GB No. 4(19)/95


Catholic theologists do not give a clear answer to the question: is refusing to do military service immoral ?

It seems to be a paradox that Christianity is contrary to pacifism. (...) According to doctors of the Church, defence against aggression is a human right, and sometimes a human duty. (...) Consequently, a defensive army is crucial for the state.

In 1989 in ŁódĽ Lagiewniki a conference on conscience and military service was held. As a result, a book, untitled 'Put the sword away" (Wydawnictwo Ojców Franciszkanów, Niepokalanów 1993) was published. Two tendencies in rejecting military service are shown there:

in terms of individual rights - 'an inalienable right to have and obey one's own conscience'

and in terms of law - 'the deciding vote is attributable to external principles: the law and regulations...'

Whether people who reject military service should be punished with prison sentence has not been answered by the Church. Father T. Olipka, a professor of ethics, claims that they should!

Vatican Council II in the constitution 'Gaudium et spes":

It seems right that humane legislation should take an attitude towards conscientuous objectors as long as they agree to serve the society in different ways.

Apparently most contemporary theologists are against punishing people who reject to do military service.

Father F.Greniuk, a theologist of morality in the Catholic University of Lublin (KUL - Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski) says that the philosophy of free conscience assumes that nobody should be obliged to act against their conscience and 'when someone is convinced that his conscience has reservations against military service, they have a right to follow that opinion and the authorities should respect it.'

based on: Gazeta Wyborcza no 24
pp 28-29 1/95
reprinted from Zielone Brygady 10/95
translated by J. Iwański

GB No. 4(19)/95 | Contents