Newly typeset edition; only available in paperback. Originally published in 1928.
The Church and War was written nearly a hundred years ago, but has not lost any relevance in our day. The author, Franziskus Stratmann, O.P. (1883–1971), was a long-standing advocate for peace. Making full use of the Catholic tradition, he shows how modern warfare is incompatible with the Church’s teachings. While a few of his finer points may be debated by some, Stratmann’s motivation for this study demands attention. His aim was “to learn how we can bring the world out of anarchy to order, how we can answer the call for help even if it comes to us in the form of curses, how we can heal the special wound from which our world today is suffering: that wildest form of anarchy which is war.” Fr. Stratmann does not dismiss the concept of “defensive war,” which has a secure place in the Church’s teaching. Rather he questions whether the modern pursuit of war is morally reasonable. Love of neighbour, rooted firstly in the love of God, is not a weak and insipid sentimentality, but a command from Our Lord, the paragon of strength and sacrifice. For Stratmann, love of neighbour applies not only to personal relations but also those between nations. The Catholic Church has always understood herself as a beacon of peace among nations, even if her voice is ignored or shouted down by contemporary warmongers. Stratmann reminds us that war need not, and should not, be inevitable.
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Size: 5.25 x 8
ISBN: 978-1-990685-36-1 | 15.95 USD | paperback
Franziskus Stratmann, writing a mere ten years after the end of “The War to End All Wars” (which was the mere prelude to the next Great War), begins his examination of war in the light of “The Mystical Body of Christ.” Fr. Stratmann takes up the popular lament that, “If after all these centuries Religion, especially the Religion of Love, does not make such a war impossible, then its influence on mankind is not worth much.” Re-establishing this influence in the cause of peace is the work of the re-establishing the Augustinian-Thomistic “just war” doctrines, and based on this doctrine, he concludes “the conditions which justify a war …[are] almost an impossibility.” But Fr. Stratmann does not confine his work to a mere philosophical/theological examination of the questions, but rather to the practical ways in which this doctrine can be instilled in the hearts of men on the one hand, and enforced by international institutions on the other. This is an indispensable work for all who would work for peace. —John Médaille, co-author of Theology: Mythos or Logos? A Dialogue on Faith, Reason, and History, and author of Toward a Truly Free Market
One of the titles of our divine Lord is Prince of Peace. Yet many Catholics, while perhaps acknowledging in theory the horrors of war, celebrate their own country’s past bellicose actions and uncritically support every war it has fought. Yes, we are not pacifists, but neither can we simply shrug our shoulders and accept every war one's nation has waged. In our day we have seen wars undertaken for the most flimsy reasons and on the basis of lies. Although written in the aftermath of World War I, Fr. Stratmann's careful study is just as timely for our own day. The author points toward a better way. Catholics must learn not only to see war as an absolute last resort, but to cultivate a love for all mankind, for each and every one of which our Savior suffered and died. —Thomas Storck, author of Seeing the World With Catholic Eyes and Foundations of a Catholic Political Order