Christian Pacifism May Have a Point

Great post! I highly encourage anyone here to read it. I am not by any means a pacifist; I believe that one is just in defending themselves even if that defense extends to violence, and I believe that our police officers and soldiers provide a true good and do well in the just execution of their services. However, it is very easy (all too easy!) to root these beliefs in the wisdom of the world; and when one does this it puts them in opposition to God and His Revelation. So often the answer is both/and, but to truly find freedom in that answer and find rest in the mystery one must allow themselves to be challenged by God’s word and the witness of the saints. It is not an easy question nor is there an easy answer.

Dominus Mihi Adjutor

This post will upset some people, most of them from a particular socio-cultural-ecclesial context. However, before they give vent to the full fury of their outrage it is asked that they read this post carefully, and then read it again. Disagreement is expected and constructive argument encouraged. Abuse or vitriol will get short shrift. There is an issue to engage with here, and it is not to be camouflage for arguments ad hominem.

You will recall the atrocities committed against the Coptic Christians on Palm Sunday in Egypt. What may not be so clear in our memory is the Copts’ response.

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  1. Salve!

    Thanks for your posting this. Just to clarify. I am very much pro police and military (I worked for the police before becoming a monk), and their work remains valid.

    Among the many points I was raising, and not necessarily settling—I wanted to provoke thought and reflection—let me say that what is crucial is intention. When we truly seek to defend self or those in our charge, we are on safe ground. But if there is a hint of vengeance in it, we lose our moral footing.

    At the moment I would still say that legitimate self-defense is a good; turning the other cheek is better.


    1. Father bless! Thank you for your reply and again bringing my attention to the crucial point of intention. You are quite right. I’m sorry that I gave the impression of doubt concerning your position. I was meaning to focus on the way in which the saints and Holy Scripture challenge us. Something I need to let happen to myself more often. Thank you also for your previous service. For the first time in years, I was just pulled over by a police officer today and was grateful to him for it!
      On another note, your name wouldn’t happen to be for Hugh of St. Victor? Or does it refer to a Benedictine Hugh?

      1. Ahoy! for some reason, WP did not alert me to your reply. So please forgive this tardy answer to your question. I am named, in fact, for the Carthusian St Hugh of Lincoln, though my abbot prefers to think of me as Bl Hugh Faringdon, the martyred last abbot of Reading. In practice I tend to take all the Hugh as that gives me a pleasing abundance of feast days. Pax!

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