Law and order may at times have need of the strong arm of force. Some enemies of justice can be brought to terms only by force. But force should be held always in check by law and order and be exercised only in their defense. Nor is any man law into himself.
Pope Pius XII, October the 8th, 1947
Often, the first sign of a shifting stance on a position is marked by holder’s acknowledgement of the position’s possible theoretical validity, accompanied by an explicit or implicit rejection of any practical validity of the position. This process is neither right or wrong, it just simply is. What is important is the objective validity of the two positions.
Take the Crusades for example. I know many people who will admirably defend them, but when asked if they would support another Crusade in the future, rarely do they answer in the affirmative.
Recently, there has been talk (link) of the Pope authoring a new Encyclical for the World Day of Peace in 2017 that will examine (to some extent) the validity of just war theory. This would seem to follow the pontiff’s modus operandi of calling into question that which had seemed to already long been settled.
Recently, a friend of the Junto, Fr. Nathaniel Meyers, gave a talk to a group on the topic of just war theory/doctrine. He gave the talk on the 15th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11. As always, his talk is accessible, coherent, and on-point. The talk is titled, “War is Hell, but is it Just?” I highly recommend a listen!