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  #1  
Old 5th January 2015, 06:48 AM
Hands of Truth Hands of Truth is offline
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Default Pacifism

Ron,

I know you have written about just war theory in the past but I was wondering what your thoughts are on pacifism and if it is an acceptable philosophy to subscribe to as a Catholic?

This question arises out of a discussion with a friend who maintains Jesus' example and words point to a teaching of pacifism (or call to love radically), though he maintains pacifism does not mean non-violence.

He mentions Dorothy Day and the Catholic Workers Movement as motivations for his position. He provided the following article as a reference:

http://catholicworker.org/roundtable....cfm?Number=80

Thank you
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Old 5th January 2015, 01:04 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Catholics are required to believe the teaching that proportional violence in self-defense, in defense of the community by police officers, and in defense of the nation by soldiers is moral.

A particular individual Catholic can take the position that it is not God's will for that individual to go to war or to be a police officer. But he or she might encounter a situation in which the moral law requires him or her to use violence in defense of the innocent.

You see a child being severely beaten by an adult, and you have the ability to stop the crime with violence. No one else is available to help; the police will not arrive in time. You would be morally obligated to use violence to protect the innocent child.
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Old 5th January 2015, 05:21 PM
Hands of Truth Hands of Truth is offline
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Thank you. What is your justification for claiming it is "required" by Catholics to believe it? Is there an infallible statement or document?
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Old 5th January 2015, 06:49 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Hands of Truth View Post
Thank you. What is your justification for claiming it is "required" by Catholics to believe it? Is there an infallible statement or document?

Non-infallible teachings require religious assent. Infallible teachings require theological assent (the full assent of faith). The teachings on just war and self-defense are at least non-infallible, and may possibly be infallible under the ordinary and universal Magisterium.
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Old 6th January 2015, 09:50 PM
Hands of Truth Hands of Truth is offline
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Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
Non-infallible teachings require religious assent. Infallible teachings require theological assent (the full assent of faith). The teachings on just war and self-defense are at least non-infallible, and may possibly be infallible under the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

Thank you again Ron. Out of our conversation I am left with two questions. Was Jesus a pacifist? The people I discussed this with on the thread appear to believe so and use his example of going to the cross.

The second question is: Is pacifism a heresy? Are those who adhere to it strictly, heretics if they have accepted it with full knowledge?

I understand the answer to both questions cannot be "yes".
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Old 6th January 2015, 10:01 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Hands of Truth View Post
Thank you again Ron. Out of our conversation I am left with two questions. Was Jesus a pacifist? The people I discussed this with on the thread appear to believe so and use his example of going to the cross.

The second question is: Is pacifism a heresy? Are those who adhere to it strictly, heretics if they have accepted it with full knowledge?

I understand the answer to both questions cannot be "yes".

Jesus was not a pacifist.
[Luke]
{19:12} Therefore, he said: “A certain man of nobility traveled to a far away region, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
{19:13} And calling his ten servants, he gave them ten pounds, and he said to them: ‘Do business until I return.’
{19:14} But his citizens hated him. And so they sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this one to reign over us.’
...
{19:27} ‘Yet truly, as for those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here, and put them to death before me.’ ”

Jesus is the man of nobility who traveled to receive a kingdom. And he says that His enemies will be put to death.

Pacifism would be a heresy IF it included the claim that violence is never justified in self-defense or in defense of the innocent.
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Old 6th January 2015, 11:51 PM
Hands of Truth Hands of Truth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
Jesus was not a pacifist.
[Luke]
{19:12} Therefore, he said: “A certain man of nobility traveled to a far away region, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
{19:13} And calling his ten servants, he gave them ten pounds, and he said to them: ‘Do business until I return.’
{19:14} But his citizens hated him. And so they sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this one to reign over us.’
...
{19:27} ‘Yet truly, as for those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here, and put them to death before me.’ ”

Jesus is the man of nobility who traveled to receive a kingdom. And he says that His enemies will be put to death.

Pacifism would be a heresy IF it included the claim that violence is never justified in self-defense or in defense of the innocent.

I really appreciate all this information. Thank you. It is my position that pacifism is an idealistic concept that can result in serious and dangerous consequences for innocent people. The idea frankly frightens me. I feel that we have a duty to protect our fellow man as one of many acts of charity. I feel that when Jesus spoke about being naked and we did not clothe him, that applies to forms of aid or help we could give to others and did not give, including using violence to protect.
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Old 7th January 2015, 03:13 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Hands of Truth View Post
I really appreciate all this information. Thank you. It is my position that pacifism is an idealistic concept that can result in serious and dangerous consequences for innocent people. The idea frankly frightens me. I feel that we have a duty to protect our fellow man as one of many acts of charity. I feel that when Jesus spoke about being naked and we did not clothe him, that applies to forms of aid or help we could give to others and did not give, including using violence to protect.

Yes, I agree.
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