The Social Doctrine of the Church about war and peace is definitely not simplistic but realistic, not moralistic but practical. It can be wherefore said that while the Church has her eyes set on heaven, She nevertheless also has her feet on the ground. This is precisely while She insists and urges the promotion and preservation of peace, She is however also well aware that war is or can be a reality. Hence, She also forwards her principles on defending peace when war is coming to fore. So is it that among other things, She teaches the following dictates of reason and faith:
“The requirements of legitimate defense justifying the existence in the States of Armed Forces, the activity of which should be at the service of peace. Those who defend the security and freedom of a country, in such a spirit, make an authentic contribution to peace.”
The legitimacy of countries having and caring for their respective Armed Forces on the ground, at the sea and in the air is anchored on the principle of their respective self-defense when one or more countries wage war within their legitimate territorial boundaries. So is it that in this context, keeping the Armed Forces is not supposed to stage war but precisely to defend peace. It is in this context that the Armed Forces in effect contribute to peace – while prepared to counter war lodged by a foreign country.
“The right to use force for purposes of legitimate defense is associated with the duty to protect and help the innocent victims who are not able to defend themselves from acts of aggression.”
To dissuade warlords from victimizing its people, to protect the innocent and the helpless, to preserve and ascertain socio-economic development, to promote and defend peace – all these and other reasons make it both a prerogative and an obligation of a State to have, maintain and strategically deploy its Armed Forces. The truth is that more often than not, “Acts of Aggression” have the main features of war and should be therefore neutralized by defensive acts usually untaken by the Armed Forces of the Country concerned.
“sanction in forms prescribed by contemporary international order, seek to correct the behaviour of the government of a country that violates the rules of peaceful and ordered international coexistence or that practices serious forms of oppression towards its own population.”
During these times, there is one singular and known legal body – the United Nations – whose main composite purpose or basic objective is the following: One, to maintain and promote international peace and order. Two, to have and act on the behavioral options and acts of its member States when they violate the norms of international civilized and peaceful co-existence. Three, to censure the government of a country when it oppresses even its own constituent people. So it is that the UN has the prerogative to impose sanctions on such governments for these to correct their anti-people stance if not pro-war disposition towards other countries.