Not only did he reject lying for a good cause, he also was not nearly as eager to kill bad guys as he should have been. A reader writes:
I’d like to recommend this short letter by St Augustine. It’s regarding non-Catholics who have been convicted of harming and even murdering Catholics, including priests. St. Augustine does not wish to see them receive punishment like they’ve inflicted. As it turns out, ancient Christians were not so eager to dole out death as some would have us believe.
“[W]e do not wish to have the sufferings of the servants of God avenged by the infliction of precisely similar injuries in the way of retaliation.”
But Augustine helped to formulate Just war doctrine. Yes. He sure did. And just war doctrine is, of course, ordered not toward the question “When do we get to kill people?” but “How do we make it as hard as possible to kill people?” This is, as ever, the difference between anti-abortion-but-not-prolife postmodern Catholic thought that animates zeal for war, torture, and the death penalty and actual prolife thinking.