Sunday, November 30, 2003

A reader writes:

Thanks for putting together the web page with the official documents and quotes and articles. Very useful.

The biggest worry I have with traditional Catholics supporting the war is that their stance discredits their whole position of standing strictly by Church teaching. It just makes it so much harder for people to see the truth in tradition when its defenders are not consistent.

For example, a web site review in the New Zealand Catholic newspaper dismissed a good US Catholic website because it supported the war. Despite the fact that its other content was very faithful. These kind of reactions don't help.

I understand your concern, although I find fault with a different party.

The rhetorical excesses of the Vatican curia has given rise to a number of mistaken conclusions -- that the Church had authoritatively condemned the war; that those Catholics who "supported the war" were thus acting inconsistently with and unfaithful to the Church; even that the very use of 'just war criteria' is rendered absolete by modern technological weaponry. (Is it indeed true that publications like 'The National Catholic Reporter' -- with a history of dissension with the Church on any number of moral issues -- can claim to be of one mind with the Pope on the war? Or that one can, on that basis, justifiably dismiss as irrelevant the moral advice of those who speak on behalf of the orthodox faith like Fr. Neuhaus, George Weigel, et al.?

Those who support the war are faced with the difficult task of clarification -- clearing the air of the confusion raised by the Vatican curia and other Christian leaders who gave the impression that supporting the war constituted a sin and violation of Catholic teaching (as Fr. Neuhaus has done in "The Sounds of Religion in Time of War" First Things May, 2003), or that the use of military force is contrary to the cause of peace (as George Weigel seeks to do in a number of his articles).