“Thomas Aquinas on Virtuous Warfare”

D. Cole. "Thomas Aquinas on Virtuous Warfare." The Journal of Religious Ethics 27, no. 1 (1999): 57-80.

Thomas Aquinas, one of the “founding fathers” of just war theory, offers an account of virtuous warfare in practice. The author argues that Aquinas’s approach to warfare, with its emphasis on justice and charity, is helpful in providing a coherent moral account of war to which Christians can subscribe. Particular attention is given to the role of charity, since this virtue is the distinguishing characteristic of the Christian soldier. Charity compels him to soldier justly, and by fighting justly, he is elevated by God to friendship with God. Notable features of this approach are its emphasis on the criteria for judging whether a war is just and its relativizing of the criteria for proper combat behavior.


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