Aquinas, Just-War Theory, and Pandemic Response
IN THIS ARTICLE
“Just-war theory,” as it is called, aims to guide action during warfare, so that states and individuals can act ethically. Because warfare is often analogized to epidemics, this paper will argue that just-war theory can recommend how one ought to conceive of governmental action during a pandemic. Drawing off the work of Thomas Aquinas, one of the most canonical figures within the just-war tradition, this article demonstrates that just-war theory explains both why the government has expanded powers during a pandemic and what a government ought to do with these expanded powers. Notably, this article applies Aquinas’ just-war theory to the current COVID-19 pandemic. After illustrating the utility of just-war theory, as applied to pandemics, this paper discusses the shortcomings within just-war theory. It is argued that these shortcomings leave ethical problems unresolved, both in regard to warfare and in regard to pandemics.
Historically, warfare and epidemics have ravaged human populations. Oftentimes, these two phenomena have been intricately connected. For example, during the outbreaks of the bubonic plague in 13th-Century Europe, the Archbishop of York noted that “the life of man on earth is a war.”1 Even beyond the Archbishop’s poignant comparison, warfare has often facilitated the spread of disease. The case of ancient Athens clearly demonstrates this relationship, as the Peloponnesian War enabled the spread of the plague in Athens.2 Yet, despite the fact that warfare has often aided in the spread of disease, the military has also done a great deal to curb disease spread. Frank Snowden, a historian at Yale University, noted that Renaissance states like Venice and Genoa used “military lines to isolate a population by preventing all movements of people and goods,” what would later become known as a “sanitary cordons.”3
As has been shown, warfare and epidemic have always been intricately related. Thus, it should be no surprise that the relationship between warfare and pandemics has continued throughout the spread of COVID-19.4 Notably, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, referred to himself as a “wartime president.”5 According to President Trump, the United States is fighting a “war” against the “invisible enemy,” otherwise known as the coronavirus. Because of this figurative war, President Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA). Originally passed during the Korean War, the DPA grants the President of the United States an array of powers, “including issuing loans…controlling the distribution of a company’s products and the more commonly used power of compelling companies to prioritize the government’s order over those of other clients.”6 Interestingly, President Trump’s partisan opponents have not opposed this expansion of executive power; instead, these opponents have urged President Trump to utilize the DPA.7 A certain national unity, similar to the unity of a state during war, has emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.8
However, with this expansion of presidential authority during the COVID-19 pandemic, a question remains. Namely, how ought one ethically consider governmental action during a pandemic? To complicate answering this question, no theory of justice, specifically tailored to pandemics, exists.
Nonetheless, a substantial amount of literature exists regarding the ethics of warfare. “Just-war theory,” as it is called, aims to guide action during warfare, so that states and individuals can act ethically. Because of the link between warfare and epidemics, this paper will argue that just-war theory can recommend how one ought to conceive of governmental action during a pandemic. Drawing off the work of Thomas Aquinas, one of the most canonical figures within the just-war tradition, this paper will demonstrate that just-war theory explains both why the government has expanded powers during a pandemic and what a government ought to do with these expanded powers. Once the utility of just-war theory has been illustrated, as applied to pandemics, this paper will discuss shortcomings within just-war theory. It will be argued that these shortcomings leave ethical problems unresolved, both in regard to warfare and in regard to pandemics. However, in order to understand its application to pandemics, or its shortcomings, it is necessary to examine the intricacies of Thomistic just-war theory.
Thomistic Just-War Theory: An Overview
Just-war theory neither began nor ended with Thomas Aquinas. Rather, as a 13th-Century Dominican friar, Thomas Aquinas sought to address the moral and ethical questions of his day.9 To do so, Aquinas wrote his magnum opus, the Summa Theologica.10 In the Summa, Aquinas addressed a vast array of topics, spanning from the existence of God, to the nature of virtue, and the ethics of warfare.11 Aquinas’ analyses, while sometimes novel, often built upon his predecessors. For example, Aquinas often drew upon Hebraic sources, like Paul the Apostle and Augustine of Hippo. Yet, the most important interlocutor for Aquinas was a Hellenistic source: Aristotle.12 Therefore, in the Summa, Aquinas attempted to synergize the Hebraic tradition and the Hellenistic tradition into a unified ethical framework. This, Bruno de Solages noted, is why Aquinas remains so canonical today.13
With this background in mind, one can adequately engage with Thomistic just-war theory. Standing at the intersection of Hebraism and Hellenism, Aquinas only addressed the issue of warfare once in his Summa.14 In the Second part of the Summa, at Question 40, Aquinas posed the question “Is some kind of war lawful?”15 Here, it would be imprudent to read Question 40 as a stand-alone question. Rather, Question 40 ought to be interpreted in the context of its placement within the Summa. As scholars have highlighted, Question 40 occurs within a larger discussion of the virtue of charity, with unjustified warfare being a sin or vice against charity.16
However, Aquinas posited that it was only unjustified warfare that constituted a sin against the virtue of charity.17 Here, Aquinas argued that if three conditions were met, then warfare could be justified. These three conditions—legitimate authority, just cause, and rightful intention—comprise Thomistic just-war theory.18 Importantly, though, Aquinas noted that all three criteria must be met for a war to be justified. Even the absence of one criterion would make a war unjust. This paper will explain each of these criteria in the order presented.
The first criterion that Aquinas deemed necessary for a just war is a “legitimate authority.” According to the Thomistic standard of legitimate authority, three things are worth pointing out. First, Aquinas noted that all legitimate authorities wage war with “the care of the common weal” in mind.19 One can conceive of the “common weal” as a nascent notion of the “common good.” Here, a war that a legitimate authority sanctions is justified, if and only if, that the war is undertaken for the common good of a state.
Second, Aquinas supposed that a legitimate authority is a public official and not a “private individual.” On the one hand, Aquinas reasoned that private individuals are less likely to care for the “common weal,” when compared to public officials; on the other hand, Aquinas explicitly stated that private individuals do not have just recourse to war, as these private individuals have recourse to the “tribunals of his superior.”20 A legitimate authority, then, is a public official without a superior.
Third, and perhaps the most technical, Aquinas used the Latin word principibus when discussing the criterion of legitimate authority.21 Importantly, this word is a plural form of the Latin princeps. Because Aquinas included this plural form, as opposed to the singular form, it can be argued that there may be multiple “legitimate authorities.”22
Aside from the criterion of a “legitimate authority,” Aquinas also insisted that there be a “just cause.” As Aquinas himself put it: “a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault.”23 Oftentimes, this requirement of a just cause has been interpreted two ways: warfare as punishment and warfare as self-defense.24 According to the first analogy, that of punishment, warfare is undertaken as a result of some cause (culpa[m]).25 For example, just as prisoners are punished because they are guilty of crimes, Aquinas argued that warfare is merited if there is moral desert.26 Perhaps, a state wronged another by breaching a treaty or denying a state its rights. In both of these cases, fault (culpa) merits poena (punishment), creating the moral desert for a punitive invasion.27
According to the second analogy, that of self-defense, warfare is the result of a duty to protect oneself and others.28 This second Thomistic analogy is drawn from Aquinas’ discussion of murder, found at Question 64.29 To Aquinas, since it is never wrong to kill in defense of one’s property, “neither is a man guilty of murder if he kill another in defense of his own life.”30 For instance, if state A invades state B, state B has the right to wage a just war against state A; this is because state B is defending itself. Defensive wars, or wars in defense of oneself or in defense of others, are permitted on Aquinas’ view and constitute a second sort of “just cause.”
The last Thomistic criterion for a war just is “rightful intention.”31 “Rightful intention,” the vaguest of Aquinas’ criterion, has often become associated with the actual fighting of wars and the doctrine of double effect. Although not present in Question 40, Aquinas elucidated the doctrine of double effect at Question 64.32 According to Aquinas, nothing prevents an act from having “two effects, only one of which is intended, while the other is beside the intention.” Here, Aquinas reckoned that if a moral agent intended to do an act that is good in character, but the act actually had bad consequences, the agent can be free of moral culpability. For example, take the case of a defensive war. If state B defends itself against state A, and in doing so state B kills citizens of state A, the killing can be justified because state B intended to defend itself, not to kill others. On the doctrine of double effect, then, morally dubious consequences can be justified, if and only if, the intended moral act is good in character. Rightful intention, then, justifies poor consequence on the basis of good intentions.
With this presentation of Thomistic just-war theory—the culmination of legitimate authority, just cause, and rightful intention—a few notes should be made regarding Thomistic just-war theory’s current state. This current state, as it will be shown, has implications for the application of Thomistic just-war theory to pandemics. To most fruitfully show the current state of Thomistic just-war theory, this paper will draw off of modern just-war theory, which has been described as a continuity of Thomistic principles.33
First, it should be noted that the Thomistic notion of “just cause” has partially changed over time. As Aquinas conceived of it, just cause was analogized to punishment (culpa) and self-defense. However, in modern scholarship, modern just-war theory has moved away from the notion that punishment serves as a just cause for war.34 On this view, only self-defense or the defense of others can count as a legitimate just cause.35 These theorists hold that punitive reasons often lead to unjust wars of vengeance, rather than just wars. For example, a state may seek to avenge a wrong that occurred hundreds of years ago, citing the previously incurred culpa.36 Because punitive reasons are no longer viewed as reason of just cause, this paper will solely focus on just cause as self-defense or the defense of others.
Second, it should be noted that many modern just-war theorists challenge the necessity of having a “legitimate authority.” According to these theorists, the criterion of legitimate authority is actually highly counterintuitive.37 For example, take the case of state C. State C threatens to commit genocide against a sub-state group. Although this sub-state group could have just cause and rightful intention in warfare, the group would be unable to wage a just war because it does not meet all the criteria of a Thomistic just war. In this case, the sub-state group is not a “legitimate authority,” and thus, cannot wage a just war. The criterion of legitimate authority, then, can lead to serious harm and injustice for minority groups. Because of this harm, it will be argued that the criterion of “legitimate authority” leads to challenges when addressing pandemics.
Aquinas, Just-War Theory, and Pandemics
Since a reconstruction of Thomistic just-war theory has been provided, this paper will apply Thomistic just-war theory to the case of pandemics. In this section, this paper will argue that just-war theory explains why the government has expanded powers during a pandemic and what a government ought to do with these expanded powers. Afterwards, this paper will highlight how just-war theory’s shortcomings leave problems unresolved in pandemics.
As was noted earlier, governments responding to the COVID-19 pandemic have expanded their powers. For example, this paper presented the case of President Donald Trump, who was granted more authority through the DPA. A question remains regarding what justifies this expansion of power. Here, a parallel can be drawn to Thomistic just-war theory’s notion of just cause. According to Aquinas, state leaders can go to war if an adequate cause is presented, such as punishment and self-defense. In the case of President Trump and the DPA, the expansion of presidential authority can be justified on the grounds of self-defense. By expanding presidential authority, it can be argued that the president is attempting to protect that United States from further harm, from the “invisible enemy.”
Moreover, all of the powers granted by the DPA—“including issuing loans…controlling the distribution of a company’s products and the more commonly used power of compelling companies to prioritize the government’s order over those of other clients”—are aimed at nationwide defense. For example, take the presidential power to compel companies to produce certain goods. Historically, when exercised by the president, this power has aimed at the armed protection of the United States.38 Here, one can reason that by compelling the production of certain goods, the president aims to protect the state-at-large. Nevertheless, instead of the president ordering the production of airplanes and weaponry in the name of national security, the president has ordered the production of ventilators to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients. In this case, ventilators are similar to airplanes and other weaponry, as the purpose of all of these goods are the general security of the nation. Therefore, using Thomistic just-war theory, one can conceive of the expansion of presidential power within the frame of just cause. By needing to protect citizens from the coronavirus, one can argue that the state has a “just cause” for expanding its authority: Thomistic self-defense. Through this expanded authority, the state may more adequately protect its citizens.
However, while this expansion of governmental authority may be justified according to the Thomistic criterion of just-cause, it remains an open question as to what the government ought to do with this authority. Here, a parallel can be drawn to the Thomistic criterion of “rightful intention.” As noted earlier, the notion of rightful intention is heavily associated with the doctrine of double effect. The doctrine of double effect, as Aquinas presented it, states that nothing prevents an act from having “two effects, only one of which is intended, while the other is beside the intention.” 39 Rightful intention, then, can be interpreted as placing a premium on intentions as opposed to consequences.
On this view of the doctrine of double effect, morally dubious consequences can be justified when the intended moral act is good in character. Thus, this Thomistic principle of double effect can be used to guide governmental action during a pandemic. On the one hand, governments would be allowed to intend for things that are morally good in character but can have negative effects. For example, in warfare, a government can allow for some collateral damage while intending to pursue wrongdoing belligerents.40 In the case of pandemics, a similar analogy follows. For instance, the government can sanction the use of experimental drugs.41 Such was the case in the United States. By doing so, the government intends to cure patients and combat the disease; yet, the dubious consequence that people may die as a result of these trials would be allowed.42
On the other hand, Thomistic just-war theory provides certain limitations to this doctrine of double effect, which may seem overly permissive when solely focusing on intentions. These limitations occur in two distinct ways. First, Aquinas stipulated that for the doctrine of double effect to apply, one needs to have good intentions. To Aquinas, unintended, morally bad consequences that result from morally bad intentions, are not justified by the doctrine of double effect. For example, take the case of an evil president who urges her ignorant citizens to take an unhelpful medicine. The evil president reckons that this unhelpful medicine will make the citizenry more likely to vote for her in the next general election. However, after her citizens take the prescribed medicine, the citizens have medical complications and they die. Here, the evil president would be culpable because she had morally bad intentions: intending to subvert her citizens into reelection. Contrarily, take the case of a good president who intends to better her citizens, urging her citizens to take a helpful medicine. However, the citizens die from the medication, due to some unforeseen complication. In the case of the good president, the president is protected by the doctrine of double effect because she intended for the betterment of the citizens, making her nonculpable.
A second limitation exists on the Thomistic doctrine of double effect, which is elucidated in the example of the good president. Namely, Aquinas argued that the doctrine of double effect applied when the consequence of an intended action “is beside the intention” (praeter intentionem).43 Oftentimes, this has been interpreted as meaning that the morally bad consequence must be unforeseen, or at least probabilistically uncommon.44 For example, in the case of the good president, the medicine led to “unforeseen complications.” The fact that these consequences were not probabilistically associated with the president’s actions eliminates her culpability. However, if the good president urged her citizens to take a dangerous medicine, associated with both curing a disease and death as a side effect, then the president would be culpable for any associated deaths. Since this dangerous medicine strongly associates death with a cure, it could be argued that the president also intended the negative effects when she prescribed the dangerous medicine as a cure. Because of this, the Thomistic doctrine of double effect only protects against unintended, non-probabilistic consequences.
Therefore, Thomistic rightful intention, especially during pandemic, allows governments to intend for morally good things. According to the doctrine of double effect, by intending morally good things, the government is free from moral culpability associated with bad moral consequences. Among these, one can imagine reducing the restrictions for drug experimentation, curbing civil liberties, and increasing citizen tracking capabilities. However, the doctrine of double effect clearly delimits what governments cannot do, what violates rightful intention. Here, this paper has highlighted two limits on the doctrine of double effect. First, governments cannot intend morally bad things. Second, governments cannot intend good things that are probabilistically associated with bad consequences. Nevertheless, such a presentation of both Thomistic just cause and Thomistic rightful intention can be useful when examining pandemics. The former, it has been argued, justifies expanded governmental authority during a pandemic; the latter, it has been argued, explains how the government ought to use this expanded authority.
Shortcomings, Thomistic Just-War Theory, and Pandemics
Thus far, this paper has presented a reconstruction of Thomistic just-war theory and explained its utility during pandemics. However, it would be foolhardy to stipulate that Thomistic just-war theory is completely capable of explaining the ethics of warfare and, by analogy, the ethics of pandemics. In this section, this paper will focus on two concerns regarding Thomistic just-war theory, both of which affect Thomistic just-war theory’s application to pandemics. The first concern regards the notion of “legitimate authority.” The second concern focuses on the chronology of Aquinas’ just-war theory.
Regarding “legitimate authority,” it is important to recall two factors that Aquinas noted in Question 40. First, Aquinas noted that there may be multiple “legitimate authorities.”45 This was clearly shown with Aquinas’ discussion of principibus, a plural form of the Latin princeps.46
Second, Aquinas supposed that a legitimate authority does not have recourse to the “tribunals of his superior.” 47 Put otherwise, a legitimate authority, is a public official without a superior. As noted earlier, these characteristics have led modern just-war theorists to abandon the legitimate authority criterion.
A similar challenge arises with the application of Thomistic just-war theory to pandemics. Namely, the existence of multiple “legitimate authorities” may conflict with the fact that some legitimate authorities have recourse to the “tribunals of [their] superior[s].” 48. This comes to the fore most strongly during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the case of the United States. As a federal system, the United States Constitution vests power at both the state level and the federal level. While the federal government is given supremacy over states, in matter of law and interstate commerce, states maintain a great freedom of rights.49 Because of this, during the COVID-19 pandemic, questions have arisen as to the proper relationship between states and the federal government in the pandemic response.50 For instance, a concern arises as to how sub-state units ought to address pandemics, if vested authority lies with a more powerful federal authority, especially in the federal authority fails to meet certain needs. Ultimately, Thomistic just-war theory leaves this federalist problem of “legitimate authority” unanswered in his writings. This silence on the issue of federalism and authority, then, presents a challenge to the application of Thomistic just-war theory, best seen through the paradox of multiple, but sovereign, legitimate authorities.
Beyond this concern of legitimate authority, which Aquinas did not address, there is another concern about Thomistic just-war theory’s chronology. Primarily, Aquinas presented ethical principles that affect the right to war, actions before the war (ius ad bellum), like legitimate authority and just cause. Furthermore, Aquinas formulated the principle of rightful intention, which prescribed ethical action during a war (ius in bello). Yet, Aquinas did not include any specific principles about the subsequent peace that ought to result after a war (ius post bellum). The lack of principles to guide action after a war is problematic for both the ethics of warfare and the ethics of pandemics. Regarding the former, there is a lack of guidance as to how peace ought to be reestablished. Regarding the latter, there is a similar lack of guidance, as to how one ethically returns to “normal” life after a pandemic.
This shortcoming, the lack of ius post bellum principles, is the most concerning shortcoming of Thomistic just-war theory. Without any specific principles for peace, there is a concern that peace, or in this case normalcy, will be difficult to reestablish. Nonetheless, at Question 29 of the Summa, Aquinas discussed peace in an abstract, non-specific sense. According to Aquinas, peace partially exists when the “wills of various hearts agree together in consenting to the same thing,” when there is “concord.”51 However, this concord of multiple wills is not sufficient to secure peace in a complete sense. For example, one can imagine a group of robbers who “[consent] to the same thing” like robbing a bank.52 In this case, there exists concord among the robbers, that they all unite to rob a bank. Nevertheless, in the case of the robbers, peace does not exist in a true sense, because robbery as an end is an act against societal harmony. Rather, Aquinas argued that for true peace to exist, individuals must have all of their basic needs satisfied, and thereby intend for the common good: “because man’s heart is not at peace, so long as he has not what he wants, or if, having what he wants, there still remains something for him to want.”53 Therefore, for true peace to exist, Aquinas noted there must be a “tranquility of order” (tranquillitas ordinis), one that goes beyond justice and addresses the basic needs of individuals.54 This true peace, Aquinas highlighted, was a result of concord (concordia) and love (caritas).55
This rough outline, one of concord and love, ultimately provides some guidance for response after a war or a pandemic. Namely, on the Thomistic view, love must guide one’s actions. Furthermore, the institutional makeup should be arranged so that individuals can have their basic needs met, reducing their appetitive desire.56 In a post-COVID-19 world, then, it may be necessary to reexamine the nature of society, inequality, and institutions, to ensure that peace can be secured. Through this peace, society can return to normalcy.
Throughout history, pandemics have been likened to warfare. However, while this comparison has long been prevalent, little work has been done linking the ethics of warfare to the ethics of pandemics. Because of this lack of scholarship, this paper has applied Thomistic just-war theory, which is a canonical articulation of the ethics of warfare, to pandemics.
As a case study, Thomistic just-war theory has illuminated why governments have expanded authority during pandemics and how governments ought to act during pandemics. These explanations, drawn from the criteria of just cause and rightful intention, have been expounded upon above. Nevertheless, warfare differs from pandemics in various ways. As such, this paper has also noted some of the shortcomings of Thomistic just-war theory, complicating its application to pandemics. Here, this paper advanced the claim that Thomistic just-war theory fails to address concerns of “legitimate authority” and fails to provide specific principles for life after a pandemic. This latter concern, though, was tempered by Thomas Aquinas’ discussion of peace in the abstract sense. Through such an application of Thomistic just-war theory, it is hoped that the ethics of pandemics continue to emerge, providing an ethical framework to understand governmental action.
Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. Notre Dame, IN: Christian Classics, 1981.
Bender Michael C., and Mike Colias. “Trump Orders General Motors to Make Ventilators.” The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2020. https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-lashes-out-at-general-motors-over-ventilators-11585327749.
Boyle, Joseph M. “Praeter Intentionem in Aquinas,” Thomist 42, no. 4 (October 1978): 649-665.
Chenu, Marie-Dominique. Toward Understanding St. Thomas. Chicago: H. Regnery Co.,1964.
Cohen, Elizabeth, John Bonifield, and Minali Nigam. “Trump Says This Drugs Has ‘Tremendous Promise,’ but Fauci’s Not Spending Money on It.” CNN, April 10, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/28/health/coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine-trial/index.html.
Fabre, Cécile. Cosmopolitan War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Hellman, Jessie. “Cuomo Calls on Trump to Use DPA to Ramp Up Coronavirus Testing.” The Hill, April 10th, 2020. https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/492211-cuomo-calls-on-trump-to-use-dpa-to-ramp-up-coronavirus-testing.
Kanno-Youngs, Zolan and Ana Swanson. “Wartime Production Law Has Been Used Routinely, but Not With Coronavirus.” New York Times, March 31, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/31/us/politics/coronavirus-defense-production-act.html.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819). https://www.oyez.org/cases/1789-1850/17us316.
Miller, Richard B. “Aquinas and the Presumption against Killing and War.” The Journal of Religion 82, no. 2 (April 2002): 173-204.
Murphy, James B. “Suárez, Aquinas, and the Just War: Self-Defense or Punishment?” In From Just War to Modern Peace Ethics, edited by Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven and William A. Barberi, Jr., 175-196. Berlin: De Grutyer, 2012.
Neuman, Scott. “Man Dies, Woman Hospitalized After Taking Form of Chloroquine to Prevent COVID-19.” NPR, March 24, 2020. https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/03/24/820512107/man-dies-woman-hospitalized-after-taking-form-of-chloroquine-to-prevent-covid-19.
Oprysko, Caitlin and Susannah Luthi. “Trump Labels Himself ‘A Wartime President’ Combating Coronavirus.” Politico, March 18, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/18/trump-administration-self-swab-coronavirus-tests-135590.
Parry, Jonathan. “Civil War and Revolution.” In The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and War, edited by Seth Lazar and Helen Frowe, 315-335. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
Reichberg, Gregory M. “Thomas Aquinas Between Just War and Pacifism?” Journal of Religious Ethics 38, no. 2 (May 2010): 219-241.
- Thomas Aquinas on War and Peace. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Rozell, Mark J. “Federalism in a Crisis: Curse or Cure?” The Hill, April 7, 2020. https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/491544-federalism-in-a-crisis-curse-or-cure.
Snowden, Frank M. Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Solages, Bruno de. La Théologie De La Guerre Juste. Paris: Desclee de Brouwer, 1946.
Thucydides. The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War. New York: Free Press, 1998.
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United States Constitution. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript.
Zouche, Willian. “Intercessionary Procession (1).” In The Black Death, edited by Rosemary Horrox, 111. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994.
1.) Willian Zouche, the Archbishop of York, “Intercessionary Processions (1),” in The Black Death, ed. Rosemary Horrox (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994), 111.
2.) Thucydides, The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War (New York: Free Press, 1998), 118-121.
3.) Frank M. Snowden, Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present (New Haven: Yale University Press), 30.
4.) Throughout this paper, “COVID-19” and “coronavirus” will be used synonymously. “Coronavirus.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization. Accessed May 4, 2020. https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus.
5.) Caitlin Oprysko and Susannah Luthi, “Trump Labels Himself ‘A Wartime President’ Combating Coronavirus,” Politico, March 18, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/18/trump-administration-self-swab-coronavirus-tests-135590.
6.) Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Ana Swanson, “Wartime Production Law Has Been Used Routinely, but Not With Coronavirus,” New York Times, March 31, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/31/us/politics/coronavirus-defense-production-act.html.
7.) Jessie Hellman, “Cuomo Calls on Trump to Use DPA to Ramp Up Coronavirus Testing,” The Hill, https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/492211-cuomo-calls-on-trump-to-use-dpa-to-ramp-up-coronavirus-testing.
8.) Oprysko and Luthi, “Trump Labels Himself ‘A Wartime President’.” Trump has said “We must sacrifice together, because we are all in this together, and we will come through together.”
9.) Marie-Dominique Chenu, Toward Understanding St. Thomas (Chicago: H. Regnery Co.,1964), 11.
10.) From here on, the Summa Theologica will be referred to as the Summa.
11.) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (Notre Dame, IN: Christian Classics).
12.) Chenu, Toward Understanding St. Thomas, 29 and 38.
13.) Bruno de Solages, La Théologie De La Guerre Juste (Paris: Desclee de Brouwer, 1946), 9. “Quand il est question de juste guerre, le nom de Saint Thomas est le premier qui se rencontre la plume de presque tous les théologiens.”
14.) Gregory M. Reichberg, Thomas Aquinas on War and Peace (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 13-15.
15.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40. Much scholarship has been written about Aquinas’ question. Namely, there have been scholarly debates on whether this question sets a standard against war and whether Aquinas’ original writings included such a title to the question. For more see Gregory M. Reichberg, “Thomas Aquinas Between Just War and Pacifism?,” Journal of Religious Ethics 38, no. 2 (May 2010): 219-241 and Richard B. Miller, “Aquinas and the Presumption against Killing and War,” The Journal of Religion 82, no. 2 (April 2002): 173-204.
16.) Reichberg, Aquinas on War and Peace, 13.
17.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, reply to objection 3.
18.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, on the contrary.
19.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, on the contrary.
20.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, on the contrary.
21.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, on the contrary.
22.) Solages, La Guerre Juste, 14.
23.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, on the contrary.
24.) James B. Murphy, “Suárez, Aquinas, and the Just War: Self-Defense or Punishment?” in From Just War to Modern Peace Ethics, eds. Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven and William A. Barberi, Jr. (Berlin: De Grutyer, 2012), 175.
25.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, on the contrary.
26.) “Moral desert” refers to “someone’s deservingness,” usually reward or blame.
27.) Murphy, “Suárez, Aquinas, and the Just War,” 179.
28.) Murphy, “Suárez, Aquinas, and the Just War,” 179-180.
29.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q64, article 7, on the contrary.
30.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q64, article 7, on the contrary.
31.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, on the contrary.
32.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q64, article 7, on the contrary.
33.) Reichberg, Aquinas on War and Peace, 280.
34.) Reichberg, Aquinas on War and Peace, 273.
35.) Cécile Fabre, Cosmopolitan War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 55.
36.) Murphy, “Suárez, Aquinas, and the Just War,” 188.
37.) Jonathan Parry, “Civil War and Revolution” in The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and War, eds. Seth Lazar and Helen Frowe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 326.
38.) Michael C. Bender and Mike Colias, “Trump Orders General Motors to Make Ventilators,” The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-lashes-out-at-general-motors-over-ventilators-11585327749. President Trump most famously invoked the DPA to compel General Motors to produce ventilators.
39.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q64, article 7, on the contrary.
40.) “Collateral damage” refers to “unintended death, injury, or harm, usually as a result of a military operation.”
41.) Elizabeth Cohen, John Bonifield, and Minali Nigam, “Trump Says This Drugs Has ‘Tremendous Promise,’ but Fauci’s Not Spending Money on It,” CNN, April 10, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/28/health/coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine-trial/index.html; Scott Neuman, “Man Dies, Woman Hospitalized After Taking Form of Chloroquine to Prevent COVID-19,” NPR, March 24, 2020, https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/03/24/820512107/man-dies-woman-hospitalized-after-taking-form-of-chloroquine-to-prevent-covid-19. The most discussed of these drugs has been hydroxychloroquine, which was touted by President Trump as a successful medicine for COVID-19. However, such claims are unproved.
42.) Note that the bad consequence is morally “allowed,” but neither morally supported nor morally opposed.
43.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q64, article 7, on the contrary.
44.) Joseph M. Boyle, “Praeter Intentionem in Aquinas,” Thomist 42, no. 4 (October 1978): 658.
45.) Solages, La Guerre Juste, 14.
46.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, on the contrary.
47.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, on the contrary.
48.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q40, article 1, on the contrary.
49.) US Constitution, Article 6, Clause 2 (Supremacy Clause); Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 (Interstate Commerce Clause); US Bill of Rights, Amendment X; McCulloch v. Maryland (1819). See https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript, https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights-transcript, https://www.oyez.org/cases/1789-1850/17us316.
50.) Mark J. Rozell, “Federalism in a Crisis: Curse or Cure?,” The Hill, April 7, 2020, https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/491544-federalism-in-a-crisis-curse-or-cure.
51.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q29, article 1, on the contrary.
52.) Quoting Isaiah 48:22, Aquinas remarked “There is no peace, saith theLord, unto the wicked.” Summa, IIa-IIae, Q29, article 1, on the contrary.
53.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q29, article 1, on the contrary.
54.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q29, article 1, response to objection 1.
55.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q29, article 1, objection 1, on the contrary.
56.) Summa, IIa-IIae, Q29, article 1, on the contrary.