Bishop urges "Fresh appraisal of basis on which 'Just War' is agreed"
Preaching at a 'Justice and Peace' Mass in St. Peter's, Glenburn, Paisley, on Friday 20th. September, Bishop John Mone, Bishop of Paisley and President of the Justice and Peace Commission, of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, said;
"In the New Catechism of the Catholic Church you will have no difficulty at all in finding the Church's teaching on WAR. In the section entitled 'Life in Christ', article five is about the Fifth Commandment, 'You shall not kill'. It explores respect for human life in every form and looks at the ways that sin against it. Because of the evils and injustices which accompany every war, the Church urges everyone to pray and act for peace. In particular it is Governments who are obliged to work and do all in their power to avoid war. Although the right to self-defence is itself defensible, the decision to use military force is now so extraordinarily serious it requires extremely serious conditions."
Bishop Mone added;
"A number of conditions must apply before war can be justified:
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor must be continuing, grave and certain.
- all other means must be shown to be impractical or ineffective ie. all peace efforts must have been tried and failed.
- there must be a good chance of success.
- the evil and disorder that results must not be greater than the evil it sets out to eliminate.
Those who have the responsibility for the common good are the ones to make this decision in order to justify, morally, the use of arms. The church teaches that every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and humanity and merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. Because the modern weapons of war have immeasurably magnified the horrors and evil of war and given that they can inflict enormous and indiscriminate havoc which far exceeds the bounds of legitimate defence, therefore a completely fresh appraisal of agreeing to war must be put in place. Pope John Paul on his visit to Britain in 1982 said that the scale and horror of modern warfare made it an unacceptable way of settling differences between nations. In other words we must be wary of our traditional understanding of war."
Bishop Mone concluded;
"It is interesting that so many of our politicians and citizens who are against going to war with Iraq are using these very criteria of the Catholic Church, possibly without even realising it. These arguments are about protecting and defending life. Pray for that peace which the world alone seems incapable of giving."
Catholic Media Office
0141 221 1168