Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Can Catholics Be Neocons?

Pat Robertson's foreign policy advice was greeted by the Catholic blogosphere with the derision it deserved with one commentor at Open Book putting Robertson's suggestion into the proper perspective: "Well, this is just the natural extension of "preventative war". Preventative assassination to prevent the need for preventative war. "

So it's fortuitious that today, by way of Catholic Peace Fellowship, comes this article that originally appeared in American Conservative (strange bedfellows there!) about conservative American Catholics defying the Vatican on just war theory.

"The new pope and his predecessor have been consistent ... in taking the most restrictive possible view in favor of life in matters of capital importance, whether abortion, the death penalty, or war. Neoconservative Catholics have met this papal position with defiance. They point out, correctly, that abortion and war are not parallel—the former is wrong in all instances, the latter permissible in some. Novak and Neuhaus also take care to emphasize the wording of Section 2309 of the Catholic Catechism, which states that deciding when the conditions for a just war have been met “belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good”—meaning the Bush administration, as they would have it."

I've heard the argument described above before -- but only coming from non-Catholics. I've yet to meet a Catholic that doesn't have strong reservations about the war in Iraq, myself included. And it's curious why the cons who are so enamored of Pope Benedict XVI have mainly ignored his admonition that due to the incredible imbalance of power between nations like the United States and Iraq, the applicability of just war theory may have to be restricted, rather than expanded.