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Benedict XVI: War Does Not Resolve Conflict

December 20, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI and War

Here are some statements made by the Holy Father in an address to Makram Obeid, the new ambassador of Syria to the Holy See (from Zenit):

“You have spoken of your government’s concern over the annexation of the Golan Heights by Israel in 1967. With a heavy heart, I note that a wide range of territorial and other disputes have led to armed conflicts in recent times that threaten the peace and stability of the entire Middle East,”

“Repeatedly I have pleaded for a cessation of violence in Lebanon, in the Holy Land and in Iraq,” the Pontiff said.

Benedict XVI said: “The world looks on with great sadness at the cycle of death and
destruction, as innocent people continue to suffer and targeted individuals are kidnapped and assassinated.”

The Pope said that the Church “emphatically rejects war as a means of resolving international disputes, and has often pointed out that it only leads to new and still more complicated conflicts.” The Pontiff added that the solution to the conflict lies within the framework of international law and “the implementation of the relevant United Nations resolutions.”

Emphasis added.

The War and the Catholic Blogosphere

Due to the increased public interest in the Iraq war and the recent call from the president to increase troops in Iraq, there are timely discussions in the blogosphere regarding “just war” triggered by what appears to be one of the most recent homilies from Bishop Gumbleton:

We never can go to war to kill, to hate, to do violence. The way of Jesus is a way of love only. It’s not enough to be against this current war, we must be against any war, any violence, anywhere. That requires a deep change in us.

Gerald from The Cafeteria is Closed disagrees with the Bishop’s statement and goes on to say:

Against ANY war? A few pictures of Jewish victims of the Nazis say more than a thousand words about the necessity of some wars.

Although Gerald is right that something had to be done about Germany, are these grounds to criticize Bishop Gumbleton’s statement? Is the Bishop really so far off based on what Christian charity dictates on this one?

Nate, from the Lamb and the Dragon, who is also a former soldier himself, has a very interesting and informing post (see: The Cafeteria is Burning) where he touches on the Church’s teachings and statements made by the Pope arguing against Gerald’s case:

The contemporary world too needs the witness of unarmed prophets, who are often
the objects of ridicule. “Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in
order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defence available to
the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity…” (
CSDC 496)


Gerald claims that pacifism is not the solution and that pacifists are in fact,

Pacifists are effectively pro-fascist, pro-Communist etc. What really p****s me off about them is their air of moral superiority.

So, is Bishop Gumbleton wrong and showing airs of “moral superiority” when he says: The way of Jesus is a way of love only”? Is Pope Benedict wrong? Should we follow Gerald’s rule on this one?:

As a general rule: Erroneous statements don’t become correct because a Pope made them.

What are your thoughts on war? And Pacifism?


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