Catholic conference questions “Just War Theory”

National Catholic ReporterVatican City –┬áThe participants of a first-of-its-kind Vatican conference have bluntly rejected the Catholic church’s long-held teachings on just war theory, saying they have too often been used to justify violent conflicts and the global church must reconsider Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence…”

From descriptions of war in the Old Testament, this conference errs in thinking war has become anachronistic on account of the power of modern weapons. War has always been about cruelty and the infliction of suffering. Some of the most horrible wars are fought with machetes and rape. There is one going on right now that is fought with bulldozers. Drones do nothing to sanitize war, only to isolate one side from the cruelty.

The conference is exactly right however that the solution is to think more courageously about the consequences of our actions, and how we might instead wage peace. Warfare is playing a short game in which one side has more power; the citadels of power can ignore the resulting suffering, the asymmetric warfare, and even the loss of generations. It is thousands of years past time that we began to play a longer game.