As St Thomas teaches (Summa Theologica, II-II, Q.40, A.1):
'In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary.
First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Romans 13:4): "He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil"; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Psalm 81:4): "Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner"; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): "The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority".
Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. Wherefore Augustine says (QQ. in Hept., qu. x, super Jos.): "A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly".
Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [actualiter Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1]): "True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good". For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): "The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war".'
Thus it could not be clearer:
Only the legitimate ruler has the right to declare war.
No private citizen has that right.
HIRH Archduke Maximilian of Austria, brother of the Emperor Franz Josef, was invited by the people and government of Mexico to become their emperor. He agreed. But a revolution came, overthrew him and cruelly executed this most mild of men. As so often, the idle, heartless and faithless mob lean on the wall vainly watching their own sovereign being shot, too dull and stupid to realise that it also meant the death of their own peace and freedom - as indeed proved exactly so. Mexico went from bad to worse and eventually revolutionary government banned all religion and massacred Christians. It was illegal for clergy to wear clerical dress. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was only finally thrown out of government in 2002. Even now, much of Mexico is a poverty-stricken, chaotic, crime-ridden backwater ruled by inept rulers.
A private body of men do not have that right and if they usurp it then they are making themselves rulers or kings which they have no right to do . Indeed, it is a defiance of God who is the author of all authority.
If, however, a legitimate king were unlawfully exiled or deposed then he could command his subjects to make war to restore him and, if the war fulfilled the other just war criteria, then they could - and indeed probably should - do so.
Thus the following, being restorations, qualify as just (if, where appropriate, the other just war criteria are met):
- The Incarnation of Jesus Christ
- The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
- The Jacobite uprising
- The uprisings against the usurping Bonaparte
- The Carlist uprising in Spain against the usurping Isabellinist liberals
- The uprising of the Russian Whites against the Communist Reds
- The uprising of the Mexican Cristeros against the Communists
- The uprising of President Gabriel Garcia Moreno in Ecuador against the usurping Freemasons
- The uprisings in Eastern Europe against the usurping Communist regimes
The Jacobite uprising was a lawful - and very nearly successful - attempt to restore the rightful ruler. It was thus a restoration and not a revolution. The Hanoverians had no right to rule, were usurpers and there were 57 claimants (all Roman Catholic) with a better right to rule Britain than King George I.
However, by the time of King George III, proportionality, unlikelihood of success and the benevolence of the King caused the Jacobite dynasty to relinquish any claim and so an uprising would have been, by just war principles, unjust. Flora MacDonald herself supported King George III against the American revolutionaries. Modern Jacobites acknowledge and loyally obey the Queen but reserve a continuing reverence and respect for the older, senior line.
And the following were manifestly unjust rebellions against authority:
- The revolt of the Devil
- The trial, judgment and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
- The Protestant Reformation - that great source of evil and revolution ever since
- The English Revolution of 1642
- The so-called "Glorious Revolution" of 1688
- The American Revolution of 1776
- The French Revolution
- The political revolutions of the 19th century against popes and monarchs
- The Italian nationalist revolution
- The Nazi revolution
- All Communist revolutions: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc
- The Irish nationalist rebellions
- The youth "revolution" of the 1960s
- The rebellions against morality that have followed ever since
The logic is quite simple:
Revolution - immoral and evil
Restoration - moral and good
Rebellion is sin and sin is rebellion.
And revolution is no more than a continuation of the Devil's arrogant claim out of which all evil began: non serviam - "I shall not serve".
Goodness, humanity and justice flow from service and thus all good men should be ever-ready to say: serviam - I shall serve.
And that is what all rulers and kings must do.