Just War Theory and Nonviolence: Two Strands in the Catholic Social Tradition Related to War and Peace

, | | March 4, 2002

There are two strands in the Catholic social tradition related to war and peace. Both share the presumption against the use of force as a means for settling disputes. Within that presumption, one, the Just War Theory, has evolved two sets of criteria for engaging in war. One set lays out guidelines for determining when it is just to enter a war (Jus ad Bellum). The other articulates guidelines for just behavior in war (Jus in Bello).

Another, equally valid strain of Catholic social tradition emphasizes the nonviolence of Jesus and calls upon all Christ’s disciples to bear witness in their own lives to nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution.


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