Is it permissible according to the Catholic Church to kill in self defence?


This does not personally apply to my circumstances as I live in a country where gun ownership is illegal etc,but I read this terrible story about two journalists who were kidnapped in Somalia.
The journalists attempted to make an escape and ran to a local mosque where a sympathetic “parishioner” handed the male journalist a gun to defend against the kidnappers who were in pursuit.
The journalist for some reason refused the gun and said he couldn’t kill anyone.
I wonder what Catholics are meant to do in such a circumstance-would killing for self defence be ok in such circumstances?
My guess is it would be,but I don’t know for sure.



Yes, self defence is permitted even if it requires fatal force.

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.


I have heard so many reports of journalist being kidnapped and tortured. To have escaped was something you do not hear of often… They have every right to protect their lives even if it means the loss of the life of those who held them…No one has the right to take another life except in extreme cases, or protecting their families . Of course if there is a way to disable the other person without it resulting in death that would be appropriate. I pray God that people will never have to go that far. Life is a gift from God to you and I and we have a purpose and this should never be taken away from us by anyone but God…God bless.


The Church has always supported the right of self defense.


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