Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Monday, May 7, 2012

War: What is it Good For?

AS AN INSTRUMENT OF AFFIRMATIVE or ordinary policy, war is condemned by the Church. The Church has cried against war like a bell ringing its tocsin: "never again some peoples against others, never again! no more war, no more war!"* (Compendium, No. 497)   Indeed, a "war of aggression is intrinsically immoral."  (Compendium, No 500)

Particularly modernly, the Church has condemned the "savagery of war." War does not justify itself; it must be justified. With the rise of modern technology, war has become particularly brutal, particularly inhumane. War is a physical evil always. It is a "scourge." Not only is war a physical evil, more often than not it is a moral evil also, and moral evils always seem to come in its dark train. "The damage caused by an armed conflict is not only material, but also moral." (Compendium, No. 497) 

War is difficult to control: indeed, it seems to devour its participants and embroil them in barbarism. It nurses hatred, desire for vengeance, and bitterness between peoples.  War is "the failure of all true humanism." (Compendium, No. 497)  The "terrifying power of the means of destruction--to which even medium and small-sized countries have access--and the ever closer links between the peoples of the whole world make it very difficult of practically impossible to limit the consequences of a conflict." (Compendium, No. 498)

The sheer brutality of violent war and the physical and moral evils that are always part and parcel of its consequences is what underlies the Church's desire to remove those circumstances that often give rise to war: injustice, poverty, exploitation.  Instead of promoting war, the Church seeks to promote peace, to promote the cooperation between peoples, to promote their physical and moral development and thereby obviate if at all possible the violence of war as an instrument of policy.

While wars of aggression are always condemned as intrinsically evil, the Church recognizes that war is sometimes forced upon a nation.  A nation "that has been attacked" has the "right and the duty to organize a defense even using the force of arms."**  (Compendium, No. 500)  In such circumstances, the Church has fashioned a "just war" doctrine which both outlines when a defensive war may be morally fought and how such defensive war may be fought.  Traditionally, therefore, the Church has divided its "just war" doctrine into two: jus ad bellum and jus in bello.

The traditional elements of jus ad bellum--when war may rightly be entered into by a nation--are outlined in the Compendium:
  • There must be a just cause of war.  That is to say, the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be "lasting, grave, and certain."
  • There must be a right intention.  In other words, the just cause must be the motive and not just a pretext for entering into the war.
  • All other means to obviate the aggression must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; the defensive war must be a last resort, and so there must be a practical necessity for it.
  • there must be serious prospects of success if war is entered into;
  • the resort to arms must not produce evils and disorders greater than the evil sought to be eliminated.  In other words, entering into war must appear to be proportionally the better result than not entering into war.
The weighing of these conditions and the prudential decision that are therein entailed are the responsibility of the authority who has the responsibility for the common good.

Since nations have a right to defense, it follows that they have the right to possess "sufficient means to exercise this right to defense," including the existence of armed forces.  (Compendium, 500, 502)  However, the "possession of war potential does not justify the use of force for political or military objectives," nor does it justify the imposition of "domination on another nation."  There is always an obligation to "do everything possible 'to ensure that the conditions of peace exist.'"  (Compendium, No. 500)

Once engaged in war, there are certain moral restrictions upon how war is to be fought.  These rules are called jus in bello.
  •  particularly brutal weapons (chemical, biological) are not to be used;
  • the non-combatants are to be considered immune from direct and intentional attack;
  • force must be proportional to the end sought;
  • prisoners of war must be treated with benevolence, and they may not be threatened with death, starvation, rape, torture, or inhumane conditions, etc.
  • no intrinsically evil means are to be used (e.g., rape, genocide, weapons of mass destruction)
  • reprisals are not to be engaged in (if the opposition violates the jus in bello, it does not justify reciprocal violations).
Particularly given the experience of World War II and the invocation of the "Nuremberg defense" (where a military officer seeks to defend himself from immoral action based upon the defense that he was following the orders of a superior officer), the Church insists on personal responsibility of each member of the military:

Every member of the armed forces is morally obliged to resist orders that call for perpetrating crimes against the law of nations and the universal principles of this law. Military personnel remain fully responsible for the act they commit in violation of the rights of individuals and peoples, or of the norms of international humanitarian law. Such acts cannot be justified by claiming obedience to the orders of superiors.
(Compendium, No. 503)

Finally, the Church insists on respect for the rights of conscientious objectors, yet also insists that these shoulder their duties to the common good:
Conscientious objectors who, out of principle, refuse military service in those cases where it is obligatory because their conscience rejects any kind of recourse to the use of force or because they are opposed to the participation in a particular conflict, must be open to accepting alternative forms of service. "It seems just that laws should make humane provision for the case of conscientious objectors who refuse to carry arms, provided they accept some other form of community service."
 (Compendium, No. 503) (quoting VII, Gaudium et spes, 79)

*John Paul II, Address to the Diplomatic Corps (Jan. 13, 2003), 4.
**Problematic is the notion of preventive war.  When is a preventive war justified as a defensive war?  "[E]ngaging in a preventive war without clear proof that an attack is imminent" would seem prohibited.  But if there is clear proof of an imminent attack, a nation may engage in preventive war.  (Compendium, No. 501)


  1. Is Roman Catholicism, Socialism? It seems to me that Roman Catholicism has taken all the planks of Socialism. Socialism also preaches that War is evil. Many of the arguments posted in the OP are Socialist arguments! This co-called "Compendium" is nothing more than a Socialist document. Many Roman Catholics are Socialists.

    "Peace enervates"

    That is why Socialism preaches it. In their agenda of effeminizing men, Peace is part of that process.

    On the other hand, Life is War. If you are not a warrior in the real world, how can you be a warrior in the spiritual. "Life is War" is a Law of Nature.

    So Andrew, if war is evil, if war of agression is evil, So why did God move the Israelites into Canaan and order their genocide? Did not God command the destruction of Jericho and here you condemn Wars of Agression? What was the invasion of Canaan? War of Agression? What about Samson picking on the Philistines? Was that not a war of agression. Did not God promise, everywhere Joshua's spear went, that land was his!

    You can file that Compendium in the circular file.

  2. The Church has no business condemning War. It has no power over nations. How do you know that God has not commanded another nation to punish another thru War. Maybe, God commanded the destruction of a nation. How do you know? Is the Church God? NO. God moves and controls all things on earth. Is the Church privy to the counsels of God? is there a God? Has the Church usurped God? The Church HAS NO BUSINESS condemning War. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's! The Church is NOT Caesar and stay out of Caesar's business!

  3. Is there war in the Kingdom of God? Is the Church Triumphant at war with itself? If "life is war," then I suppose you believe we'll all be dead in heaven, since the "kingdom of God is . . . peace." (Rom. 14:17). You may be Doric. And you seem to envy the Muslim. But wherever you get your bellicosity, your touting of aggressive war is not Christian.
    As to your Old Testament references, when was the last time that you know of that God, in a public revelation, ordered war?

  4. The Kingdom of God is IN Heaven not on earth and what you are doing is immanentizing the eschaton. You are confusing the Spiritual Order with the Temporal Order. You are bringing down Heaven to Earth. The Kingdom of God is NOT of this world--didn't Jesus himself say that!

    The whole of the prelates of the Catholic Church are socialists. Europe is socialist and its schools are socialist and the Socialist error has creeped into modern Catholic teachings!

    The Temporal Order operates on the Wisdom of God not on the "Catholic Compendium of Social Justice".

  5. Christ is the Kingdom of God. Christ, that is to say also his kingdom, is here on earth, in particular, in his Church. While I agree that the Kingdom of God will not be achieved in its fullness until the end of history, it is in an inchoate form here among us even know. True, the Kingdom of God is not of this world, but it is in the world.

    In a sense, the kingdom of God was present in Christ, and is Christ, since he drove out demons and explained that this was a sing that the kingdom of God had come to us. (Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20) It, in fact, is also mysteriously, intimately, and indissolubly linked to Christ's Church, which is Christ's body, "the kingdom of Christ now present in mystery," (VII, Lumen gentium, No. 3), the "seed and the beginning of that kingdom," (CCC § 768 quoting LG, No. 5), a "sign and instrument of the kingdom." (Dominus Iesus, No. 18) "In fact, the kingdom of God which we know from revelation, 'cannot be detached either from Christ or from the Church . . . yet while remaining distinct from Christ and the kingdom, the Church is indissolubly united to both." (Dominus Iesus, 18) There is a "unicity" in the "relationship which Christ and the Church have with the kingdom of God." (Dominus Iesus, No. 19)

    The kingdom of God though akin to a secret, however, is something for which is preached, for we work for, for which we suffer and experience hardship, even persecution, and the coming of which we wait. (Acts 8:12; 14:22; 28:31, 2 Thess. 1:5, Col. 4:1, Matt. 5:10; Mark 15:43) It is something that sometimes requires the sacrifice of leaving home, wife, family. (Luke 18:29) It is something that requires preparation, wise custody, effort and planning. (Cf. Matt. 25:1-11) It is something which we enter by baptism, so it is closely linked, if it is not in fact equated, with the Church. (John 3:5) It is a difficult acquisition, hard to enter, and difficult to stay in. (Mark 10:24) We do not inherit it without condition, since we are banned from it if we are wicked. (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:21) "Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal. 5:19-21)

    The kingdom of God, though present even in Christ when he walked on earth, and though present in us even now, and always near (Luke 10:11), will not be fully realized until the end of time, when, according to Scripture, an angel will blow his trumpet and voices in heaven will sing: "The kingdom of the world now belongs to our Lord and to his Anointed, and he will reign forever and ever." (Rev. 11:15; cf. Matt. 8:11; Daniel 2:44; 7:27) It is something the consummation of which ought devoutly to be wished, and indeed, the Lord taught us to pray to the Lord God, "thy kingdom come," adveniat regnum tuum." (Matt. 6:10; Luke 11:2) And St. Paul prays impatiently: Lord come! Maranatha! (1 Cor. 16:22)

    No, I'm afraid you are transcendentalizing the eschaton, advocating a sort of gnosticism, so that God has nothing to do with the world.

  6. Gnosticism is a hatred of reality. I accept reality---as is. It is you and that stupid Compendium that seek to thwart the workings of reality to fix some ideological utopia!!!
    This World Peace and this constant peace you preach and pray for, CAN NOT COME INTO BEING ON THIS EARTH! To seek such is Gnosticism!

    Gnosticism from a Non-Voegelinian Perspective, Part III (Gnosticism in Modern Scholarship)
    Thomas Bertonneau writes, ""The term “anti-cosmic” plays a central role in Jonas’ analysis of the Gnostic worldview.""

    Do you see this term: "anti-cosmic"? This Compendium which attacks war is anti-cosmic! It is against the Natural Order that has Strife and War! Yes, I am "Transcendalizing the eschaton" BECAUSE THE ESCATON BELONGS IN THE TRANSCENDENTAL!

    You are breaking the boundaries! I hope Islam wipes you out! Because regardless of faith, God loves those that follow wisdom. If the Muslims and the Atheists practice Wisdom, then Nature rewards them! And Nature will punish Catholics that follow that stupid Compendium.

    What you fail to recognize is that Nature follows her own dictates! You want to supercede Nature with Immanentizing the Eschaton. You are bringing Heaven down to earth! I'm telling you that you must respect boundaries! The Boundary of the Kingdom of God is in Heaven! Have you forgot, that the Church is a SHIP. The Ark that carries saved souls OUT to Dock of the Kingdom of God. The Compendium is Gnostic! Socialism is Gnostic thru and thru! There is NO difference between this Compendium and Socialistic teachings! It is thoroughly Gnostic! Gnosticism is anti-cosmic. It is against the Natural Order. To attack War is to attack the Natural Law and Order of the Cosmos!

    Fifty years from now, your grandchildren WILL BE dhimmis to Islamic Hegemony! Thru demographics alone, Islam will Conquer all! Europe will become Eurabia! And Germany, France, Greece and Britain---will all disappear! Because Islam follows the Natural Law while Catholics are turned into panzies and follow socialist/gnostic ideology! Islam is out to win. Catholicism is out to commit suicide. That is what you are promoting with this Compendium---Suicide.

  7. Islam follows the natural law? Now that's a new one!

  8. Because Nature rewards the Strong! When Christianity effeminizes its males, it is weak. Muslims are believers, hard-core believers. Strong in regards to humans is not just "physical", it means spiritually strong. Islam obeys the Natural Law that "Life is War". Its members war.

    Nature rewards the Strong. The Strong who are physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually strong!

    Catholicism has forgotten the Golden Mean. The Gospel can not be taken out of proportion. Catholicism has taken the Gospel to extremes and thus has debilitated Christianity making it weak. Nature rewards the strong. Islam has strength and unity and discipline. Catholicism has none of that.

    The proof is in the pudding. Europe and Europeans are committing Suicide and Islam is advancing! Nature rewards the Strong! It obeys the law of "One bad apple destroys the bushel". Muslims persecute their heretics and enemies. Catholicism tolerates everything. Islam is advancing. Catholicism is dying. They know how to win, Catholics only know how to lose.

  9. Your conception of the natural law is not of the real, original Natural Law. St. Albert changed the definition of it.

    The Catholic conception of the natural law is not the conception of the ancient Greeks! See this thread on Dr. Feser's thread where I explain it:
    Bruce and Van der Vossen on private property where Dr. Feser uses the Natural MORAL Law to defend private property.

    I'm telling you, you don't have the real, original natural law. If the Natural Law is immutable----its definition is immutable!

  10. "War, what's it good for"?

    It operates the Cosmos. It is how the Cosmos turns. It operates the "Checks and Balances" department of the Cosmos. It keeps the Golden Mean.

    It takes out the Fools and the weak. Weak meaning, not the physically weak, (It does do that in the animal world) but it takes out the Spiritually Weak! War thins out the animal herds.

    War is throughout the cosmos. Haven't you heard, "Iron sharpens Iron".

    See the Real Original Natural Law is the manifestation of the WISDOM of God. One sees the Wisdom of God in the Cosmos. You fail to see the Wisdom and even attack it. There is a purpose and a Wisdom why "Life is War". THAT IS THE WISDOM OF GOD that is so far ahead of that stupid idiotic Catholic Compendium of Social Justice! Catholics DO NOT have the Real Original Natural Law.

    The Church is NOT above the Real Original Natural Law. The Church has NO power over the Real Original Natural Law. It is the height of foolishness to attack and dismiss the real, orginal Natural Law. The Church can NOT countermand the Real Original Natural Law. Even Jesus Christ was subject to the Law of Nature when he died as well! The Law of Nature is Death.

    God will not save Catholics from the Natural Law. All your rosaries, all your eucharists, all your prayers WILL NOT save you from the consequences of the Natural Law. You break them---You die. If infidels and atheists (god-haters) obey the Natural Law and the Catholics do not, then God thru Nature will reward them and punish His own. He don't care! Obedience to the Natural Law is what matters. You can't take away a dot or a tittle from the Natural Law.

    Life is War! That is HOW Nature works! What is important is the READING OF NATURE. That is where the Natural law comes from---The Reading of Nature. Nature operates regardless of what Humans think. Nature. Nature. Nature. Instead of reading from a bloody book---Read Nature!

    Life is War!

  11. Here how about reading this thread from one of your Kinsmen Lawerence Auster who runs "View from the Right".

    Racial Incompatabilities that are bringing us to destruction

    Nature kills. So sorry, so sad. Too bad Asians and minorities don't read the Compendium of Catholic Social Justice. Why? Because they don't give a sh**. All your fancy writing is of NO concern.

    Or about this: Police fail to investigate Asians, Paki's as they prey on white women:
    Police fail to investigate paedophile gang

    This is the New World Order Social Justice.

    Life is War. Not only are European British girls being preyed upon by Asian Indians, White European girls get raped by black men and miscegenation is huge in America.

    We are facing metaphysical genocide thru miscegenation and all the Roman Catholic Bishops can think of is importing more Roman Catholic Mayans and Aztecs into our country to rape, kill, and miscegenate with the White European women.

    You can NOT speak of the horrors of the day. You cover them up and the RC Hierarchy even promote this in an off-hand way with their political correctness and so-called "social justice".

    Social Justice?+++The Catholic Natural Law===Death of Europeans. Nature runs on the real original Natural Law. Not on your compendium of Catholic Social Justice. We are being betrayed by not only by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in America and at the Vatican, we are being betrayed by the Roman Catholic Intelligentsia that run our blogs and colleges and universities.

    The Church promotes Death. "Even good, taken to an extreme, causes evil". The Gospel taken out of proportion, out of its sphere, causes death. That is the Natural Law of proportion.

    I suggest you read all dealing with race at Lawerence Auster's site.