Letter: Pax Romana?
Saturday 12 June 1999
It is helpful, when surveying the examples she gives of clergy supporting the state in wars deemed "just", to remember that medieval Christian ethics required anyone who shed blood, even in the course of a holy war, to do penance for the sin committed. The objective evil of taking life had to be atoned for, even if the circumstances mitigated the penance.
At no time did the medieval Christian church ever suppose that the end could fully justify the means.
Dr MONICA SANDOR
Department of History, Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Sir: I must challenge some of the conclusions drawn by John Campbell in his review of Richard Shannon's Gladstone: Heroic Minister, 1865-98 ("The Grand Old Man of politics", 11 June).
To regard Blair and Clinton as heirs of the "moral imperialism of Gladstone" in their war over Kosovo and thereby identify them with "the spirit which animated all those idealistic Labour anti-colonialists such as Fenner Brockway and flourished most purely in CND's naive faith that the world was just waiting for a moral lead from Britain", which he derives from Gladstone, is to fly in the face of the facts.
To imply that those who opposed the war are the heirs of Disraeli - who supported the Ottoman Empire, played a leading role at the Berlin Congress of 1878 and acquired the British interest in the Suez Canal - is to turn history on its head even after conceding that Gladstone would never have resorted to a bombing campaign.
Liberation, formerly the Movement for Colonial Freedom, of which Fenner Brockway was President, along with CND and other heirs of anti-colonialism, while utterly condemning all ethnic cleansing, have been totally opposed to the Nato bombing campaign.
Let us not be completely cynical in our use of history to justify present policies.
STAN NEWENS MEP
(Lab, London Central)
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Caitlyn Jenner's mother Ester thought her daughter, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had transitioned for money
- 3 Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 5 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
The 1975 leave social-media after cryptic comic strip tweet hinting at possible break up
Britain's Got Talent producers apologise for not making Matisse dog double stunt 'clearer'
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Jules and Matisse used secret dog double for winning tightrope act
Netflix is testing out adverts
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9: 'The Dance of Dragons' sees Jon Snow return to The Wall after epic Battle of Hardhome
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history