Utrum alicui liceat occidere aliquem se defendendo
Whether it is lawful to kill a man in self-defense?
Ad septimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod nulli liceat occidere aliquem se defendendo. Dicit enim Augustinus, ad Publicolam, de occidendis hominibus ne ab eis quisquam occidatur, non mihi placet consilium, nisi forte sit miles, aut publica functione teneatur, ut non pro se hoc faciat sed pro aliis, accepta legitima potestate, si eius congruat personae. Sed ille qui se defendendo occidit aliquem, ad hoc eum occidit ne ipse ab eo occidatur. Ergo hoc videtur esse illicitum.
Objection 1: It would seem that nobody may lawfully kill a man in self-defense. For Augustine says to Publicola (Ep. xlvii): I do not agree with the opinion that one may kill a man lest one be killed by him; unless one be a soldier, exercise a public office, so that one does it not for oneself but for others, having the power to do so, provided it be in keeping with one’s person. Now he who kills a man in self-defense, kills him lest he be killed by him. Therefore this would seem to be unlawful.
Praeterea, in I de Lib. Arb. dicitur, quomodo apud divinam providentiam a peccato liberi sunt qui pro his rebus quas contemni oportet, humana caede polluti sunt? Eas autem res dicit esse contemnendas quas homines inviti amittere possunt, ut ex praemissis patet. Horum autem est vita corporalis. Ergo pro conservanda vita corporali nulli licitum est hominem occidere.
Obj. 2: Further, he says (De Lib. Arb. i, 5): How are they free from sin in sight of Divine providence, who are guilty of taking a man’s life for the sake of these contemptible things? Now among contemptible things he reckons those which men may forfeit unwillingly, as appears from the context (De Lib. Arb. i, 5): and the chief of these is the life of the body. Therefore it is unlawful for any man to take another’s life for the sake of the life of his own body.
Praeterea, Nicolaus Papa dicit, et habetur in decretis, dist. l, de clericis pro quibus consuluisti, scilicet qui se defendendo Paganum occiderunt, si postea per poenitentiam possent ad pristinum statum redire aut ad altiorem ascendere, scito nos nullam occasionem dare, nec ullam tribuere licentiam eis quemlibet hominem quolibet modo occidendi. Sed ad praecepta moralia servanda tenentur communiter clerici et laici. Ergo etiam laicis non est licitum occidere aliquem se defendendo.
Obj. 3: Further, Pope Nicolas says in the Decretals: Concerning the clerics about whom you have consulted Us, those, namely, who have killed a pagan in self-defense, as to whether, after making amends by repenting, they may return to their former state, or rise to a higher degree; know that in no case is it lawful for them to kill any man under any circumstances whatever. Now clerics and laymen are alike bound to observe the moral precepts. Therefore neither is it lawful for laymen to kill anyone in self-defense.
Praeterea, homicidium est gravius peccatum quam simplex fornicatio vel adulterium. Sed nulli licet committere simplicem fornicationem vel adulterium, vel quodcumque aliud peccatum mortale, pro conservatione propriae vitae, quia vita spiritualis praeferenda est corporali. Ergo nulli licet, defendendo seipsum, alium occidere ut propriam vitam conservet.
Obj. 4: Further, murder is a more grievous sin than fornication or adultery. Now nobody may lawfully commit simple fornication or adultery or any other mortal sin in order to save his own life; since the spiritual life is to be preferred to the life of the body. Therefore no man may lawfully take another’s life in self-defense in order to save his own life.
Praeterea, si arbor est mala, et fructus, ut dicitur Matth. VII. Sed ipsa defensio sui videtur esse illicita, secundum illud Rom. XII, non vos defendentes, carissimi. Ergo et occisio hominis exinde procedens est illicita.
Obj. 5: Further, if the tree be evil, so is the fruit, according to Matt. 7:17. Now self-defense itself seems to be unlawful, according to Rom. 12:19: Not defending yourselves, my dearly beloved. Therefore its result, which is the slaying of a man, is also unlawful.
Sed contra est quod Exod. XXII dicitur, si effringens fur domum sive suffodiens fuerit inventus, et, accepto vulnere, mortuus fuerit, percussor non erit reus sanguinis. Sed multo magis licitum est defendere propriam vitam quam propriam domum. Ergo etiam si aliquis occidat aliquem pro defensione vitae suae, non erit reus homicidii.
On the contrary, It is written (Exod 22:2): If a thief be found breaking into a house or undermining it, and be wounded so as to die; he that slew him shall not be guilty of blood. Now it is much more lawful to defend one’s life than one’s house. Therefore neither is a man guilty of murder if he kill another in defense of his own life.
Respondeo dicendum quod nihil prohibet unius actus esse duos effectus, quorum alter solum sit in intentione, alius vero sit praeter intentionem. Morales autem actus recipiunt speciem secundum id quod intenditur, non autem ab eo quod est praeter intentionem, cum sit per accidens, ut ex supradictis patet. Ex actu igitur alicuius seipsum defendentis duplex effectus sequi potest, unus quidem conservatio propriae vitae; alius autem occisio invadentis. Actus igitur huiusmodi ex hoc quod intenditur conservatio propriae vitae, non habet rationem illiciti, cum hoc sit cuilibet naturale quod se conservet in esse quantum potest. Potest tamen aliquis actus ex bona intentione proveniens illicitus reddi si non sit proportionatus fini. Et ideo si aliquis ad defendendum propriam vitam utatur maiori violentia quam oporteat, erit illicitum. Si vero moderate violentiam repellat, erit licita defensio, nam secundum iura, vim vi repellere licet cum moderamine inculpatae tutelae. Nec est necessarium ad salutem ut homo actum moderatae tutelae praetermittat ad evitandum occisionem alterius, quia plus tenetur homo vitae suae providere quam vitae alienae. Sed quia occidere hominem non licet nisi publica auctoritate propter bonum commune, ut ex supradictis patet; illicitum est quod homo intendat occidere hominem ut seipsum defendat, nisi ei qui habet publicam auctoritatem, qui, intendens hominem occidere ad sui defensionem, refert hoc ad publicum bonum, ut patet in milite pugnante contra hostes, et in ministro iudicis pugnante contra latrones. Quamvis et isti etiam peccent si privata libidine moveantur.
I answer that, Nothing hinders one act from having two effects, only one of which is intended, while the other is beside the intention. Now moral acts take their species according to what is intended, and not according to what is beside the intention, since this is accidental as explained above (Q. 43, A. 3; I-II, Q. 12, A. 1). Accordingly the act of self-defense may have two effects, one is the saving of one’s life, the other is the slaying of the aggressor. Therefore this act, since one’s intention is to save one’s own life, is not unlawful, seeing that it is natural to everything to keep itself in being, as far as possible. And yet, though proceeding from a good intention, an act may be rendered unlawful, if it be out of proportion to the end. Wherefore if a man, in self-defense, uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repel force with moderation his defense will be lawful, because according to the jurists, it is lawful to repel force by force, provided one does not exceed the limits of a blameless defense. Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense in order to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s. But as it is unlawful to take a man’s life, except for the public authority acting for the common good, as stated above (A. 3), it is not lawful for a man to intend killing a man in self-defense, except for such as have public authority, who while intending to kill a man in self-defense, refer this to the public good, as in the case of a soldier fighting against the foe, and in the minister of the judge struggling with robbers, although even these sin if they be moved by private animosity.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod auctoritas Augustini intelligenda est in eo casu quo quis intendit occidere hominem ut seipsum a morte liberet.
Reply Obj. 1: The words quoted from Augustine refer to the case when one man intends to kill another to save himself from death.
In quo etiam casu intelligitur auctoritas inducta ex libro de libero arbitrio. Unde signanter dicitur, pro his rebus, in quo designatur intentio. Et per hoc patet responsio ad secundum.
The passage quoted in the Second Objection is to be understood in the same sense. Hence he says pointedly, for the sake of these things, whereby he indicates the intention. This suffices for the Reply to the Second Objection.
Ad tertium dicendum quod irregularitas consequitur actum homicidii etiam si sit absque peccato, ut patet in iudice qui iuste aliquem condemnat ad mortem. Et propter hoc clericus, etiam si se defendendo interficiat aliquem, irregularis est, quamvis non intendat occidere, sed seipsum defendere.
Reply Obj. 3: Irregularity results from the act though sinless of taking a man’s life, as appears in the case of a judge who justly condemns a man to death. For this reason a cleric, though he kill a man in self-defense, is irregular, albeit he intends not to kill him, but to defend himself.
Ad quartum dicendum quod actus fornicationis vel adulterii non ordinatur ad conservationem propriae vitae ex necessitate, sicut actus ex quo quandoque sequitur homicidium.
Reply Obj. 4: The act of fornication or adultery is not necessarily directed to the preservation of one’s own life, as is the act whence sometimes results the taking of a man’s life.
Ad quintum dicendum quod ibi prohibetur defensio quae est cum livore vindictae. Unde Glossa dicit, non vos defendentes, idest, non sitis referientes adversarios.
Reply Obj. 5: The defense forbidden in this passage is that which comes from revengeful spite. Hence a gloss says: Not defending yourselves—that is, not striking your enemy back.
Utrum aliquis casualiter occidens hominem incurrat homicidii reatum
Whether one is guilty of murder through killing someone by chance?
Ad octavum sic proceditur. Videtur quod aliquis casualiter occidens hominem incurrat homicidii reatum. Legitur enim Gen. IV quod Lamech, credens interficere bestiam, interfecit hominem, et reputatum est ei ad homicidium. Ergo reatum homicidii incurrit qui casualiter hominem occidit.
Objection 1: It would seem that one is guilty of murder through killing someone by chance. For we read (Gen 4:23, 24) that Lamech slew a man in mistake for a wild beast, and that he was accounted guilty of murder. Therefore one incurs the guilt of murder through killing a man by chance.
Praeterea, Exod. XXI dicitur quod si quis percusserit mulierem praegnantem et aborsum fecerit, si mors eius fuerit subsecuta, reddet animam pro anima. Sed hoc potest fieri absque intentione occisionis. Ergo homicidium casuale habet homicidii reatum.
Obj. 2: Further, it is written (Exod 21:22): If . . . one strike a woman with child, and she miscarry indeed . . . if her death ensue thereupon, he shall render life for life. Yet this may happen without any intention of causing her death. Therefore one is guilty of murder through killing someone by chance.
Praeterea, in decretis, dist. l, inducuntur plures canones in quibus casualia homicidia puniuntur. Sed poena non debetur nisi culpae. Ergo ille qui casualiter occidit hominem, incurrit homicidii culpam.
Obj. 3: Further, the Decretals contain several canons prescribing penalties for unintentional homicide. Now penalty is not due save for guilt. Therefore he who kills a man by chance, incurs the guilt of murder.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, ad Publicolam, absit ut ea quae propter bonum ac licitum facimus, si quid per haec, praeter nostram voluntatem, cuiquam mali acciderit, nobis imputetur. Sed contingit quandoque ut propter bonum aliquid facientibus homicidium consequatur casualiter. Ergo non imputatur facienti ad culpam.
On the contrary, Augustine says to Publicola (Ep. xlvii): When we do a thing for a good and lawful purpose, if thereby we unintentionally cause harm to anyone, it should by no means be imputed to us. Now it sometimes happens by chance that a person is killed as a result of something done for a good purpose. Therefore the person who did it is not accounted guilty.
Respondeo dicendum quod, secundum philosophum, in II Physic., casus est causa agens praeter intentionem. Et ideo ea quae casualia sunt, simpliciter loquendo, non sunt intenta neque voluntaria. Et quia omne peccatum est voluntarium, secundum Augustinum, consequens est quod casualia, inquantum huiusmodi, non sunt peccata.
I answer that, According to the Philosopher (Phys. ii, 6) chance is a cause that acts beside one’s intention. Hence chance happenings, strictly speaking, are neither intended nor voluntary. And since every sin is voluntary, according to Augustine (De Vera Relig. xiv) it follows that chance happenings, as such, are not sins.
Contingit tamen id quod non est actu et per se volitum vel intentum, esse per accidens volitum et intentum, secundum quod causa per accidens dicitur removens prohibens. Unde ille qui non removet ea ex quibus sequitur homicidium, si debeat removere, erit quodammodo homicidium voluntarium. Hoc autem contingit dupliciter, uno modo, quando dans operam rebus illicitis, quas vitare debebat, homicidium incurrit; alio modo, quando non adhibet debitam sollicitudinem. Et ideo secundum iura, si aliquis det operam rei licitae, debitam diligentiam adhibens, et ex hoc homicidium sequatur, non incurrit homicidii reatum, si vero det operam rei illicitae, vel etiam det operam rei licitae non adhibens diligentiam debitam, non evadit homicidii reatum si ex eius opere mors hominis consequatur.
Nevertheless it happens that what is not actually and directly voluntary and intended, is voluntary and intended accidentally, according as that which removes an obstacle is called an accidental cause. Wherefore he who does not remove something whence homicide results whereas he ought to remove it, is in a sense guilty of voluntary homicide. This happens in two ways: first when a man causes another’s death through occupying himself with unlawful things which he ought to avoid: second, when he does not take sufficient care. Hence, according to jurists, if a man pursue a lawful occupation and take due care, the result being that a person loses his life, he is not guilty of that person’s death: whereas if he be occupied with something unlawful, or even with something lawful, but without due care, he does not escape being guilty of murder, if his action results in someone’s death.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod Lamech non adhibuit sufficientem diligentiam ad homicidium vitandum, et ideo reatum homicidii non evasit.
Reply Obj. 1: Lamech did not take sufficient care to avoid taking a man’s life: and so he was not excused from being guilty of homicide.
Ad secundum dicendum quod ille qui percutit mulierem praegnantem dat operam rei illicitae. Et ideo si sequatur mors vel mulieris vel puerperii animati, non effugiet homicidii crimen, praecipue cum ex tali percussione in promptu sit quod mors sequatur.
Reply Obj. 2: He that strikes a woman with child does something unlawful: wherefore if there results the death either of the woman or of the animated fetus, he will not be excused from homicide, especially seeing that death is the natural result of such a blow.
Ad tertium dicendum quod secundum canones imponitur poena his qui casualiter occidunt dantes operam rei illicitae, vel non adhibentes diligentiam debitam.
Reply Obj. 3: According to the canons a penalty is inflicted on those who cause death unintentionally, through doing something unlawful, or failing to take sufficient care.
De peccatis aliarum iniuriarum quae in personam committuntur
Other Injuries Committed on the Person
Deinde considerandum est de peccatis aliarum iniuriarum quae in personam committuntur. Et circa hoc quaeruntur quatuor.
We must now consider other sinful injuries committed on the person. Under this head there are four points of inquiry:
Primo, de mutilatione membrorum.
(1) The mutilation of members;
Secundo, de verberatione.
Tertio, de incarceratione.
Quarto, utrum peccatum huiusmodi iniuriarum aggravetur ex hoc quod committitur in personam coniunctam aliis.
(4) Whether the sins that consist in inflicting such like injuries are aggravated through being perpetrated on persons connected with others?
Utrum mutilare aliquem membro in aliquo casu possit esse licitum
Whether in some cases it may be lawful to maim anyone?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod mutilare aliquem membro in nullo casu possit esse licitum. Damascenus enim dicit, in II libro, quod peccatum committitur per hoc quod receditur ab eo quod est secundum naturam in id quod est contra naturam. Sed secundum naturam a Deo institutam est quod corpus hominis sit integrum membris; contra naturam autem est quod sit membro diminutum. Ergo mutilare aliquem membro semper videtur esse peccatum.
Objection 1: It would seem that in no case can it be lawful to maim anyone. For Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv, 20) that sin consists in departing from what is according to nature, towards that which is contrary to nature. Now according to nature it is appointed by God that a man’s body should be entire in its members, and it is contrary to nature that it should be deprived of a member. Therefore it seems that it is always a sin to maim a person.
Praeterea, sicut se habet tota anima ad totum corpus, ita se habent partes animae ad partes corporis, ut dicitur in II de anima. Sed non licet aliquem privare anima occidendo ipsum, nisi publica potestate. Ergo etiam non licet aliquem mutilare membro, nisi forte secundum publicam potestatem.
Obj. 2: Further, as the whole soul is to the whole body, so are the parts of the soul to the parts of the body (De Anima ii, 1). But it is unlawful to deprive a man of his soul by killing him, except by public authority. Therefore neither is it lawful to maim anyone, except perhaps by public authority.