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Just War and Pacifism: A “Pacifist” Perspective in Seven Points

Having been asked to speak from a pacifist perspective, I should state right away that I have misgivings about the word “pacifism.” Not only does it have connotations of an unreasonable refusal to take up arms to defend the innocent, like your wife or daughter or grandmother who is being raped. It also implies a moral position the substance of which is intelligible without reference to Christian belief and practice. This is not the kind of “pacifism” (if one must use the word) that I espouse. Placing the qualifier “Christian” before the word “pacifism” helps to correct this problem to some extent. But the implication still remains that pacifism is a coherent position the core of which is the same in spite of its many varieties. Nevertheless, in spite of these misgivings, I want to fulfill the assignment I’ve been given by explaining a Christian, and more specifically, a Catholic, understanding of pacifism, then by drawing out continuities between a Catholic understanding of pacifism and a Catholic understanding of just war, then offering a series of comments on the present state of Catholic teaching on war and peace in the United States, and then, in conclusion, by re-stating my so-called “pacifist” perspective. All of this comes by way of seven points.

As I see it, Catholic pacifism is rooted in the gift of peace that Christ gave to his disciples on the night before he died (John 14:27) and gave to them again, so to speak, in a renewed and more powerful form in the upper room, with the greeting “peace” (John 20:19-20). What is noteworthy about this episode is the apparent connection between Christ’s peace and the forgiveness of sins which, in the episode from the Gospel of John, the apostles are to bring to others through binding and loosing; indeed, as we see from the Book of Acts, they are to bring this peace to the whole world. Thus, “peace” through the forgiveness of sins lies at the heart of the apostolic mission of the Church.

This reality is also at the heart of the theological vision of the least of the apostles, the apostle Paul, as can be seen in his Letter to the Romans. At the outset of Romans 5, we read, “So then, now that we have been justified by faith, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). In this context, “justified by faith” means “being admitted into God’s favor in which we are living” (v. 2). This favor was puzzling because we were “still helpless,” “godless” (v. 6), “still sinners” (v. 8); because we were “enemies” (v. 10), as the text reads “for if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his son, how much more can we be sure that, being now reconciled, we shall be saved by his life?” (v. 10). For Paul, a fundamental and far reaching reconciliation has been accomplished in and through Christ, the reconciliation of God and humanity. We, who were God’s enemies, have been brought into God’s peace. This is not a reconciliation of individual Christians with God, as understood in certain strands of the Lutheran and Evangelical traditions. Rather, it is a reconciliation that is inherently social. It dissolves the enmity between Jew and Gentile. In this sense, the cross of Christ forges a new people, who live in a new way, made possible by Christ. Peace is thus, first and foremost, en ecclesial reality, and inasmuch as the Church is, in traditional Catholic ecclesiology, a perfect society, it is also a social reality.
The irreducibly social character of peace, in the Catholic theological tradition, is illustrated in the great anti-Arian treatise On the Incarnation, where Athanasius declares that the truth of the divinity of Christ has been demonstrated in Egypt inasmuch as the spread Christianity has brought that land peace, true peace, God’s peace. If we were to inquire as to how this peace is established, the answer would have to be that it is through the lives of those claimed by Christ in baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist; lives that are so transformed that Christians may be described as “partakers of Christ” or, simply, as “Christs.”

The connection between the Christ-life imparted by the sacraments and the peace of Christ is also reflected in the prohibition, in our moral and canonical traditions, of those who have shed blood, who have taken the life of another with their own hands, to be ordained priests. Similarly, there is the witness of those in the monastic and religious life whose obligations to follow the evangelical counsels included a refusal to participate in any kind of killing. Mot notable among these, perhaps, are the follower of Francis of Assisi, who, like their founder, renounced violence as part of pursuing the imitation of Christ. There are many other elements in Catholic tradition that reflect the Church’s abhorrence for bloodshed (in keeping with the longstanding principle “the Church abhors bloodshed”) or, to put it in positive terms, the Church’s presumption for peace. All of this indicates that-and this is the first point I want to make-the peace embodied in the followers of Christ, in the Church, is a peace that is intrinsically, inherently social.

This leads to my second point, which is that the formulation in The Challenge of Peace in which pacifism as an option for individuals is fundamentally distorting. No one receives the gift of peace as an individual, any more than they receive the Body of Christ as an individual. Rather, we receive the gift of peace as members of a body (I Cor 12:12-30, Romans 12:4-5), as branches on a vine who remain in God’s love and lay down their lives for their friends (John 15:1-17). In this sense, Francis of Assisi was not “an individual”; he was a saint, a member within a communion, who took into his body the marks of Christ, and was thus shown to be a sharer in the body of Christ.

The same is true of Franz Jägerstätter, the Austrian Catholic who refused to be drafted into the Army to fight in defense of the Nazi German regime. Here we should note that he refused over and against the counsel of several priests and his bishop, all of whom told him he had an overriding duty to his wife and three children and that he could participate in the Nazi-controlled Austrian military in good conscience, as did so many Catholics in Austria. Jägerstätter saw this for the lie that it was. He persevered in his refusal to be inducted. He was tried, convicted, sentenced to death, and beheaded on August 9, 1943. He was thoroughly Catholic. In a kind of last-will-and-testament letter to his godson, Franz Huber, Jägerstätter makes clear that his refusal to participate in unjust war was equaled by his refusal to participate in pre- or extra-marital sex. He describes his life on a journey to his true home, the Eternal Home. At this point, Jägerstätter’s cause for canonization has been introduced, but it has not proceeded with the alacrity of some of the glitzier candidates whose road to holiness was not impeded by misguided bishops. Jägerstätter is often depicted as an individual, as a “solitary witness,” to put in the account of his life and martyrdom by Gordon Zahn. But in fact, he himself was a member of the body of Christ, one who, daily, ate the body of Christ and felt called to be a saint, and who-this comes out in his writings-regarded his death as an atonement for the sins of the world.

Now, Jägerstätter is a hero for pacifists, including Gordon Zahn, the man who has done more than any author to publicize his story and promote his cause. Zahn himself was a conscientious objector during World War II. He spent several years in Camp Simon, the alternative service for Catholic conscientious objectors, many of whom were involved in the Catholic Worker Movement, and many of whom (though not all) were Catholic. But-and this is important- Jägerstätter himself embraced the just war tradition. The record indicates that his reasoning was clearly consistent with that of just war theory.

What does this mean? I suppose some might suppose that it lends credibility to the just war tradition of the church, which was embraced by this hero, this saint. But I submit that it also, and at the same time, signifies quite the opposite, that it diminishes credibility in the justwar tradition. For if Jägerstätter was right in refusing to participate in this war, then we should ask, What about the others? Where were his Catholic brothers and sisters, fellow members of the body of Christ in Austria? If we read the story of Jägerstätter, we know that many dismissed him as a religious fanatic or as psychologically deranged. Others condemned him for being a traitor to his country. Still others referred to him as a saint but insisted that his stance was not something to be expected from most Catholics. And these judgments were made not only during the war, but years later.

This story leads to my third point which is that there is a continuity between just war and pacifism, in that when the just war tradition is faithfully theorized and practiced, it calls for a politically disruptive witness on the part of its practitioners. The fact that such faithful practice is rare and exceptional should not obscure the demands of this tradition, but should make us press it upon the church all the more urgently, precisely because, as the experience in Austria showed, it has had little impact on the moral discernment of Catholics. One would hope that there would be a long record of careful moral discernment on the part of Catholics regarding their participation in war, in particular, regarding whether or not participating in a particular war would be unjust and thus an instance of cooperating with evil; and whether or not participating in particular actions or operations within a war would be unjust, and thus an instance of cooperating with evil. But the fact of the matter is that there is very little record of this kind of discernment among Austrian Catholics or German Catholics during these years. Moreover, there is very little record of this kind of discernment among American Catholics either. Catholics in the United States had little or no problems with the obliteration bombing inflicted upon Germany and Japan in the Second War, culminating, of course, in the use of the atomic weapons. Most Catholics approved, and still approve, of the use of that weapon of mass destruction on the flatly utilitarian grounds that it ended the war, such as the kind powerfully articulated by Paul Fussell in his morally dangerous essay, “Thank God for the Atom Bomb.”

What I am saying is that there was a dearth of serious just war reflection among Catholics in Allied countries when it came to the Good War. But, thankfully, this was not entirely the case, as there were some voices of protest against the coming war on just war grounds. Most notably among these was the voice of Elizabeth Anscombe, a student of Ludwig Wittgenstein and for most of her life a philosopher at Oxford and Cambridge.

In the fall of 1939, shortly after England declared war on Germany, she wrote a brief, very powerful essay entitled “The Justice of the Present War Examined.” Arguing on the basis of traditional just-war principles, Anscombe stood against the war waged by British government for three reasons: (1) the government’s intentions were not just but clearly opportunistic, (2) it was planning to murder large numbers of civilians by means of indiscriminate obliteration bombing, and (3) the probable evil effects of the war outweighed the probable good effects given that the Allies were bent on waging a war without a clear goal. The essay begins with a statement that is worth quoting at length given its pertinence, in my view, to our post-9/11 situation in the United States. “In these days,” she writes, the authorities claim the right to control not only the policy of the nation but also the actions of every individual within it; and their claim has the support of a large section of the people of the country, and of a peculiar force of emotion. This support is gained, and this emotion caused by the fact that they are “evil things” that we are fighting against. That they are evil we need have no doubt; yet many of us still feel distrust of these claims and these emotions lest they blind men to their duty of considering carefully, before they act, the justice of the things they propose to do. Men can be moved to fight by being made to hate the deeds of their enemies; but a war is not made just by the fact that one’s enemies’ deeds are hateful. Therefore it is our duty to resist passion and to consider carefully whether all the conditions of a just war are satisfied in this present war, lest we sin against the natural law by participating in it.

I quote this text because it was, as was Jagerstatter’s witness, so exceptional. Indeed, Anscombe’s essay was published as a pamphlet but before it could be widely disseminated, a bishop ordered the pamphlet withdrawn from publication, an order to which she complied, remarking later that back then people did what their bishops told them to do. But her words, rather than those of her bishop, remain in our memory.

So, when it comes to the just war tradition, it can and often does emerge as a protest to the waging of modern warfare, and it can and should generate a kind of heroic stance,
indeed a prophetic witness, the kind that is often associated with pacifism.

My fourth point is related to this. Most critics of pacifism contend that it is either unrealistic or irresponsible or both. But if one takes this strict understanding of just war theory, then it too can be criticized on similar grounds. Take, for example, the argument advanced by Finnis, Boyle, and Grisez in Nuclear Deterrence, Morality, and Realism (which by the way has a long section in the footnotes that confirms Anscombe’s view of the immoral intentions of Allied Commanders in planning how to wage war against Nazi Germany ). They argue that deterrence strategy is immoral in that it entails a willingness to take innocent life, or if not, then it entails lying. But, the question arises, if we reject deterrence strategy, what are we supposed to do? Let the Soviet Union conquer the West? In the final chapter of the book, they provide an answer to such questions by offering some “concluding Christian thoughts” including a “profession of faith” in Jesus Christ whose life, death, and resurrection shows to humanity the path of righteousness and true freedom. This path requires Christians to pay many costs, and one of those costs in the context of the nuclear rivalry of the early 1980s is a sacrifice of the notion that the fate of Christianity depends on the future of the Christian West, which must not, they point out, be confused with the kingdom of God. Christians must, in other words, have faith in Divine Providence, which calls them to greater detachment from the Christian West. A similar emphasis on Divine Providence can be found in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor by Pope John Paul II, who argues that one should avoid evil no matter what the consequences, trusting that any and all consequences will be enveloped into God’s mysterious plan. This profound belief in Divine Providence is deeply rooted in Catholic tradition which holds that God is capable of bringing forth good from any kind of horrifying evil.

On this score, a strict understanding of just war tradition resonates with the central themes in a “pacifist” stance. Take, for example, the stance put forth by Daniel Berrigan in his book Isaiah: Spirit of Courage, Gift of Tears that we should not recoil from the attempt to do the impossible because God never commands the impossible; rather, what seems impossible or morally ill-advised because of deleterious consequences, such as unilateral nuclear disarmament, turns out in God’s providence to be possible and good. What is important to note is that Berrigan’s position on obeying God’s command come what may, like the position of Finnis, Boyle, and Grisez, is set against a consequentialist ethic on the basis of a radical trust in God’s providence. It is also important to note that both of these positions, the pacifist and strict just war positions, are regularly rejected on pragmatic grounds by exponents of a more lax, more corrupt, version of just war theory, which brings up my fifth point.

This more corrupt, lax version, which can be called “nation-state pragmatism,” came to dominate Catholic social thought in the modern period. As the Church was struggling to retain its temporal power of modern Europe, it forged concordats with numerous modern states, and it justified this by resorting to a utilitarian or proportionalist logic, a logic given theoretical legitimation in the thesis-hypothesis distinction formulated by Monsignor Doupanloup of France. The history is subtle and complex and cannot be delved into here. For our purposes, suffice it to say that that this proportionalist logic was carried forward in Catholic social thought in the United States by such eminent figures as Jacques Maritain, and, more importantly, by John Courtney Murray. Moreover, this nation-state pragmatism, featuring a corrupt utilitarian or proportionalist logic, was reinforced in the post-conciliar era when Catholic social thinkers, now calling themselves “Catholic social ethicists,” appropriated the so-called “realism” of liberal Protestant thinkers, particularly Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Ramsey, though the latter sought to offset the utilitarian drift in the former.
One well known Catholic thinker on war and peace has been deeply shaped by this trajectory. I refer to George Weigel, whose thought is governed by an ideal/real antinomy that produces this same kind of pragmatism or utilitarianism. In the Second Gulf War-or better yet, in the latest phase of the Present-and-Ongoing Gulf War-George Weigel has wielded strong influence among Catholics in the United States. In several columns and brief articles, Weigel has stated that the decision to go to war against Iraq was a matter of prudential judgment, and that the judgment is the responsibility of the president, as indicated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 2309. In one respect, such statements, of course, are indisputable. It is a matter of prudential judgment and it is the responsibility of the president to make this judgment. But in another respect, these statements simply beg the question. They beg two questions in particular: Has the president actually fulfilled his responsibility well? Was his judgment a sound prudential judgment? And along with these two questions, there arise a host of others: Was going to war against Iraq in March truly a last resort? Was it truly in the service of creating a more stable peace in that country and in the region? Was the information used by the president reliable? Was there any distortion of the facts by policymakers? By those who disseminated the information? What was the role of the media (which, as traditionally-minded, conservative commentators often note, has such a corrosive effect on our moral lives, especially of the young) in shaping public perceptions of this war? All of these questions pertain to the quality of the judgment to go to war. Was it truly a “prudential judgment” to go to war, or was it rather the work of some false simulation of “prudential judgment,” such as cleverness or craftiness or fraud, which as Aristotle and Aquinas note, can look like prudence but is not.

Perhaps the most dangerous element in this view is the idea that we should trust the president, simply because he is the president. I see no reason to do so in regard to U.S. policy in regard to this war, any more than I saw a reason to trust President Clinton in regard to policymaking on the matter of abortion. This is not to say that abortion and war are moral equivalents. Abortion is evil in itself and can never be ordered to the good, whereas war is evil only when waged unjustly. But this was precisely the judgment of some of the highest leaders in the Catholic Church: that this war-not war in general, not some other war, but the war waged by the United States against Iraq in the early months of 2003-that this particular war was unjust. And yet, the war was waged. To be honest, I thought there would be more skepticism among Catholics in the United States regarding the Bush Adminstration’s push to go to war when, last fall and winter, deep reservations about its plans were expressed by various leaders of the Holy See: by Cardinal Ratzinger, for example, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; by Cardinal Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State; by Cardinal Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; and by the Holy Father himself, who repeatedly referred to war as a human failure, with the clear implication that such a failure with regard to war in Iraq would be in part the responsibility of the United States. I am aware that scholars and pundits differ as to who said what when; whether or not the pope was really against the war (as the plain sense of his words indicate), whether or not he said Catholics should not to fight in this war; what degree of authority is to be given to this or that statement, given this context or that context, and on and on . . .

In the face of all this hair-splitting, I simply want to state my view that the President Bush and his Administration was not prudent in going to war against Iraq because of a lack of docility (a crucial ingredient in the virtue of prudence ) in relation to the Holy See; because the Bush Administration had decided some two years ago now to go to war against Iraq; because it, in large part, fabricated the link between al-Queda and Saddam, and thus fabricated a “crisis”; and because, in response to this fabricated crisis, it articulated a specious rationale for going to war, called “preventive war.” This rationale is fit for a Hobbesian state, a state that goes to war when deemed advantageous to serve its own interests over and above the interests of rival states. This rationale is also fitting for the description of the modern state as an imperium, an Empire. (Admittedly, this sounds like the heightened rhetoric of the Radial Left, but one result of having George W. Bush as president is that we now have a foreign policy that that warrants such heightened rhetoric).

All of which is to say, yes, the decision to go to war is a matter of prudential judgment, a judgment of particulars that cannot be captured in general formulation of universal principles; but no, this decision to wage this war was an instance of bad judgment. And this decision has had, and will have, many costs attached to it, much suffering, of Iraqi civilians and soldiers, and U.S. civilians and soldiers, which leads to my sixth point.

There is a strand in just war theory that holds that because the responsibility for waging war falls to the head of state-in this case, the president functioning as commander-in-chief-moral responsibility is removed from those in the Armed Services who actually fight the war. This in my view is mistaken, gravely mistaken. It is simply not true that, because the president has the responsibility to determine when to wage war, all others involved are relieved of moral culpability, any more than it is true that because the president of a hospital is responsible to determine when to turn off the ventilator of a patient, the rest of the staff has no moral responsibility as to the degree of cooperating with the act. Of course, we hope that hospital presidents and medical authorities are formed well enough to make sound moral judgments, but we cannot assume that this is the case, which is why families and friends must take it upon themselves to make these judgments, with the help of the Church. So too, regarding war.
Judgments about war are the responsibility of members of the Armed Services, of officers and soldiers, of their pastoral leaders, of their bishops and priests, of the Church. And the duty to follow orders never excuses one of the overriding obligation not to cooperate with evil by participating in an unjust war, as stated by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: “actions which deliberately conflict with these [just war] principles, as well as orders commanding such actions, are criminal. Blind obedience cannot excuse those who yield to them.” Or to state this in positive terms: “The courage of those who openly and fearlessly resist men who issue such commands merits supreme commendation kind” (Guadium et Spes, n. 79). Now, this raises a host of issues in moral theology, having to do with the degrees of cooperation with evil, and I take it as a sign of hope that moral theologians are beginning to use again the mode of analysis surrounding the matter of the nature and degrees of cooperation.

The catechetical task involved in translating these complex matters into pastoral action is demanding. How are we to form Catholics that they may be conversant with and adept at making these moral discernments? What resources will be required? And so on. I think it is pastorally irresponsible to avoid that task; or to cut it short, as did the head of the military vicariate, Bishop Edwin F. O’Brien, earlier this year when he wrote to the 375,000 or so Catholics in Armed Forces, assuring them that they were morally permitted to fight in this war, because the president said so-the standard line of the pro-war Catholics.

This letter assured many officers and soldiers, certainly. But many others were not so assured by it, from what can be gathered. The stories are only now trickling in. . . . Stories, for example, of deception on a high level, such as the high ranking officer whose job it was to write speeches for an even higher ranking officer that provided European audiences with a rationale for U.S. policy so as to generate political support for the planned attack on Iraq, a rationale filled with half-truths and deceptions. . . . Stories of horror on the ground, such as those recorded by soldiers engaged in heavy fighting on the way from Basra to Baghdad, making their way into the streets of some cities and finding themselves knee-deep in body parts. . . . Stories heard by a friend of mine by the name of Cathy Breen, who remained in Baghdad throughout the war, and who said that one soldier came to her, a fifty-something American woman, to talk and to share with her, and he said, in a confession-like fashion, “I’ve seen terrible things . . . . ”

A lot of people have seen a lot of terrible things. And they are going to have to live with that. And they are going to have to live with themselves, if they think that the terrible things they have seen, and perhaps have done, were done for an unworthy, immoral cause. And all the accolades, commendations, medals, and ticker-tape parades, all the tough sounding rhetoric from a president who wears a flack jacket for the TV cameras-all of this will do nothing to salve their consciences. What about the soldiers in psych wards? What about the soldiers who are committing suicide in inordinately high numbers? What about the wives who will have to sit up with their husbands, because their husbands are afraid to fall asleep and see what they see in their nightmares? What about the kids who come back and just aren’t the same anymore? Another generation….

I know I am not telling anyone anything they don’t know. But I think we need to keep reminding ourselves that there are real lives of actual people at stake, and it does not do them justice to suppose that their turmoil will cease by waving a verbal magic wand that says, “paragraph 2309 in the Catechism states that the responsibility lies with the president….” What I am trying to emphasize here is the pastoral character of the Church’s teaching on the morality of war, which brings me to my seventh and final point.

The Church’s teaching on the morality of war originated out of a pastoral concern. As historians have told us, the just war tradition is a set of conditions or principles used to determine when it is just to go to war, and what is just to do within a war. These principles emerged in the fourth and fifth centuries, and were expanded and elaborated over time, especially during the Middle Ages, largely in order to determine if, in going to war, a person had sinned. We can see this in canon law. No violence and bloodshed on certain days, e.g., Sundays, certain feast days, or during certain times of year, e.g., Lent. Certain weapons were outlawed as too hideous, too lethal, e.g., the crossbow, because it could pierce armor. People coming back from war would confess their sins, and it was necessary to determine the gravity of the sin in order to come up with the appropriate penance. And this led to an accumulation of guidelines, bits of wisdom, rules and regulations, and penitential practices, such as the practice of soldiers returning from war doing forty days of penance. In this context, the teaching on just war was, first and foremost, a form of pastoral reflection and discernment. And it was in this respect an ecclesial discourse.

But a shift occurred in modern times, around the time of Grotius, such that “just war theory” came to be seen primarily as a set of norms for managing the affairs of modern states in the arena of international politics. At length, it came to be seen almost exclusively in this way. In this later context, just war teaching was transmuted into an ethical theory, tied to a theory of statecraft, wherein the state, and politics, is depicted as inherently violent. One of the most influential propagators of this theory was the German sociologist Max Weber. And Weber, as it turns out, was formative of the thought of the Ernst Troeltsch, whose thought, in turn, was formative in the discourse of Catholic social ethics in the United States.

I have already alluded to the way that this legacy paved the way for a utilitarian method of doing social ethics, a method devised by professional ethicists in order to mitigate the violent dynamics of modern nation-states. But another feature in this development is that things associated with religion are relegated to, and cordoned off within, a different sphere of life. It is a sphere of ultimate ends, rather than means, a sphere of the Absolute rather than the Relative. In this thinking, the last thing we want involved in politics is someone who believes in an absolute ethics, such as set forth in the Sermon on the Mount. Also in this thinking, pacifism gets seen as an Absolute, which means it is irrelevant for politics. Thus pacifists, according to Richard John Neuhaus, in his emotional editorial in the December 2001 issue of First Things, are nothing more than a reminder of the Kingdom to come and have nothing to say about the morality of war among the kingdoms of this world. Hence my misgivings about being identified as a “pacifist.” Hence too my wariness of questions such as, “Are you an absolute pacifist?”
So let me answer that question before the question period begins. I am not an “absolute pacifist.” Rather, I am an absolute Nicean and Chalcedonian Christian, that is, I believe absolutely that the Son is one in being with the Father, and that the fullness of God’s will and the fullness of God’s life, is revealed and made possible in Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, which He gave to us, along with His gift of peace. And it is only by thinking more critically about, and distancing ourselves from, the waging of war by modern nation-states, that we will worthily receive that Gift of Peace.


1 John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 212-27.

2 Athanasius, On the Incarnation, trans. and ed., A Religious of the C.S.M.V. (Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 1946), 90-1.
3 Cyril of Jerusalem, Lectures on the Christian Sacraments, ed. F.L. Cross (Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 1986), 63-4.
4 Ronald G. Musto, The Catholic Peace Tradition (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1986), 59.
5 Musto, Catholic Peace Tradition, 83, 89-90.
6 National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, para. 111-119.
7 Gordon Zahn, In Solitary Witness, 2nd ed. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968). Almost forty years after it first appeared, this book remains the most complete account of Jägerstätter’s life and death.
8 Gordon Zahn, Another Part of the War (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1979).
9 Zahn, Solitary Witness, 129-31.
10 Zahn, Solitary Witness, 146, 161-66,
11 Gordon Zahn, German Catholics and Hitler’s Wars (1962; reprint, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989).
12 Paul Fussell, Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays (New York: Summit Books, 1988), 13-37.

13 G.E.M. Anscombe, “The Justice of the Present War Examined,” in The Collected Philosophical Papers of G.E.M. Anscombe, Vol. 3, Ethics, Religion and Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1981), p. 72.
14 Anscombe, Ethics, Religion, and Politics, p. vii.
15 John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, Germain Grisez, Nuclear Deterrence, Morality, and Realism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 38-44).
16 John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, Germain Grisez, Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1987), 367-88.
17 John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, para. 84-95, 102-108.

18 Daniel Berrigan, Isaiah, Spirit of Courage, Gift of Tears (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1996), 5-13.
19Alec R. Vidler, The Church in an Age of Revolution (New York: Viking Penguin, 1974), 150-52.
20 Explicating this critique of Maritain and Murray would require a full-length article which, again, is not possible here. For now, I simply wish to point to Maritain’s lament that immutable moral principles must, in contexts of moral decline, be adapted to meet the unhappy exigencies of resisting barbarism which may call for the use of means that, in other contexts, would be ruled out. Part of his lament is over the difficult position of “moralists” who, when upholding absolute norms, are charged with inflexibility and when allowing for adapting norms in particular contexts are charged with relativism. Maritain, of course, would have been particularly sensitive to the latter charge. See Man and the State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 73-75. As for Murray, I wish to note that the gap he posits between the demands of morality, based on natural law principles, and the exigencies of public order, based on the need to maintain at least a semblance of public discourse, opens up into a conceptual space that allows for the kind of sheer pragmatism that Murray sought to resist. For more on the structure and dynamics of his thought, see Michael J. Baxter, “John Courtney Murray,” in The Blackwell Companion to Political Theology, ed. Peter Scott and William T. Cavanaugh (Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), pp. 150-164.
21 George Weigel, “Moral Clarity in a Time of War,” First Things 128 (January 2003): 20-27; “Correspondence,” First Things 132 (April 2003): 2-6.
22 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1144a 21-36. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II-II, 55, 2-5.
23 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II-II, 49, 3.
24 See, for example, M. Cathleen Kaveny, “Appropriation of Evil: Cooperation’s Mirror Image,” Theological Studies 61 (June 2000): 280-313.
25 Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien to Catholic chaplains in the Armed Forces, March 25, 2003. Online. Archdiocese for the Military Services, U.S.A. 24 September 2003. Available FTP: [http://www.milarch.org/inside/homilies/obrien/hab030325.htm
26 Frederick H. Russell, The Just War in the Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975); John Howard Yoder, When War is Unjust (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1996).
27 For more on this development, see Arne Rasmusson, The Church as Polis (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994), pp. 231-247.
28 Max Weber, “The Profession and Vocation of Politics,” in Weber: Political Writings, ed. Peter Lassman and Ronald Spears (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 309-69). For a critique of this Weberian conception of politics along lines that are consonant with the account of Christian discipleship I am putting forth, see Frederick C. Bauerschmidt, “The Politics of the Little Way: Dorothy Day Reads Therese de Lisieux,” in American Catholic Traditions, ed. Sandra Yocum Mize and William Portier (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1997), 77-95.
29 “In a Time of War,” First Things 118 (December 2001): 13-14.

Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXIV, No. 3, May-June 2004.