Wednesday, February 19, 2003

GS Part II, Chapter V, #77
The text will be in regular type, my comments in italics and indented

77. In our generation when men continue to be afflicted by acute hardships and anxieties arising from the ravages of war or the threat of it, the whole human family faces an hour of supreme crisis in its advance toward maturity. Moving gradually together and everywhere more conscious already of its unity, this family cannot accomplish its task of constructing for all men everywhere a world more genuinely human unless each person devotes himself to the cause of peace with renewed vigor. Thus it happens that the Gospel message, which is in harmony with the loftier strivings and aspirations of the human race, takes on a new luster in our day as it declares that the artisans of peace are blessed "because they will be called the sons of God" (Matt. 5:9).
The authors of the document believe we are not in a "condition normal" regarding war, but in a time of crisis, of decision, of more careful reflection on peace and on war. The human race is advancing toward maturity, which is interpreted as meaning a realized sense of our unity as a human race. This is the reason why the whole just war theory cannot simply be left as it is, but is in need of development keeping not only the increasingly terrible effects of war, but the increasing desire for and consciousness of–and desirability of–the unity of human race. The Church is not neutral on the question of world unity, nor is it neutral on the desirability of a comprehensive peace among nations.

Consequently, as it points out the authentic and noble meaning of peace and condemns the frightfulness of war, the Council wishes passionately to summon Christians to cooperate, under the help of Christ the author of peace, with all men in securing among themselves a peace based on justice and love and in setting up the instruments of peace.
Note, that the council fathers stop short of condemning war, just the "frightfulness" of war. But war is much more frightful now than it ever has been.

And note that the definition of the peace that we are called to promote is not simply the minimal tranquility of order that some commentators have suggested is the goal of engaging in a just war. We are to work for a peace based on justice
and love, in which case the question of proportionality takes on an even greater weight than it might have in the past. I believe that the pope's objections are really on the basis of proportionality, as well as on the explicitly stated basis of last resort.

As Kevin Miller has pointed out repeatedly, commentators such as Novak, Weigel, Schall and Noonan don't seem to be looking at this war from the perspective of
GS. The pope and the bishops seem to be. I have to admit, that my default attitude is closer to Novak, etc., than the pope's, which initially indicates to me a need for personal conversion. I'll have to keep reading for more clarity

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