There have been a lot of things flying around the Internet since the Zimmerman verdict. Most of them overly emotional, inflammatory, and obvious props for one political agenda or another. Based on what I have been reading, a great number of poorly catechized Catholics out there on both sides are twisting and misrepresenting the Church teaching on the subject.
While I am not a Priest or Deacon, I can read at a 4th grade level and thereby understand the very simple Catholic teaching on the subject. It all boils down to this one quote:
2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.”65
If you want to read the rest then click here.
The content of anyone’s heart is impossible for anyone to judge but God. For God, intent in ones heart is the crux – are you seeking to stop an attack or are you seeking to kill? One is moral and one is not. The laws in many states attempt to enshrine this morality in their code of justice.
Anytime a life is taken by an act of man, it affects us all. Whether it is right, or wrong, is irrelevant to the grieving family. The person who takes the life is also changed forever as well – whether it was right or wrong, it remains a tragedy and our Heavenly Father weeps for both souls.
The sanctity of life will never be protected by Gun restrictions, more laws, more police, or longer prison sentences. It will only be protected when everyone comes to recognize this simple moral truth that we have lost:
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72
Until the truth of the natural law is recognized, nobody will be safe. All those gun restrictions make you less safe by denying you the right of self-defense, all those laws burden society further, and longer prison sentences just assure that the problem perpetuates itself. We must have the faith to face each other with respectful words not fists, to disagree respectfully instead of threatening force, and treat others with respect and courtesy at all times, and of course when attacked – defend ourselves as appropriate with appropriate and moral force in keeping with the Catechism.
It is in setting this example for our children and communities that we will find the peace and security we seek, not in the machinations of the state, nor in a restriction of liberties which simply make us weaker, angrier, and more wary of intent of our fellow human beings.
Imagine what might have happened if one night a neighborhood watchman asked a youth, “Excuse me young man, I don’t recognize you – could you please explain your business here?”. Then imagine if the youth replied, “Of course Sir, I’m going to wait for my father at his girlfriends house #123 on Blueberry Lane”. My point is, that respect alone by both parties could have prevented a tragedy – and that is why God weeps for all of us – his prodigal children.