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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

UPDATE: Keep Watching This...(With Fr. Schall, S.J.)

Reference to my post of August 4th. It is a civilizational and theological conflict. More evidence, if the reports are true.

On this score, I had a wonderful lunch two weekends ago with Fr. James Schall, S.J. in a Georgetown pub (wonderful place--I highly recommend it to those in the Beltway). He has been the voice of reason and sanity on the War since the beginning. I recommend to all his Policy Review article--echoes of S. Augustine, common sense and the political realism that has marked the Church's thought for two millenia, but is now constantly confused by, what George Weigel has dubbed, the "functional pacifism" of recent ecclesial pronouncements on war.

Fr. Schall:
The real question is whether this current situation constitutes a new war of civilizations. Much vested interest is devoted to the proposition that it is not. Our leaders, both civil and religious, have been loath so to designate it as a civilizational war. Islam is said to be a religion of peace. To suspect that it is a threat on a much broader scale is one of those things that must be classified as “secret writing.” It goes against the dominant religious mood, namely, ecumenism, and against the liberal mode, namely, tolerance, according to which all issues can be resolved without war. But ecumenism and tolerance are not in accord with a certain Muslim viewpoint: The world, in their missionary view, ought to be Muslim even if by war, even by suicide bombings. War can be precisely “holy.” Until we can understand that, we simply will not be able to grasp the essence of the problem.
War is not the greatest evil, but at times the only means to prevent evil. This is true on both a large and small scale. What we are left with is that the effective use of force is still best and most properly left in the national state. This is not the war of all against all, but the war of those who can limit terrorism and tyranny when and where it occurs. The worst modern tyranny in the twenty-first century will not come from armies but from their lack, from the lack of capacity and courage to use them wherever they are needed to protect justice, freedom, and truth.

The real alternative to just war cannot be viable without including the necessity and ability to deal with those who do not know or listen to reason. Law enforcement does not work unless there is a more fundamental possibility of dealing with those who are bound by no concept of legal order as we understand it. There is no alternative to just war that does not depend on and include the possibility and the exercise, when reasonable, of just war.