Just War has been a part of Christian thought since the time of St. Augustine. It concerns the conditions under which Christians can promote and/or participate in military force. The modern understanding of Just War, especially for the Catholic Church, can be traced back to the work of St Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas outlined 3 guidelines for determining whether war could be considered just.
- The military response must be controlled by the state
- The war must have a just cause such as protection or defense
- The war must further good and reduce evil
Since the time of Aquinas, Catholic Church teaching has added two additional conditions to the criteria of just war
- War must be a last resort
- The use of force must be proportional
Whether war in Iraq satisfies the conditions of “Just War” is the critical question Christians have been trying to answer since 9-11.
Michael Novak, one of the countries leading neo-conservatives, shows why he believes the Iraq war satisfies Just War principles.
“Asymmetrical Warfare” & Just War: A moral obligation
- Do you believe the war in Iraq meets the criteria of Just War
- Have your views changed since the start of the war?
- How much of a role do you just war has played in public debate
- What significance does the contemporary Church have for the discussion and implementation of Just War