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Catholic World News

Opinion Roundup

March 28, 2011

  • Writing in London's Catholic Herald, William Oddie makes a brash claim: not merely that the NATO air strikes on Libya are justified under the standards of "just war" set by St. Thomas Aquinas, but that they are "undoubtedly" justified under those conditions. Oddie's argument to the contrary notwithstanding, many intelligent people continue to doubt.
  • In fact, John Allen notes, the signals from the Vatican have been quite mixed. He points out that Pope John Paul II approved and even actively advocated "humanitarian intervention" to stop atrocities in the Balkans, and the same argument can be applied to Libyan brutality against the country's own citizens. However, a just cause for war (ius ad bellum) does not guarantee the just conduct of war (ius in bello), and an equally strong argument from the Vatican has maintained that "war is always a defeat for humanity." Pope Benedict has expressed severe misgivings about the bombing in Libya. On balance, the Vatican message is: unclear.
  • The trouble-plagued Archdiocese of Boston faces another public humiliation. The former chancellor of the archdiocese has come forward to charge mismanagement and deceit in the handling of the pension funds for archdiocesan employees. David Smith, the former chancellor, has asked public officials to investigate, on behalf of archdiocesan employees who fear the loss of benefits that have been promised to them.
  • Speaking to a conference in Germany, an Iraqi archbishop said that democracy cannot gain a foothold in Islamic countries until other religious groups receive equal public rights. "Democracy cannot function if Islam is not updated," said Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk. "We must work together for a civilian state in which the only criterion is citizenship." The Chaldean Catholic prelate argued for "a separation between politics, which is based on interests, and religion, which is based on ideals that cannot be compromised."
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