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What Does the Church Teach about Self-Defense?

What are the morals of self-defense? Can we use lethal force against someone trying to kill us? What about to defend our property? Fr. Sebastian Walshe gives the Church’s answers these questions on Catholic Answers Live. DONATE: SUBSCRIBE: WEBSITE: Originally from Pasadena, Fr. Sebastian Walshe is a Norbertine Canon of the Abbey of St. Michael in the Diocese of Orange, California, where he is a professor of philosophy for the seminary program. After completing his studies at Thomas Aquinas College in California, he continued studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., receiving a license in Philosophy. Later, he attended the Pontifical University of St. Thomas at Rome (the Angelicum) where he received a Masters in Sacred Theology and a Doctorate in Philosophy. His thesis was entitled: “The Primacy of the Common Good as the Root of Personal Dignity in the Doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas.” From 2003-2005, Fr. Sebastian was also a visiting professor in the Philosophy Department at the Angelicum.


Sean Miguel says:

I see on your video of statues in Catholic Church has comments disabled please be honest with people even if you were mislead you have to pray to Jesus Christ not Mary saint Peter or Joseph unfortanly they passed away, and they are not Gods to receive prayers. Just pray to Jesus Christ if you love him he will hear your prayers idolatry is a sin no other way and we have to repent from our sins we can’t sin all week then think going to church on Sunday will have our sins forgiven and pray to statues and the rosemary that’s called Luke warm Christian read king James English version, watch Gabe the street preacher, dorre love and Christ forgiveness on YouTube they will explain this better if you still don’t understand and don’t have king James English version Godbless you and your families have a blessed night

Bret Stanley says:

Does anyone know if there is a Church teaching on gun confiscation by the government? If that happens in the future by the Democrats there can only be one purpose in mind–tyranny! Are we supposed to roll over and obey tyranny out of a sense of peace or can we fight it, even if that results in the death of a government agent?

Mark Phelan says:

Eternal law will always be greater than temporal law. It will not change whether you will it or not, it's like gravity.

The Templar says:

Luke 11:21 ESV / 327
When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe;

Exodus 22:2-3 ESV / 290
If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

Proverbs 25:26 ESV / 157
Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.

Acesstricker says:

It's situations like this that we should be grateful for God's mercy should we fail to realize the correct response

Bela Kovacs says:

A logical follow up: let's talk about the Church's teachings on just war someday.

Steve Numerator says:

Everything comes down to correctly understanding the context of the situation and to making proper distinctions about what may be finely detailed points.

If your wife and children are in the home that is about to be burned down, and you have no way to get them to safety through the mob surrounding your house, I would think your obligation to defend your family would enable potentially lethal force against the mob. The fact you are defending your property above the lives of the non-innocent mob should not cause the property owner to be required to let his house be burned down and his family endangered.

If a business owner is single and decides to “heroically” offer up his business to a mob, then so be it. But the business owner with a family who has no other way to support his family or pay for the medical care of his sick child or if he cares that his building catching fire could set neighboring buildings on fire that may not be empty of human life, I would think that taking some action to prevent damage to his business would be justified. Perhaps one tries to aim low and hit people in the legs, but to stand by and let a mob start one fire after another until whole sections of a city go up in flames seems a greater harm to society and to innocent people than possibly endangering the lives of the non-innocent mob.

Of course, this is why we have duly-appointed law enforcement officials who take on the responsibility of fighting crime, and illustrates the insanity of defunding the police. Without civil servants who can be held accountable for their behavior, all protection from crime devolves to the individual, which affects the morality and ethics of self-defense when EVERY incident of potential crime must be handled at the self-defense level while there are no police to call for help.

Luis II says:

Why does he look like a Pope?

cthulhu sashimi says:

Strike first, strike hard, no mercy. Cobra Kai!

Captain Canuck says:

“Sell your cloak and buy a sword” – Luke 22:36

Warren Philips says:

Yikes! Disclaimer: This video is moral advice, it does not constitute legal advice. Speak to a lawyer about cases in which you can use lethal force specific to your local laws and occupation. Often you cannot use lethal force to protect property, very few exceptions apply, but you have an obligation to protect yourself and the lives of others. Again, check with a lawyer as to your local laws.

Music Savant Accountant says:

Great answer! Thank you so much Catholic Answers. 😊

hack hack says:

self defense is not a sin..Deus Vult

The Catholic Rabbi says:

Sounds like the caller wants to get a protester

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