FAST FOOD (2017): Thirty-Eighth Helping

"Peace is tranquility in good order” [Tranquillitas Ordinis]. If we are to have peace, the life of each individual and of society has to be morally ordered, because what is not morally right can never be economically and politically right, nor right in any other way. Order has to reign in the heart of the individual, in social and political life, and in international relations. Therefore, peace is the result of observing the moral order, which comes from abiding by the commandments of Christ's Sermon on the Mount, which is the spirit contained in the ‘Our Father.’

A certain Jesuit priest stated at a meeting of aristocrats in Vienna during the World War: “In the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Jesus did not speak as a casuist but as an orator; and, therefore, His rhetorical exaggerations have to be reduced to their due proportions.”  For us the teachings of the “Sermon on the Mount” are strictly obligatory commandments, not a rhetorical feat, not an oratorical exercise, and even less “rhetorical exaggerations” to be “reduced to their due proportions.”  Such impudence has to be rejected as a most serious insult of the Son of God.  As if we paltry humans had the right to censure Christ.

Rev. Dr. Johannes Ude
(Catholic priest,
holder of 5 earned doctorates, including one in theology,
26 times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize,
imprisoned conscientious objector in Germany in WWII)

Tranquillitas Ordinis, the tranquility of order, as the definition of peace was first brought into the Church by Augustine in his City of God: “The peace of all things is the tranquility of order.” About a thousand years later it is employed by Aquinas as the philosophical cornerstone on which he builds his just war theory. The Roman Catholic Church still employs it today as an approach to justify its just war position as can be seen in George Weigel book, Tranquillitas Ordinis. However, the Achilles’ heal of the Tranquillitas Ordinis justification of war for Christians is succinctly stated in Church historian, Dr. Ronald James Sider’s critique of Weigel book: “It is astounding that George Weigel in his book justifying war, Tranquilitas Ordinis,  begins his commentary on the heritage of Catholic thought on war and peace with St. Augustine—thus ignoring the first three centuries.” This ignoring of the first three centuries of Christianity, which is the usual approach of those who employ the Tranquillitas Ordinis approach to justifying Christian participation in war, morally invalidates it from the start, since to use Sider’s unequivocal words from his prior historical work, The Early Church and Killing, "No Christian theologian or writer prior to Constantine  justified killing or Christian participation in the military.” Ude knew well the Tranquillitas Ordinis Catholicjustification for participation in war, which is why he addressed it head on by noting that “peace is the result of observing the moral order,” but this “comes from abiding by the commandments of Christ's Sermon on the Mount.”

COMMENTARY in The New American Bible, Imprimatur, 1991. The Official English language translation of the Roman Catholic Church. “Mt 28:20: ‘teach them to obey all that I have commanded you’ refers to the moral teaching found in this Gospel, preeminently that of the Sermon on the Mount (chap. 5-7). The commandments of Jesus are the standard of Christian conduct, not the Mosaic law, except as some of the Mosaic commandments have been invested with the authority of Jesus.”

Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

*Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.

*A person can neither evaluate as true or false, nor choose to live, an idea that he or she has never heard.