Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"absolute pacifism is unsustainable"

Wikimedia Commons
"We give thanks at this hour that that indeed happened, and it is not only the countries that were occupied by the German troops and delivered from Nazi terror that give thanks.  We Germans, too, give thanks that liberty and law were restored to us through that military operation.  If ever in history there was a just war, this was it:  the Allied intervention ultimately benefited also those against whose country the war was waged.  Such an observation, it seems to me, is important, because it demonstrates on the basis of a historical event that absolute pacifism is unsustainable.  This, of course, in no way diminishes the duty to ask very carefully whether and under what conditions something like a 'just war' is still possible today:  that is to say, a military intervention conducted in the interests of peace and according to moral criteria against unjust regimes."

     Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, "A conference given by Cardinal Ratzinger at the Church of Saint-Étienne in Caen, June 5, 2004" ("confé
rence intitulée «À la recherche de la paix», donnée à Saint Etienne de Caen, le 5 juin 2004"), in Europe today and tomorrow;  addressing the fundamental issues, 2nd ed., trans. Michael J. Miller (San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 2007), 86 (85-100).  Communio:  revue catholique internationale 29, no. 4 =no. 174 (juillet-août 2004): 108 (107-118). I was put onto this by Timothy George, "After dinner, a beheading," First things, 30 November 2015:
The fact that the Normandy landings "also served the good of those against whose country war was waged. . . . shows, based on a historical event, the unsustainable character of an absolute pacifism."
"Une telle constatation me paraît importante, car elle montre, sur la base d'un événement historique, le caractère insoutenable d'un pacifisme absolu." 
p. 91 (111-112 in Communio):
"in defending the law against a force [(force)] that aims to destroy law, one can and in certain circumstances must make use of proportionate force [(force)] in order to protect it.  An absolute pacifism that denies the law any and all coercive [(coercitif)] measures would be a capitulation to injustice, would sanction its seizure of power, and would abandon the world to the dictates of violence [(violence)]. . . .  But in order to prevent the force of law itself from becoming injustice, it must be subjected to strict criteria that should be acknowledged as such by all.  It must inquire into the causes of terrorism, which very often is rooted in injustices that are not countered by effective measures.  Therefore it must strive by all means to remove the preexisting injustices.  Above all, it is important to offer forgiveness again and again in order to break the vicious circle of violence [(violence)]. . . .  In all these cases it is important that there not be just one political power that maintains law and order.  Particular interests then become too easily mixed up in the intervention and obscure the clear vision of justice.  A genuine ius gentium [international law] is urgently necessary, without hegemonic dominion and its accompanying interventions:  only in this way can it be evident that it is a matter of protecting the rights common to all, even those who find themselves, so to speak, on the opposite side."
Cf. An unprincipled pacifism

No comments: