[Thanks again to Stephen at TCR for posting this]
Christian Just War Theory and Moral Laxism:
A Chronically Misleading Episcopal Witness
Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
"The Holy Father’s judgment is also convincing from a rational point of view. There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq". ---Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, May 2, 2003
The Catholic bishops of the United States today are doing great harm to the Church Universal, to the U.S. Catholic Church, to the people of Iraq, and to the American people. By their chosen silence they have become moral accessories to unjustified woe, waste and desolation in human life. Accessories are enablers. The bishops by continuing to project, via their silence, an aura of strict moral certainty with respect to this war on Iraq are a significant moral support apparatus for recruiting for it, for voting for it, for electing representatives who endorse it and for continuing to kill and maim people in it. The U.S. bishops, however, by taking this morally laxist position are acting in lockstep with a seventeen-hundred-year-old modus operandi made visible in all the Churches of Christianity—Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant. Theirs is but the contemporary Americanized meme of the old Constantinian pastoral practice of pious and politically street-smart "blind guides" (Mt 15:14) leading those they have kept blind down the primrose path of holy homicide on behalf of the local power brokers, economic elites and lords of war—instead of leading their flocks along the Way that the Lamb of God teaches by word and deed.9
It is time to stop! A laxist moral system of interpretation is forbidden because it undermines all obedience to morality. The de facto witnessing to its validity is a most grave episcopal failure—especially when applied where a strict interpretation is obligatory. Such a witness is the public camouflaging of evil under the veneer of good and beneath the trappings of Christian religiosity. It is giving a false, misleading, Orwellian doublethink witness concerning the Way of Eternal Life. It is placing "is" where "is not" belongs. A bishop’s supreme obligation, as a bishop, before God and to his people is the salvation of souls. Being a CEO administering and protecting the assets of a corporation is a secondary episcopal occupation, if that. When the latter of these tasks controls the interpretation of the former, rather than the former controlling the operations of the latter, then an about-face is the only way back to being faithful to the vocation to which one has been called by Christ-God. This is a vocation to shepherd along the Way of Eternal Salvation those whom God has entrusted to you. It is a commission to protect His lambs, His anawim, from the craft of the wolves of evil and to feed His sheep with the teachings of Jesus and with Jesus. Everyone will readily agree that it is of the highest importance to know whether we are not being duped by morality.
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