Aquinas on Just War

Aquinas on Just War

Does Cardinal Sodano’s comments yesterday on whether any war can be justified represent a change from immemorial Catholic teaching? Consider the following from St. Thomas Aquinas, who quotes St. Augustine.

Cardinal Sodano said: “It is not only a matter of knowing if this war would be just or unjust, moral or immoral. We want to raise the question: Is warfare worthwhile?”

Saint Thomas Aquinas said (quoting Saint Augustine):

    Objection 3. Further, nothing, except sin, is contrary to an act of virtue. But war is contrary to peace. Therefore war is always a sin.

    Reply to Objection 3. Those who wage war justly aim at peace, and so they are not opposed to peace, except to the evil peace, which Our Lord “came not to send upon earth” (Mt. 10:34). Hence Augustine says (Ep. ad Bonif. clxxxix): “We do not seek peace in order to be at war, but we go to war that we may have peace. Be peaceful, therefore, in warring, so that you may vanquish those whom you war against, and bring them to the prosperity of peace.”

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli