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.

"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "
Thomas á Kempis

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