Thursday, July 23, 2015

PLACING THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS AND LEGITIMATE CONCERN ABOUT CATHOLIC IDENTITY AND MISSION

Do we blame pundits for this????
 CRUX magazine and others have reported on a new poll (which I hate and politicizes the papacy too much, but alas) which shows Pope Francis' popularity taking a deep plunge mostly amongst politically conservative Catholics who are also religiously conservative (politicized terms which I hate, but alas).

Part of the article states the following:

Stephen Schneck, head of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University of America in Washington, blamed pundits on the right and left, like Rush Limbaugh and Rachel Maddow, for “politicizing” the pope’s teachings.

“He’s not a conservative or progressive, not a Democrat or Republican. So stop trying to clobber him with those yardsticks,” Schneck wrote in an email. “How many times do our pundits need to be told that he’s carrying the same message as John Paul II and Benedict XVI?”

Schneck said that as the visit approaches, he expects Francis’ poll numbers “to rebound to his strong, earlier levels — that is, if both the right and the left will stop dragging him into their partisan squabbles.”

Is it too late? Has “Francis fatigue” displaced the “Francis effect”?

After the Latin America trip, popular conservative Catholic blogger Elizabeth Scalia wrote a lengthy post saying she is “frankly just tired of feeling scolded.”

“I love His Holiness Pope Francis, but for a while now, I have been feeling harangued by him, as he’s been harping on us to do more, and ever more, to practice mercy on the world; to welcome the stranger, to clean up the rivers, to bring about justice and peace in our time; to level the playing fields, visit the sick, and so on,” Scalia wrote.

That lament was picked up by other conservatives, such as Carl Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, who complained about what he sees as Francis’ constant “haranguing, harping, exhorting, lecturing.”

“It probably doesn’t help,” Olson added, “that Francis obsesses over particular points, to a degree that is, frankly, grating.”

My Comments:   Steven Schneck is placing the blame on the wrong people. It isn't Rachel Maddox or Rush Limbaugh who need to be chastised. It is the manner of Pope Francis' writings, speeches and off the cuff remarks that has opened a wide door for pundits to manipulate what Pope Francis says and does. The blame has to be laid at the feet of Pope Francis and no one else. We've not seen any recent pope used and abused by a number of people, Catholic or otherwise, orthodox, heterodox, conservative, progressive, traditionalist or liberal and based on the mixed messages the pope sends as well as the symbolic things that he does and since day one.

I have never seen the Church as polarized as she is and since Pope Francis. There is only one person that we can point a finger, but we must remember when we point, three other fingers are pointing back at us as Mr. Brady of the Brady Bunch would point out to his mixed family!

I have to say that I felt sick to my stomach when Pope Francis received the "Hammer and Sickle" crucifix from a South American despot. What does a Banana Republic nation in turmoil for most of the last century and today have to say to the world today about economies, politics, global warming and peace and justice? Nothing, absolutely nothing! Why would a pope receive and keep such a repugnant symbol. Pundits can have field day with this. It isn't the pundits fault, but the Holy Father's.

Saint Pope John Paul II was able to criticize the communistic regimes of Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and his own Poland. He brought to the dictators of his country and those around it the true message of the Church and dictators were seen to be shaking in their boots as their grip on power was eroded by the solidarity of Catholics and others who took back their freedom!

Pope Francis is too enamored with the Peronist politics of his own country and the instability of the governments, many of them right and left wing, that have created such a political and religious disaster for the South American continent. They have nothing to teach Western Europe or North America about politics, economies, the poor and the marginalized. They are responsible for a shrinking middle class and the polarization and political instability this creates in countries. Catholicism's true identity is in free fall in many once strongly Catholic South American countries.

And then there is this from Crux Magazine concerning Bishop Robert Barron being moved out of Chicago to become an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles: 
 
(Bishop Robert) Barron was a protege of the late (Cardinal Francis) George, whom he called his “mentor” during a press conference in Los Angeles Tuesday. Barron said George taught him about “evangelizing the culture” and presenting Catholicism to “politics, law, the arts, higher education, and entertainment,” saying he couldn’t think of a better place for this work than Los Angeles, which he called “one of the great cultural capitals of the world.”

(Archbishop) Cupich, whose appointment to Chicago was a personal selection of Pope Francis, released a statement on Barron’s appointment: “Fr. Barron has been a singular blessing to our local Church and is recognized nationally for his great abilities and talents. We know that he will continue to make us proud as he begins his new ministry on the West Coast,” he said.

Barron also issued a statement assuring Word on Fire fans that the work “will certainly continue,” although it’s unclear what role he will play.

During the press conference in Los Angeles, Barron responded to a question from a reporter about engaging Hollywood by saying he believes in promoting “affirmative orthodoxy,” an idea attributed to Pope Benedict XVI. The theory goes that the best way to evangelize is by holding strong to orthodox beliefs even in the face of what some view as a hostile culture, and attempting to engage that culture.

Barron is often described as center-right, perhaps putting him at odds ideologically with the center-left Cupich. In fact, absent from Barron’s statement and from his comments at the press conference in Los Angeles were any acknowledgement of Cupich.

As rector of Mundelein, Barron reworked the curriculum to focus on the New Evangelization, an idea promulgated by Pope John Paul II and institutionalized at the Vatican in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI aimed at engaging contemporary culture with the Catholic faith.

Whether Cupich’s choice to replace Barron changes the focus of that curriculum — and in what direction — will be closely scrutinized by Church-watchers.

My comments: What Bishop Robert Barron articulates about the New Evangelization as articulated by Saint Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI is sound and still the most legitimate and logical way for the Church to move forward in an ever increasing secular world fueled by individualism and narcissism. Engaging contemporary culture with the Catholic Faith and doing so in an attractive convincing way can't be wrongheaded!

But what is replacing the previous popes' vision of the new evangelization as articulate by Bishop Barron and symbolized by Pope Francis' pick of Archbishop Cupich?

I knew Archbishop Cupich when he was rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus Ohio. He was not what I would call a radical or liberal. He was progressive though, in terms of liturgy but not in the creative, horizontal way in which we think of liturgical iconoclasts, but he ran a tight seminary ship and understood the need for the human formation of priestly candidates, something even more needed today. He asked me to become a dean of students for the college level. I'm no radical. He knew that. I declined the job offer. Confused college aged seminarians aren't my cup of tea!

I am not sure that Archbishop Cupich's vision for the Church is any different than that of Cardinal George although style, language and symbol may be more in keeping with Pope Francis.

We can live through personality changes. It is small minded to carp about these things. But if Catholic teaching and identity is at stake, then we should sound the alarm bell. Is it or is it not? It isn't clear and herein is where the blame must be placed in the proper place.



26 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The blame has to be laid at the feet of Pope Francis and no one else."

Amen. Thank you Father for publicly speaking the truth. The acceptance of approval of that blasphemous "crucifix" is beyond words.

And still complete silence about the acceptance of "gay marriage" by entire nations. Silence.

Anonymous said...

Rachel MaddoX? Talk about being stuck in the past....

Anonymous said...

I am in complete agreement with you Father.

I didn't hear about Father Barron. This has the potential to be a very bad development for the seminary. This is why when John Nolan wrote that the pope is mostly irrelevant, I couldn't disagree more. I live in the Chicago area and have seen very good results from the work that Father Barron accomplished in Mundelein. I pray that priestly formation will not suffer as a result, but it's hard not to be pessimistic when we lived through the 1970s -1990s. The most important thing for the Church is to have good priests. I'm thankful for your vocation and people in Macon are fortunate to have you there. I'd enthusiastically support your promotion to Bishop under the condition that you get to pick your replacement.

Your Brother in Christ
Mike


Jusadbellum said...

My beef with much of current leadership is their lack of confidence in the Catholic thing. It shows. It shows in homilies and off the cuff remarks. In who they feel comfortable taking straw man pot shots at and who they noticeably don't take shots at....

Someone who is a confident disciple of Jesus Christ and the Gospel message and the power of the spiritual world is not easily awed by the financial and political and pop culture elites. They thus will call them on the carpet when their behavior is scandalous to the children and explain why it's scandalous and why it's bad for their own souls too not just a matter of making someone FEEL bad.

A confident disciple doesn't go about apologizing for the Church's doctrine and assuming it's "the bad news" which we need to carefully explain to heathens who we assume have the intellectual and moral high ground and somehow own the 'good news'.

St. JP2 was confident and optimistic. B16 was confident albeit less assertive. Francis....can be all over the place and that makes him seem less confident in the basic message of the Gospel and the mandate of the Church.

Take the dust up over the arms industry. He went off on a tear about how Christians who invest in companies that make weapons can't consider themselves good people....but then complained that the Allies in WW2 didn't use their bomber fleets to bomb Nazi railroads.

Uh....with what weapons, made by what companies, owned by what investors did he suppose the Allies were to bomb the Nazi war machine with? Or what does he suppose ended the Rwandan genocide if not militias armed with modern weaponry they bought on the black market?

Who do you suppose arms the Nigerians against Boko Haram? Who do you suppose arms the Kurds against ISIS?

It's just a silly off the cuff remark that gives comfort to the true hypocrites (leftists, socialists, communists whose arms industries are never, EVER condemned) while blaming the West for the world's ills. Last time I checked it wasn't Italian arms companies that provoked Russia to fight Ukraine or ISIS to seek Caliphate...

But someone awed by the worldly powers will take pot shots at people who won't or can't defend themselves.

All Popes have these moments of contradictory statements. JP2 contradicted himself in 2003 condemning the proposed US invasion of Iraq as 'offense' but then commending the Polish division that died fighting in the Italian battle of Montecasino as "defending their homeland" (only, they were on the offensive in Italy against Germans, well over 1,000 miles from Poland). Gaffs like this don't undermine a Pope's authority or holiness but they do undermine their credibility when they step outside their lane.

Charles G said...

Adam Bartlett is also at Mundelein working on a full English Gradual as part of the Lumen Christi series and also a reworking of the wonderful Mundelein Psalter that allows one to chant the English Liturgy of the Hours. I hope these worthy liturgical initiatives won't be adversely affected by the possible changes at Mundelein.

Joe Potillor said...

I agree with Anon at 8:43 AM, The silence is deafening. (It wouldn't be so much if each individual Bishop in a particular diocese would be doing their jobs, but alas)

Living in then Bp Cupich's diocese when he was in Spokane, I can only say, orthodoxy wasn't welcomed too much. I had no personal problems with him, but those priests that leaned traditional were not treated very well.

As for Bishop elect Barron, I hope he's solid on the Liturgy, because that's something that really needs cleaning up in Los Angeles.

Anonymous said...

An auxiliary bishop being transferred from one diocese to another? Sounds unusual to me. One thing for an auxiliary bishop to be transferred when becoming a diocesan (bishop), but just to become an auxiliary somewhere else? A bit strange to me---can anyone offer an explanation? And how many auxiliaries move up to become diocesan bishops vs. staying auxiliaries their whole career?

At least LA is warmer than Chicago! And Lord knows there is plenty of work to do in the vineyards in their respective states (California and Illinois) which politically have moved from toss-up states a generation ago to far-left enclaves (in large part biggest of their respective largest cities).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

He isn't a bishop yet but just named one but for Los Angeles.

Dialogue said...

Adam Bartlett is "top notch"!

Pope Francis is a poor communicator of Catholic doctrine and discipline, at least when he uses words. In fact, I'd say his words satisfy the definition of scandal.

However, I'd also say that his way of life exemplifies the gospel very powerfully for all of us, especially for the 99% who would never read a papal encyclical or hear a papal speech. Since we already have the Catechism of the Catholic Church to communicate doctrine, the Code(s) of Canon Law to guide our discipline, and the reformed rubrics to guide our Divine Worship, perhaps Pope Francis is just the kind of pope the world needs right now.

Dialogue said...

If I'm not mistaken, one of those new LA bishops used to be a policeman on Everybody Loves Raymond.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous Mike

For the record, I did not say the Pope was 'mostly irrelevant'. I said that his liturgical preferences are irrelevant in the present circumstances. Hopes (and fears) that he would install the old guard to restart the liturgical revolution have subsided since Cardinal Sarah's appointment to the Prefecture of the CDWDS.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan
Not your complete text but most of the parts that I believe give an accurate picture of your thoughts.

"Jorge Bergoglio - was he a particularly good bishop in his native Argentina? I neither know nor care. What are his personal views on Peronist economics, world capitalism or climate change? I couldn't care less. Does he think 'Las Malvinas' should belong to Argentina? It's his own point of view and as an Argentine he has no less right to be a patriot than JP II was. But the Falklands will remain British.
Does he disagree with Benedict XVI on the future direction of the liturgy? Irrelevant. SP will not be overturned, the Roman Rite was never abrogated, and the future is assured. He can't turn back the clock even if he wanted to.
Does he want to change Church teaching on moral issues? Regarding sodomy and adultery there are no indications that he is inclined to do so, and even if he were he hasn't the competence to do so. No pope has."

Not sure why we wouldn't care if he was a good bishop? Why wouldn't I care if he is a Peronista who likes the Communist crucifix? If he is a liturgical liberal I care.

My point is that you had a Latin liturgy prior Vat 2 and something happened that caused the revolution to take place after 1500 years.. The thing that took place was men like Jorge Bergoglio ascended to power and we know the rest of the story. The future that may have looked assured in 1962 suddenly surprised us. I don't want to experience anymore Bergoglio surprises that he'll claim came from God. His promotion of Father Barron may be legitimate but I don't think I'm the only one who sees suspicious motivations. And the appt of Cupich is one from which I'll feel the shrapnel in my suburban location.

I think you're really wrong on this one. Enjoy most of your other positions but I can't wrap my brain around this one. Sorry.

Mike




Paul said...

Popes need our prayers as well. Pray for clarity.

I keep recalling "The Caine Mutiny". The final scene when Jose Ferrer lays it all out. Anyone want to be Fred McMurray at that time?

Dialogue said...

A pastoral leader more concerned with the needs of people than with property rights will surely side with the people of the Falkland Islands over the property claims of the Argentine establishment.

John Nolan said...

Mike

The man behind the revolution was Giovanni Battista Montini who became Paul VI. He was born in the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee when the pope was Leo XIII. Bergoglio was merely a Jesuit novice in the 1960s and although he may have imbibed some of the revolutionary ideas cannot be held responsible for them.

In the 1960s there was a conceit (which pervades all the documents of V2) that the Church could make an accommodation the modern world, including the Communist bloc, without sacrificing the essentials of the faith. Now we have the situation where western democracies with a long Christian tradition are enacting 'equality' legislation which trumps both Christian ethics and individual liberty, and is on a collision course with both. The world of V2 has passed away, and the Council seems more and more irrelevant. It has nothing new to say, if it ever did.

The Bergoglio doctrinal revolution which liberals hope for and the media has trumpeted cannot and will not happen. The fact that he is undoubtedly a scold and possibly a bully might be tolerated if he were pushing for reform of abuses (cf Paul IV 1555-1559). And if there are indeed abuses in the Curia then this 'old man in a hurry' might be the right man for the job. The bullying of those who are entirely orthodox like the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate does give cause for concern, as did Paul VI's (unsuccessful and unjustified) attempt to bully Archbishop Lefebvre. But there was no internet in those days and Catholics had few sources of information.



Pope Francis

Anonymous said...

John,

So you're saying that even tough things might look bleak at this point, you believe that sooner rather than later forces are in motion that are too powerful for the liberal movement to gain the upper hand again?

Assuming my above statement comes close to the general idea, do you think we still have an obligation to combat things that are harmful to the Church in the short run? I think the work we do in that regard is a form of prayer and likely has impact on long run outcomes. I think defending what we know to be true and doing it in an honorable way seems to be consistent with what Christ would want us to do.

Thanks for your reply.

Mike

Anonymous said...

Hopefully we won't descend as low as the Episcopal Church (which has lost half its members in the last 50 years). One of the parishes, the "very liberal" St. Luke's just north of our Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Peachtree in that city 85 miles northwest of Macon, had an ecumenical "celebration" of the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling the very night (of the day) it happened. "God loves us all" I guess the theme. I assume and hope no Catholic clergy were present at that unholy gathering?!? I guess we should not be surprised---their denomination elected the 4th very liberal presiding bishop in a row (from the Diocese of North Carolina)---he opposed a 2012 referendum in that state to ban same-sex marriage, even while the state's two Catholic bishops supported it (about 60% of the state's voters approved it).

Finally, I cannot for the life of me understand why Anthony Kennedy has not been disciplined by his bishop? He has done more to undermine morality than any other recent Supreme Court justice---and not just on gay marriage. Back in 1992, he was part of the 5-4 crew that reaffirmed Roe v Wade---one vote short of sending the issue back to the states. Not saying that ruling would have been a panacea (that is, getting it overturned)---certainly trying to ban abortion in some states (even by popular vote) is next to impossible, like California and New York---but would have been better situation than we have today where abortion is legal in all 50 states upon demand. Unfortunately, when Democratic presidents appoint justices to that court, they are reliably liberal; when Republican presidents make such appointments, they often turn out to be duds (like Kennedy, O'Connor ,Souter and Harry Blackmun). I think it is long since past time for Canon 915 to be invoked on him, but I'm not betting the house on that!



Anonymous 2 said...

“It is the manner of Pope Francis' writings, speeches and off the cuff remarks that has opened a wide door for pundits to manipulate what Pope Francis says and does. The blame has to be laid at the feet of Pope Francis and no one else . . . It isn't the pundits fault, but the Holy Father's.”

So now we must blame Pope Francis because others no longer know how to read, be sensitive to context, or think critically? This seems like a denial of responsibility to me: Let’s blame someone else, not ourselves or our degraded educational system.

Sorry, I may be in a minority of one here but I respectfully disagree and agree with Steven Schneck.

Also, the defense of the media pundits and shifting all the blame onto the Holy Father in this post seems a little in tension with the post that was deleted this afternoon attacking the media for sensationalism and chasing after ratings when reporting on mass shootings.

So, one is left to wonder: Have you finally gone over to the dark side? =)


Anonymous said...

“It is the manner of Pope Francis' writings, speeches and off the cuff remarks that has opened a wide door for pundits to manipulate what Pope Francis says and does. The blame has to be laid at the feet of Pope Francis and no one else . . . It isn't the pundits fault, but the Holy Father's.”

I agree. We have only had this problem since Pope Francis became Pope. As has been pointed out on other blogs no one would have given Pope John Paul such a gift as a hammer and sickle. There is a picture of the same man giving Pope Benedict a scarf. I am sure he chose a gift he thought would be pleasing to the pontiff going by what his leanings are perceived to be.

Jan

Anonymous 2 said...

To all those who attack Pope Francis for accepting the “blasphemous crucifix,” I would like to pose a question: Pope Francis says he “understands” the crucifix. Do you? Also, do you know what was happening in Bolivia when the creator of the crucifix Father Espinal was tortured and brutally murdered in 1980? Or are you looking at the crucifix through American eyes framed by the Cold War and also through the experience of Communist oppression in Europe and the Soviet Union. How comparable is the experience of Marxism in Latin America with that in Europe and the Soviet Union? Moreover, how Marxist is Morales really? The following Wikipedia article suggests that, as usual, complexity dissolves the simplistic caricatures:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evo_Morales#Domestic_unrest_and_the_new_constitution

From reading this I discovered much that I did not know and much that I still need to learn before I am in a position to reach a sound judgment, either about the Morales regime or about the hammer and sickle crucifix.

Also, the Communist Party in China uses the hammer and sickle symbol but I haven’t noticed lots of protests over here about dealing with the Chinese. No, Americans are very happy to “do business” with Communist China. After all, there is that other symbol, the Almighty Dollar, to consider and worship. I guess Morales just doesn’t allow as much scope for that kind of worship.

Please understand, I carry no brief for communism, just for trying to understand the world a little better, for trying to resist manipulation by the media pundits who feature in this thread, and for unmasking their hypocrisy.

Anonymous 2 said...

To all those who attack Pope Francis for accepting the “blasphemous crucifix,” I would like to pose a question: Pope Francis says he “understands” the crucifix. Do you? Also, do you know what was happening in Bolivia when the creator of the crucifix Father Espinal was tortured and brutally murdered in 1980? Or are you looking at the crucifix through American eyes framed by the Cold War and also through the experience of Communist oppression in Europe and the Soviet Union. How comparable is the experience of Marxism in Latin America with that in Europe and the Soviet Union? Moreover, how Marxist is Morales really? The following Wikipedia article suggests that, as usual, complexity dissolves the simplistic caricatures:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evo_Morales#Domestic_unrest_and_the_new_constitution

From reading this I discovered much that I did not know and much that I still need to learn before I am in a position to reach a sound judgment, either about the Morales regime or about the hammer and sickle crucifix.

Also, the Communist Party in China uses the hammer and sickle symbol but I haven’t noticed lots of protests over here about dealing with the Chinese. No, Americans are very happy to “do business” with Communist China. After all, there is that other symbol, the Almighty Dollar, to consider and worship. I guess Morales just doesn’t allow as much scope for that kind of worship.

Please understand, I carry no brief for communism, just for trying to understand the world a little better, for trying to resist manipulation by the media pundits who feature in this thread, and for unmasking their hypocrisy.

Anonymous 2 said...

JusadBellum:

“JP2 contradicted himself in 2003 condemning the proposed US invasion of Iraq as 'offense' but then commending the Polish division that died fighting in the Italian battle of Montecasino as "defending their homeland" (only, they were on the offensive in Italy against Germans, well over 1,000 miles from Poland). Gaffs like this don't undermine a Pope's authority or holiness but they do undermine their credibility when they step outside their lane.”

Please explain the contradiction to us. JP2 considered that the invasion of Iraq did not satisfy the conditions for a just war. Is it your view that (a) it did and/or (b) that the defense of Monte Cassino did not? A pope does not step outside his lane when he applies just war doctrine to facts on the ground, unless of course St. Augustine, St. Thomas and others also stepped outside their lanes when elaborating the doctrine.

And consider this extract from JP2’s speech:

“In order to understand the events that occurred at Monte Cassino, we also need to have this Eastern chapter of our history before our eyes, because the army commanded by General Wladyslaw Anders, which played such an important role in the battle of Monte Cassino, consisted largely of Poles deported to the Soviet Union. In addition, there were soldiers and officers who, from occupied Poland, had secretly reached the West through Hungary, with the intention of continuing the fight there for the independence of their homeland. Monte Cassino was an important milestone in this struggle. The soldiers involved in that battle were convinced that by helping to solve the problems concerning the whole of Europe, they were on the way to an independent Poland.”




Anonymous said...

Anon 2

I get your point. South American Communists and Marxists are the nice ones and the Russian ones are the bad ones. Tell that to the Miskito Indians. Castro was/is a much different kind of Marxist too. I'm starting to really appreciate the nuance now.
Thank you.

Mike

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon Mike:

I get the sarcasm but as you reduced what I said to yet another caricature it seems you did not get my point, so never mind.

Jusadbellum said...

Polish soldiers where in Italy fighting Germans so as to ultimately secure the freedom of Poland. They weren't on "defense". They were most certainly on offense.

They were bringing the fight to the enemy so as to ultimately safeguard Poland.

The USA's justification for war since world war 2 has likewise been premised on the SAME moral reasoning: go on offense so as to bring the fight to the enemy and thereby secure the safety of CONUS. It was our justification in Korea and Vietnam. It was our justification for occupying Western Europe and subsidizing the Afghans against the USSR.

But the Pope's argument hinges on who the good guys are. For him (and I assume for us too), the Poles and the Allies were the 'good guys'.

It's a curious thing to see fellow Americans assume the US was the 'bad guy' only when Bush was President but magically became the good guys again now that Obama's President.

We were the 'good guys' when FDR put Japanese-American civilians in concentration camps and when we firebombed German and Japanese cities? Yes, because the President had a "D" behind his name.

Had a republican been in charge I can only assume we'd be transmogrified in the history books into a sorta-kinda-rot gut awful country.

Vietnam was a good war until 1968 too...and suddenly became unwinnable only once Nixon became President....

Bottom line, if the USA was wrong to invade Iraq in 2003 then the Poles were wrong to invade Italy in 1944 and the Holy League was wrong to attack the Turkish fleet in their anchorage of LePanto....

You can have Jus ad bellum without ipso facto having Jus In Bello or even having a successful war campaign (as in the actual outcome). One can be in the right to go to war even if subsequently one's army commits atrocities (good cause, bad execution of the fight). This is a fundamental distinction that too few "moral" theologians seem capable of recognizing at least when they hated political adversaries are involved.

But I get it. Despite US atrocities in WW2 our cause was just. Despite the fact that how we fought often involved genuine atrocities that no one can defend or excuse as moral, it nevertheless is true that we were the 'good guys' in WW2.

And we were the good guys in taking down Saddam in 2003-4 despite making many blunders and mistakes and genuine evils.

Anonymous 2 said...

JusadBellum:

We were talking about the positions taken by Pope St. John Paul II. What on earth Ds and Rs have to do with this escapes me.

Sorry, but “good guys” and “bad guys” are not categories recognized in just war doctrine. Nor were they categories invoked by JP 2. The issue, as you do seem to recognize (and given your moniker you jolly well should), is whether there was jus ad bellum in the Iraq case, compared with the Polish case. The Vatican very clearly took the view that the Iraq War was “unjust” and “illegal.”

As for the distinction between jus ad bellum and jus in bello, it is elementary and I am genuinely shocked at the notion that it is a distinction “too few ‘moral’ theologians seem capable of recognizing at least when they hated political adversaries are involved.”

And as for Allied atrocities in WW II despite a just cause, I certainly recognize them. Indeed, I have written about them on this Blog. How could I not when my own mother and her family were victims of them?