Catholic Realism and the Abolition of War

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Argues that the same social forces that have opposed and overturned other modes of violence can also end war.

Is war an inevitable and inescapable reality of the human condition?  While arguments in favor of the judicious use of warfare (such as just war theory) often rely on what seem like "commonsense" or realistic attitudes toward the necessity of violence in an imperfect world, other forms of institutionalized violence, such as vendettas and duels, slavery, and lynching, were also often accepted as commonplace in American society.

Through a gradual and reinforcing process of changing social attitudes as well as public policies, Cochran argues, humanity can move toward the eventual elimination of war as an acceptable form of violence just as it has moved, albeit slowly and unevenly, toward the abolition of these other forms of institutional violence.

"If the causes of conflict resolution and Christian peacemaking are to gain ground in the coming decades, this progress will depend upon the kind of keen analysis that Cochran offers in this splendid book."--Thomas Massaro, S.J., Dean and Professor of Moral Theology, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

David Cochran teaches politics and directs the Archbishop Kucera Center for Catholic Intellectual and Spiritual Life at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.  He is co-author of The Catholic Vote: A Guide for the Perplexed.

Book Details

Catholic Realism and the Abolition of War
David Carroll Cochran
Stands as a broadly accessible intellectual achievement that resists moral complacency in the face of contemporary warfare.
A serious book that stays focused on demonstrating how the popes, and bishops' "Catholic peacemaking agenda" is founded upon a series of realistic positions. As a result, [the book] will give a reader approaching it with an open mind much food for thought about how an anti-war stance represents a most appropriate position for those inspired by Catholic Social Teaching in the contemporary context. In this light Cochran's book is well-poised to be effective in convincing reflective Catholics that the time has now come to abolish war.
... cogently written and passionately argued.
"Teachers of Christian ethics should incorporate this book into their curricula. No one who studies Catholic social teaching should miss it. Seminary professors of Christian morality who neglect it may be guilty of a serious sin of omission. . . . Cochran's scholarship is meticulous, his argument clear and logical, his writing brisk and engaging. Can the world rid itself of war and can the Catholic Church play a major role in its abolition? After reading this book, one can hope more confidently."
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