Wet Catholics

Sadly, no one had informed him about Christianity’s “strong streak of pacifism”…

I am not surprised anymore at what kind of nonsense gets published nowadays, but perhaps you still are.

One of the latest examples of dreamed-of Catholicism for the weak is this article published on the Catholic Herald

Its author seems to think Catholicism was born ca. 1960, and Martin Luther King was one of the founders. The idea that true Catholicism would not cause wars is not only too stupid for words, but it also shows an utterly appalling ignorance of the very basis of Catholicism.

If the thinking of the author of this rubbish is right, Catholicism hasn’t been “true Catholicism” for more than nineteen centuries. But truly, the article doesn’t show the will to be heretical, but rather an appallingly distorted view of Christianity.

Let us proceed in order.

Most Crusades have been offensive conflicts: the Church takes the initiative to gather armies with this or that military purpose, whilst not being under attack herself. Be it Jerusalem, or Southern France (or, ahem, Constantinople) none of the attacked were even planning – let alone executing – a major military operation against Christian Europe. This goes to show the Church is very well not only in the business of the defensive wars, but in the business of the purely aggressive wars, too. Unless, of course, the author does not want to tell us that true Catholics should not, well, take the Cross and try to bring the Holy Land in Christian hands, or at least try to make pilgrimages in the Holy Land possible, because hey, this isn’t very Catholic… 

The outlandish idea that “Christianity has a very strong streak of pacifism in it” (this isn’t a joke; it’s in the article, verbatim) can also only be born of profound ignorance of both Christianity and pacifism. What the confused author might have wanted to say is that Christianity tends (unless circumstances demand otherwise; see above) to be rather pacific, but it truly never entered anyone’s mind for almost twenty centuries that Christianity might be “pacifist” in any way, shape or form. The presence of a rather detailed “doctrine of war” should eliminate any doubt from the mind of any person accustomed to think; but again, this person must be accustomed to think. 

The “pacifist Jesus” is also something that would have astonished every theologian before the age of Modernism. Jesus was – as it is clearly evident in the Gospel – constantly accompanied and protected by armed men, and being God he certainly did not have any physical need for their protection, much less their armed protection. Still, armed they permanently were. During the last supper, he even asks those who do not have any to sell their garments and purchase a sword, and I can’t imagine any least “pacifist” statement than this. He is, shortly thereafter, satisfied with the two swords present; which is undoubtedly more swords than you and I have around when we dine among friends; and this, without being God.

When I hear of Jesus “the pacifist”, I cannot avoid thinking of the parable of the King’s war. In the Knox version:

 Or if a king is setting out to join battle with another king, does he not first sit down and deliberate, whether with his army of ten thousand he can meet the onset of one who has twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still at a distance, he despatches envoys to ask for conditions of peace.

There cannot be a clearer mockery of pacifism than this. Jesus doesn’t say a word about the morality of the King’s intent per se. He merely points out that if the King is going to wage war, then please properly, and considering all the consequences. If this can’t be done – again: He doesn’t say the King shouldn’t wage war because war is wrong per se; the problem here is merely that the other chap is going to defeat the King with his bigger army – then it’s better to think lucidly beforehand and try to negotiate a good peace.

There is no condemnation of war whatsoever, and here war is chosen as an example after another example has just been presented (the building of the tower) and when countless other examples could have been chosen instead. Let me say it once again: to make his point  – the necessity of reflecting on the consequences of taking up Christ’s cross – Jesus uses a comparison with war without attaching to His comparison any moral condemnation of it. What.more.does.one.want.

This isn’t Dalai Lama talk; this is Military Academy talk! This could have been Machiavelli or Sun Tzu, but it is Our Lord instead!

But no: in the XXI Century of widespread sloganeering and wet pacifism, suddenly a new Jesus emerges: one that doesn’t want the Crusades,  but has a “strong streak of pacifism” instead. One can vividly picture this new fantasy Jesus, eating granola bars with his Disciples with a raised little finger, speaking of peace in a rather high-pitched tone. A fantasy Jesus after their liking, for sure. 

It is very telling of our times that the biggest Catholic weekly in the UK serves his readers with such insipid, a-historical, unrealistic, utterly sugary fare.


Posted on April 27, 2013, in Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Mundabor,

    Why do you say they were “permanently” armed? It appears temporary from your reference. They bought two swords near the end of His ministry, within days of the arrest. And Peter was rebuked for using one of them. I think He only asked them to carry it so as to teach them not to use it.


    • Whence do you have that the swords would have been bought within days of the arrest? I am no Protestant “gospel by heart”-man, so I am glad to be instructed on this.

      As to the disciples as (inter alia) the “armed escort” of Jesus, I read this explanation of the disciple “carrying” in a Gospel commentary, years ago (if memory serves, in one of Scott Hahn’s; he was a convert anyway). It made sense to me if we look at the context (situation of danger, and desire to protect Jesus from the hostile mob). The very fact that two swords were there before Jesus saying a word about them clearly indicates they were not there by chance, but by purpose. Swords were expensive, dangerous tools then as they are now, so they would not be carried as everyday apparel or by humble fishermen & Co. just by default. The disciples were clearly equipped to defend the Lord; which if you do, you must do at all times.

      There’s nothing indicating the slightest problem of Jesus with having armed disciples around him, or to show the situation as in any way extraordinary. Jesus clearly already knows knows several of them “carry”. He now asks that (for the future) all of them do so. They say two have weapons in that very instant (they do not even go to dinner on a holy day leaving Jesus unprotected). He says “it is enough” (he must be arrested anyway, so he has made his point about the importance of weapons but two swords are fine for his immediate purposes), showing no surprise at all and a situation of utter normality in some of them being armed at all times. If Jesus does not have any surprise in seeing his people “carrying”, nor have I.

      Finally, note the Jews were waiting for the right moment to apprehend Jesus, and needed Judas to give them the appropriate assistance. This makes much more sense considering they were fearing armed opposition, rather than only a popular resistance to the arrest. Note, too, the presents are armed “with swords and cubs”, even if it is night, there is no crowd around, and they clearly outnumber the twelve. They clearly consider it a given there are swords on the other side.

      I do not think it makes sense that Jesus orders the disciples to buy swords in order to teach them not to use them.
      Firstly, it’s not Christian teaching that swords qua swords should not be used. Christians have fought countless wars with swords, and brought the art of sword making to perfection. Secondly, I can’t imagine Jesus would be so emphatic in saying they should even sell their garment to buy one, and contradict the very message he gave them.

      As I see it, the reason why Jesus stops Peter (and note he does not tell him to throw away his sword; merely to put it in his sheath again; which is also revealing) is a) because Peter is acting in anger, out of a spirit of violence, “living by the sword” he carries, and b) because he strikes without waiting for Jesus’ instruction (as the others do), and most certainly c) because the Lord’s plan has to be carried out, as Jesus had just said to his disciples. You may want to add that Jesus also d) shows his power and love by performing a miracle on one of his very oppressors.


  2. “Martin Luther King was one of the founders”. Yes a lot of foolish Americans (even Catholics) believe in the holiness of this man. King was a fraud. He was a leftist, socialist, whoremongering, inciter of riots fraud. Yet, a lot of so-called ‘conservative’ Catholics, like Donald McClarey of The American Catholic blog, will rip to shreds anyone who dares to tell the truth about MLK.

    • Quite my view.

      As for his “extreme whoring”, it is surprising the generally strict American society is ready to forget absolutely everything, when they want to

      The Catholic church has not one example of a whoremongering Saint (unless it be before becoming saintly, of course), the Proddies and Liberals “canonise” their idols no matter what…


  3. And we also have, from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, “Put on the whole armour of God…,” and he actually mentions parts of armor. Nowadas, I suppose, if that passage were revised by the pacifist types, we’d have something like, “Take upon ye, therefore, the bathrobe of diplomacy and the bunny slippers of readiness for compromise…” Thank you for this article. Your blog has become one of my daily go-to sites.

  4. Mundabor,

    Thanks for explaining. I guess I come to a different interpretation.

    As I read it in this verse, they buy two swords because Jesus knows he will betrayed very soon. They did not have them before this. At least I see no evidence that they did. The evangelist knows this too, because the betrayal is about to happen in a few verses, so he sets up the episode:


    Christ says two swords is enough. Out of all the apostles, they only have the two they bought. This is an amazing statement. It is obvious that two swords would never be enough against the escort of soldiers that accompany Judas. Two untrained fisherman against a “multitude” of soldiers and Judas. My impression, is that there is an ulterior motive here for the introduction of swords into the story. A moment in which to both test and teach.


    The next verse(v39) is the agony in the garden where Jesus tell them twice(v40,v46) to pray that they wont fall into temptation. It appears to me that they all fit into the time frame *after* the last supper. There was not much time left, and there is a continuing theme of impending danger here starting with the purchasing of the swords. The swords will eventually play an important role because they will be brandished soon. Jesus knows there is a conflict coming and tells everyone to pray so that they will not fall into the temptation of Satan. If we think back to the Confession of Peter. He was literally called Satan for want of opposing the Passion with force. Here, once again, Peter will oppose the passion of Jesus, this time by resisting with the sword. I think Jesus was teaching a better way by introducing, and then testing the apostles with the sword, when faced with persecution.

    Christ says those who live by the sword will die by the sword. If you want to live. If you want to have eternal life. It cannot be achieved with the sword. And such imperfect judgments by men are so riddled with unjust actions it has been proved true in history.



    The only pacifism that I see as being bad is the pacifism that comes from appeasement or cowardice. If it comes from Christian principles, self-discipline and courage, it is Christ like.

    • Hello Irenaeus,

      I see pacifism as an ideology and philosophy that puts peace (or non violence) as the highest value, and therefore considers it as a good more valuable than the good sacrificed by using violence. The concept is extraneous to Christian tradition, that does not know such outlandish ideas. Christianity has, in fact, fought countless wars to defend higher values than “peace”. Peace is a desirable state, not a value. Christians are pacific, never pacifists. They wage, in fact, even offensive wars (let alone defensive ones) if needs must. Ahimsa is no Christian concept, it’s originally a Jainist one. It is out “peace and love” society who wants us to believe Jesus is a pacifist.

      Again, being ready to use a sword does not mean “live by the sword”.

      I read the Gospel in the sense that Luke 22 all happens in the same action. In Luke 22:19 we see this is clearly the Last Supper, which immediately precedes Jesus’ apprehension, so the disciples cannot have bought the swords in the meantime. I can’t avoid seeing it as the same evening, and the same action. Yes, ywo swords wouldn’t keep the Jews at bay, which is why Jesus expresses himself in a way that seems contradictory to the disciples: they must get to have twelve swords, but for now two will suffice.

      Father Z makes the hypothesis the disciples might have been armed during their work of evangelisation. I find the explanation the only possible one, unless we want to accept that the disciples ignored orders given to them by Christ. Having a weapon doesn’t mean using it, or being violent, of in any way “living by the sword”. It is a means of self-defense, that was commanded to the Disciples by Christ Himself. The idea is here, I think, that the disciple use common sense and defwend themselves, so that the crown of the martyrs is put on them at the moment appointed by God, not the first angry mob they have to deal with.

      Another funny, but very much to the point reflection of father Z on “live by the sword” and concealed “carrying” is here.


  5. Wonderful as ever Mundabor. Fr. Lucie-Smith is as soft as butter, a sort of pale pink with the usual secular dross. I shouldn’t want take him as indicative as the tempo of English Catholicism, but I rather have to as sadly his sort are very numerous – Abp. ‘Quisling’ Nichols for one.

    • Well said, Patrick.

      In the case of Nichols, I suspect much worse is at play, as Nichols even supports – as openly as he can – sodomitic unions provided they are not called marriage. I think he has lost the faith a long time ago.


  6. ‘Most Crusades have been offensive conflicts: the Church takes the initiative to gather armies with this or that military purpose, whilst not being under attack herself. Be it Jerusalem, or Southern France (or, ahem, Constantinople) none of the attacked were even planning – let alone executing – a major military operation against Christian Europe. This goes to show the Church is very well not only in the business of the defensive wars, but in the business of the purely aggressive wars, too. Unless, of course, the author does not want to tell us that true Catholics should not, well, take the Cross and try to bring the Holy Land in Christian hands, or at least try to make pilgrimages in the Holy Land possible, because hey, this isn’t very Catholic…’

    Be careful here Mundabor, for the original Crusades were actually defensive in their nature. The first due to the Turks taking Byzantine lands, slaughtering Christians and Jerusalem being in those hands. Urban II and his predecessor placed emphasis upon the suffering of teh Byzantines. The second due to the further aggression by the Muslims, and yet again the Third due to aggression by the Muslims. The reconquista in Spain was also in response to Muslim aggression, the battle at Tours was also due to Muslim aggression. These in their nature were responsive to aggression by Muslims, hence defensive, this is because the Muslims started it, and the Church responded. The Spanish-English war of 1585-1588 had the Blessings of the Pope, and the Invasion of England by William the Conquerer had Papal Blessing, both also responses defensively in response to Heresy (Protestantism) and Corruption of the Church under the Anglo-Saxon rule of the Godwin dynasty. Also do not forget Constantine and the sign to conquer to free the Christians under enslavement. This was also defensive because it concerned the Church. Now, this does not mean that the Church is pacifist, blimey no. The Church surely has not waged aggressive wars, but every war is a defensive response to an aggression. Seldom has the Church advocated an aggressive war.

    Pacifism? Utter Rubbish.

    ‘The Lord is as a man of war, Almighty is his name.’ (Exodus 15:3)

    God Bless.

    • Ah, but if we define “defensive” in such a broad way, every war can be defined as “defensive”. The invasion of Iraq, say, can be defined of defensive in nature because of the need to protect the population from a cruel dictator with gas and chemical weapons, & so forth. There is always someone or something to defend. But in fact, if you move to conquest Jerusalem because the Muslim have taken control 20 years before, you are still waging an offensive war, though I haven’t used the word “aggression” for that. It is, in fact, a requirement of the doctrine of war that there is a valid reason to wage a war, so in the case of a Crusade the valid reason will most certainly be there.

      The Third Crusade was hailed as a great success because the right to make pilgrimages in the Holy land was secured, showing where the real priority lay. Just imagine whether such a war would be seen as “defensive in nature” nowadays. More of this defence, say I…

      I have no qualms in seeing a war where one country (or alliance) invades another country as “offensive”, though obviously this does not mean other people in need of protection will profit from it.


  7. Hello Mundabor,

    I don’t see secular peace as the highest ideal, but I do see the Peace of Christ as the highest ideal. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don’t. This was how I was analyzing it. The ancient Romans were great at maintaining the “Roman Peace” even though, or rather because, they were constantly at war. Christ and Paul taught you could even live within the the Roman system, while trying to spread the Peace of Christ. I am thinking of “give Caesar whats due Caesar”, and Paul’s “slaves, obey your masters”. However, I think the greatest example of establishing the Peace of Christ is through martyrdom. The example of St Stephen who absorbed sin, destroying it with love and forgiveness at the moment of his death. This is not the act of coward or an appeaser, and because it was done in Truth, the faith spread. The Peace of Christ spread. Perhaps pacifism is only meant to address the secular aspect of peace, in which case, it is my misunderstanding.

  8. Mundabor,

    Are you saying that despite context, if one faction delcares war, they are the aggressor, and as such there can be no defensive war, just merely war with an aggressor and defensive, with the notion of defense in the terms of the justification of the war?

    If so, I am willing to concede to this argument.

    God Bless.

    • I have meant offensive war, not war of aggression. I do see a difference between the decision to attack (for a reason) and the aggression in Islam style.
      But I think we mean the same.

  9. Mea Culpa, yes the terms should be offensive rather than aggressive, but overall, yes, a faction’s intent for defense would be part of the Justification whereas the declaration of war by the faction would be an offensive rather than defensive since the faction itself has delcared war.

    I understand what you mean and concede.

    God Bless.

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