Catholic teaching on ‘just war’

Re: “Just war in the modern age” (In Focus, July 30-Aug. 5).

Little has changed since the psalmist lamented, “When I speak of peace, they are for war” (120:7). In our own day, many profit off of violence, war and oppression and therefore actively oppose justice and peace. Both Jesus and his apostles warned us that wickedness and wars will increase in the last days, as will the persecution of God’s people.

Radical pacifism, though well-intentioned, is not in accord with sacred Scripture. The command to turn the other cheek is an instruction to individuals not to avenge a personal insult. Government, on the other hand, has not merely the right but the duty to protect those under its authority against unjust aggression. It “does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer” (Rom 13:4).

Until the Prince of Peace returns in his glory, we will continue to need guidelines for the just use of force by both civil and military authorities. To use this authority wisely and justly, in a way that prevents needless suffering, requires supernatural grace from God. As Christians living in God’s friendship, we have a special vocation to pray “for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity” (1 Tm 2:2). Prayer and penance are the highest and most effective peace activism there is and may, at times, even forestall the need for a just war.

Margret Meyer, Jacksonville, Florida

Climate change

Re: “A revolution of love” (Editorial, Aug. 27-Sept. 2).

There has been much debate and even violence regarding issues like racism in recent months. While not minimizing tragedies like that in Charlottesville, Virginia, or the importance of opposing such violence and hatred, such debate has overshadowed something that even the Holy Father considers a grave threat to life: climate change.

Although we as Christians should be rightly shocked and appalled by racist violence, we should likewise be so regarding the lack of action to prevent climate change. Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, states that, “We have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and being good and decent are worth it. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty [that affect] the growth of a genuine culture of care for the environment” (No. 229).

So, let’s not lose sight of big-picture issues involving human life and dignity that may get lost in weekly news but demand our attention. Those most affected by climate change, including our own children and grandchildren, depend on it.

Michael Wright, Glen Rock, Pennsylvania

Marian devotion

Re: “Our Lady brings ‘Good Help’ to Wisconsin” (Feature, Aug. 27-Sept. 2).

A great place to visit, pray and meditate. The Our Lady of Good Help prayer was adopted into our weekly novena at St. Andrew Parish in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Many great healing miracles have occurred at the shrine.

Frank Liebsch, via online comment

Fake news

Re: “Media manipulation” (Eye on Culture, Aug. 13-19).

It was disappointing to see a column that promoted, let alone mentioned, the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Surely, Teresa Tomeo could have found some other “fake news” event to use as an example to encourage us to pray for those reporters, editors, publishers, producers, etc., in the secular media. In light of so many recent tragedies, it is surprising that the editor and publisher of a Catholic newspaper would allow the promotion of an organization that stands against even the most limited control or ownership restriction of any type of weapon.

Brian Majerus, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Clarification

Re: “The miracle of the weeping icon in Illinois” (Essay, Aug. 20-26).

The article imprecisely stated that Orthodox priests are allowed to marry. It should have stated that married men are allowed to become ordained in the Orthodox Church, but once they are ordained, they are not allowed to marry or remarry. We regret the error.

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