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Killing / Murder


A better translation for “You shall not kill” (Ex 20:13) is, “Thou shall not commit murder.” God justified killing in certain circumstances in the Old Testament, such as war and the death penalty. In order to inhabit the Promised Land, God asked the Israelites to kill the natives. God killed the firstborn of the Egyptians when Pharaoh rejected the demand for the liberation of His people after enough warnings.
The Catholic Church teaches, “God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being” (CCC-2258). The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses some of the end-of-life issues:
1. Legitimate defense: “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” (CCC-2264).
2. Capital Punishment: “The Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person’, [Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide” (CCC-2267).
3. Intentional homicide: “The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance” (CCC-2268). “The fifth commandment forbids doing anything with the intention of indirectly bringing about a person’s death. The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as refusing assistance to a person in danger” (CCC 2269).
4. Abortion: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception” (CCC-2270).
5. Euthanasia: “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable” (CCC-2277).
6. Suicide: “Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbour because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God” (CCC-2281).

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