable norms of Catholic moral truth. Silence is a moral choice. Silence that implies to the average person moral acceptability is an even more serious moral decision. Silence by the official moral
teachers in a diocese or Church where ordinary folks need and depend on these men for the proper orientation of their souls toward God in order to travel along the authentic path (Way) to salvation is a most serious form of pastoral neglect, especially where the destruction and mutilation of human life is involved.

My judgment is that the U.S. Catholic Episcopacy can “get away” with their calculated silence because most Catholics have not been taught, regardless of their level of education, e.g., Catholic University graduates, the spiritual seriousness and the cognitive truths that govern the application of Catholic Just War Theory and Catholic Moral Theology. This booklet is an attempt to open up this failure to consideration, as well as, to give concrete examples from the
present and the past of the pastoral and personal tragedies that occur when Catholics are nurtured in utterly inadequate or outright erroneous understandings of Catholic Moral Theology and Just War Theory.

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