Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Third Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Third Helping

Again,

“We adore God Who is love, Who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him.”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

For the follower of Jesus eternal life is worth “loving as He loves” for, worth loving enemies for, worth suffering for, even worth dying for. But, for the follower of Jesus to say, “I’ll kill for eternal life,” makes no sense at all. It is tantamount to saying; “I’ll shoot my way into heaven! I’ll slaughter those whom God infinitely loves as the Way to becoming one with ‘the God who is love!’

Without intending to demean any person and without intending to engage in hyperbole, it must be said that the Way of the Christian Just Warist is spiritually and morally, logically and theologically is nothing other than ludicrous. And, for the Christian to say he or she can reach the degree of moral certainty necessary for him or her to choose the Way of the Christian Just Warist over Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is patently disingenuous.

Jesus has no need for the Way of the Just Warist, the Church has no need for it and the Christian has no need for it. Everything for which the Christian has been given the gift of existence and everything for which he or she has been given the gift of faith can be totally accomplished without anything that the Way of the Christian Just Warist has to offer. All that is needed for salvation is accomplished exclusively by Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of all, which Way is accessible to all who desire to live according to it. As noted in FAST FOOD Helpings 9 and 10, “Jesus placed his achievements within the reach of all men. He demands nothing that is not within the reach of every man of every age. The deliverance of man is not to be accomplished by an act, which can be shared by only a few.”

In his book, Source, Rev. John L. McKenzie summarizes what is being said in this FAST FOOD Helping:

“Jesus was a practical person in the sense that he proposed a program which anyone could follow. The teaching of Jesus, as reported in the Gospels, is simple and without subtlety; it is addressed to the mental age of 12 years (as I’m told most television programs are addressed). The moral instructions of Jesus, as I have said before, are not hard to understand; they are just hard to do. We have devoted our intellectual subtlety to evading the words of Jesus, or to convincing ourselves that doing something else is just as good and a lot more practical.”

 So now, answer truthfully: “How does Jesus save?” “How important is the eternal salvation of yourself, your loved ones and all human beings to you?

– ECM

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Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Second helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Second Helping

Again,

“We adore God Who is love, Who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him.”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

There is yet another dimension of [Christian Just War Theory] CJWT that is of critical importance. It also is involved with the moral principle that whatever act is being considered, “The effort one is obliged to make, in order to acquire the needed moral certainty that a possible choice is morally permissible, is to be measured by the importance of the action itself and the consequences that can be reasonably anticipated” (The Law of Christ, Imprimatur, 1960). In choices involving matters that are trivial and where there is uncertainty about the moral permissibility of an act, the effort that needs to be expended to arrive at moral certainty is minimal. But there are those matters, that are so serious in themselves and in their consequences, that a person has to make a most serious effort to determine the truth of these matters in order to reach that very high degree of probability that the proposed act or choice is good and not evil.

The two acts that require this highest of degree of effort before they can be accepted with moral certainty as good rather than evil are causing a human being serious suffering and taking a human life. (In the Roman Catholic Church along with these two an additional two are included: the proper administration of Sacraments of Baptism and of Holy Orders.) The consequences to another human being of causing him or her great suffering or taking his or her life are so grave that only the highest level of moral certainty that it is good that is being done and not evil permits a person to enter into them without sinning. Once again, this is a far, far cry from, “I am a Catholic  (Methodist, Etc.). And, my Church says I can go to war and kill the enemy and that’s good enough for me.

When the Catholic Church and when most other Christian Churches non-infallibly present the CJWT as an acceptable moral choice for Christians, it never means that the CJWT itself or the various ad bellum and in bello norms of the CJWT, must only be met with a mere 50-50 degree of probability that this is a choice that is good and not evil. It is simply rational that mass murder and the mass maiming of human beings would demand a level of moral certainty that no other human choices would have to rise to in order to be morally permissible.

But there is more to be said in terms of “The effort one is obliged to make is measured by the importance of the action itself and the consequences that can be reasonably anticipated.”  If one is a Christian, is not the very choice to accept the reasoning that concludes that the Just War Theory is either implicitly present within Jesus’ teachings or can be a substitute for the teaching of Jesus a moral choice? Of course it is. Now, it is just a fact of history that Jesus did not abandon the Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies when the going-got-tough and put in its place justified violence as the Father’s Will and Way. The Jerome Biblical Commentary (Imprimatur, 1970) states,

“The customary principle of self-defense is rejected by Jesus; and the customary principle is not replaced by another principle of self-defense.”

CJWT is another principle of self-defense. But if one is a Christian, is it not irrational even to consider abandoning Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies when the going-gets-tough and to do exactly what Jesus did not do, that is, put in its place the always available fallback favorite of justified violence as the Father’s Will and Way?

After all Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is “the power which destroys all other powers, the power of love. It is the love of God revealed and active in Jesus Christ. God revealed in Jesus that He loves man and will deliver him through love and through nothing else” (ibid, The Power and the Wisdom, Imprimatur 1965). Would it not be irrational and beyond all possibility of reaching the requisite moral certainty needed to choose CJWT as a substitute to His Way of salvation, taught and lived by Him through all hardship and unto death?

It has been emphatically noted in the words of Rev. John L. McKenzie in earlier FAST FOOD Helpings that,

“Jesus presents in His words and life not only a good way of doing things, not only an ideal to be executed whenever it is convenient, but the only way of doing what He did. The saving act of Jesus is an act of love of the type he recommends in the Gospels. The power which destroys all other powers is the power of love, the love of God revealed and active in Jesus Christ. God revealed in Jesus that He loves man and will deliver him through love and through nothing else”

(The Power and the Wisdom, Imprimatur 1965).

That any definition of love and/or act of love that flows from Just War Theory would not be the same as “The saving act [that] is an act of love of the type he recommends in the Gospels”(ibid), is too obvious to need comment. But, it is precisely that type of love that “Jesus presents in His words and life not only as a good way of doing things, not only as an ideal to be executed whenever it is convenient, but as the only way of doing what He did” (ibid), that is, that saves.

What possibly could be a benefit that would accrue to a Christian that would motivate him or her to abandon that saving love through which God exclusively delivers him or her and humanity? Jesus addressed this very serious problem head on, “For what will it profit a person if he or she gains the whole world and forfeits his or her soul? What shall a person give in return for his soul?”  (Mt 16:26; Mk 8:36-37; Lk 9:25).

For even a Roman Catholic Church—that is ceaselessly conjuring up ever more tortuous arguments in an endeavor to morally and spiritually equate CJWT with the teaching of Jesus as a Way to eternal salvation—has as its last and overriding law in Canon Law, “The salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law in the Church, is to be kept before one’s eyes” (Canon Law # 1752). In other words some people in the Church may be working as hard as the devil to make CJWT a Way to eternal salvation on the level of Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, but the Church knows darn right well what the ultimate issue is that Jesus in His person, words, deeds, example and commands is addressing—the eternal salvation for each and all.

Only a person, who by choice or by inadvertence is entrapped in and confused by the wickedness and snares of “the one who has been a liar and murder from the beginning,” could intentionally keep from those to whom he or she has the duty and responsibility of Christian spiritual and moral care, the overwhelming and all-pervading ultimate questions that are forever inextricability tied to CJWT. Do you in good conscience honestly think that there is a high probability that CJWT is equal to or part of the Way of saving love as lived and taught by Jesus as the only Way of salvation? Do you in good conscience honestly think that you possess that needed high level of probability which is necessary to arrived at moral certainty that the CJWT is a valid extension or valid substitute for the Nonviolent Way of Jesus, where the eternal salvation of your soul and the souls of others is at stake? Where is the rational proportionality in taking the risk of replacing the Way of eternal salvation, taught by your Lord, God, Saviour and the Word of God Incarnate, which is clearly on the pages of the Gospels in black and white, with your own private CJWT Way of salvation?  What earthly gain could possibly match the infinite risk that is being taken? Is eternal life, the eternal salvation of yourself, your loved ones and all human beings so unimportant, so insignificant to you that something that can be gained in this world, e.g., more time on this planet, or control over more dirt on the planet’s, is worth risking eternal salvation?

This is what is ultimately at stake in following the Way of the CJWT. And, because of the unsurpassable significance involved in such a choice all Christians in all the Just War Constantinian Churches must be apprised of the implications and possible consequences of what they are choosing. They must be apprised with an educational effort consistent with the seriousness of the possible consequences of a choice for CJWT over Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies.

So, “How does Jesus save?” By the Way of CJWT?

– ECM

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty First helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-First Helping

Again,

“We adore God Who is love, Who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him.”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

Christian Just War Theory [CJWT] is not a revealed truth of Jesus nor is it an infallible moral teaching of the Church. This means that it is either a derivative moral teaching or a subordinate moral principle. Both of these possibilities obliges an effort, on the part of the Christian who intends to employ them to discern good from evil in accordance with the will of God as revealed by Jesus. Derivative and subordinate moral teachings are not self-evidently true nor self-validating nor automatically imperatively binding as is a revealed truth from the mouth of the Word of God Incarnate, Jesus.

What effort then must be made? First, the effort necessary is the effort to arrive at a state of moral certitude that these derived or subordinate moral principles, per se, e.g., Just War Theory, in and of themselves prior to any application, can truthfully and rationally be considered faithful extensions and in fundamental harmony with the revealed truth of Jesus. Some people in the Church think CJWT can be derived from or be logically consistent with Jesus’ teachings of “Love your enemies,” etc. This position has been examined as a possibly truthful and reasonable interpretation in FAST FOOD # 25-30, and has been found to be so highly improbable as to be untenable.

Second, the person is obliged to make the effort necessary to arrive at moral certainty that the derived or subordinate moral principles he or she are relying upon for moral certainty are being actually and truthfully applied in this particular moral situation, e.g., this war, this battle, this strategy and/or these weapons. Without this effort moral certainty is impossible and the person “Incurs the same guilt of sin as to species as he would incur through a transgression with clear and certain knowledge that the act [e.g. unjustly killing people] was forbidden” (Haring, ibid).

I would submit that the effort a Christian is obliged to make to have the necessary moral certainty to enter into a war and have his or her killing in that war not be murder is far, far beyond, “I am a Catholic  (Episcopalian, Etc.). And, my Church says I can go to war and kill the enemy, and that’s good enough for me.

CJWT has never been from the time of its first conceptualist, St. Augustine of Hippo (d. 8/28/430) to this day, a blank cheque for the Christian to kill and maim people in war. Its employment as a rational method for attaining moral certainty that seriously injuring or killing another human being(s) is justified or not unjustified, i.e., not murder, is dependent its conditions—prior to and during it use—being strictly (according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and most Christian Just War Theories) met. Otherwise, moral certainty is impossible to attain and the maiming and killing of another human being(s) is intrinsically evil and morally forbidden.

In other words CJWT is not an intense emotion garner from the local government’s news-propaganda mass media outlets. It is rational—not revealed— methodology for attaining moral truth in a particular situation, where tremendous suffering and death could occur or are presently taking place. To the extent that the standards of logic and reason, on which CJWT stands, are abandoned, to that extent the use of CJWT is a ploy of the Reign of Satan, “who is the Father of lies and a liar and a murderer from the beginning.”

To the extent that Christian bishops, priests, ministers and pastors, explicitly or implicitly permit CJWT to be employed in such a manner by members of their Churches in their spiritual and moral care, they are derelict in their duty to God and to their Churches, and they are actively cooperating with the evil of murder.

As far as what they are doing in terms of witnessing to the world about Jesus, His Good News and how He saves, there is only one word to describe their behavior, reprehensible.

– ECM