Catholics pray for their enemies, but sometimes we also have a duty to fight them

Catholics pray for their enemies, but sometimes we also have a duty to fight them

Roberto de Mattei
Translated from Il Tempo by Francesca Romana

July 27, 2016 (Rorate Caeli via LifeSiteNews) — The first martyr in European territory at the hands of Islam, Father Jacques Hamel, was murdered while celebrating Holy Mass on July 26th in the parish church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy. Two Muslims praising Islam, burst into the church, and after taking some of the faithful hostage, cut the priest’s throat, at the same time critically wounding another faithful present. There are no doubts about the identity of the aggressors and the anti-Christian hatred that motivated them. Through the press agency Amaq, the Islamic State called the assailants “our soldiers”.

The name of Jaques Hamel is added to that of thousands of Christians who are burnt, crucified and decapitated everyday in hatred of their faith. However, the July 26th massacre marks a turning point since it is the first time it has happened in Europe, casting a shadow of fear and alarm over our continent.

It is certainly not possible to guard 50,000 religious buildings in France, and a similar number of churches, parishes and sanctuaries in Italy and other countries. Every priest is the object of possible attacks, destined to increase, owing to the emulation effect that follows these crimes.

“How many deaths are needed, how many heads decapitated, for the European governments to understand the situation the West finds itself in?” asked Cardinal Robert Sarah.

What is it going to take, we add, for Cardinal Sarah’s confreres in the College of Cardinals, starting with the Supreme Head, the Pope himself, to understand the terrifying situation in which not only the West finds itself in, but the entire Universal Church? What makes this situation so terrible are the politics of do-goodism and false mercy with regard to Islam and all of the Church’s enemies. Certainly, Catholics must pray for their enemies, but they also have to be aware that they have them, and they mustn’t limit themselves to praying for them, but have the duty to fight them. It is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which teaches this in n.2266, when it says that legitimate defence may also be a grave duty for those responsible for the lives of others: “Preserving the common good of society requires rendering the aggressor unable to inflict harm.”

Pope Francis was said to be “especially upset by this act of violence which took place in a church during the liturgy of the Mass and implored the peace of God for the world”, once again refusing to call the assassins by name. Pope Bergoglio’s silence is parallel to that of Muslims from all over the globe who don’t denounce forcefully and in an unanimous, collective manner, the crimes committed in Allah’s name by their co-religionists. Yet, even the President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande, in his discourse to the nation on Tuesday evening, spoke of France’s open war against ISIS.

During his pontificate, the Pope has beatified with super-rapid procedures some 20th century figures, like Oscar Arnulfo Romero and Don Pino Puglisi* who were certainly not killed in hatred of the Catholic faith. Yet on May 12th 2013, he also canonized in St. Peter’s Square, the eight hundred martyrs of Otranto, massacred on August 11th 1480 by the Turks for not renouncing their faith.

If Pope Francis announced the start of the process for Father Hamel’s beatification, he would give the world a peaceful but strong and eloquent sign of the will of the Church to defend its identity. If, on the other hand, he continues to be under the illusion about a possible ecumenical agreement with Islam, he will repeat the same errors of those wretched politics which sacrificed the victims of the Communist persecution on the altars of Ostpolitik. However, the altar of politics is different from the holy altar in which the unbloody Sacrifice of Christ is celebrated. Father Jacques Hamel received the grace of uniting himself to this sacrifice, offering his own blood, on July 26th.

* Killed by the Mafia in Palermo in 1993

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One comment on “Catholics pray for their enemies, but sometimes we also have a duty to fight them

  1. Fr. Rutler (of EWTN, Opus Dopus) gives Catholic teaching:

    Catholic Priest: Christians Have A Moral Duty To Defeat Terror
    by Donna Rachel Edmunds, 28 Jul 2016

    A Catholic priest has called for Christians to take a stand against Islamic terror, arguing that pacifism in the face of mortal danger is immoral and un-Christian.

    On Monday, Europe, already reeling from a wave of Islamic terrorist attacks in France and Germany, was again shocked by the beheading of a Catholic priest near Rouen in France in an apparent ritual sacrifice of some kind.

    Responding to the attack, Pope Francis expressed his “pain and horror for this absurd violence, with the strongest condemnation for every form of hatred and prayer for those affected,” and is reported to have prayed that God would “inspire in all thoughts of reconciliation and brotherhood”.

    Meanwhile Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen, said: “The Catholic Church can take up no weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood among people of goodwill.” He asked the people of his diocese “not to give in to violence,” but instead “become apostles of the civilization of love”.

    But writing for, Father George Rutler, the pastor of St. Michael’s church in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, argues that not only is such pacifism immoral, it is the Christian duty to protect both oneself and other innocents from violent aggressors.

    Referring to Jesus’s exhortation, found in Matthew 5:39 – “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” – Fr. Rutler says that this isn’t an instruction to engage in pacifism, as so many European Christians appear to believe.

    “Turning the other cheek is the counsel Christ gave in the instance of an individual when morally insulted: Humility conquers pride. It has nothing to do with self-defence,” he says.

    Arguing rather that pacifism is therefore a corruption of the virtue of peace, Fr. Rutler continues: “As racism distorts race and sexism corrupts sex — so does pacifism affront peace.

    “To shrink from the moral duty to protect peace by not using force […] is not innocence — it is naiveté.”

    He points to the Catholic Catechism, which directs Catholics to engage in legitimate self-defence as part of the duty to love ourselves as we do our neighbours.

    Paragraph 2263 of the Catechism reads: “The legitimate defence of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing.”

    The next continues: “Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow.”

    And illustrating the requirement for Christians to protect other innocents from aggressors, especially Christians in a position of responsibility, such as a father for his family or a national leader, the Catechism continues: “Legitimate defence can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others.

    “The defence of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.”

    In previous centuries, Fr. Rutler, says, this would not have been controversial.

    “Saint John Capistrano led an army against the Moors in 1456 to protect Belgrade. In 1601, Saint Lawrence of Brindisi did the same in defense of Hungary. As Franciscans, they carried no sword and charged on horseback into battle carrying a crucifix. They inspired the shrewd generals and soldiers, whom they had assembled through artful diplomacy, with their brave innocence.

    “This is not obscure trivia: Were it not for Charles Martel at Tours in 732 and Jan Sobieski at the gates of Vienna in 1683 — and most certainly had Pope Saint Pius V not enlisted Andrea Doria and Don Juan at Lepanto in 1571 — we would not be here now. No Western nations as we know them — no universities, no modern science, no human rights — would exist.”

    The tragedy of our times, Fr. Rutler argues, is that the West has grown complacent, and in doing so has lost touch with its Christian roots.

    “The dormancy of Islam until recent times, however, has obscured the threat that this poses — especially to a Western civilisation that has grown flaccid in virtue and ignorant of its own moral foundations.

    “On the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, there were over 60 speeches, and yet not one of them mentioned ISIS.

    “Vice has destroyed countless individual souls, but in the decline of civilizations, weakness has done more harm than vice. ‘Peace for our time’ is as empty now as it was when Chamberlain went to Munich and honour was bartered in Vichy.”

    The question before us, therefore, is whether Western civilisation has drifted so far away from its Christian foundations that not only does it no longer recognise the need to vigorously defend our civilisation, it also cannot name the threat.

    “The priest in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvrary in Normandy, France, was not the first to die at the altar — and he will not be the last,” says Fr. Rutler.

    “In his old age, the priest embodied a civilisation that has been betrayed by a generation whose hymn was John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ — that there was neither heaven nor hell but ‘above us only sky’ and ‘all the people living for today’. When reality intrudes, they can only leave teddy bears and balloons at the site of a carnage they call ‘inexplicable’.”

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