Just War or Just Peace? An Examination of Two Christian Approaches to the Problem of War and Violence

  • Janice McLaughlin Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic


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.

Author Biography

Janice McLaughlin, Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic

Janice McLaughlin is a journalist, adult educator and promoter of peace and justice who has lived and worked on the African continent since 1970. She has a BA degree in theology and anthropology from Marquette University and a DPhil in Religious Studies from the University of Zimbabwe. She has worked in Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and served as President of her congregation, the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, from 2009 to 2015.

How to Cite
MCLAUGHLIN, Janice. Just War or Just Peace? An Examination of Two Christian Approaches to the Problem of War and Violence. The Fountain: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1, p. 1-22, june 2017. ISSN 2520-453X. Available at: <http://journals.cuz.ac.zw/index.php/fountain/article/view/1>. Date accessed: 23 june 2018.