Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More thoughts on realism

My first post on realism, inspired by Sandro Magister's article on the Church's geopolitics.

What is the diplomatic mindset of the Church? My initial impression has been strengthened since I wrote that post, namely that it is difficult to categorize the stance of the Church by giving it a label or an -ism. Rather, it is (or should be) just the virtue of prudence, which not only the authorities of the Church should possess, but also temporal authorities, along with the other needed qualities of statesmanship, especially the virtue of justice. It is because of prudence that one is inclined to seek to preserve the common good of communities, and usually the best means of achieving this is to maintain its constitution or regime, rather than forcing a regime change.

I believes this explains the caution of the Church in its dealings with temporal governments.

Perhaps some Americans are used to being nosy in the affairs of others, intervening and bringing about change through the use of the CIA or the military, when it is "in accord with our national interest." But what exactly does that mean, and what sort of evil acts has it been used to justify? To preserve our economic interests? To defend our dependency on other countries for natural resources and energy?

The realism of the Church is not the same as the amoral realism of others (such as Henry Kissinger?) --I'm not speaking of the past, when the pope was the temporal head of the papal states, but now. When the Church conducts diplomacy, the ideal is that it is motivated by concerns of charity and justice, not for the desire to maintain power (or the desire, legitimate or otherwise, to maintain control over the papal states).

Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Fifth Edition, Revised, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, pp. 4-15.

The Church needs to take into account the sinfulness of fallen man; does it presume though that all are motivated by power? In its statements the Church appeals to the good, but it knows better than to assume that everyone it deals with is virtuous.

wikipedia on realism
Jason Martin's blog entry
Mark Lauletta, POSC474

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