- Pathfinder

Reply To: Have you ever consciously or subconsciously used your faith to examine foreign policy? Was it harmful or helpful? Please elaborate.

Robert Burkett

I have consciously used my faith to examine foreign policy. Fortunately, the Catholic Church has outlined and defined its fairly comprehensive thinking on war and other complex moral issues through doctrine called Catholic Social Teaching (CST). CST also has moral teachings regarding foreign relations and is probably most well-known for contributing to the tradition of Just War Theory. I am thankful that brilliant Christian thinkers like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas have thought at length about these complex issues and provided significant guideposts about how to simultaneously consider our Christian obligations alongside and applied to international relations. Overall, I find having a Christian foundation extraordinarily helpful in providing clear moral considerations within the context of modern warfare. International theories such as realism or liberalism are often apathetic towards the human considerations of war, neglecting morality in favor of raw power. Absent clear ties to Christianity, complete and unwavering devotion to secular theories has and does ultimately lead to human atrocities.