|...or we can pray for his soul....|
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2309 The 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. At one and the same time:
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine.
Osama Bin Laden is dead (or so that's the general understanding). As Christians, we hate to give any indication that the taking of a human life is "good". On the same token, we cannot always determine that taking a human life is "evil" every time.
The points above are the condition by which a "just war" is produced. Thomas Aquinas is the author of the doctrine. The doctrine is one of the most controversial of Catholicism's canon of social justice principles. The simple adage, "WWJD" will beg the question: "Jesus said turn the other cheek, so why kill a man?" On another note, Jesus also spoke of His return where he would see to it that His enemies are slain (Luke 19:27).
It is a brutal world. Jesus tells us that we must be as innocent as doves yet as cunning as snakes (Mt 10:16). The Just War theory shows how we may retain our innocence while striking effectively and prudently as a snake.
Hopefully, whether dove or snake, we only have to behave as animals on rare occasions. As humans, closer to angels, we are called to pray for our enemies...living and dead (cf Mt 5:44). Perhaps another just war is the war against our own rage.