Volunteer Iraqi Shiite militia near Hibhib stand guard against Islamic State militants. CNS photo/EPA

Just War and Iraq

  • August 28, 2014

Should Christians be pleased that the expansion of the “Islamic State” in Iraq has apparently been slowed? Should they be pleased that this was the result of American air strikes? 

If the answer to the former is yes but the latter is no, then is it plausible to imagine another means by which the Islamic State might have been retarded in its territorial progress? 

Such are the questions raised by recent events. Catholic “just war” doctrine helps us to understand how to evaluate the morality of going to war. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church considers war to be mankind’s “ancient bondage,” perhaps the most dramatic manifestation of original sin in the world. Modern methods of warfare, where innocents are frequently collateral damage — if not directly targeted — renders warfare even more morally problematic.

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