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Conscience and Catholic Discipline of War: Sins and Crimes

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The article investigates the relations between Neo-Stoicism and the model of the Christian soldier developed in the military catechisms which were invented after the Council of Trent. After bringing out how the concept of the just war had been Christianized over the centuries, it shows that in the sixteenth century the discussion concerning the legitimacy of conflicts, particularly in the Iberian Peninsula, became a matter of conscience in which theologians had a major voice and a political role. Increasingly, however, thinking about how to behave during a war became more and more important, at the expense of the traditional questions concerning the ius ad bellum. This was also possible thanks to the development of fixed military chaplaincies, like those that set up by the Society of Jesus in Flanders. Finally, a number of texts appeared in the seventeenth century in which theological-moral casuistry, catechism, and military penal law converged to discipline the conscience of soldiers.

Affiliations: 1: Università degli Studi di Macerata


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