Termination of Life for the common good

The Fifth Commandment is clear. Thou Shalt not kill. But a friend of mine said, “If life termination is necessary for the common good, it may be justified. The Church in medieval era condoned killing of the anti-Christ.”

What say you, Catholics?

What example is a “necessity for the common good” to murder someone?

Ask your friend for a source for that statement. Is it a historical position, or a rumor against “the Church” forty generations removed?

Remember, something quite similar was said in the Gospel: better that one man should die than that the people should perish! Everybody knows how that ended!


What did the Church actually say about killing the anti-Christ?

People always say stuff, bit when it comes to backing it up, they can’t. My husbandr’s cousin’s sister who was married to someone whose father left the Church because they worship saints… not a good source, and yet everyone will believe that Catholics worship saints!

Actually, this is a misconception. The commandment is more closely translate do “thou shalt not murder,” implying the taking of an -innocent- life. The distinction is an important one. The taking of an innocent life is far different from the execution of a man who has done irreparable harm to society, or the death of an enemy combatant in wartime, who has chosen to take up arms against you and yours. (well, generally chosen… I’m not sure how this would apply to draftees…)

The church condones the death penalty for serious crimes when incarceration is not possible. It would condone executing the ‘anti-Christ’ only if such individual were duly convicted of a capital crime.

:thumbsup: This, also the Church does not prohibit killing in self defense of self or family, it is NOT a sin.

The commandment is “Thou shall not murder” where murder = taking an innocent’s life.

“Thou shalt not kill” was what I got in Catholic school.


this line of thought comes from a utilitarian mind set. The common good is all that matters maximum utility is all that matters.

Plus what is the common good for the Catholic Church?

simple that all members of society are having their highest good met and that highest good is that they all have their physical spiritual and intellectual needs met that they are all treated with the same dignity, etc.

saying that murder can be justified for the common good is absurd because the Church’s view of the common good is not a strict collective common good. Rather it is the common good can only be met when everyone on an individual level is obtaining their highest good aka treated with equal dignity.

Read The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis.

Just war is sometimes necessary. World War II is a good example.

Everyone should be treated with dignity but there are those who publicly wish to deny their own dignity.

There are small groups of people who believe the planet is overpopulated. Life has little value when it is killed in the womb or is killed in a lab. Until we recognize this assault on the human person, we are living two lives.

Without the right to life, no other rights apply.


all I was trying to do is define the Churches definition of common good and apply it to the termination of life.

self defense wouldn’t take away someone’s dignity so it wouldn’t hurt the common good.

BTW I have read parts of the abolition of man.

also my understanding of the common good comes church documents, specifically the compendium on catholic social teaching.

If Nation A credibly announces that it will launch a nuclear missile tomorrow against Nation B, then it would be within Nation B’s moral rights to defend itself “for the common good.”

If someone is firing a gun at a crowd, I hope that a good marksman will incapacitate him (or her), even if in the process kills the person. That is not murder.

However, what the “common good” may be in any given circumstance is not subjective. It can’t be used an excuse for immoral acts.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the 5th Commandment:

The Catechism on the Common Good:

1925 The common good consists of three essential elements: respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of society; the peace and security of the group and of its members.

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