Matt C. Abbott
November 20, 2012
The "just war" doctrine, as elaborated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2309), has "strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy." Nations and their leaders have an obligation and a moral duty to defend the citizens of the country. Defensive means must be employed to prevent and deter war as well as acts of unjust aggression or terrorism. That being said, the natural moral law delineates moral parameters which nations, leaders and the military must adhere to and abide by. IUS AD BELLUM and IUS IN BELLO are two Latin phrases which describe the moral division of ethical reasons to go to war and ethical means of actually waging war. Both are necessary for a "just war" to exist; otherwise, it is considered an immoral endeavor which good people must oppose. While the cause may be just, the means are not without need of moral scrutiny.