The Just Peace Symposium
May 8, 2014
On Thursday, May 8, the abbey held a morning of spirited and thoughtful dialogue among a dozen Catholic politicians, senior policymakers, and prominent scholars about the application of traditional just-war principles and emerging just-peace concepts to today's defense and foreign policy challenges. Among the participants were some current or former members of Congress, three high-ranking officers in the Army or Air Force, and a retired ambassador from the State Department. The first session was introduced and facilitated by Maryann Cusimano Love, an associate professor in the Department of Politics at The Catholic University of America, and the second by Stephen Colecchi, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Among the points made by one or another of the participants were the following: that our country has at times gone to war in other countries without adequately understanding those countries; that just-war theory is important because it informs our actions even though no war can really be just because war is inherently unable to be limited; that both political parties readily tend to use the military as a solution whereas armed force should always be only a last resort; and that we would never use drones as lethal weaponry against a terrorist cell in certain countries (e.g., in Western Europe) but regularly employ them in other parts of the world. The program began with Mass in the abbey church and concluded with a light lunch following Midday Prayer with the entire monastic community.