The Origins of War
A Catholic Perspective
Publication Year: 2011
Debate rages within the Catholic Church about the ethics of war and peace, but the simple question of why wars begin is too often neglected. Catholics' assumptions about the causes of conflict are almost always drawn uncritically from international rel
Published by: Georgetown University Press
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THIS WORK, WHICH in an earlier form was my doctoral dissertation at the University of Dayton, was originally conceived in the early years of the first decade of the twenty-first century. The September 11 attacks had already been perpetrated, and NATO had already invaded Afghanistan and put in place a new government. Americans debated whether or not to go to war with Iraq, and after the war began, continued to debate the morality of that war. Catholic ...
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CONTEMPORARY CATHOLIC INTELLECTUALS have failed to give an adequate account of the origins of war. Despite important contributions to debates over the morality of war and to the establishment of peace, Catholics have not developed a convincing account of why nations come into conflict with each other in the first place. Of course, Catholics who write on war have assumptions about the reasons for conflict; these assumptions guide their ...
Chapter One: FROM THE BIBLE TO THE MIDDLE AGES
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IN RECENT DECADES scholars looking back on the Christian tradition have focused on the ethical aspects of war, tracing three strands of thought: pacifism, the just war tradition, and the crusade.1 In a century that suffered the horrors of the two world wars, when nuclear weaponry has threatened humankind’s very existence, and when international organizations have at least held out the ...
Chapter Two: THE EMERGENCE OF MODERNITY
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IN THE MODERN period, political thought underwent radical changes that transformed the way the origins of war were understood.1 The first of these changes was an increasing emphasis on the limitless desire of the human will. The second was the severing of any connection between the state and humanity’s ultimate, transcendent end. The third change was the emerging view ...
Chapter Three: CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORY
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THE MAJOR APPROACHES to international relations theory that emerged in the twentieth century developed directly out of the thought of the political philosophers described in the previous chapter. Michael W. Doyle divides this thought into three strands that have shaped international relations theory in the twentieth century: realism, liberalism, and socialism (or Marxism). Doyle ...
Chapter Four: CONSTRUCTIVISM
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IN THE 1980s and 1990s, a handful of international relations scholars calling themselves constructivists began to challenge the then-dominant theories of international relations, particularly neorealism and neoliberalism. They argued that earlier theories had presented too limited views of state behavior, ignoring the important role of culture. In reality, the constructivists claim, the identities, ...
Chapter Five: A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE ON THE ORIGINS OF WAR
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CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS AND political scientists concerned with understanding war can use constructivism as a fruitful source for thinking about war’s origins. Constructivists are critical of several elements of modern political thought, many of which emerged precisely as a departure from the earlier Christian tradition, as described in chapter 2. Therefore, perhaps surprisingly, ...
Chapter Six: TWENTIETH-CENTURY CATHOLIC THINKERS
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J. BRYAN HEHIR has written, “If one takes the nuclear age from its inception, it is still true to say that papal writing on war and peace has been the driving force of the [Catholic] tradition.”1 Nevertheless, the popes’ writings depended on the thought of theologians and other Catholic thinkers, and because theologians are typically able to give more detailed accounts of their reasoning than ...
Chapter Seven: THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY POPES AND THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL
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BEGINNING WITH POPE Leo XIII, the neoscholasticism exemplified by the works of Francisco de Vitoria and Francisco Suarez has been central to papal thinking on war and peace. On the other hand, papal thinking in this period also gradually shifted toward the modern view of politics as a practical realm divorced from transcendent ends, culminating in the thought of Pope John ...
Chapter Eight: POPE JOHN PAUL II
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PAUL’S SUCCESSOR POPE John Paul II (1920–2005, pope 1978–2005) more fully integrated twentieth-century Catholic theological reflections on historicity and the relationship between nature and grace into his reflections on international politics, including in his account of the origins of war; on the other hand, to a significant extent he maintained the view of the international ...
Chapter Nine: CONTEMPORARY CATHOLICS
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DESPITE THE POPES’ significant statements on war and peace, some of the most important reflection on these themes has continued to come from Catholic intellectuals. Alongside the Catholic radicalism exemplified by Dorothy Day and carried on by later generations of American Catholic activists, J. Bryan Hehir and George Weigel represent the dominant strands in American Catholic intellectual ...
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MODERN CATHOLIC THINKING on war, with its emphasis on war’s morality, has ignored many of the insights of the long tradition of Christian reflection on the origins of war. Beginning with the Bible and the church fathers and continuing into the Counter-Reformation, Christian thinking about war has coupled the more well-known reflection on the morality of war with a description of the origins of war, in which war is described as being rooted in particular cultural ...
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Moral Traditions series
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