Nonviolence, renunciation of domination and the consequent vulnerability are irrevocably embedded in the Church and its offices by the praxis of Jesus. When did the Church no longer venture to say that it was the Messianic location of the absolute renunciation of violence? When did the Church no longer understand itself as God’s contrast-society? It is clear that the so-called “Constantinian Turn” marks a profound break…The compatibility of Christianity and military service is not a peripheral issue. At stake is the Church’s nonviolence, and since Christ, the Lord of the Church, renounced all force and died impotently on the cross, this concerns the most central part of the Church’s existence. The desire to dominate, the inclination to violence, the eternal rivalries, here is the most basic problem of all human society. It is precisely nonviolence that is the most important characteristic of the contrast-society which Jesus meant his Church to be.
JESUS AND COMMUNITY: The Social Dimension of Christian Faith
-Gerhard Lohfink, SJ, Chaired Professor of New Testament Studies, Catholic Theological Faculty, University of Tubingen