In eodem sensu eademque sententia
In eodem sensu eademque sententia, remember those words in all discussions of Christian Just War Theory. They translate into English, “according to the same sense and same meaning.” They refer to the standard that determines whether a teaching of the universal Church or of the local Churches is developing the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels or is changing the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels. Develop or change. If it is the former it may be accepted. If it is the latter it must be rejected. So, the question is this, “Is the Christian Just War Theory a development of the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels or is it a change in the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel?”
Christians have always understood that at the close of the Apostolic age—with the death of the last surviving apostle perhaps around AD 100—public revelation ceased” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 66-67, 73, herein CCC).
No new public Revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ. (CCC 66)
The Apostolic Tradition comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. In light of the Apostolic Tradition, ecclesial traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned. (CCC 83)
The apostles entrusted the “Sacred Deposit” of faith (the depositum fidei/deposit of faith) to the whole Church (CCC 84).
All that is proposed for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from the single Deposit of Faith. (CCC 86)
Christian faith cannot accept “revelation” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Jesus Christ is the fulfillment. (CCC 67)
Jesus Christ is the Father’s one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In Him he has said everything. There will be no other word than this one… In giving us His Son, His only Word, the Father spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word—and He has no more to say. (CCC 65)
Can Christian Just War Theory be found in the Deposit of Faith? No!
We have tried to produce a form of Christianity that will be tolerable to those who believe that the best way to deal with your enemies is to beat their heads in. And, we have done this. We have produced the Christian ethic of the just war. This is not the New Testament, and every theologian knows it.
-Rev. John L. McKenzie, preeminent Catholic Biblical Scholar
Can Christian Just War Theory be a development of Faith? No.
If Jesus can be trusted to have said anything at all, he renounced violence. If Jesus did not reject any type of violence for any purpose, then we know nothing of him. No reader of the New Testament, simple or sophisticated, can retain any doubt of Jesus’ position toward violence directed to persons, individual or collective, organized or free enterprise, he rejected it totally (Rev. John L. McKenzie)
Violence is intrinsically necessary to the conduct of war. Jesus in the Gospels rejects violence. Christian Just War Theory is not a development of the teachings of Jesus. It is changing the teaching of Jesus by morally approving of violence for the disciples of Jesus, who by Baptism into Christ are committed “to obey all that Jesus has commanded” (Mt 28:17-20), to follow His “new commandment” to “love as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34, 15:12) to the “love of enemies” ( Mt 5:43-48; Lk 6:27-36) as He loved His enemies.
Christian Just War Theory is not a development of the teaching of Jesus. It is a change of the teaching of Jesus, since wars require violence of those involved in them and Jesus requires nonviolence of those who accept His call to be His disciple.
Here from St. Maximus the Confessor, the Father of Byzantine theology, is an authentic example of development of Jesus’ teaching in conformity with in eodem sensu eademque sententia, ‘according to the same sense and the same meaning’:
“One must observe his mind. Thus, when one’s inner perception of a brother or sister who has offended you is that of bitterness, guard against rancor in yourself. The way of those who remember injuries leads to death, because to remember an injury is also to become a transgressor. Such passion is banished from the soul by feelings of friendliness and affection. Kindness, humility and efforts to live at peace with someone who bears malice against you will free you and that person. A person who loves Christ is certain to imitate Him as much as he can. And Christ never ceased doing good for people. Christ does not wish you to feel hatred or malice, anger or bitterness against anyone, in whatever manner or for anything. The four Gospels preach this to all people. He who abandons love for any such reason has not yet understood the aim of Christ’s commandments.”
That reflection by St. Maximus is in eodem sensu eademque sententia in relation to the teaching of Jesus. Christian Just War Theory is in no way eodem sensu eademque sententia in relation to the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels. Indeed, CJWT radically changes the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels. CJWT is a fundamental change in Christian morality. It is a new revelation “that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Jesus Christ is the fulfillment”—and therefore should not be accepted and followed.
“If morality based on reason and nature were the supreme morality of humanity, the Gospels need not have included a moral revolution,” writes Rev. John L. McKenzie. He continues, “But, they do. Christian morality must be primarily Christian.” This requires that Christian moral thinking must authentically be eodem sensu eademque sententia of the teaching of Jesus as found in His words and deeds in the Gospels. Whatever is not according to “the sense and the meaning” of the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels, whatever is logically contradictory to Jesus teaching in the Gospels, whatever cannot be implemented without disobeying other teachings of Jesus in the Gospels cannot be the truth and Revelation of Jesus, the Word of God Incarnate—and therefore must not be accepted or followed by a Christian or by a Church.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
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