Just a question

If someone killed someone with a gun while someone was hold a gun to the shooter’s head forcing them to kill or be killed, would full consent be present. This is kind of a silly question but I am curious. It’s not likely to come up.

??? Why is this even a question?

What you describe is duress and yes, duress *can *reduce the culpability of the sinner.

That said, we cannot presume either way here. With a gun to my head, I may be fearful and feel duress. But equally, if I am able to comprehend the choice before me - kill or be killed - I may still have sufficient freedom to make that choice and be responsible for it.

If the duress limits my free thinking so that I instinctively just pull the trigger to save my own life, then perhaps I lack the deliberate consent to make it a personal mortal sin.

However, if I contemplate my precarious situation and decide that I’d rather kill than be killed, and then choose to pull the trigger, I have made a choice and am responsible for the mortal sin I commit.

This situation happens essentially in war all the time… they may not be right next to each other but, one has to shoot and kill or be shot first,… according to the Church such a thing is not a mortal sin, especially in a just war such as WWII.

Circumstances by themselves do not determine culpability. Consent is something that happens interiorly. You can be under threat of violence and still fully consent to committing violence (i.e. will it directly). Granted, most people in that situation would not be acting with full freedom, but someone *could *do so (e.g. if he actually wanted the third person dead or took pleasure in that thought).

It’s very different. In (just) war, it is a matter of self defense that makes such killing acceptable.

In the OP’s scenario, it is not self defense to kill another person. You may kill the unjust agressor (the person with the gun to your head), but not a third party. It is not the same thing as in war.

One could I suppose take the honorable choice and be killed and at least be on the way to sainthood.

While he is given an option where the best choice would obviously be to avoid directly committing an intrinsically evil act, it is difficult to see how he would maintain total and free consent of his will under those circumstances. I would say no, full consent would not be present. Of course, it is possible that consent could be there depending on the interior disposition of the person.

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