About Author

Lori Ann Watson is originally from Texas and now lives in Florida. She is a teacher of the year-turned-homeschooling mom, and she primarily writes these days to affirm Catholic values in the world and to encourage mothers. Her pro-life picture book for children, Beginnings, is here: http://cvote.cc/2aqhsdm. She blogs about the beauty of Catholicism at www.kitchentablecatholic.com.


  1. Talk about missing the forest for the trees (or straining out gnats while swallowing camels)!

    Yes, Trump’s decision to strike in one way reflected the principle of subsidiarity. However, the strikes also clearly violated several more relevant Catholic principles concerning the just use of force. In order for the use of force to be considered justified there must be:

    Just cause: no doubt there is a just cause here (protecting civilians from WMD’s).

    Legitimate Authority: there is no question that this principle was NOT observed. As both liberals and conservatives have pointed out, the American constitution clearly states that the president must seek congressional approval for such an action. Trump did not. Catholic teaching also states that when a nation is intervening on a humanitarian basis (as opposed to directly defending itself) it must respect the international order and work with international intstitutions. The Compendium of Social Doctrine clearly states: ‘International legitimacy for the use of armed force, on the basis of rigorous assessment and with well-founded motivations, can only be given by the decision of a competent body that identifies specific situations as threats to peace and authorizes an intrusion into the sphere of autonomy usually reserved to a State.” (#501)

    Last Resort: What non-violent options were even considered (much less, tried) before the resort to a missile attack? Obviously few if any given how quickly the strikes were made after the initial attack.

    Probability of Success: Was there a likelihood that this attack will stop Assad’s attacks on civilians? Within a day his air force was launching new strikes from the very base we had hit with missiles. And we deliberately chose not to target the chemical weapons storage facilities at the base, so it did not really interrupt his ability to conduct such strikes. It seems this was more of a symbolic strike rather than one that in any meaningful way moved us towards a cessation of hostilities. Catholic teaching does not permit killing or waging war for symbolic purposes.

    I could go on, but hopefully the point is clear by now. By the clear standards taught by the Church, this attack was not just even if it somehow reflected subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is not a just war criterion. However, with regard to the actual just war criteria, no special access to intelligence is needed to see this attack clearly violated important Catholic teachings.

    • WRONG!
      The Congressional authority passed during the beginning of the Gulf Crisis specifically granted the authority to the President, and any statement to the contrary is FAKE NEWS,and you are well aware of this. Declaration of War is reserved to Congress. There has been none since WWII. Many police actions, unfortunately.

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