Barbara Kralis
Catholic Church defends 'Stand-Your-Ground' laws
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By Barbara Kralis
July 18, 2013


The Catholic Church's teachings support the legitimate defense of "Stand Your Ground" laws in that people have a legitimate right, and even the duty, to protect their own person, their family, their property, and others against an aggressor – and killing the aggressor may be necessary to do so.

In addition, every person has the right to self-defense according to St. Thomas Aquinas:
    Accordingly the act of self-defense may have two effects; one is the saving of one's life, the other is the slaying of the aggressor. Therefore this act, since one's intention is to save one's own life, is not unlawful, seeing that it is natural to everything to keep itself in "being" as far as possible [Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 64, art. 7.].
Eric Holder's address before the NAACP on July 16, 2013, would lead uneducated, uncatechized people to believe otherwise. Attorney Holder doth not know what he speaketh. He is a stranger to the truth.

Here is a copy of the teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Legitimate defense is acceptable and a moral duty
  1. The prohibition of murder does not abrogate the right to render an unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. Legitimate defense is a grave duty for whoever is responsible for the lives of others or the common good.
  1. The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor.... The one is intended, the other is not."65
  1. Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow: If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful.... Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.66
  1. Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.
  1. The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.67
  1. Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
Endnotes:

64 Cf. Mt 26:52.┘BR

65 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 64,7, corp. art.

66 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 64,7, corp. art.

67 C. Lk 23:40-43.

© Barbara Kralis

 

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Barbara Kralis

Barbara Kralis, the article's author, writes for various Christian and conservative publications. Her columns have been featured at RenewAmerica.com, Catholic World Report, Catholic World News, Alliance Defense Fund, Intellectual Conservative, LifeIssues.net, LifeSite.com, Catholic Culture.org, The Wanderer newspaper, New Oxford Review, Phil Brennan's WOW, MichNews, ChronWatch, North Carolina Conservative, Catholic Citizens, Illinois Family Institute, and others. She and her husband, Mitch, live in the great State of Texas. She can be reached at: AveMaria@earthlink.net

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