“Based on longstanding Church teaching and experience, we have offered moral guidance and asked key moral questions,” Bishop Hubbard concluded. “As pastors and teachers, we have refrained from making definitive judgments because the situation on the ground remains complex and involves many prudential decisions beyond our expertise.”
In recent years, the Holy See has emphasized the role of international bodies in authorizing humanitarian interventions into sovereign nations. This has been done and international oversight remains important. The United Nations Security Council needs to continue to monitor carefully the mission and the use of force in Libya.
The just war tradition teaches that the use of force must have "serious prospects for success" and "must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated" (Catechism, #2309). Important questions include: How is the use of force protecting the civilian population of Libya? Is the force employed proportionate to the goal of protecting civilians? Is it producing evils graver than the evil it hopes to address? What are the implications of the use of force for the future welfare of the Libyan people and the stability of the region?
In addition, the use of force must be proportionate and discriminant. The justice of a cause does not lessen the moral responsibility to comply with the norms of civilian immunity and proportionality. We recognize serious efforts are being made to avoid directly targeting civilians. In fact, the just cause underlying the use of force is to protect civilians. This moral responsibility leads to continuing questions: Is force being used in ways that protect civilian lives? Are civilian casualties being avoided? Is the destruction of lives and property proportionate to the good being achieved in terms of saving civilian lives?
Read the full statement here.