Can Catholics fight?

Are Catholics allowed to get into fist fights? I know it would be wrong to instigate and bully and whatnot, but what if someone else was the aggressor? Am I allowed to defend myself or should I “turn the other cheek?”

A little context…I have a friend that had a very abusive and manipulative ex boyfriend who she can’t seem to get to leave her alone. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get involved in the situation, but if he started trouble with me could I put him in his place? I’m not thinking real harm here, just scrapping a bit.

I actually think it may be good for him to lose a fight. Often abusive men are only abusive to weaker women and I think it may humble him and help him gain perspective that he can’t abuse whomever he pleases. I was a very angry and narcissistic person years ago, and losing a fight really made me reevaluate myself. Then again, I know I have a tendency to justify wrong so I wanted some opinions.

You should avoid violence if at all possible. You may use force to defend yourself or others. The force should be used with the intent of getting to safety, not to teach the other person a lesson.



She needs to contact the authorities.

You could defend yourself if he were to physically assault you. But de-escalating and removing yourself from the situation is the better course if possible.

See the catechism on self defense. Self defense is not “putting someone in their place”. Thad sounds strongly like vengeance, rather than self defense.

Fighting by any other name is still fighting. It should be a last resort and to defend. Also don’t forget that assault is a crime.

And you assume you would win. Be careful with assumptions. Also, one does not fight to “win” if one is defending oneself. One fights to be able to get away.

That would be what you are attempting to do here, yes.


Fighting with her ex-boyfriend is not going to get him to leave her alone. If anything, it’s likely to make him increase his harassment of her. Or if she goes to the police about his harassment, then he could simply point to you as an aggressor that his ex has asked to ‘teach him a lesson’. And as 1ke says, don’t assume you’d win.

It’s a very bad idea.


Be careful. He could be crazy and see you and be jealous. Might want to do more than serious harm.

Ask a priest your question and pray for your friend’s ex and your friend.


That’s exactly what I’m thinking about. But at the same time I don’t think she should have to live as a recluse because this guy is so mean.

She can get a restraining order and legal help while you pray about the situation. I don’t want to see any one you on 20/20 or 48 hours regarding being murdered.

Go to God about this in prayer. Pray the St Michael prayer for you all and get legal help.

OP, she doesn’t have to be a recluse. She does need to call the police, or get a restraining order if it comes to that. But unless he touches you first, you should do nothing.


Definitely have. I know God will make it work out if I just trust in Him.

I really don’t want to be involved in it at all. Even when she talks bad about him I don’t say anything about it…I just change the subject. I definitely won’t even talk to him or anything.

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Yeah, she needs to stop talking about him, period. You are smart not to get involved.

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Find a local support group for victims of domestic violence. Make her aware of the meeting times, encourage her to go.


Also keep in mind that if he’s willing to beat a woman, he’s likely willing to fight dirty, AKA bringing weapons. Unless you have martial arts training, I would try to avoid any situation where you need to defend yourself or others. That goes even if you had the training, but you can gather my meaning. The police need to be involved in this situation. If violence is needed (aka, self defense, arresting him), it is their job to to apply it under control and with proper intent.

But she has to be the one to make the choice. You can certainly help her, advise her, and pray for her, but she has to choose to leave.

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She already left. I have an MMA background but if weapons were involved it would be bad. You’re right, though. If it becomes an issue I’ll just get the police involved.

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True. This got me choked out one time when I showed up to a bar thinking I was Conor McGregor…turns out I’m not. I didn’t even realize I made that assumption before you said that. I guess it’s hard to tell myself “I could lose” but it’s obviously happened before. I need to focus on Christ and not act or rely on my own abilities like I used to before I was a Catholic. The crazy thing is I have seen God rescue me in several situations where I trusted Him, yet I still get nervous and revert to my own strength without realizing that’s what I’m doing.

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