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Catechism of the Catholic Church
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By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill,"93 our
Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as
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."96
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."97 Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity.98
2305 Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic "Prince of Peace."99 By the blood of his Cross, "in his own person he killed the hostility,"100 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."101 He has declared: "Blessed are the peacemakers."102
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.103
2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war.104
All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.
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:
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the
"just war" doctrine.
Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens
the obligations necessary for national defense.
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."108
Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated
2314 "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation."109 A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes.
2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. the arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations;110 it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.
2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. the short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.
2317 Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war:
Insofar as men are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself will be vanquished and these words will be fulfilled: "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."111
93 Mt 5:21.
94 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 158, 1 ad 3.
95 Mt 5:22.
96 Mt 5:44-45.
97 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 19, 13, 1: PL 41, 640.
98 Cf. Isa 32:17; cf. GS 78 ## 1-2.
99 Isa 9:5.
100 Eph 2:16 J.B.; cf. Col 1:20-22.
101 Eph 2:14.
102 Mt 5:9.
103 Cf. GS 78 # 5.
104 Cf. GS 81 # 4.
105 GS 79 # 4.
106 Cf. GS 79 # 5.
107 Cf. GS 79 # 3.
108 GS 79 # 4.
109 GS 80 #3.
110 Cf. Paul VI, PP 53.
111 GS 78 # 6; cf. Isa 2:4.
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