News Release

Vatican Conference Rejects “Just War” Theory

The National Catholic Reporter in “Landmark Vatican conference rejects just war theory, asks for encyclical on nonviolence” reports today: “The participants of a first-of-its-kind Vatican conference have bluntly rejected the Catholic church’s long-held teachings on just war theory, saying they have too often been used to justify violent conflicts and the global church must reconsider Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence.

“Members of a three-day event co-hosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the international Catholic peace organization Pax Christi have also strongly called on Pope Francis to consider writing an encyclical letter, or some other ‘major teaching document,’ reorienting the church’s teachings on violence.”

COLMAN McCARTHY, cmccarthy at
A former Washington Post columnist, McCarthy is founder and director of the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C., and the author of several books including I’d Rather Teach Peace.

He said today: “It’s long overdue that the leaders of the Catholic Church renounced and denounced the ‘just war’ theory. Christianity began as a faith totally committed to nonviolence. But then Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas proposed that some wars can be justified, which is completely opposite from the teachings of Jesus Christ. So it’s progress of sort that the church leaders — including Pope Francis — are hopefully coming to their senses. But it will not be enough until Pope Francis forbids Catholics from being in the military — just the way the Quakers, Mennonites and Church of the Brethren do not allow their members to take up arms to kill people. If this current conference doesn’t have such results, it’s just another example of empty talk.”