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Pacifism Is Hell

19 Apr

The documents of Vatican II frequently refer to the Church on earth as the “pilgrim Church.” This image emphasizes the truth that we are a people who are on a journey to our true home. We need the supernatural virtue of hope–the virtue of the pilgrim–to remain faithful to the Lord, trusting in His infinite goodness and promises.

In choosing to emphasize the “pilgrim” nature of the Church, the Council did not use the more familiar term “Church militant” to distinguish the faithful on earth from those already in heaven (Church triumphant) or in purgatory (Church suffering). Yet the Church has not scrapped military imagery in referring to the spiritual life. As the Catechism teaches: “The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle” (no. 2015).

I can fill up this entire blog with quotes from Scripture as well as writings of Church Fathers and doctors that use terms such as “soldiers,” “battle,” and “weapons” to describe the Christian life. Like athletics, warfare provides us with terms and concepts that help us understand our vocation to holiness.

Part of the reticence in using military imagery today is surely the result of our own painful experience of armed conflict, having just lived through the bloodiest century in human history. We understand that war must truly be a last resort, undertaken justly and only when there is no other way to defend ourselves.

However, in the case of our perennial conflict with the forces of evil, there should be no doubt as to the justice and necessity of waging full-scale spiritual war. The Enemy has invaded our souls, our families, and our country, and we need the courage and steadfast resolve to give no ground to his advances. When it comes to salvation, pacifism is a losing proposition. Unless we proactively fight against sin, we’ll be swept aside. Just look at the Church in much of what used to be Catholic Europe. Continue reading