Some moments, in retrospect, decided everything. When the two most towering minds and influential thinkers in the history of Western Christianity, Augustine and Aquinas, neither of whom knew Greek, the language of the New Testament, came to the conclusion that not all killing was murder and that not all wars were evil, they sealed away in silence one of the most profound and potentially transformative bits of Gospel truth at the core of that very faith to which they had confessedly dedicated their lives, namely, that love is more powerful than hate and that it is better to die then to kill. They and those who followed them came to see the pacifism of the early Church as mere “passivism,” as doing nothing, as unrealistic, naïve, and irresponsible. In arming Christians for righteous battle, they disarmed the radical challenge and alternative to war embodied in the early Christian community, whose own “heroes” gave their lives as willingly as any warriors, while refusing to take the lives of others.
– Robert Emmet Meagher , Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War
What Jesus teaches by word and deed about violence and discipleship is the logical opposite of Augustine and Aquinas. Why does His authority carry less weight among most Christians of all ranks in the Church than that of Augustine and Aquinas? Or, why is their authority equated with that of God Incarnate, so that a Christian is permitted a choice between following the Way of the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels or following the way of the violent Augustine and Aquinas?