Skip to comments.Diocese may push for assassinís canonization
Posted on 09/30/2011 5:57:13 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
Diocese may push for assassins canonization
September 30, 2011
The Archdiocese of Seoul may launch a cause for the beatification of Thomas An Jung-geun, a Korean Catholic who assassinated the Japanese prime minister when Korea was under Japanese rule.
The assassin acted in righteous defense of the nation, the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan said of the 1909 killing. The Catholic Church does not regard killing committed to defend the nation from unjust aggression as a crime.
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Seoul archdioceses Preparatory Committee for Beatification and Canonization held a symposium yesterday at the Catholic Center to discuss the possibility of canonizing a Catholic patriot, Thomas An Jung-geun.
Thomas An assassinated Ito Hirobumi, Japans first prime minister and the first Japanese resident general of Korea, on October 26, 1909, in Harbin, northeastern China. He was later executed by the Japanese on March 26, 1910.
Koreans regard Ans killing of Ito as a symbol of Koreas resistance against Japanese imperialism. Korea suffered greatly under Japanese colonial rule which ended in 1945.
For years the Catholic Church condemned the murder, but changed its position when the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan of Seoul officiated at a Mass for An in 1993, during which he said: An acted in righteous defense of the nation. The Catholic Church does not regard killing committed to defend the nation from unjust aggression as a crime.
The overwhelming view of the symposium yesterday was that An should eventually be canonized.
Leo Hwang Jong-ryul, representative of the Dumoolmeori Evangelization Research Center, said Ans actions can be justified as Gods justice, like St. Joan of Arc (1412-31), the French medieval heroine who was canonized in 1920.
He also pointed to Judith from the Old Testament, saying the Judean widow went to the camp of Holofernes, commander-in-chief of the Assyrians who had invaded Judea, and cut off his head to save her country.
When people understand why she killed him, no one can condemn her act, and likewise Ans killing of Hirobumi was an act to witness Gods justice at great risk to his own life.
Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, president of the preparatory committee, said last year that the archdiocese is ready for the beatification process of An and would review his cause soon.
Wow. The implications of this statement are staggering.
Does the Church Condone Tyrannicide?FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS
With the recent terrorist attacks, some have suggested that the leaders of these terrorist organizations be assassinated for the good of all people. What would be the Churchs teaching on this?
The moral issue here is that of tyrannicide the killing of a tyrant, and specifically, the killing of a tyrant by a private person for the common good. Technically, there are two classes of tyrants: a tyrant by usurpation (tyrannus in titulo), a ruler who has illegitimately seized power; and a tyrant by oppression (tyrannus in regimine), a ruler who wields power unjustly, oppressively, and arbitrarily.
Tyrannicide has had support from various philosophers and theologians through the centuries, including the ancient Greeks and Romans, most notably Cicero; Catholics, most notably John of Salisbury (d. 1180) Jean Petit (d. 1411), and Suarez (d. 1617); and Protestants, most notably, Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, and Calvin.
St. Thomas Aquinas gave the most substantial argument for tyrannicide. He based his position on his arguments for just war and capital punishment. St. Thomas concluded, "He who kills a tyrant (i.e. an usurper) to free his country is praised and rewarded" (In 2 Sentences, 44.2.2).
A tyrant by usurpation has illegitimately seized power and, therefore, is a criminal. When there are no other means available of ridding the community of the tyrant, the community may kill him. According to St. Thomas, the legitimate authority may condemn him to death using the normal course of law. However, if the normal course of law is not available (due to the actions of the tyrant), then the legitimate authority can proceed "informally" to condemn the tyrant and even grant individuals a mandate to execute the tyrant. A private citizen who takes the life of a tyrant acts with public authority in the same way that a soldier does in war.
The key conditions for a justifiable act of tyrannicide in this case include that the killing be necessary to end the usurpation and restore legitimate authority; that there is no higher authority available that is able and willing to depose the usurper; and that there is no probability that the tyrannicide will result in even greater evil than allowing the usurper to remain in power.
A tyrant by oppression is one who has come to power legitimately, but rules unjustly, oppressively, and arbitrarily. Here the community must confront the tyrant, and if necessary, depose him, formally or informally, according to the course of law available. In most circumstances, a private citizen morally cannot kill a tyrant by oppression, because the tyrant came to power through a legitimate means and thereby the community must depose him. If the community does depose the tyrant, according to St. Thomas, he becomes now a tyrant by usurpation and thereby may be eliminated by an act of justifiable tyrannicide in accord with the above norms.
However, if the tyrant by oppression attacks the citizen, jeopardizes the welfare of the community with the intent leading it to destruction or killing the citizens, or commits other evils, then a private citizen can morally commit an act of justifiable tyrannicide. Moreover, if because of the tyrant's rule, a nation cannot defend itself, is on the course of destruction, and has no lawful means to depose or to condemn the tyrant, then a citizen may commit an act of justifiable tyrannicide. Interestingly, many modern political philosophers would posit that a leader who abuses power and has become tyrannical ipso facto loses legitimacy and becomes an usurper.
Please note that the Church has not definitively taught on this subject. The Church not only recognizes the authority of legitimate rulers and their duty to uphold the common good of the community, but also the duty of citizens to support a legitimate government. However, the Church also has set standards of just war and even capital punishment which would be applied to a conflict between a community against an unjust tyrannical leader. Keep in mind that an act of justifiable tyrannicide would have to be an act of last resort, when no other reasonable course of action is available to protect the community.
Klaus von Stauffenberg
Perhaps a particular example would help. In the Summer of 1944, many officers in the German military realized that their country would soon lose the war. The Allies had successfully landed in France with the D-Day Invasion and were pushing toward Germany; the Soviets were advancing from the East; the major cities of Germany were bombed heavily and frequently. To save Germany from devastating defeat and form a new government, Lieutenant Colonel Klaus von Stauffenberg, described as "a serious Catholic," formed a plot to assassinate Hitler on July 20. He and other members, including Field Marshal Rommel, Field Marshal von Witzleben, and General Beck, knew that Hitler had to be removed from power, and recognized that no regular means of government existed to do so. The only course of action seemed to be justifiable tyrannicide. Von Stauffenberg reportedly met with Cardinal Count Preysing of Berlin to discuss this matter, and his eminence honored the motives and offered no theological objection to restrain him. In so doing, Cardinal Preysing placed his own life in jeopardy with the Gestapo, but was never implicated in the plot.
On the evening of July 19, von Stauffenberg stopped by a Church to pray and then retired to bed. The next day, July 20, he planted the bomb at the Wolf's Lair at Rastenburg in East Prussia. It exploded, but failed to kill Hitler. Von Stauffenberg and three others were arrested and executed that very night; others would endure the same fate later. However, they committed, or at least tried to commit, an act of justifiable tyrannicide. (See Fitzgibbon, 20 July, p. 150, Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 1042ff, Royal, The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century, p. 154.)
Again, the Church has not definitively taught on this moral issue. However, terrorism is a real evil that must be confronted and stopped. Terrorists must be identified, isolated, and brought to justice. However, if there are no means of bringing them to justice or there are communities who support, protect, and promote them, thereby thwarting the pursuit of justice, then the leaders of nations may consider an act of justifiable tyrannicide as a last resort.
Saunders, Rev. William. "Does the Church Condone Tyrannicide?" Arlington Catholic Herald.
This article is reprinted with permission from Arlington Catholic Herald.
Ping for later.
Don't know about that. I'm not a member of the Catholic congregation.
But I condone tyrannicide.
It keeps good things alive.
He may have been a hell on wheels Patriot, but that doesn’t make him a Saint.
So... I got Bin Laden. Does that mean I can add Sainthood next to the Nobel Prize on my trophy shelf?
Yes, I support killing tyrants.
I go back to texts from BC. "If a man comes through your window at night to kill you, rise up and kill him". And David slaying Goliath. And many other instances.
On the other hand... I have to ask if the killing is just and moral.
If it were war, my side against the tyrant, horde against horde, in bloody clash, would I be justified in taking the killing blow against the tyrant. If so, it's just.
On the other hand... who decides? What is tyrrany? Those questions must be considered, and weighed using the guidance of prayer, the Torah, the Bible, and the ancient commentaries that have withstood the test of time.
De Praeceptis (Nolin, 1938, Vol II, pg 337) gives some pretty good and well thought out guidance in the section De bello.
And the latin is pretty easy to read.
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The question I was speaking to from post #2 was "Does the Church Condone Tyrannicide?".
I was simply putting in my 2 kopeks worth.
A little further down, I clarified my off-the-cuff statement.
He was as much a saint as Joan of Arc. Ito Hirobumi deserved to die and Christ never asked us to be pacifists when some maniac was trying to exterminate us.
Imagine that..Mary is Obama’s Momma. I can feel the unrest beginning and the crickets chirping...
Since I had Nolin (vol II, 1938, pg 318) sitting here per my prior reference, I've gotten distracted reading it again. And I considered 'the other hand' and found something I don't remember reading before.
Roughly translated, it says:
The aggressor in the law of life.
It is permissible to each other and also to defend their own life then are ye, when on the occasion of the unjust aggression, while maintaining an INNOCENT the direction of protection, both because his own life, every man has the right to life to be preferred over unjust aggressors, because otherwise, they shall bring the villains with the greatest loss of human society and other injuries. Therefore, repel force by force, even though by its very agression follows the death of the defense, the rights of all positive laws permit it.
I see that as Ito did good.
I'm glad this discussion happened and I got to do a little morality review. Always something to learn.
"My question" wasn't really my question, it was just the title of the article by Fr. Saunders. I don't have a problem with tyrannicide. Neither did St. Thomas Aquinas, and that's good enough for me.
Well, you brought it to the discussion, so you own it. ;)
But I do appreciate it.
It made me go back and study again. And I'm rusty on some of that stuff, and need to study.
But I agree with you and St. Thomas Aquinas. Kill the tyrants to protect the innocent.
In a perfect world, there are no tyrants. I look forward to that. But for now, I'm stuck here on terra.
You just hate the current lack of internecine Christian warfare with the Catholic Caucus, huh?
Oh well, you’ll get over it.
2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."65
2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.
2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.67
2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
To that, I would say that a man that sees an injustice he can correct is responsible.
Our unique position in a free republic like the United States makes we, the people, sovereign in matters like this.
We must do rightly.
I liked the part in the New Testament where Jesus raised an army, killed Pontius Pilate and threw the oppressive Romans out of Israel...
Oh, wait. That never happened.
Che Guevara who was trying to overthrow the oppressive capitalist regime /s