The Exercise of the Charism of Infallibility Is Here and Now a Mandatum of Christlike Love: Infallibility and War

No one inside or outside the Catholic Church can reasonably call into question the good intentions of Popes who have denounced war on the world stage and who have proclaimed in encyclicals and pastoral letters the evils and destruction of war, and who have appealed for peace. So also, it can be said no one inside or outside the Catholic Church can reasonably call into question that the proclamations and pronouncements of Popes have been utterly impotent and ineffectual with regards to war. People, the press, politicians, the predator-elites, and most Catholics politely listen, politely applaud, and politely ignore them.

By Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

War’s toll on human beings today in terms of human misery and ruination cries out for the Pope and Bishops to do more than recite the same old inept, pagan-rooted, “baptized” philosophical responses to war, which have more than proven their inability to change the minds and hearts of the men and women who start wars and of the men and women who are Catholics who execute the evil that is war.

If the Gospels’ truth be told, the only definitive, efficacious, and salvific response that the Catholic Church can make to peace on earth is the one that Jesus made to peace on earth. He rejected all violence and enmity. The Church, if it is to make any difference in this world in relation to the evil of war, must truthfully teach what Jesus teaches in the Gospels about how to respond to violence and enmity, and then formally and infallibly declare that Catholics can never participate under any circumstances in war, without entering into grave evil and incurring the consequences of mortal sin.

Popes and Bishops fiddling and faddling around with more encyclicals and pastorals on how evil war is, while at the same time trying to propagate new names, new rationales, and new criteria for justifying Catholic participation in war or in new methods of war, is a waste of time. Such documents are nothing but attempts to put a new shade of lipstick on a very old pig, namely, Catholic Just War Theory.

The Catholic Church will make no real contribution to peace on earth by mechanically telling the secular economic, political, and military predator-elites of nations and their paid and trained killers, when they can go to war, how they must conduct themselves in war, etc. For the Christian and for the Church being socially responsible means, and can only mean, faithfully following and teaching the Way that Jesus lives and teaches in the Gospels. What is inconsistent with this Way is for the Christian and the Church social irresponsibility. Jesus teaches no one when or how to kill enemies. And, I would suggest it would be blasphemy to say that God incarnate was socially irresponsible! Jesu teaches no one when and how to kill enemies And I would suggest that it would be blasphemy to say the God Incarnate is socially irresponsible.

If a Pope in his time as Pope does not want to proclaim the truth that Jesus teaches in the Gospels in relation to the momentous moral evil of the mass slaughter of war, then as Pope he has nothing realistic, effective, or salvific to offer to his fellow Catholics or to humanity on the matter of confronting the evil of war. Popes must stop deceiving themselves into believing that anyone in any of the war rooms of any nation cares a jot about how the Catholic Pope and Bishops sift the minutiae of logic and facts through the murky microscopic lens of Catholic Just War Theory in order to distinguish, say, between morally permitted defensive war and morally prohibited offensive war, or to distinguish between morally justified killing of the innocent, in utero and post-utero, under the exculpatory rubric of collateral damage and morally unjustified killing of the innocent  in utero and post-utero under the rubric of collateral damage, etc.

Popes and Bishops are not commissioned by Jesus to be a coterie of “wise philosophical counselors” to the world’s operationally pagan secular power brokers. They are commissioned by Jesus to make all people His disciples, to Baptize them and then to “teach them to obey all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:16-20). Teaching them “to obey all that I have commanded you,” does not and cannot include teaching them how to morally engage in war, since the acts that war demands daily are in direct and explicit violation of the teaching of Jesus, God Incarnate, regarding God’s Will.

Popes are commissioned by Jesus to “feed my sheep” (Jn21:16-17) not to “poison my sheep” by saturating their minds and hearts, their spirits, and souls, from the moment of infant or adult Baptism onward with pseudo-authoritative teachings on how to follow Jesus and kill and maim other human beings—even fellow Christians—in war.

Hence, Popes and Bishops if they desire to be faithful to the commissions given them by Jesus, must, beginning in this time, infallibly teach the following:

Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances—friends and enemies—is for all Catholics the definitive and binding revelation of God’s Will;
This revelation, always and everywhere, and under all circumstances, morally forbids Jesus’ disciple from ever participating in war;
Because of the gross, chronic and near universal mis-catechesis on this most grave matter over many centuries past and down to the present day, it has now reached the point where “the love of Christ impels us” (2Cor 5:14) for the salvation of all souls, to state with maximal spiritual, moral, and ecclesiastical authority the moral impossibility of Catholics participating in war.

This must be proclaimed ex cathedra, that is, as an Infallible Theological and Moral Dogma of the Faith of the Catholic Church. If it is not infallibly stated it will be tossed off as just another statement from the Pope, which as the late Catholic Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Anton Scalia, said when Pope John Paul II declared that capital punishment was no longer needed and was therefore immoral, “That is his opinion.

Infallible proclamations should be very rare and should only be employed when a grossly false understanding of Jesus or His teaching has become entrenched, normalized, perennial and uncorrectable by any other means. Today, approximately 1.5 billion Catholics believe that they can be faithful disciples of Jesus and simultaneously engage in the mass slaughter and maiming of other human beings in war. That figure will be 2 billion in a few years without this, ex cathedra, moral dogma.

The only legitimate reason for the Church not making such an Infallible Declaration would be, if what is being infallibly declared is not logically consistent with the infallible truth that the infallible Jesus teaches in the Gospels as well as with the oral Gospel Tradition that pre-dates the written Gospels. However, such an Infallible Declaration is utterly consistent with what Jesus teaches by word and deed in the Gospels and in the Christian Tradition that precedes the Four Gospels.

If the Pope and/or the Catholic Bishops refuse to explicitly and infallibly teach to their Baptized people what the Lord Jesus explicitly and infallibly teaches on violence and enmity and its application to the mass homicidal violence of war, then for the love of Christ and His people, I would ask that they please, at least, discontinue their inane talk about how to follow Jesus and do the will of God as Jesus reveals it, and at the same time be engaged in the slaughter and carnage of war.

Neither the world nor the Catholic people need another thousand years of foolish gibbering and jabbering from Popes and Bishops on how to morally weaponize Christianity and how to morally weaponize the mind, soul, body, and spirit of a Catholic Baptized into Christ.

Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, 82, is a priest of the Melkite Byzantine Catholic Church, which is in communion with the Bishop of Rome. He was ordained in Damascus, Syria by Patriarch Maximos V on August 9, 1981.

Before ordination he taught at the University of Notre Dame and was Director of its Program on Nonviolent Conflict Resolution. He was also a lawyer. After ordination he was the Spiritual Director at St. Gregory the Theologian Byzantine Catholic Seminary. Later he served as its Rector. He was also co-founder, along with Dorothy Day, Gordon Zahn and others of Pax Christi-USA.

He has written three books and hundreds of essays on the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. He has also produced scores of audio/video materials on this subject. For over fifty-five he has lectured and directed retreats across the globe on the truth, the implications and the applications of the teaching by word and deed of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstance by the Nonviolent Jesus, who is the Messiah, the Christ, the Word of God, God “made flesh.”

His website is


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