Just War or Just Peace? An Examination of Two Christian Approaches to the Problem of War and Violence
This paper examines, compares and contrasts the just war theory with a non-violent alternative. It documents the historical development of both theories, culminating in a recent conference that was held in Rome under the leadership of Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Marie Dennis, Co-President of Pax Christi International. The paper advances arguments by the proponents of each theory and examines papal pronouncements on the subject. The case of Zimbabwe during the liberation war serves as an example of the use of the just war theory by missioners who supported the liberation struggle. On the other hand, examples of non-violent resolution of conflict in other parts of the world offer an alternative approach. The paper quotes the recent statement that was issued at the end of the Rome Conference that contains a proposal for a papal encyclical on the issue. While putting forward the pros and cons for each point of view, the paper does not take sides but raises questions for further reflection and discussion.
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