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Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity

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(82,333 posts)
Thu Sep 5, 2013, 06:02 PM Sep 2013

The Catholic Case Against Strikes on Syria [View all]

Posted: 09/04/2013 2:07 pm
Fr. Edward L. Beck

On October 4th,1965, (the feast day of peacemaker St. Francis of Assisi) Pope Paul VI addressed the United Nations with an impassioned plea for peace: "No more war. War never again!" It was at the height of United States involvement in the Viet Nam War.

As we find ourselves at the precipice of possible involvement in another military conflict abroad, Pope Francis took to Twitter to recall those famous words of his Papal predecessor. On September 2nd Francis tweeted, "War never again! Never again war!" He also called for an international day of fasting and prayer on September 7th to pray for a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict.

People of faith are being called to take the words of the Pontiff seriously as our President and politicians debate the legitimacy of an attack on Syria. Most Christian traditions have continued to use the Just War guidelines, first articulated centuries ago by Saints Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas, as the principles for justifying military involvement and use of force.

The Just War Theory states three general principles for deciding "just" military action and intervention:
1) War must be waged by a properly instituted authority, such as the State.
2) War must occur for a good and just purpose rather than for self-gain.
3) Peace must be a central motive, even in the midst of violence.


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