The Pope! World Beyond War and other supporting organizations are asking everyone in the world, religious or not, to please add your name to this petition to Pope Francis:
We urge you to follow through on the meeting the Vatican hosted on April 11-13, 2016, which recommended in its final statement that you publish an encyclical rejecting the idea that there can be a just war, promoting the teaching and use of nonviolence, and working toward the abolition of war and weapons of war. We ask you to influence as much of humanity as you can to shun participation in war and in the manufacture and trade of weapons. We thank you for this leadership and are hopeful that it will make a world of difference. We are ready to make war a thing of the past. Click here to add your name and comments.
The idea that there can be a just war is critical to maintaining the arms trade and preparations for war that drain the world of approximately $2 trillion per year, half from the United States alone, while just tens of billions could solve hunger, the lack of clean drinking water, and other human and environmental needs.
The investment in war preparations creates momentum for countless unjust wars. Nonviolent resistance to tyranny has proven more effective than violence, and its successes longer lasting. While a just cause can be associated with a war, that doesn’t make the war just.
Criteria of “just war” theory, such as “proportionality” and “right intention,” cannot be measured to prove that a war is just or unjust. They’re just rhetoric that serves to legitimize war. Other “just war” criteria are not possible to meet at all. War cannot be a “last resort” as there are always better options. Nor can noncombatants be kept immune from attack or enemy soldiers be respected as human beings while you’re killing them.
Yet other “just war” criteria, such as that war must be waged by a legitimate authority, do not make war moral. Rather they serve as cover for wars by some and justification for wars against others. The idea of a “just war” was developed by ancient and medieval writers who promoted the killing of heretics, the use of slavery, and monarchy as the best form of government. It’s time we stopped clinging to this vestige of an outdated worldview. Add your name to the petition.