A question on just war

From my understanding the Church doesn’t believe that the ends justify the means. But doesn’t the idea of Just war contradict this? Isnt it doing evil (killing another human) so that good (achieving whatever made the war just) may come? Or am I just looking at this the wrong way? God bless.

It is intrinsically wrong to kill innocent people. Unjust aggresors are not innocent, and force can be used to repel them, including lethal force if necessary.

Criminals are also not innocent, and therefore the Church also teaches that the death penalty is not intrinsically evil either.

Are you then saying that if someone was trying to kill your parents, spouse, siblings and the only way to stop that is use of deadly force on the attacker that you would consider using that force as evil and stand by and let the attacker kill your loved ones?

In the catechism they seem to acknowledge that the ends are justifying the means.

2309 … the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

And in war not just the “guilty” are killed. Bolding mine.

2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war.

But the official teaching is the ends do not justify the means.

Catechism 1753

…The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation…

So in effect it is nearly always wrong but it inevitably happens? Just trying to make sure I understand you.

I’m not sure. Protecting my family would be important but the attackers life isn’t mine to take. I’m not sure what I should do in such a situation, which is partly why I started this thread.

Reading between the lines I think the message is along the lines of:

War is bad, we should avoid it. If it can’t be avoided make sure you don’t do more harm than you are preventing. Unintended consequences happen during war. If you are responsible for protecting other people, it shouldn’t weigh heavy on your conscience, because all war is bad, and bad things happen. You are protecting other people so you are doing more good than bad.

I’m amazed that you say that. You don’t know if you would simply stand by and let your family be killed.
I’m sure you are aware that God gave the Church authority in matters of faith and morals so all Church teachings are fully supported by God.
The Church teaches that not only are you allowed to defend yourself, family and country even if it means using deadly force, but it is your duty to do so. Self defence and defending your family and country is NOT an evil act. If you think it is then you are contradicting Church doctrine.

CCC 2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.”

CCC 2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

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 2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

Okay. Thanks for clearing that up.

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