Violence for the greater good: right or wrong


Im having some difficulty understanding this, mainly stemming from another thread where violence against abortion providers was brought up, I recognize most people believe this to be wrong and detrimental to actually stopping abortion, and I understand where they are coming from. I want to make it clear, I do not condone or support such violence, but also recognize this is a 2 way street…

…Then, when we hear about all the terrible things ISIS does, many of these same people support killing the radicals, bombing them to oblivion, cutting off their heads, etc etc. Some support and encourage the US military to take action, which would be using violence in support of the greater good…right?

Another thing, I recall when Osama Bin Laden was killed by Seal team 6, after this happened, many people were celebrating, there were even calls to show the video of him being killed on the news, I know they were celebrating because of all the lives lost in 9-11, but abortion has taken 50 million+ lives…why would someone not celebrate an abortion dr being killed in the same regard? The only thing I can figure is, the killing of OBL was a popular thing, where abortion is not…???

So I guess what Im asking is, how can one support and encourage the use of violence in ONE case (if its for the greater good), but in another case, say its totally wrong? I suppose the question of whether or not the cause is ‘just’ would determine the answer to this, but I cannot imagine God would consider murdering the unborn to be an ‘unjust’ cause?


The Church does teach there is such a thing as a just war, so you’re onto something.

However, these topics quickly get political. Sometimes, we need to separate worldly politics from spirituality or spiritual concepts.

That said, I think it also depends on the situation. For example, ISIS cannot be stopped by means outside of war. Abortion can be stopped, or limited, by means outside of war.



Whilst I accept that within our society, violence against abortion clinics is considered detrimental to the cause of defeating this evil, and I can understand the reasoning, I would like to point out an incongruity in our civilised legal system that appears in need of answers.

If I see a woman or a man about to kill a child of any age by cutting it up in the street, both morally and legally I would be permitted to stop this even if it meant some reasonable damage to the perpetrator in the defence of the child.
If however, I am absolutely sure that this killing is being done on private property, I am not at liberty to interfere just so long as the child is under the protection of its mother’s skin.

On face value, our civilization and its laws appear to protect property rights more than it does the right to life, which is far more fundamental than the right to own property.

What is the morality of destroying the means of destruction of innocent humans. We are happy to celebrate the destruction of ISIS munitions dumps and even combatants within a just war. What is the moral absolute that protects the tools and infrastructure of the abortionists in the eyes of Christians?

I oppose all violence against individuals, except in self-defence, the protection of my loved ones and a just war. What is the status of innocent children not related to me within this moral framework? Who is my neighbour?

I do not oppose the destruction of property used in the commission of the killing of innocents. Why do we live happily protecting property rights of killers and still say we oppose abortion? Are we doing enough?

I have worked for the Right to Life as a lawyer in Australia all my life to see the end of this unjust legal loophole. I feel utterly useless in my failure. Am I doing enough?




**The most innocent person ever to live was unjustly arrested. His best friend attempted to come to His aid by attacking one of the arresting party.
But that innocent person refused to allow this and rebuked His friend.

I think that this true story provides a lesson to us about “defense of the innocent” through any kind of violence.
Furthermore, it must be noted that the innocent person of this story had the power to defend Himself and could have killed His abusers at any time, but refused to do so.
He calls us to take up our own crosses and follow His example.**


Violence is only justified as a LAST resort. When all other options have been tried and failed. such as when you are dealing with the rabidly insane and violent (e.g. ISIS) or the dangerous and unrepentant (like a criminal).

The notion of “for the greater good” is always disingenuous and is used to lull the non-thinking masses into complacent agreement. You see politicians sell the “it’s for the children” or the “for the good of the people” every time they pass legislation that impoverishes the wallets or removes the liberties of the individual.

What are the “people” if not lots of individuals?

If it is bad for one person, it is bad for many.


1 of 2 CCC:

2302 By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill,"94 our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.

Anger is a desire for revenge. “To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,” but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution "to correct vices and maintain justice."95 If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, "Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."96

2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."97

2304 Respect for and development of human life require peace. Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is "the tranquillity of order."98 Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity.99

2305 Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic "Prince of Peace."100 By the blood of his Cross, "in his own person he killed the hostility,"101 he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. "He is our peace."102 He has declared: "Blessed are the peacemakers."103

2306 Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death.104


2 of 2 CCC

2308 All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.

However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed."106

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

  • the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

  • all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

  • there must be serious prospects of success;

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

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine.

The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

2310 Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens the obligations necessary for national defense.

Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.107

2311 Public authorities should make equitable provision for those who for reasons of conscience refuse to bear arms; these are nonetheless obliged to serve the human community in some other way.108

2312 The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. "The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties."109

2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.

Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide.


When we defend right to life, we are taking the high road. People who give their lives for the cause are those who work for right to life groups, those who take their free time to march for a change in laws, and those who try to change people’s minds about when life begins.

I know it is quandary, but to kill an abortionist would take away that person’s right to life. Some former abortionists are now effective spokespersons for the right to life movement (see links). . .

I don’t think that to destroy property would change mindsets. I agree that we can’t wait for everyone to see the light, but to get the right laws passed, the more people who believe the unborn are human and not to be killed, the better.

Literature has helped in the past to change people’s minds, such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, did for slavery. (Unfortunately, the slavery issue was not resolved until the US Civil War).

The well-known videos of Planned Parenthood made by the Center for Medical Progress must have made some headway in people’s opinions. Link to investigative videos here: .

A movie called Maafa 21 talks about how Planned Parenthood has affected minorities in the US by putting abortion clinics in higher percentages in minority neighborhoods. The trailer for the movie is at this link: .

I have written a fiction book which is free online and is called Biotech Swirl. It is a medical thriller and it stresses that life starts at conception and that every human being is an amazingly complex work of God’s creative ability. It can be read online or downloaded and the link is here: .

We all need to use our gifts to continue to fight against this current terrible status.


Yes, ‘just war’ was something I thought was a pretty good defense of an actual war on abortion, I mean, how long have we tried to stop it by other means and methods (decades), at what point do they say, OK, all our efforts have failed, time to try the next step? In the case of the US choosing to send in troops against an enemy, this can be as short as a couple weeks, they try diplomatic means and some other tactics, but usually they resort to violence, military pretty quick (when it comes to terrorism at least)…plus how do they know something else would not work unless they give it time? Prayer is said to be more powerful than any of us can imagine.

A war on abortion would be different though, it would make the church and the secular Govt enemies, which, at many times in history has been the case, but I dont see it happening in our times. I think overall, majority of people are more concerned with mans laws than Gods laws, as violating mans laws has immediate consequences, and directly impacts ones quality of life.


Was John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry morally justified? I think so since he was trying to free the slaves. Think about this question.


He apparently “fanned flames North and South over the emotional issue of slavery. . .John Brown’s soul went marching on — soon to be followed by the souls of millions — into the abyss of civil war.” ~Dennis E. Frye, the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. ~

I think we all want to avoid another civil war, What is being done is actually working, slowly, The numbers of abortions are shrinking, and the younger generation is becoming more and more pro-life.
Most of the country is horrified at the repugnant practices of Planned Parenthood – of those who are aware of such things.

As for John Brown, Frederick Douglass tried to dissuade him from his plan, and refused to join him, believing it a suicide mission. It may have been morally justified, but it was foolish and involved killing innocent bystanders.



So, since killing was involved, this was wrong, and he should not be viewed as a hero…right?


The 5th Commandment prohibits all direct killing but the Church over time eventually came to admit the possibility of two exceptions - when one is defending ones own life and when the supreme authority of the State exercises the right of capital punishment to protect the “life” of the state. These are not examples of “direct” killing.

These exceptions have certain conditions that must be met:

  • the person we kill must not be “innocent” (i.e. he is an unjust aggressor towards us and the aggression is clear and present)
  • the violence we exercise against our aggressor must be proportional (ie only enough as is needed to stop the aggression). Sometimes that may require lethal force.
  • we may not directly intend the death in malice. What we directly intend is protection of our own life or that of our loved ones.

In more recent times the Church has repeatedly taught that, given the ease of containing violent criminals, that capital punishment by the State can no longer be justified.


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