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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR NEW MONTHLY DONATIONS! Thank you and God bless.

Unjust Aggressor

Concept in moral theology

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Aggressor, UNJUST.—According to the accepted teaching of theologians, it is lawful, in the defense of life or limb, of property of some importance, and of chastity, to repel violence with violence, even to the extent of killing an unjust assailant. This is admitted to be true with the reservation included in the phrase “servato moderamine inculpatae tutelae.” That is, only that degree of violence may be employed which is necessary adequately to protect one from the attack. For example, if it were enough in the circumstances to maim an enemy it would be unlawful to kill him. It is likewise lawful to aid another to the same extent and within the same limits as are permissible for self-defense. (See Homicide.)

JOSEPH F. DELANY


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