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A Beacon Of Light… Pray The Rosary For World Peace

October 22, 2023 Frontpage No Comments

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON, Jr.

Recently, on October 7, the Church celebrated the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. This memorial was established by Pope St. Pius V on April 30, 1573. The creation of this celebration was in thanksgiving for the victory at Lepanto that took place on October 7, 1571. This celebration, along with many other Marian feasts and solemnities, provides us with an opportunity to reflect on many aspects of the Church’s Marian Traditions. In particular, we need to reflect upon the rosary and its powerful effect on world peace.
Today, however, there is none more important to our times than the message of peace revealed at Fatima. On May 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, and mother of us all, appeared to the three shepherd children, Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia.
At the time of her appearance in Fatima to the shepherd children, Europe was in turmoil. The continent was three years into what history remembers now as World War I — a conflict that left more than ten million dead and opened the world to a century of death and terror based on ideology, nationalism, and ethnic and racial hatreds. The Blessed Mother encouraged the children and the whole world to pray the rosary every day as a means of gaining peace in the world, in our families and in our own hearts.
Have we taken the Lady of Fatima’s message to heart?
Sadly, the recent wars in Ukraine and the terrible attacks on Israel, challenged the message of Fatima. Through the vicious and horrific actions of Russia, Hamas, and other extremists, the Israeli government was left with an enormous decision to make. Do the actions of these extremists exceed the threshold necessary for retaliation? And if this threshold is met, what is considered a proportional response?
In order for us to fully understand this, we need to examine for a moment the Church’s teaching on Just War Theory, and the criteria that must be met to justify a proportional response.
The Just War Theory is nothing new; in fact, it finds its early origins in the writing of St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) who was the first Christian writer to describe the four conditions that must be met in order for a war to be just, but the roots of just war theory go back even to non-Christian Romans, particularly the Roman orator Cicero.
The Catholic Church distinguishes between two types of justice concerning war: jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Most of the time, when people discuss just war theory, they mean jus ad bellum (justice before the war). Jus ad bellum refers to those four conditions described by St. Augustine through which we determine whether a war is just before we go to war. Jus in bello (justice during the war) refers to how the war is conducted once a just war has been started. It is possible for a country to fight a war that meets the jus ad bellum conditions for being just, and yet to fight that war unjustly — by, for example, targeting innocent people in the enemy’s country or by dropping bombs indiscriminately, resulting in the deaths of civilians (commonly known by the euphemism “collateral damage”).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2309) defines the four conditions that must be met in order for a war to be just: 1) the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain, 2) all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective, 3) there must be serious prospects of success, and 4) the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. These are hard conditions to fulfill, and with good reason: The Church teaches that war should always be the last resort.
The decision of whether the four criteria have been met in assessing if a war is just, is left to the civil authorities. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good” (n. 2309). In the United States, for instance, that means Congress, which has the power under the Constitution (Article I, Section 8) to declare war, and the president, who can ask Congress for a declaration of war. So, did the events of September 11, 2001, fulfill this criteria and justify the last twenty years of occupation in Afghanistan? The answer to that question resides in the mind and heart of then-President George W. Bush.
Whether one agrees or disagrees whether the war was justified, the fact remains, it was still war. In the same way, the government of Israel must decide if their actions of retaliation are justified. For some, the very surprise attack of Hamas radicals was reason to return fire. For others, however, a more diplomatic approach should have been used. Whichever discussion we may find ourselves leaning toward, we must pray during these horrific times during which we live.
Over the last several years, I have had the privilege to meet many of the brave men and woman who have represented ALL Americans with the endeavor of maintaining peace in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other areas of the world. Their stories are heart-wrenching, their courage is commendable, but, most important, their love for the country they serve is unwavering!
Many have endured the loss of fallen comrades and many experience the post-traumatic stress that comes with war.
Still others have been mangled and now live their lives in either a wheelchair, or they are wearing a prosthetic limb. The young men and women who lost their lives must never be forgotten; they must always remain in our prayers and thoughts. Those who returned home safely are entitled to be treated with the utmost respect and must never lose our love and admiration for the sacrifices they made for us all.
And now we return to the beginning of our discussion of the celebration of the Marian solemnities, feasts, and memorials that remind us of the message of Fatima, and the Blessed Mother’s pleading for us to pray for peace. She gave the use of a great weapon in the fight for peace in our time! She gave the children of Fatima the rosary, the weapon that directs our hearts in desiring peace. Unfortunately, the Blessed Mother is shedding tears in Heaven, because she sees the total disregard humanity has for the innocent unborn and its very self!
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to return to Fatima and stand where the shepherd children gazed upon the image of the Blessed Mother and plead for her help! The world needs it, our country needs it, and our hearts are yearning for it!
Join me today in a renewal of fulfilling the message of Fatima by doing as the Blessed Mother has asked us all to do. Pray the rosary! Pray it each day even if you’re tired or find it difficult. The salvation of mankind is counting on you!
In closing, I pray the beautiful Memorare Prayer that I learned as a child:
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.” Amen.

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