Do soldiers, generals & politicians need repentance?

I mean the soldiers, generals and politicians who plan, execute or participate in todays wars on middle eastern nations by the western allies? Can it ever be considered war in defense from annihilation to attack other nations and not call such reasoning relativism? What does the church say? I dont think the apostles or Jesus would consider participation in such wars as righteous.

I havent heard anyone actually talk about it but from studying the Bible and the lives of Saints i came to the conclusion that these are unjust wars.
Over 1 million civilians have perished in Iraq either directly or indrectly because of the war in the last decade. Half the population of children are missing 1 or 2 parents. Do you think these consequences are taken into consideration? If so, how can this be considered just? I would like to know the arguments that justify the wars but until I find a compelling argument I must consider it evil because that is what my heart instinctly tells me. I dont believe God choses sides but loves all men equally. The apostles didnt mess with politics to convert Rome and make the pursue righteoussness but their examples inspired the culture they lived in to permanently change.

I know many will despise me for thinking this way, its the modern day heresy but i believe the line of Good and Evil passes through all of us and that repentance and love for pur fellow man regardless of color and creed is the way towards a righteous culture. Ours is not a Kingdom of this world…

Again, i’m open to change my mind by compelling arguments.

God bless all of you.

From what I get from this, is that you are against war itself. I do agree with that since I don’t like war either and war itself is a bloody mess but it must be noted that at times war is unfortunately needed. You mention the loss of one million civilans and honestly, I have never seen that number before related to the Iraqi war.

Still, maybe you have seen something that I haven’t. But going back to your question, I don’t believe the American soldiers are to blame for the loss of civilian life. The US Military does whatever it can to prevent loss of innocent life on the batttlefield.

That is all I can say. To say if or not the wars in the Middle East are just or unjust is not my jurisdiction of expertise.

And this is the problem; it is not your duty or place to take it upon yourself to decide if a war is just or unjust. Even the Holy See has not made that decision and they have access to more intelligence than you or I.

No but I cant help but to feel compassion for the families suffering from the wars either in Iraq or the west. Should I repent for resenting these wars? I dont like war itself and I personally believe it must be the last available option. I dont know the political workings but I dont see much other options being used except the threat of force against disobedient Nations.
Shouldnt a Christian also be realistic and consider that maybe the acquisition of natural resources and / or strategic positions is most likely a big factor when planning a war?

I am not yet a catholic so I want to know as best I can what the church says about these matters before i fulfill conversion.

No one is required to “like” war. Perhaps your compassion should expand to the whole world instead of just Iraq. UN reports say that 17,000 children die a day from lack of basic necessities; is their suffering any less than those in Iraq? Remember, too, that the people in Iraq suffered under Saddam Hussein.

I pray for the troops everyday but I give some extra prayers for both myself and my husband as we are both in the military.
It’s not my choice to decide to go to war or not. We have a very structured chain of command we must abide by. I cannot tell my superiors that I do not feel this war is just and, therefore, will not partake in it.
I took an oath to serve my country and I will do that. I could be arrested if I don’t.

My husband has had far more experience then many troops dealing with this war directly. It’s his job and he has been directly involved in the killing of bad guys. He prays for the souls who have died and their families. He does go to confession when he needs to. This war has been hard on him because he does not agree with the war either and finds hImself defending suspicious activity more then others.

Neither of us began Practicing our faith until after we joined. I won’t argue with anyone on the justifications of this war. But it saddens me to read that soilders should be held morally responsible for following orders. You clearly aren’t in the military if you believe soilders are responsible and should be held accountable for following orders.

Now that’s a surprising statement. No Pope ever had any positive comment to make concerning the War involvement in the Middle East.

Most realistic people in the world even amongst many knowledgeable Americans know the war in Iraq was just one big propaganda political racket.

Exploiting the national anguish and anger over 9/11 was the Bush Administration critical ingredient as was the establishment’s propaganda about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq which lead to nothing fitting that bill.

In the end with the numerous Trillions spent on the War and the evil delibrate fabricated bank fall outs we see sadly were America and the rest of the financial world sits today. Were all living the fallout result of political evil greed organized by a powerful One World Order. Their aim is to exploit and deceive the plublic about everything. That’s no Conspiracy Theory.

You definitely want to read about what “just war” means in the context of Christianity and of Catholic doctrine (which contains, as you know, the fullness of the teaching). The topic is quite delicate.

Ultimately it is not up to soldiers to judge whether a war is just or unjust. Soldiers are bound by obedience to their superiors. The top levels of the military hierarchy and the government decision-makers know the reasons for which they send their and our offspring to risk and sacrifice their lives, and their knowledge of the facts trascends what any average citizen or soldier could ever possibly grasp. It is a common “average person’s” way of speech to criticize unjust wars etc. and come up with all sorts of anti-government anti-military nonsense, when in fact they know nothing or less than nothing about what moves a nation to send their troops abroad. Only when a millenary enemy strikes our backyard we perhaps thank God that we have men ready to die for the sake of our families, of our wife and kids.

We need in fact more repentance for judging them, than they need for taking the decisions required by their state of life.

As others have said, there are specific parts of war that have been criticized by members of the Church, and many things that could, can, and should be done better. But war is not intrinsically evil - it so happens that often times evil happens where there is violence and death, more than anyone would want it to happen.

Thanks for the very interesting question. From my studies (catechism, ethics), war is seen as an evil, in the way illness, natural disasters, and poverty are evils. BUT, wars are man-made. There is the so-called just war (Augustine, Thomas Aquinas?), but clearly war is still seen as a last resort. Moving along, then, it points to the authority of civil government, and then its authority to compel its citizens to go to war.
But let’s go back to your original question. Sin has to be recognized. Gen. So-and-so, is led to believe that he is following a just cause, weighed against just war principles (last resort, limited objective, an ethical objective, clear means to be able to obtain the objective, ethical means… not chemical weapons, etc. , etc.) then there doesn’t seem to be any genuine compulsion for him to repent. I think there is a great argument to be made for ending any warfare whatsoever, and as a radical response to love neighbor and God. But when wars are orchestrated in quite a complex manner, and the thought that you just might stop an unjust oppressor and save more lives by getting involved (use measured violence-lethal military force)… then perhaps there is a place for war, and intelligent debate to say that it is ethical, and to quell any doubts from personal conscience.

Those who order, plan, or fight unjust wars are committing objective mortal sin.

Everyone needs repentance. It’s really that simple…


War is not intrinsically evil in the way that killing a human life is not evil per se, right? So if I ended up killing an attacker, the killing is justified. Still, any loss of life whether in war or in a singular act of self defense is regrettable.
Also, I’d like to comment that soldiers should not find the oath to obey authorities in conflict to disobey an immoral command. I think the very authority of military superiors to demand obedience from their subordinates rests on what is constitutional.
So beyond the voice of this or that military superior is the ground of conscience, a sound understanding of moral precepts, a will to be a moral person. In the context of our (secular) USA, a soldier can refer to the Constitution. A Catholic soldier would add the extra task of grasping Catholic teaching.

Thanks for you and your husband’s service, Kelfa28. I’m a Navy brat, but unlike my brothers, never got in the service. There were other pursuits that did not allow me to make good on an interest in military service. I did happen to teach military cadets introductory ethics.
I think your profession will in fact tell you how you are a part of the bigger plan to obtain this or that objective, as you’re part of the bigger mission. Still, your moral compass will be on, your conscience will speak to you. In that sense, if your moral compass points in a direction you’re no longer going… that is an inner conflict that demands to be resolved. I guess what I’m saying is: you’re still culpable, but not to the same degree as your commanding officers. But hey, you’re also deserving of all our respect and honor (my respect, and my honor) for your courage and high sense of duty and love of country & humankind… because you’re doing a lot of good. The bad/evil… that’s debatable., but you are doing a lot of good. And I pray God keep you, your husband, our troops and families safe.

the Iraq war did end a genocide of innocent Kurds in Iraq

Oh, I almost forgot Kelfa28, I am culpable, too (the government I voted in… my acquiescence and passivity…) There happens to be a lot blame to go around. No wonder we have Lent.

I’m sorry, but this DOES sound like a conspiracy theory since you seem to be talking about a one world order.

Still, there were many things that were wrong on the Iraqi war and yes Pope John Paul 2 did come out against it. But just because one pope comes out against a certain war doesn’t mean that the Church herself has declared that war unjust.

Now, let me be clear. I’m not saying that this war was just or unjust since I’m not qualified to say so.

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