The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedRalph E. Lapp
Title QuotedKill and Overkill
Date (Year/Month/Day)1962/12/09
ImprintNew York : Basic Books. 1962
QuotationI have recently read the Lapp book, Kill and Overkill, and I think it is very important for this book to get to some of the people who will be discussing the question of nuclear weapons in the Council, when it resumes. Do you think you could possibly get copies to Jean and Hildegard Goss-Mayr, and also to Archbishop Roberts? I have mentioned it to the former and will tell the Archbishop about it soon. If they do not get the proper perspective, they will be talking about a problem that does not exist. Of course, I know the Goss-Mayrs know what the issue is, and so does Archbishop Roberts. But I think what is most important first of all is a clear recognition on the part of the Church that this is an essentially different kind of war and that therefore the question of defense in nuclear war takes on an entirely different character so that the categories of traditional warfare are irrelevant to the real moral issue in total nuclear war. In many cases these are stood completely on their heads. So much so that to proceed with the traditional moral approach to other war, and apply it as if there were no essential difference, would lead to solutions that would precisely favor the most immoral and most dangerous policies, rather than the ones which, if any, might promote less catastrophe.
Quotation SourceThe Hidden Ground of Love: The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Experience and Social Concerns.; Selected and edited by William H. Shannon. / New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 1985, p. 411
Letter toJohn C. Heidbrink
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