The Just War Theory

  • By Fr. Joseph Byerley
  • 03 May, 2017
The Just War Theory
I was recently asked by a parishioner about the Just War Theory. I don’t think I gave the most complete response, so I went back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and re-read the “official” teaching of the Church on this subject.
Here it is:
“The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy.
At one and the same time:
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the ‘just war’ doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good” (CCC 2309).

Moral Conscience
This got me thinking about our conscience and its formation. How do we know what to do in one of these difficult situations, how can we make a good moral judgement? So I went over the section in the Catechism on moral conscience. And found this…"Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths." (CCC 1776). Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act…In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescriptions of the divine law (CCC 1778). We see here that the moral judgments we make are not relative or based on our own thoughts and feelings, they are to be based on objective criteria that come from God. In addition, we have an obligation to discern these criteria if we are to act in a morally good way.
The Catechism states that we have the right to act according to our conscience and should never be forced to act against it (CCC 1782). At the same time we are instructed that we must form our consciences according to the truth and to the word of God and to the authoritative teaching of the Church (CCC 1783, 1785). The obligation to follow our consciences coincides with the equal obligation to form them according to the truth of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. These two obligations cannot be separated.
The Church does acknowledge that it is not always easy to see the proper course of action. Therefore we need to strive to form our consciences according to the truth of God throughout our lives (CCC 1784). And we “must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law. (CCC 1787)
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 12 Jul, 2017
Firstly, I would like to thank our outgoing Youth Minister, Dominique Mehmet, for her wonderful love and commitment to our young people here at Saint Rose of Lima. As the mother of a new beautiful baby, Dominique has decided to focus her time on motherhood and her baby son. Thanks again Dominique!
Secondly, I would like to introduce to the parish our new full time Youth Minister, Jeffrey Shields. Jeffrey has a lot of experience in working with youth and also has great en-thusiasm for the role. Providentially, as Dominique was deciding to step away from the Youth Minster position, Jeffrey became available. I really believe that Jeffery will do great things here for our youth and will definitely help our young people develop their relationship with the Lord.

Please make sure you give him a big St. Rose of Lima welcome when you see him!

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 10 Jul, 2017
When someone thinks about what is valuable, the usual answers will probably come up: money, precious metals, stocks, real estate, etc. And yes those things are valuable. But there is a possession of ours that is more valuable than all of the money in the world. And it doesn’t matter if you are Bill Gates and a multi-billionaire or a homeless person living on the street. Both share this invaluable commodity. It is the twenty four hours that we are given each day by God to use.
We all make claims as to what is important to us. Another way of saying that is we make claims as to what (or who) is valuable to us. How do we actually show these claims to be true? By our actions. Just like saying “I love you” means nothing if one doesn’t act in a loving way towards the person who is supposedly loved, so too it is for what we claim is valuable to us. And the clearest indicator of what is important to us, what is valuable to us, is how much time we devote to it. How much of our precious twenty four hours a day we give to something or someone is the true gauge of the value to us.
Actually, going back to the example of the difference in saying “I love you” and truly showing love is very much connected to the use of our time. How much of our time we are willing to give to another is very much associated to how much we truly have love for that person. We have heard often the admonition to “make the time” for something or someone. This is exactly what it means to love. To give of our most pre-cious resource, our time, to another is one of the most central expressions of love. By “spending” our time on someone, we are eliminating that period of time that we can use for our own wants and desires and needs. It is truly the gift of self; it is love.
So we all should be asking ourselves about how we use our time (including us priests). How much of my time do I give my family, my spouse, my children, my job, my hobbies, my church, social media, my friends, and of course God? For instance, there are 168 hours in a week. Sunday Mass is about an hour….that’s just under 0.6% of the week. Even with a really long homily, it would still be far less than one percent of the whole week. Compare that to how much time during the week do we spend at the gym? Or watching TV? What about prayer? If one were to pray just 15 minutes of each day, that would be just about 1% of the whole day. Even if you take into account getting eight hours of sleep at night, 15 minutes a day of prayer would still only be 1.5% of the day. And compare that to how much time a day do we play games on our phones and computers and tablets? Or how much time do we spend a day on social media?
No matter what we claim, what we actually do with our time shows what is important to us. Perhaps a good summer exercise would be to inventory the use of our time and evaluate whether it matches our statements of what is important to us. If it doesn’t, then maybe it would be helpful to reprioritize the use of our time, including the time we spend on the Lord, to keep it in line with what we say is important to us. This is the best way to use the great treasure that God gives us, our time.

God bless you,
Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 30 Jun, 2017

Dear Parishioners,

I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for your participation in the Summer Vacation Jackpot Raffle. As you can see from below, we made a nice profit for the renovation of our Parish Lounge. While we didn’t sell all of the tickets, everyone did a great job and I thank you for taking part in the raffle. What we have collected for the Church will be a big chunk of the renovation expense; and I am sure that the winners are happy going into the summer with a few extra dollars in their pockets as well! I am particularly grateful to the Saint Rose Finance Council who initiated and coordinated the raffle and the Saint Rose Parish Council too, for helping to sell the tickets along with the Finance Council. We will soon begin firming up the design and getting estimates and then go through the diocesan approval process. After which, we will get to work. Thanks again for your support of the raffle and of your parish!

God bless you,
Father Joseph Byerley

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 15 Jun, 2017

Today is Feast of Corpus Domini – The Body and Blood of Christ. Our belief in the abiding True Presence (and not symbolic) of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist is a central component of the Catholic Faith. Every time we genuflect to the tabernacle in a church (and especially participation in a Eucharistic procession like we do today) we both testify to our personal faith in the reality of Jesus present in the Holy Eucharist as well as open our hearts to the Lord’s grace to reinforce our faith in His Eucharistic Presence. Praying before the Lord in the tabernacle, or even better during Eucharistic Adoration, has been encouraged from the earliest time of the Church to help us develop and come closer to the Lord. During an audience Pope Emeritus Ben-edict XVI shared this beautiful address regarding the value of Eucharistic Adoration:

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Today’s solemnity of Corpus Domini, which in the Vatican and other nations was already celebrated this past Thursday, invites us to contemplate the great mystery of our faith: the most holy Eucharist, the real presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the altar.
Every time that the priest renews the Eucharistic sacrifice, in the prayer of consecration he repeats: "This is my body … this is my blood." He does this giving his voice, his hands, and his heart to Christ, who wanted to remain with us as the beating heart of the Church. But even after the celebration of the divine mysteries, the Lord Jesus remains living in the tabernacle; because of this he is praised, especially by Eucha-ristic adoration.
Indeed, there is an intrinsic connection between celebration (of Mass) and adoration. The holy Mass, in fact, is in itself the Church's greatest act of adoration: "No one eats this food," St. Augustine writes, "if he has not first worshipped it". Adoration outside holy Mass prolongs and intensifies what happened in the li-turgical celebration and renders a true and profound reception of Christ possible.
…In life today, which is often noisy and scattered, it is more important than ever to recover the capac-ity for interior silence and recollection: Eucharistic adoration permits one to do this not only within one's "I" but rather in the company of that "You" full of love who is Jesus Christ, "the God who is near us."
May the Virgin Mary, Eucharistic Woman, lead us into the secret of true adoration. Her heart, humble and silent, was always recollected around the mystery of Jesus, in whom she worshipped the presence of God and his redemptive love. By her intercession may there grow faith in the Eucharistic mystery, the joy of participating at holy Mass, especially on Sunday, and the desire to bear witness to the immense charity of Christ.
Don’t forget, we have Eucharistic Adoration Monday to Friday from after the 8:30AM Mass to 8:00PM. Come out and spend an hour with the Lord, it will be the best hour of your day!

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 07 Jun, 2017
I wish to congratulate all of our St. Rose of Lima parishioners who graduated this year. Whether it was from kindergarten, grammar school, high school, college, or graduate school, we are very proud of you and ask God to bless you as you move on to the next stage in your life. May all that you have learned help you to be successful in your lives. But most importantly, that through your growth in the awareness of the truth in the world, you may become ever closer to Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
In a special way, I also want to acknowledge our graduates from St. Rose of Lima School. This past Wednesday, June 7th, our 44
8th graders graduated from St. Rose of Lima School. We will of course miss them and wish they could stay with us, but we know we must let them go to grow to their full potential. May the Lord bless you in a special way as you move onto high school. Take all the best from St. Rose of Lima to wherever you go. We are sure you will make us proud! Go Falcons!

Congratulations again and God bless you!

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 02 Jun, 2017

The Acts of the Apostles recounts the story of the original Pentecost Sunday (Acts 2). Jews "from every nation under heaven" were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish feast of Pentecost. On that Sunday, ten days after the Ascension of Our Lord, the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary were gathered in the Upper Room, where they had seen Christ after His Resurrection: And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. [Acts 2:2-4]

Christ had promised His Apostles that He would send His Holy Spirit, and, on Pentecost, they were granted the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles began to preach the Gospel in all of the languages that the Jews who were gathered there spoke, and about 3,000 people were converted and baptized that day. That is why Pentecost is often called "the birthday of the Church." On Pentecost Sunday, with the descent of the Holy Spirit, Christ's mission is completed, and the New Covenant is inaugurated. It's interesting to note that Saint Peter, the first pope, was already the leader and spokesman for the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday (see Acts 2:14ff).

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 28 May, 2017
Fr. O’Malley was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them be-tween 10 and 12 years of age. The group had surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked "What are you doing with that dog?" One of the boys replied, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog." Of course, the priest was taken aback. "You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute ser-mon against lying, beginning, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie," and ending with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie." There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as Fr. O’Malley was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 17 May, 2017
A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered – he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”
The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.” The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The pig sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.” The mouse turned to the cow and said, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”
So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient.
But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral. The farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.
Living only for ourselves and our own concerns and desires is antithetical to the life of a Christian. Love of God implies and necessitates love of neighbor. And we just might find out, practically speaking, that love of neighbor is good for us as well…just ask the chicken, the pig, or the cow.

God Bless you,

Fr. Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 11 May, 2017
Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to recognize the uniquely special role that mothers play in our lives and to thank them for the gift of their motherhood and love. But we mustn’t forget the other 364 days a year. While it’s nice to have a day devoted to recognizing all that moms do, remember that we don’t have to save up our “thank you’s” and “I love you’s” for Mother’s Day alone! May the Lord bless with all of his grace and love all of our mothers, living and deceased, on this special day.

During the month of May we also honor a very important mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ. In our Christian faith, we call Mary the Mother of God. And she is that. But she was also a human mother of a son who had a human upbringing. Mary loved her son as any mother loves her son. Our Lady was more than merely the biological mother of the Lord Jesus. Her task in the Incarnation was not over after the event in the stable at Bethlehem. Birth was followed by education. Although there are not many specific references to the upbringing of the Lord Jesus in Sacred Scripture, the Gospels do relate that it was the blessed Mother and St. Joseph who raised Jesus though out his childhood. It is important to remember that Mary exercised a continuous formation of the young Jesus as he grew from infancy to young manhood.

Just as Mary knew how to be a mother of Jesus, she knows how to be our mother, too. And it is Christ’s will that she is as well. He gave her to us from the Cross, one final act of love to the world  after giving himself on the Cross for our salvation; he gave us his mother to help us to accept that salvation. Because of this, we should be always eager to have Mary’s maternal care. As she mothered Jesus with such special attention and love, so too will she mother us with the same care and love. The development of a strong and healthy devotion to the Blessed Mother, and especially praying the Rosary, is a great help to coming closer to her divine Son.

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 05 May, 2017

Dear Parishioners, we rejoice with our Lord for our 97 children who received Him for the first time in Holy Communion on Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Please continue to keep our children and their families in your prayers.  May Mary, our Mother, watch over them always and guide them in an

 ever deepening knowledge of Christ’s Love.

Fr. Joseph Byerley

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