Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace

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Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace

By George Weigel
Oxford University Press, 1987
489 pp. $27.50
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The message is clear and oft-repeated: the American Catholic establishment has abandoned traditional thought on questions of war and peace derived from St. Augustine through Aquinas to Vatican II, a tradition that saw peace as inseparable from security and freedom in an ordered political community. This "failure," according to the author, has been marked by 20 years or so of relapse into pacifism, neoisolationism, Third World-ism and an unwillingness to confront the continuing threat of totalitarianism, culminating in the U.S. Catholic bishops' 1983 statement, "The Challenge of Peace," which he deplores. The policy debate, of course, has relevance for others as well as Catholics. Indeed, Weigel's arguments on current foreign policy issues such as arms control and Central America follow the same lines, stripped of the theological clothing, as those of the Reagan Administration in refuting its critics.

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