This article from OnePeterFive is an excellent companion piece to yesterdays on crime, where the focus in Catholic Progressive circles, in both cases, has moved from individual causation to structural; not a good sign.
“It is no secret that since the 1960s the Catholic tradition of moral reflection on international affairs, a tradition that has been unfolding at least since the time of Saint Augustine, has taken a decidedly leftward turn. Whether the issue has to do with war and peace, development and the fight against poverty, protecting the environment, or encouraging disarmament, Catholic doctrine — as articulated most comprehensively in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church — has become virtually indistinguishable from the views of leftist scholars and activists.
“Nor are the reasons for this turn unknown. Beginning in the interwar period but accelerating in the 1960s, Catholic international thought was powerfully reshaped by several emergent intellectual trends, chief among them Marxist theories of imperialism; the dependencia theories of thinkers like André Gunder Frank and Samir Amin; the writings of the Frankfurt School theorists such as Herbert Marcuse; the works of peace studies scholars such as Johan Galtung; the Catholic pacifism of activists like James Douglass and Gordon Zahn; the active nonviolence embodied in Gandhi and MLK; and, of course, the liberation theology of thinkers like the Jesuit priest Juan Luis Segundo.
What is less well understood, however, is the profound degree to which this “progressive turn” constitutes a rupture in the 1,500-year-long tradition of what I will call the “deep tradition of Catholic international thought.”
“The conceit on the left is that developments in the Church’s moral reflection on international affairs in the decades since the second Vatican Council have been nothing more than the unfolding of that millennium-and-a-half tradition. The reality, however, is quite different: for the past half-century or so, “progressive” Catholic thinkers have been less interested in updating traditional Catholic international doctrine in light of “the signs of the times” than in remaking that doctrine in the image of their radically non-traditional political theology of war and peace.
“The result has been the death of Catholic international theory, at least in the sense that the distinctively Catholic tradition of reflection on international affairs that persisted for the fifteen hundred years before the mid-twentieth century has passed from this world. In its place has congealed a toxic brew of “progressive” bromides that is indistinguishable, except for a thin theological froth, from the secular and materialist international thought currently prevalent on the political left.
“Elsewhere I have addressed the revolutionary break in traditional Catholic international thought that has taken place since the interwar period. In this article I will focus on a relatively under-explored rupture in this tradition of thought: the causes of war.
“Pre–20th century Catholic international thought located the causes of war in both humanity’s fallen nature and the anarchic nature of the international system. With respect to the first of these, from the time of the Church Fathers, key Christian thinkers such as Origen, Tertullian, and Augustine argued that war was a byproduct of personal sin. As a result of Adam’s fall, they all agree, pride, vanity, and what Augustine called libdo dominandi — the lust for domination — drive princes to attempt to subjugate their neighbors or perpetrate other grave evils. As Augustine and Aquinas argued most explicitly, humanity’s fallen nature thus gives rise to two kinds of war: unjust wars motivated by pride, vanity, and libdo dominandi and just wars fought in self-defense against unjust aggression or to otherwise punish evildoers.
“From the Middle Ages on, Catholic thinkers such as Dante Alighieri and Pierre Dubois also came to view what we would now call the “anarchic international system” as an important, if merely permissive, cause of war. Such an international system, they argued, by its very nature lacked a universal political power that could adjudicate disputes among kingdoms and other lesser powers and so maintain the peace. As a result, they argued, the conflicts that naturally arise between political units pursuing their own interests can be resolved only by arbitration; diplomacy; or, if those two fail, war. For Dante, this argument took a specific form: war is caused by the lack of a universal empire that could definitively adjudicate disputes among lesser powers. So too for Dubois: war is caused by the lack of an international council charged with maintaining what we would now call collective security.
“This was the prevailing etiology of war in the world of Catholic international thought through the early twentieth century: war is the product of fallen human nature and the anarchic nature of the international order. Beginning in earnest in the 1960s, however, the Church initiated a root-and-branch re-examination of its approach to war. As the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, usually referred to by its Latin title, Gaudium et Spes, put it, the post–Vatican II era was to be a time for “a completely fresh appraisal” of war.
“What was the result of this “completely fresh appraisal” of war? For the purposes of this article, the answer to this question is that in the aftermath of Vatican II, the Church’s core teaching on the causes of war began to give way to an entirely new set of explanations — explanations that ultimately represented not a gradual unfolding of traditional Catholic international thought, but a radical rupture with it.
“The first of these departures from tradition was the belief that war is caused not by personal sin, but by structural sin, sometimes referred to as structural evil. What do progressive Catholics mean by structural sin? Put directly, they used the term to refer to evil that extends beyond the sin committed by individual people — that is, to refer to the violence and injustice produced and reproduced through societal institutions and cultural norms. These institutions and norms may be political in nature, having to do with the direct oppression of groups or peoples through state power. But they may also be economic in nature, taking the form of unjust systems of economic organization that systematically redistribute wealth in ways that harm people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs. Finally, these institutions and norms may be social in nature, systematically marginalizing, excluding or subordinating certain groups on the basis of ascribed identities.
“How does structural sin cause war? Simply put, progressive Catholic international thought asserts that wars happen when those seeking to perpetuate unjust or violent institutions and cultural norms clash with those who seek to resist or overturn them.”
Retrieved September 23, 2019 from https://onepeterfive.com/death-catholic-war/