Some messages that contradict Catholic doctrine on just war

The unfair messages that Pope Francis sends to two countries attacked by terrorists

One of the hallmarks of Contando Estrelas is the Catholic religion and the defense of its doctrine, even in relation to wars.

The words of encouragement from Pope Saint John Paul II on his apostolic journey to Ukraine
The statements by Pope Francis on the Russian invasion and the Spanish Civil War

Catholic doctrine on just war

For some time now, as a Catholic, I have encountered a contradiction. On the one hand, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the text in which the doctrine of the Church is summarized, affirms that every attacked country has "the right of lawful self-defense" (2308). It also points out that this defense must meet "strict conditions" (2309) to have moral legitimacy, among which he points out the following: "there must be serious prospects of success". That is to say, a country cannot push its children to collective suicide to stop an invasion.

Francis contradicts that doctrine: "Wars are always unjust"

This Catholic doctrine has existed for centuries and is very reasonable. However, a year ago, speaking about Ukraine, Pope Francis stated: "Wars are always unjust". He said this during a video call in which he spoke with Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow, who has openly supported the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is a very clear example of unjust war. Francis's message was equivalent to telling the Ukrainian people that they have no right to defend themselves, since in this case it is Ukraine that is waging a just war against Russia, a country that has carried out an invasion unprovoked and that violates International Law, in addition to endangering peace in Europe.

Israel's right to defend itself from a Hamas terrorist attack

Ukraine is not the only country that has recently suffered aggression. On October 7, 2023, Israel was attacked by the terrorist organization Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2006 and has since led periodic attacks against Israel by launching rockets against areas residential areas of that country. That October 7 attack was the largest massacre suffered by the Jewish people since the Holocaust, with more than 1,500 people killed (most of them unarmed civilians, including children and babies) and more than 250 people kidnapped by terrorists.

Like Ukraine, the people of Israel are exercising their right to defend themselves, in a just war that aims to put an end to the threat that Hamas has been posing for peace in the Middle East for 19 years and in a fight to free citizens kidnapped by terrorists.

Francis' false statement about wars: "they all end with an agreement"

This Saturday the content of an interview given by Pope Francis to a Swiss media. The official Vatican news service has published a transcription in Spanish of the Pope's words. In it, Francis states the following:

"Let's look at history, the wars we have experienced, they all end with an agreement."

This is a falsehood. And it pains me to have to say it so clearly when it comes to the Pope, but it hurts me more to see the Pope launching a falsehood with such aplomb. There are abundant examples to refute Francisco's statement. Going by his words, he only lived through one war, the Falklands War, and it ended with the defeat of his country. The World War II did not end with any agreement, but with the defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan. In fact, it would have been immoral to accept agreements with those two powers that committed crimes of genocide.

Francis believes that Israel should negotiate with Hamas terrorists

On the other hand, Francis also affirms:

"I sent a letter to the Jews of Israel to reflect on this situation. Negotiation is never a surrender. It is the courage to not lead the country to suicide."

Thus, Francis considers that Israel's war against Hamas is not fair because it means "leading the country to suicide," in reference to Israel. However, and as we have seen above, Catholic doctrine requires that self-defense have a chance of success, and Israel has them, unless someone thinks that a terrorist group like Hamas has a chance of defeating to a country like Israel. The Israeli advance in Gaza is making it clear that Hamas's days are numbered.

Francis calls the aggressor and the attacked equally 'irresponsible'

Returning to the interview, Francis refers to the war between Israel and Hamas with these words:

"Every day at seven in the afternoon I call the Gaza parish. Six hundred people live there and they tell what they see: it is a war. And war is waged by two, not one. The irresponsible people are these two who wage war. Then there is not only military war, but there is the "guerrilla war", so to speak, of Hamas, for example, a movement that is not an army. It's something bad."

I don't know what the Pope meant when he stated that Hamas is "a movement that is not an army". In any case, Hamas is a terrorist movement and must be treated like all terrorist movements: doing everything possible to dismantle it and prevent it from continuing to commit crimes. Regarding the war, Francis equally calls the attacked country and the aggressor terrorist group "irresponsible", as if both were guilty of there being a war.

Hamas is the only one to blame for the war in the Middle East

Francis' statement is radically unfair: this war has only one culprit, Hamas, for launching a criminal attack against Israel in which the aggressors have committed crimes against humanity such as murders, torture, rape and kidnappings. Francis not only contradicts the Catholic doctrine on just war, but he equates the aggressor and the attacked, something morally infamous, and I say this here in the same way that I have said it when others have That comparison has been made, with the difference that Francis is the spiritual leader of millions of Catholics and it is especially irresponsible and immoral for him to launch messages like that.

Francis believes that Ukraine is defeated and must "raise the white flag"

As for Ukraine, we find the same thing in Francis' statements published yesterday. Francisco affirms that "I believe that those who see the situation, those who think about the people, those who have the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate are stronger. And today we can negotiate with the help of international powers. The word negotiate is a brave word." Does Francis suggest that the brave thing would have been to negotiate with Hitler, for example? Would he have proposed to the Poles, British and French to give in face the nazis and make peace with them? How many millions more people would have been murdered by Nazism if the allies had given up on defeating it? Francis continues with these words about Ukraine:

"When you see that you are defeated, that things are not going well, you need to have the courage to negotiate. You are ashamed, but how many deaths will it end up with? Negotiate in time, look for a country to act as a mediator "Today, for example, in the war in Ukraine, there are many who want to act as mediators. Turkey offered to do so. And others. Do not be ashamed to negotiate before things get worse."

Francis' distorted vision of both wars

Thus, Francis asks Ukraine to negotiate because he considers it defeated. However, Russia is very far from achieving the objectives it set for itself with this war. The Russians barely make any progress and what little they achieve is at the cost of great losses, as has happened in Avdiivka. Russian propaganda has been claiming that Ukraine is on the verge of defeat since the beginning of this war, but the reality is very different. The Ukrainian people have not only known how to heroically resist the invasion, but have also put the invaders to retreat on many fronts. Let us remember that the Russians were at the gates of Kiev, but were rejected.

Today, if international aid does not stop flowing, Ukraine has great possibilities of winning the war. That Francis does not see it possible is something respectable, although it is debatable, but I find the fact remarkable. that the Pope also considers that Israel is committing "suicide" in its war against Hamas, as if it had no chance of defeating that terrorist group. That statement about Israel should encourage us to ask whether Francis' view of the war in Ukraine is as distorted as the one he has of the war between Israel and Hamas.

The immorality of equating the aggressor and the attacked

I don't know what sources the Pope follows about both wars, but there is certainly something that caught my attention in his interview: Francis does not say who the aggressor was in either of the two wars. If the Pope respected the Catholic doctrine on just war, when assessing the legitimacy of a war he would have to take into account whether the country in question is the aggressor or the attacked one. But he doesn't even consider this.

A clear message from the Christian moral point of view, when talking about a war, is to condemn the aggressor and defend the attacked. Francisco does not distinguish both categories in his interview. In fact, the war in Ukraine could end today if Russia withdrew, which is what can be demanded of the invading country from the point of view of Christian morality, but Francis has not asked Russia's withdrawal not once since the beginning of the invasion. Now, not only does he not ask for this withdrawal, but he also wants the invaded to raise the white flag.

As for Israel, in the interview Francis does not mention those kidnapped by Hamas even once. Let us remember that that war began with Hamas' attack on Israel and with the kidnapping of Israeli citizens by Hamas. What the Pope should do is ask the terrorists to release the hostages, and stop equating a democratic country like the State of Israel with a terrorist group like Hamas. It is an unfair and infamous comparison.

Finally, by denying the Catholic doctrine on just war, what Francis is doing is sending an immoral message to two countries attacked by terrorists: the message that they have no right to defend themselves, the message that They must negotiate their future with criminals who torture, kidnap and murder civilians indiscriminately, the immoral message of equating the aggressor and the attacked.

The serious effects of denying Catholic doctrine on just war

Asking Ukraine to negotiate, that is, to give in to Russia, is not thinking about the people, but quite the opposite: it is subjecting part of the Ukrainian people to the risk of being subjected to invaders who have committed massacres as horrendous as those of Bucha and Izyum.

Asking Israel to negotiate with Hamas terrorists is as aberrant as it would have been to ask the allies in 1940 to negotiate with the Nazis, a criminal who showed the same interest as Hamas in massacring the Jewish people and erase it from the face of the Earth.

Erasing with a stroke of the pen the Catholic doctrine on just war exposes people to being attacked, by morally equating invaders and those who exercise their right to self-defense, and allowing aggressors to benefit from their attacks, under the erroneous premise that peace must be achieved at any price, even at the price of the aggressor going unpunished and even taking advantage of his aggression.

Equating invader and invaded is unfair no matter who says it, but it is also extremely alarming for a Pope to say it, skipping the very doctrine of the Catholic Church and committing an injustice that could be expected from anyone but the spiritual leader of millions of Catholics, many of whom feel perplexed seeing the things this Pope is doing and saying.



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