2012 – Fast Food Twelfth Helping

Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?”
Expedience asks the question, “Is it politic?”
Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?”
But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?”

—Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The question is not whether the institutional Church teaches and has taught just war theories for the past 1700 years. It does and it has. But these various just war theories are no more infallible moral teaching of the Church today than were the justified slavery theories and justified Inquisition theories of yesterday. The same can be said of justified capital punishment theories and justified oath taking theories, yesterday and today. So if it is not infallible, it is fallible, and hence open to further questioning and acceptance or rejection on the basis of the truth of conscience. So, let’s stop once and for all—when confronted with the moral grotesqueness of war which requires Christians to act in ways that are in utter contradiction from the Way Jesus taught in the Gospel—with the sound bite answer that is a non-answer, “But the Church teaches a just war theory.” The question is not whether the institutional Church teaches and has taught just war theories for the past 1700 years, it is whether it should be doing this and how does it justify doing this in the face of the explicit teaching and revelation of God Incarnate in the oral Tradition that pre-dates the written Gospels and that is in the written Gospels?

More pointedly, are the personnel of the institutional Church doing evil and justifying evil in doing this—as they were when they taught a theory of justified slavery?

More acutely, what does participation in the required acts that make for the carnage of war have to do with “the salvation of souls, which is the supreme law of the Church” according to the Church’s own teaching (#1752 CIC), indeed, which is the very mission of the Church? Does Jesus or the Church ever, ever need war to fulfill completely the mission of the salvation of souls?

“Go to war with Jesus and save your soul,” or, “Go to war and help Jesus save souls,” or, “Go to war and be killed while trying to kill people,” and thereby be a martyr (witness) for Jesus by following His Way of love (Jn 15:12-13), and hence enter the Kingdom of Heaven by doing the will of His Father as Jesus revealed it (Mt 7: 21), are these truthful proclamations of the Way of Jesus Christ, “who wills everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”?

But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?”


How long, O Lord, how long?

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