Choose a topic from Part 2B:

64. Murder

1. Murder is the unjust killing of a human being by one ormore private individuals. Murder is a very grave sin againstcommutative justice. In the necessary killing of plants and animalswhich we use for food, there is no offense. Only in the unjustkilling of a human being is the sin of murder committed.

2. The execution, by public authority, of a person guiltyof heinous crime, is not murder. Such an execution is no mere actof vengeance; it is the removal from the community, by competentauthority, of one whose crime shows him to be a menace thatseriously threatens the common good. As a man must sometimes havearm or leg amputated to save his life, so the body of the communitymust amputate seriously diseased members that threaten the wholegroup and its common life.

3. No private individual, or group of individuals, mayjustifiably take upon themselves the task of ridding the communityof criminals by process of execution. Killings by such agencies aresimply murders. Only the justly constituted public authority canlawfully inflict the death penalty.

4. Clerics must have no part in any killing. This is sobecause (a) they are to follow Christ closely in all they do, andChrist suffered without striking back or inflicting death onanyone; (b) they are the ministers of the New Law which appoints nodeath penalty.

5. Suicide, or self-murder, is a heinous sin against God,against nature, and against the community. To kill privately,whether the victim be oneself or another, is to usurp God'splace and power, for God alone is master of life and death. Ourlife is given us, not to own and to dispose of as we choose, but touse for God's glory and our own salvation.

6. It is never lawful, even by public authority, to killan innocent person, no matter what benefit may accrue to thecommunity from his death.

7. If, in defending oneself against a murderous and unjustattack, one kills the assailant, there is no murder, but blamelessself-defense. Nor is there murder in the necessary and officialacts of those authoritatively set to guard or defend the commongood, such as policemen and soldiers.

8. A person who kills another by accident is without guilt if,when the fatal accident occurs, he is performing a lawful actionand exercising due care.

"Let no one wear a mask, otherwise he will do ill; and if he has one, let him burn it."
St Philip Neri

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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