Again, “We adore God Who is love, Who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him.”(Pope Francis, 6/21/14)
Christian Just War Theory is not a revealed truth of Jesus nor is it an infallible moral teaching of the Church. This means that it is either a derivative moral teaching or a subordinate moral principle. Both of these possibilities obliges an effort, on the part of the Christian who intends to employ them to discern good from evil in accordance with the will of God as revealed by Jesus. Derivative and subordinate moral teachings are not self-evidently true nor self-validating nor automatically imperatively binding as is a revealed truth from the mouth of the Word of God Incarnate, Jesus.
What effort then must be made? First, the effort necessary is the effort to arrive at a state of moral certitude that these derived or subordinate moral principles, per se, e.g., Just War Theory, in and of themselves prior to any application, can truthfully and rationally be considered faithful extensions and in fundamental harmony with the revealed truth of Jesus. Some people in the Church think CJWT can be derived from or be logically consistent with Jesus’ teachings of “Love your enemies,”etc. This position has been examined as a possibly truthful and reasonable interpretation in FAST FOOD # 25-30, and has been found to be so highly improbable as to be untenable.
Second, the person is obliged to make the effort necessary to arrive at moral certainty that the derived or subordinate moral principles he or she are relying upon for moral certainty are being actually and truthfully applied in this particular moral situation, e.g., this war, this battle, this strategy and/or these weapons. Without this effort moral certainty is impossible and the person “Incurs the same guilt of sin as to species as he would incur through a transgression with clear and certain knowledge that the act [e.g. unjustly killing people] was forbidden” (Haring, ibid).
I would submit that the effort a Christian is obliged to make to have the necessary moral certainty to enter into a war and have his or her killing in that war not be murder is far, far beyond, “I am a Catholic (Episcopalian, Etc.). And, my Church says I can go to war and kill the enemy, and that’s good enough for me.”
CJWT has never been from the time of its first conceptualist, St. Augustine of Hippo (d. 8/28/430) to this day, a blank check for the Christian to kill and maim people in war. Its employment as a rational method for attaining moral certainty that seriously injuring or killing another human being(s) is justified or not unjustified, i.e., not murder, is dependent its conditions—prior to and during it use—being strictly (according to the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH and most Christian Just War Theories) met. Otherwise, moral certainty is impossible to attain and the maiming and killing of another human being(s) is intrinsically evil and morally forbidden.
In other words CJWT is not an intense emotion garner from the local government’s news-propaganda mass media outlets. It is rational—not revealed— methodology for attaining moral truth in a particular situation, where tremendous suffering and death could occur or are presently taking place. To the extent that the standards of logic and reason, on which CJWT stands, are abandoned, to that extent the use of CJWT is a ploy of the Reign of Satan, “who is the Father of lies and a liar and a murderer from the beginning.”
To the extent that Christian bishops, priests, ministers and pastors, explicitly or implicitly permit CJWT to be employed in such a manner by members of their Churches in their spiritual and moral care, they are derelict in their duty to God and to their Churches, and they are actively cooperating with the evil of murder.
As far as what they are doing in terms of witnessing to the world about Jesus, His Good News and how He saves, there is only one word to describe their behavior, reprehensible.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy (To be continued)