Global Security and Catholicism: Augustine, Aquinas, Teilhard, and the Dawn of Noopolitik
Sukys, Paul, Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table
Introduction Part I: Problem
Let's begin with a simple statement. This paper explores Catholic thought as it relates to intrinsic evil and the threat that such evil poses for global security. By necessity, this approach means two things. First, the paper will be filled with references to the Divinity, in general, and to Christ in particular. The paper does not assume that all readers will necessarily believe in, nor accept the truth of Christianity, nor the Catholic interpretation of Christianity. Nor does the paper assume that the reader will agree with the paper's premise regarding the nature of intrinsic evil and its operation within the global community. The paper does assume, however, that the reader will approach the subject with an open mind and will respect the author's willingness to share ideas that might ordinarily be considered out of place in a traditional political discussion. Having said all of this, it is also necessary to warn traditional Catholic readers that, what is said here, while Catholic in tone, tenor, and intent, is not entirely orthodox in its interpretation of Catholic doctrine. In fact, some of the conclusions reached here take their cue from a Protestant author, (1) from a secular philosopher, (2) and from a Catholic theologian whose works were greeted less than enthusiastically by the Church. (3)
Now, before going any further, it might be appropriate to ask why it is necessary to discuss the Catholic Church in relation to global security, in the first place. After all, it is easy enough to assume that the Catholic Church is simply one voice within a global community of religious and political factions, most of which have very little power to do anything of real consequence in the global community. It is easy to make this assumption, but it is also wrong to do so. Several reasons can be offered for listening to the Church, all of which would be sufficient in and of themselves. However, when taken together, they demonstrate a growing need to focus on the Catholic approach to these matters and to distinguish that approach from among other religious, political, and financial voices on the international scene today.
First, the Catholic Church has become an increasingly vocal presence in the global community today. The elevation of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, a politically vocal, highly visible and, at times, controversial theologian, to the Papacy, as Benedict XVI, is just one example of this growing influence in the global community. Another example of the presence of the Church in global affairs involves the rapidly growing number of Catholic politicians, judges, and diplomats in positions of power and influence in government today. (Vice President Joe Biden, Chief Justice John Roberts, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, House Speaker John Boehmer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi come immediately to mind. There are many others. (4))
Second, when the Catholic Church wants to be heard in matters of international trade, diplomacy, and security, it has the resources, the will, and the power to rally the people to its cause. In terms of simple numbers, the Church has an enormous amount of global influence. There are over one billion Roman Catholics world-wide today. (5) This makes the Catholic Church the largest Christian Church in the world, accounting for over half of all Christians, and one sixth of the global population base. In addition, in the United States, the Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian church, representing 30% of the Christian population and 24% of the U.S. population. (6) In Europe, the Catholic Church represents 40% of the population. (7) Moreover, when the Church mobilizes its vast resources and taps its deep pockets in a unified campaign aimed at a specific problem, its presence is keenly felt by those involved in that problem. For instance, in 2012, forty-three Catholic institutions initiated lawsuits against the Obama administration in twenty-one different federal courts to contest a mandate issued by the Department of
Health and Human Services, a mandate said to force Catholic institutions to include birth control related services in their health care insurance policies in a way that violates the moral values of the Church. …