To the Editor:
Is there such a thing as a just war? Can the massive death and destruction of armed conflict ever be morally justified by followers of the Prince of Peace? These are the questions posed by syndicated peace and social justice columnist Tony Magliano in a recent op-ed piece. We agree with Magliano that the answer is decidedly, “No!”
The nonviolent Jesus was clear in saying: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other as well … Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
Modern warfare kills, injures and displaces far more innocent civilians than combatants — take Iraq and Gaza as examples.
Magliano calls for a prayerful re-evaluation of the just war theory in light of the nonviolent Jesus, the immeasurable harm caused by war — including the vast resources wasted that should instead be used to help the world’s poor — and the unhealthy nationalism exhibited by those who wage wars.
There are effective, nonviolent ways to counter an aggressor: targeted sanctions, an arms embargo, civil disobedience, coordinated underground activity, offering emergency asylum to all fleeing refugees, dialogue, negotiations, forgiveness, reconciliation, and, of course, prayer.
Recent remarks by Pope Francis have been taken out of context: while the Holy Father said it was “licit” to stop an unjust aggressor, he qualified that statement by adding, “I emphasize the word: ‘stop.’ I’m not saying drop bombs, make war, but stop the aggressor.” Pope Francis in recent months has tweeted — “War never again! Never again war!” And after all, he did name himself after Saint Francis, a symbol of humility and nonviolence.
Sr. Anne Martin Phelan, president, Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton
To the Editor: