The Dispatch: More from CWR...

No “just wars”?

Ukraine’s war is a just war. It is justified in intent, and Ukraine’s military has conducted itself in a morally justifiable manner.

A tank fires amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, in this still image taken from video released March 20, 2022, by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Ukrainians said it shows the frontline near Kharkiv, Ukraine. (CNS photo/Ukrainian Armed Forces via Reuters TV/handout via Reuters)

Every war is a defeat for humanity, because men and women endowed with reason should be able to resolve their differences without mass violence. Reason, however, can be corrupted by ignorance, passion, ideology, pride, and innumerable other vices. And the distortion of reason can make the slaughter of others, including innocents, seem not only permissible, but even imperative. Thus within his own warped frame of reference, Vladimir Putin’s barbaric assault on Ukraine makes sense — to him.

A few days before his forces invaded Ukraine expecting an easy victory, Putin declared Ukrainians a non-nation occupying a non-country that, by right of history and culture (including religious history and culture), belongs to Great Russia. So by his (dim) lights, Putin was restoring the proper order of things by invading Ukraine to extinguish its sovereignty. And when his military faced a courageous and effective Ukrainian resistance composed of regular army troops and volunteer defense forces, it made sense — again, within Putin’s ideological construct — for his troops to attack civilian targets, to break the will of those recalcitrant Ukrainians who refuse to accept that they are “little Russians” who should come home to the Fatherland.

Putin’s war, which is based on his megalomaniac view of Russia and Ukraine, is manifestly an unjust war: immoral in intent and immoral in execution. The blasphemous blessing of Russian aggression by the leadership of Russian Orthodoxy cannot change that moral fact.

Ukraine’s war, by contrast, is a just war. It is justified in intent, and Ukraine’s military has conducted itself in a morally justifiable manner.

The defense of national sovereignty was recognized as morally legitimate by the Second Vatican Council, which taught that “governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defense” and that “state authorities and others who share public responsibility have the duty to…protect the welfare of the people entrusted to their care.” In the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, the Council fathers also taught that those “who devote themselves to the military service of their country should regard themselves as the agents of [the] security and freedom of peoples” who, “as long as they fulfill this role properly,” make “a genuine contribution to the establishment of peace.” That is what the Ukrainian military and territorial defense forces have been doing since February 24.

According to a normative Christian theological tradition first systematically articulated by St. Augustine, certain moral benchmarks define the boundaries of the justifiable use of proportionate and discriminate armed force. Those moral standards and the kind of conscience they form seem alive and well among Ukraine’s political and military leadership, on the battlefield and elsewhere. Thus Russian prisoners of war — primarily conscripts whose superiors lied to them about their deployment and then used them as cannon fodder — are being treated humanely by the Ukrainian authorities.

By contrast, any such conscience seems moribund in the Kremlin and among the Russians who committed genocide in Mariupol’.

Given these realities, it is not easy to understand the trajectory of Vatican commentary during the war’s first month. The Vatican’s primary role in world politics is that of moral witness — a witness that proved quite effective when John Paul II deployed it in east central Europe, East Asia, and Latin America. The first task of that moral witness is to call things by their right names, especially in situations clouded by lies, disinformation, and propaganda. Yet it took almost two weeks for Pope Francis to use the word” war” to describe what was going on in Ukraine.

Then, on March 16, the Pope met via videoconference with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, as if Kirill were a figure of religious authority rather than what he really is: an instrument of Russian state power. Instead of clarifying the moral truth of a situation and thereby contributing to its resolution in a just peace, that Vatican initiative further muddied the waters and made a just peace more difficult.

During the videoconference, the Pope noted that “There was a time, even in our Churches, when people spoke of a holy war or a just war. Today we cannot speak in this manner.” Charitably construed, that was an oblique rebuke of Kirill, who had indeed spoken in that manner. Universalized, however, the Pope’s formulation was problematic.

It is simply not the case that serious Christians can no longer use the categories of “just” and “unjust” in thinking about warfare. There are, in truth, just and unjust wars. Russia’s war in Ukraine is unjust and ignoble. Ukraine’s war is just and noble. Informal papal comments do not change that reality. They can, unfortunately, obscure it.


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About George Weigel 429 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. His most recent books are The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission (2020), Not Forgotten: Elegies for, and Reminiscences of, a Diverse Cast of Characters, Most of Them Admirable (Ignatius, 2021), and To Sanctify the World: The Vital Legacy of Vatican II (Basic Books, 2022).

32 Comments

  1. “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”

    Jesus Christ lived under the Jackboot of the Roman Empire (Equivalent to the Nazis) and in this teaching, we are given an understanding of how we are to bear ‘witness’ to injustice, as in yield to it and go a step further and expose it for what it is.

    “There is a reason the word martyr literally means “witness,” and there is a reason why the greatest witness to the heart of God was precisely God himself becoming a martyr — accepting death at the hands of the oppressors to overturn not only the system of empire, but also sin, death, and oppression everywhere”.

    Please consider continuing via the link
    https://www.redletterchristians.org/on-going-the-extra-mile-and-how-it-doesnt-mean-what-you-think-it-means/

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • Are you advocating that the Ukrainians just lay down their arms and surrender to the Russians?

      Are you comparing this situation to the situation in the Roman empire and their subject nations of 2,000 years ago?

      • Thank you for your comment, Terence ” Are you advocating that the Ukrainians just lay down their arms and surrender to the Russians? No, I am advocating that Christians look to the teaching of Jesus Christ.

        I am not ‘comparing this situation to the situation in the Roman empire and their subject nations of 2,000 years ago’ rather I am stating that violence is the tool that superpowers and otherworldly kingdoms etc, have always used to subjugate the less powerful. Violence breeds violence while Jesus Christ demonstrates the courage emanating from love to confront it as he cries out to us from the Cross

        “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
        For further clarity on what I am saying please consider continuing via the link

        https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2022/03/29/pope-francis-and-pacifism-a-perspective-from-poland/#comment-305055

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

        • Violence is amoral not immoral, and to be peaceful is not the same as to be harmless. You NEVER want to be harmless, it’s ok to be like a lamb to God, it’s never ok to be a lamb to man. Unless you take comfort satisfying the belly of a wolf. Jesus had some choice words regarding self-defense and Matt 5:40 wasn’t it.

    • As for “two miles,” one also runs across sound biblical scholars who interpret this as one extra mile, but not for more than one. Only two miles total. Which is to say that in this imperfect world there is a place for instructive forbearance, but not for lapdog stupidity.

      • Thank you Peter for your comment, see the link given in my post
        As this verse comes right smack dab in the middle of the most explicitly nonviolent teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5:38-48 Here we have the classics: love your enemy, give to those who ask of you, and turn the other cheek.

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

        • I would not have responded to your comment without reading the link.Christian charity and civility are certainly one thing, yes, but a footnote here on sometimes-conflated groveling by Christians, which is quite another. Josef Pieper observes Christ and then quotes Aquinas:

          First PIEPER: “Christ drove the money-changers from the temple with a whip, and when the most patient of men stood before the high priest and was struck in the face by a servant, he did NOT turn the other cheek, but answered: ‘If there was harm in what I said, tell us what was harmful in it, but if not, why dost thou strike me?’” (Jn 18:23).

          Then AQUINAS in his commentary on St. John’s Gospel: “Holy Scripture must be understood in the light of what Christ and his saints have actually practiced. Christ did not offer his other cheek, nor Paul either. Thus to interpret the injunction of the Sermon on the Mount [turning the other cheek, Mt 5:39] LITERALLY is to misunderstand it. This injunction signifies rather the readiness of the soul to bear, IF IT BE NECESSARY, such things and worse, without bitterness against the attacker. This readiness our Lord showed, when he gave up his body to be crucified. That response of the Lord was useful, therefore, for our instruction” (Pieper, Fortitude and Temperance, 1954).

          • Thank you, Peter, for your comment in giving such a clear understanding of the Just War theory. And yes, we can call out evil in a firm manner but how are we to confront the bully without becoming the bully ourselves as evil begets evil (As violence begets violence) as can be seen in so many injustices within a war. From my long post via the link given below “The teaching by the church on a Just War is nothing more than a minefield with regards to its application of justified murder” In which I believe that I give a balanced understanding of the problems of Just War Theory, for Christians.

            https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2022/03/29/pope-francis-and-pacifism-a-perspective-from-poland/#comment-305055

            kevin your brother
            In Christ

          • Kevin, we now see that those who do not believe your (“balanced”?) mindset that resistance always and everywhere escalates, inevitably, and even your equation of prepared self-defense with abortion (your broad-brush poetry of “justified murder”) are no longer, as you say, “Christians” (the gratuitous final wording of your post).

            If intended, your own escalation into banishment is a most violent use of verbal hand grenades.

            The tragic dilemma of our fallen human history—to which we might agree—is the sober choice between the universally acknowledged risk of escalating destructive power and the alternative certainty of violence unopposed: Auschwitz and the Gulag. To preserve their families and nation, those who would rather blow up a tank than lie down in front of it might actually be “Christians”!

            Yes, in the big picture, how then to progressively scale back modernity’s excessive weaponry—-in a balanced way? A Christian question.

        • In the same “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus says, “if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.” Literalism is not a helpful way to correct, let’s say in this vein, addiction to pornography.

    • I discussed today with someone the meaning of “Do not bear false witness” It has such serious repercussions. Relevant post Kevin. To me. Today.

  2. I find Weigel’s condemnation of Putin’s attacking civilians in Ukraine in stark contrast to his justification of the bombing of tens of thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and his glossing over of our fire bombing hundreds of thousands of civilians in Tokyo and other Japanese cities (CWR Sept. 30, 2020) to be…interesting.
    If I am not mistaken, I believe the just war doctrine requires no direct attack on civilians. As to his argument that these bombings ultimately saved lives, I believe there is also a doctrine that you cannot do evil to achieve good.
    Not writing to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – just noting a contrast.
    Just thought I would mention this as we seem to be getting a weekly update on the war in CWR from Weigel’s perspective.

    • It’s true that just war doctrine allows no direct attack on civilians. The difference between Russia’s conduct in the present and the use of the atom bomb against Japan is that Russia is waging a war of aggression, while the US in 1945 was pacifying an aggressor.

      Russian soldiers sin if they wound or kill a human being, whether or not their conduct is legally a war crime.

      The moral evaluation of the use of the atom bomb depends on President Truman’s reasonably expected good effect in pacifying the aggressor (Japan), and on his choice of that effect alone, to the exclusion of all evil effects. I stress ‘good effect’ as distinct from ‘consequence’, as the object of the act is determined first by the immediate effect (in order of causation, not of time), then by the choice of that effect by the will.

      Once the object of the act is determined, the proportionality analysis can be undertaken. The two limbs of the analysis are these:

      (1) Is the act necessary to the attainment of the good effect, or could a less lethal means have been chosen?

      (2) Does the act strike a fair balance between the good of peace which is to be obtained by the act, and the value of human life that is expected to be sacrificed to obtain it?

      What weighs heavily in this assessment is the human, material and moral cost of world war incurred to date and the death and destruction to be expected if alternative means of defeating Japan were used. World War Two was so exceptional in this respect that clear and obvious disproportion could not conclusively be shown.

      • Pacifying? Proportionality? Yes and no. A more complicated view is that the “decision” to drop the bomb(s) on Japan was more of a tragic comedy of errors than a decision.

        A selected dozen “errors,” plus a conclusion:

        (1) Truman did not even hear of the second bomb (Nagasaki) until after it was dropped; (2) the first drop (Hiroshima) was not publicly covered with the guesstimate of a million invasion casualties until two years later (!); (3) in terms of proportionality the estimated number of fatalities at Nagasaki was 20,000, not the actual 80,000, on the assumption (!) that the residents would go underground—but the leaflets for air drop arrived a day late; (4) the “decision” for both bombs was so compartmentalized that while many highest-ranking military leaders disagreed—at the time (!), they were excluded; (5) the key sticking point with Japan was retention of the emperor after the war (a concession which later was actually made!); (6) the ambiguity and possible misinterpretation of the Japanese response to the Potsdam Declaration (“mokusatsu”); (7) the indecision to explain in advance what the Western term “unconditional surrender” did NOT mean (a slogan lifted from the single Civil War battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee); (8) before his death, even Roosevelt, in a private memo, wondered about the unresolved morality of using on Japan a technology intended to check Hitler (the war in Europe ended months before); (9) the unreceived letter to Truman from the scientific community that, instead of ending the Pacific War, actual use of the bomb would trigger a profoundly risky and ongoing nuclear arms race with Russia (the letter was stalled by the head of the Manhattan Project); (10) earlier Japanese peace feelers through both the Vatican and Moscow (for whatever disputed weight these might have meant); (11) the “opinion” of the Strategic Bombing Survey (1946) that the war would have ended “probably” by November 1, 1945 and “certainly” before December 31, even if the bombs had not been used, and even if Russia had not entered the war in the Far East (the same day as Hiroshima, a concession made at Yalta); and (12) the case is made that use of the bombs was meant to freeze Russia in its tracks (preventing a later Iron Curtain dividing Japan).

        Overall, what did “they” know and when did they know it?—as documented in the Top-Secret files declassified fifty years after the event, including actual War Department casualty estimates of a phased invasion of the Japanese islands.

        CONCLUSION: Clairvoyance is in short supply. So, not to discount, here, alternative views on each and all of these “details,” but simply to suggest less of a “decision” than the momentum of a tragic comedy of errors. And to focus on an historic pivot point that still has its thumb on the scale—with the subsequent (consequent?) nuclear arms race multiplying a weapon actually deployed in 1945, rather than being left as only theoretical on paper.

        I am no expert but, as one who was born and raised on a major site of the Manhattan Project, the whole indigestible thing (code name: “the gadget”) has stimulated curiosity and decades of festering reflection. For the patient reader, my historical and theological conclusions were published on August 6, 2021, the anniversary date of Hiroshima: https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2021/08/meditations-bomb-small-town-cul-de-sac-peter-beaulieu.html

  3. “Given these realities, it is not easy to understand the trajectory of Vatican commentary during the war’s first month.”

    That may or may not be true, but it is easy to IGNORE the Vatican commentary.

    It is more than a bit unsettling to read something like this – Mr. Weigel, whom I admire, seems to be taking it on himself to comment on ‘just’ or ‘unjust’ war from a safe distance, but he is not alone in this.

    Let me simplify it – when someone attacks you – you defend yourself. Seminars, synods, discussions, dialogue and the like – from a safe distance (of course) – will just have to wait.

    For the Ukrainians – this war is one which they did not start, one which they did not ask for, but now that the battle is joined – for them this IS a ‘Holy’ war.

  4. If the early Church had rejected the idea of Just War Theory, and simply yielded and surrendered to all invaders without a fight, Europe would either be controlled by the Mongols or the Turks today. Furthermore Jesus never gave heed to Suicidal Pacifism during His ministry, as he chased the Merchants out of the temple with a corded Whip (Matthew 21: 12-13) and He said he who does not own a Sword should sell his cloak and buy one (Luke 22: 36-38).

    Pope Francis needs to be called to order by the Bishops of the Church because his contradiction of Church doctrine is calling into question his mental competence to continue in office.

  5. Can we not see past the globalist-owned media talking points to the truth? THAT is the battlefront. Can we not examine the origins of Zelenski and the WEF agenda which precipitated this war? They gave us COVID, Russiagate, and the Jimmy Lai “insurrection.” THEY alone caused this war and they are brazenly exploiting it through Orwellian analysis like this. I am beginning to think they gave us George Weigel THE FOOL as well. This article is definitely folly strutting its stuff.

  6. It is disingenuous to treat history as though it began 10 minutes ago. To state that the war is simply a result of President Putin’s megalomania is clearly disingenuous. It is disingenuous to ignore the role the US government has had in causing this war. After reneging on their promise in 1991 not to expand NATO east of Germany by inviting Poland, Romania and the Baltics into NATO, the US government have been in discussions with the Ukrainian government to join NATO. Putin had drawn the line at Ukraine and Biden ignored him, pushing his buttons intentionally or not. President Zelenskyy has been rubbing it in Putin’s face that he had “big brother” to protect him as he slaughtered 14,000 Russian-speaking people in his country for the past 8 years. These things cannot be ignored in a serious discussion of the cause of this war.
    The statement from the Second Vatican Council that “governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defense” is not a blanket statement that every war is just as long as the leading politicians believe it be. There are six tenets to the just war theory (theory, not doctrine, the statement by the Second Vatican Council was not ex cathedra), all of which must be met.
    – Is it a last resort? If Zelenskyy promises not to join NATO, the war is over. If Zelenskyy leaves office, the war is over. So, no, the war is clearly not the last resort.
    – Does the Ukraine have a probability of success? Clearly, no – not without the help of the US and Europe, for which the war would not be justified because there was never an attack on them.
    – Is their defense proportional? I can concede this is true, but only because the Russian forces will clearly dominate and the Ukrainian forces will never get a chance to make it disproportional.
    – Is the war being fought for the right intention? It is being fought to preserve Zelenskyy in power, not to protect Ukrainians. If Zelenskyy left office tomorrow, the war would immediately end.
    – Is it a just cause? I can concede that this is true. The damage the Russians could cause will likely be grave, lasting and certain.
    – Was it declared by the proper authority? This is as questionable as the election that got Zelenskyy in office.
    This type of pro-war propaganda has no place among Catholics. This has nothing to do with the teachings of the Prince of Peace. It bears no resemblance to the Sermon on the Mount. It is the opposite.

    • Shhh.. don’t complicate things with facts, which will just be denounced as Russian propaganda by Weigel and those of like mind. What civilians killed in the two separatist republics? They were all domestic terrorists who deserved it. After all if Weigel and the UGCC agree that the Ukrainian government has done nothing wrong, who are we to disagree? Catholic tribalism first!

    • SW, Thank you for your thoughtful remarks.

      Here is some rational, objective thinking regarding Ukraine from back in 2015, before the truth became the first casualty of the current war; the analysis by John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and Co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago is very enlightening. His lecture is entitled “Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault?”

      Weigel seems to me to be promulgating propaganda, not offering Catholics objective analysis of the situation.

    • Zelensky didn’t “Slaughter” 14 000 Russians over the past eight years; that would have been rather impossible to achieve, since he was only elected President in 2019. Stop regurgitating RT and other Russian propaganda.

  7. As famously said from time immemorial by sufferers of love turned sour, even adversarial, It’s complicated.
    Pope Urban II 1095 called all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims to reclaim the Holy Land, with the justification Deus vult!. We have wars called by Moses, the prophets, God himself for Israel to make attack Amalek, Canaanites, Philistines et al, that is, any tribe, kingdom that practiced idolatry, in effect Satanic worship. In most instances Jews were admonished by God to give no quarter, everything alive in Jericho including dogs and chickens to be slaughtered. John Paul II’s sensitivities were shocked by this and held that policy in doubt, in effect, doubting sacred scripture. George Weigel, a devotee of John Paul, has no such sentimental reserve. What is a just war if not the sufficient reason to protect the common good, a principle that has wide application. Defensive war is not really war understood as an invasive action, or the use of the term by Bush 41 and 43, Preemptive War, which John Paul II condemned, despite a wide array of support from credentialed pundits.
    The great Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius maintained in De Jure Belli ac Pacis 1625 On the Law of War and Peace perhaps offers the best definition. That war is justifiable only if a country faces imminent danger and the use of force is both necessary and proportionate to the threat.
    It’s complex, yet it’s difficult to find a better standard.

    • Father Morello and all:

      On the note about Urban II and the calling if the 1st Crusade, different people might draw different conclusions about the “justification” of that call to war, but some reading of the associated history long preceding the call, and the history mire recently preceding it, offers a more balanced account of the situation facing Christendom at that time, which is far more detailed and understandable than the simple suggestion that Urban was simply a war-monger, something akin to our contemporary-counterfeit-Krisjun Patriarch Kirill, wrongly justifying a lust for war by asserting that “God wants” (what Urban wants). I actually don’t know that much about Urban II, but considering the “virtues” on display among other Pontiffs, including the three big-time eras of the 10th century Pornocracy, the 16th Century Borgias, and the curious entanglements of our own Pontiff 2013, I can allow he might not be the best imitator of “The Good Shepherd.”

      On the long-preceding history, all informed readers and commenters know of and will not dismiss the preceding 400-year-long military offensive of Islamic armies against the Mediterranean Christian kingdoms of North Africa and Eastern and Southern Europe, with the associated atrocities of the homicidal Islamic sword and its rape and enslavement.

      On the more immediate and compelling history animating the 1st Crusade, the historian Regine Pernoud has explained the animating events, in her 1963 book “The Crusaders,” reissued in 2003 by Ignatius Press.

      In the prologue, entitled “Non-violence and Non-resistance,” she recounts the growing phenomenon of massacres of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, reaching its culmination in the 1065 Holy Week massacre of the Pilgrimage of Bamberg, during which 12,000 mostly unarmed Christian pilgrims were slaughtered by mounted Bedouin archers while approaching Jerusalem, for three days between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. She writes that the chronicle of the massacre by the survivors indicates that a few of the pilgrims who were armed “felt compelled to defend themselves,” and “others carried the spirit of pilgrimage to the point of martyrdom and refused to offer resistance. At one moment a priest induced them to throw aside their weapons and to fall on their knees in prayer. Then they decided to beg the Arabs for a truce. The massacre apparently dragged on ftom Good Friday until Easter Day and probably ended because the attackers ran short of arrows….”

      In sum, the 1st Crusade, and its horrific end in the atrocity of the slaughter of Muslims in Jerusalem, can be and certainly have been judged by Christians as, in hindsight, wrong, for a variety of reasons.

      But it is only fair to those who went before us to weigh in the balance what Regine Pernoud recounts, that after 400 years of enduring the sword of the Islamic Jihad, “11th century Christians” of the Mediterranean and Europe “began to wonder whether it was not time to oppose the [Islamic] ‘holy war’ with a ‘righteous war.’ “

  8. Regarding MP’s comments above, I will quote Gaudium et Spes #80.
    “Every act of war directed at the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.’
    There is no qualifying phrase regarding whether it is a war of aggression or pacifying an aggressor.
    Regarding the comment that a lot depends on Truman’s intent of a good effect – I said earlier that Church doctrine states that you cannot do evil to effect good, so Truman’s intent is irrelevant.

  9. Russia’s war to topple what is, in effect, a puppet regime in Kiev, is indeed a just war. It is, to this point, an entirely moral endeavor. Bloviation in this regard cannot change this moral fact: Russia is in the right.
    What is concerning here, and where Mr. Weigel is not wrong, is the unfortunate and ill-considered attitude evinced by some recently, seemingly suggesting that war is an aberration in human life, not normative, and must always be thought of and treated as such. While doubtlessly this view is taken for humane and perhaps Christian reasons, I am afraid that this actually escalates the potential for conflict, and, moreover, for any such conflict to be more cataclysmic than it might otherwise be.
    Scholar Anatol Rapoport once grouped views of war into three basic categories. First, there is the war-as-policy school, often associated with Carl von Clausewitz. While seemingly cold-blooded in temper, this school actually is the most peaceable in practice. Have an objective. Count the cost. Make the decision. [The question of justice would be part and parcel of counting the cost.] Obviously this school sees warfare, unfortunate as it may be, to be part of the human experience in a fallen world.
    The second school is crusade/jihad/etc… type of thinking. Often religious in temper (including the various secular “religions”), this considers war a purifying endeavor, indeed a good thing. Certainly the 20th Century’s introduction of industrialized total war, including the invention of WMDs, makes this attitude at least obsolete, and irrational, whatever merits it may have had in times past.
    The third school is what might be characterized as the Wilsonian attitude. Perpetual peace is normative. War is not. History must stop. While tempting to some, this attitude ends up conflating the second and third schools. It necessarily must result in demonization of the enemy, of an anything-goes type of approach. After all, one’s enemies are not just enemies; they are subhuman disturbers of the peace. This school is part and parcel of the perpetual war for perpetual peace way of thinking, where everyone on the planet is involved in every conflict world over, and ironically blood flows evermore.
    One last point, regarding the incessant propaganda present in Mr. Weigel’s articles: That there is anyone who still believes that the Ukrainian forces are prosecuting their “defense” in a more honorable manner than their Russian liberators, ought to have his head examined. Russian forces attack “civilian” targets because those targets are infested with opposing forces, often militias. Moreover, the evidence of Ukrainian atrocities, in this year as well as years prior, are ignored only by those proceeding in bad faith. They were replete.
    Russia’s war in Ukraine is just and noble. Ukraine’s “defense” is wrongheaded, saddening, and thus ultimately unjust and ignoble.

  10. To agree with abortion is to carry the guilt of abortion and I am sure that those that do so, will be held accountable before God, may God have mercy on them. To agree with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima is to carry the guilt of all of the innocents who perished by those who used it and I believe that they also will be held accountable before God, may God have mercy on them. I believe that the atomic bomb now with its big brother the H-bomb is ‘The Abomination of Desolation. May God have mercy on all of us.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  11. May 24, 2017, Mr. Putin visited the reliquary of St. Nicholas, at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. (See Youtube videos, with Mr. Putin repeatedly crossing himself in reverent manner.) Five days later, the worst storm in more than 100 years hit Moscow, killing 16 people, injuring scores more, and knocking down hundreds of trees. Indiscriminate violence coupled with a lack of the Gospel spells trouble.

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