Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Catholic Church's Lawsuit Meets Just War Criteria

In Catholic Just War Doctrine, there are four criteria that need to be met before a country can declare war. A country declaring war must show that

1) All other options (negotiation, dialogue, diplomacy) must have been exhausted
2) The damage inflicted by the aggressor must be grave and lasting (the aggressor shows no signs of letting up or turning back)
3) The country declaring war has to have a reasonable shot at winning
4) The collateral damage from the war has to be less than what would have happened had there been no intervention

To look at the classic just war, WWII on the European Front
1) Negotiations with Hitler were attempted at length
2) Hitler showed no signs of changing course
3) The U.S. and its allies had a reasonable shot of winning
4) It's clear that had Hitler been unchecked he would have caused far worse damage than what resulted from WWII

Now, with yesterday's news that basically the Catholic Church (dioceses, newspapers, universities) in the U.S. is suing President Obama, it is fair to say that this declaration of war, this "nuclear option" is just on the part of the Church.
1) We have tried negotiating with the President (some would say TOO long, i.e. President Jenkins at Notre Dame, who is, ironically, joining in the lawsuit as well. Is it angry to ask ND how the "dialogue" is going at this point?)
2) It is quite clear to everyone except E.J. Dionne and Sr. Keehan that the President isn't changing course one bit
3) The Catholic Church has a reasonable shot at winning this battle if we stand up and fight
4) Any political relationships that will be damaged through this lawsuit are going to be a far smaller loss than the damage done to the Church had we not stood up and done this.

I love that the Church here is going on the offensive. It will be really interesting to see how this war plays out. I, for one, am thrilled that the Church is standing up and drawing a line in the sand and finally pushing back as ONE. Whatever the result, at least we can tell future generations we didn't sit back on our hands and just hope for the best.