Michael Novak is going to Rome to make the case for war with Iraq. But some “American Catholic leaders” have voiced opposition to his appearance there. Just who the “leaders” are the article doesn’t make clear, except to say it includes the heads of “many” religious orders. It certainly doesn’t say that it includes any bishops.
- [They] sent a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Embassy saying, “Our church has spoken clearly and with an almost unanimous voice condemning this buildup to war.”
Unanimous? I haven’t condemned it. I know a lot of other Catholics who haven’t either. Oh, but once again, here the “Church” means just the ordained and professed. See, when we don’t like what the clergy are doing we claim that the Church is all the people, but when we can get all the outspoken clergy to agree on something, then they’re the Church.
- In a cover letter to U.S. Ambassador James Nicholson, the Rev. Stan De Boe, a Trinitarian priest, referred to Novak as a “dissident theologian” whose support for a “preemptive” military strike against Iraq was at odds with the church’s teachings on what constitutes a “just war.”
Novak is a dissident because he believes in the Church’s teaching on just war and that it applies in this case. Meanwhile, theologians of the likes of Fr. Richard “where’s my collar” McBrien who want to toss the Church’s teachings on the garbage heap are what? Orthodox? Of course, the many heads of religious orders represented here have never spoken out against him.
Novak also makes a good point in reply to the letter writers.
- Novak said in a telephone interview from Brussels yesterday that the Catholic catechism “makes clear that the judgment of whether to go to war has to be made by the authorities in charge of pursuing the common good, and in this case, that’s the president and his Cabinet. Who else has the information to make the decision?”
He also says he’s not going to Rome to change the minds of those in the Vatican but to make the case of his own conscience.