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On The Road To Perfection
Episode 150: Just War (and Explaining It To Kids)

The doctrine of Just War is a difficult thing to comprehend, let alone explain. We all question every armed conflict, and support or decry it based on our own perceptions of the situation. Is that right? How does the Church view the conflict in Ukraine? How does the Church view its own armed conflicts, and those warriors who fought and killed in the name of Jesus and Mother Church? Where does following orders fall into this doctrine? For more than 1600 years, The Church has reconciled turning the other cheek with a natural right to self-defense. In this episode, we tackle the doctrine of Just War, giving the four tests as laid out in the Catechism, and attempt to share the idea in a way that can be shared with children to help them understand – which means Kristofer understands, too!

We get into specific conflicts, keeping it relevant to most recent memory – the Cold War, the Gulf War, the War in Iraq – and include the intervention of Pope St. John Paul II while the Catechism was being written. His involvement, putting into practice the doctrine of just War to help end the Cold War, sets a standard and example. We discuss how leaders with informed consciences can make wrong decisions, but have a shot at redemption when they meet their Maker if they made their informed decisions based on the principles of Just War.

It is not difficult to determine if a conflict is just if one is making the decision to go to war or to refrain. It is extremely difficult for anybody, even the soldier, to determine if they are fighting in a Just War because they are not in on the big picture. We discuss all of this, helping (or at least hoping to help) provide some perspective on determining if a military action is just based on what we know.

This is more of an educational topic than a faith-oriented one, but we thought it useful in this time to share the Church’s teaching on what a Just War is, and even why the Church does or does not declare a war to be just.


Some items on our site that will help in understanding this topic:

PAGE:Catechesis and Other Funny Words
Podcast Episode: Faith- Episode 50
Podcast Episode: Discerning God’s Will – Part 1 – Episode 74
Podcast Episode: Raising Kids In These Times – Episode 122
Podcast Episode: Taking Kids to Mass – Age 7 and Above – Episode 128

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