The self defense is a bivalent topic. At the light of the juridical classification it seems to be definite. But, when we go on to the casuistry and the practical cases, the application of the legitimate self defense is vague, tough and, probably, disconcerting.
And, in the moments in which the personal integrity or the patrimony are threatened by a violent theft, the defensive reaction must be directed by the mental clarity, the moral courage, the forcefulness and the rapidity. The psychologists speak about the blockade of the conscious, rational mind, in these cases, giving pass to the instinctive mind. But this can be modulated by a generic training, since the practical possibilities are innumerable.
It is said that the reaction to the attacker must be proportional to the hurt or prejudice for that one looks. And to the weapons or means that he uses in his clash with us. But, as everything what wants to be specified in excess, for agents out of the practical context and that elude the integration of the complex human psychology in their expositions, the application conceals and stops for explaining numerous probabilities.
What to do if the attacker takes a hidden weapon? To turn out to be the first and unarmed, throwing him of house? Does the external appearance of the attacker, exhibit clearly his intentions, trainings and capacities? Because, already it is necessary to have surpluses audacity and aggressiveness (is it a psychopathology?) to penetrate in a foreign house to stealing, mutilating, kidnapping, damaging always.
Already it is known that, if clearly he flees, it is not necessary to to attack him, but, if he is armed with a cane, can he leave with everything what he wants?
Which one exhibits major attacking power and efficiency, a young man used in the robbery with a stick of 1,2 m., an elder with a shotgun, or a sedentary gentleman with a kitchen knife? It is clear that the major ones need more menacing and forceful means for the defense. But, where is this specified? The attackers are more acquainted with their methods and weapons, but the common people are not in the habit of training for the defense. And everybody acts as he trains, in the menacing and unexpected moments of great tension. How do jurists value this?
Already I would like that some lucid jurists were explaining to us with practical cases, how it is necessary to react, just following their real example.
Also similar it is the topic of the legitimate self defense of a society, at the light of the morality that traditionally we have in Europe and America.
We have the case of the Somalians pirates still alive. The being theoretically poor, does it gives them right to pillage the others? Are not them the last persons in charge of whom Somalia is a state without organization, neither order? It has been said that we do not have nowadays a legislation that allows to prosecute the pirates in international or national waters (of them). So, why do not the attorneys of the State and the legislators make and approve the laws that allow us to defend us effectively? Those who want to extend the topic can read our article «Los Piratas Somalíes».
Social and Religious Precedents of the Legitimate Self Defense from the Judaic Origins in the Former Testament.
Without going to the extension of the Old Testament, we can talk something about the doctrine of the just war and the self defense and the pardon, from the Scriptures and a logical hermeneutic.
In the Old Testament we can see that, after give to Moses the Tables of the Law in the Sinai mount, the Lord inspires in the Levitic, Numbers and Deuteronomy books, what we might call the «regulation» of the God’s Law, the “Ten Commandments”.
In Deuteronomy, chapter 20, verses 1 to 20, we can see what can be consider the «theocratic law for the Jewish war».
«When you go out to do the war against your enemies and see the horses and war chariots of a people more numerous that you, do not be afraid, as your God, which extracted you from Egypt, is with you. When you are going to begin combat, the priest will go forward and will speak this way to the army: «… Today you go to fighting against your enemies; do not be afraid, do not tremble …, because your God goes in front of you to fight against your enemies and to give you the victory».
Then the chiefs will say to the people: «…that than have commitment of marriage and is not yet married, should turns to his house, do not be that he dies in the combat and other one takes his wife; the one that is afraid and there gets frightened, that turns to his house, in order that he does not infect the cowardice to his brothers». On having stopped speaking to the people, the chiefs will place to their front.
When you approach a city to attack her, you will offer first to her the peace. If he accepts it and opens her doors to you, all her population will become tributary and will serve you. If she rejects the peace, you will besiege it. Your God will give it to you and you will go on to knife to all her males. You will take it with you the women, the children, the cattle and what exists in the city. And will enjoy the booty of your enemies that your God has given you.
You will do this with the cities that are very distant (in Syria, in the Transjordania) and that do not belong to these nations (of Palestine, name of the land of the Philistines, the men of the sea). As for the cities of these nations that your God gives you as homestead, you will not leave in them alive anything of all that breathes; you will give to the anathema these peoples, the jeteos, amorreos, cananeos, fereceos, jeveos and jebuseos. As your God has ordered you, in order that you do not learn to imitate the abominations, to which these peoples submit for their gods and do not sin against your God».
The Lord rather prohibited the death of the innocent, like the murder, the unjust death. Someone altered the sense of «you will not kill the innocent» …
John the Baptizer was preaching in the Jordan a baptism with water, of penance, preparing the way of the souls towards the Lord, who was coming to redeem them. «There a group of soldiers were asking him, “and we what have to do”? He answered them: «neither exact anybody, do not denounce falsely and be satisfy with your pays» Saint Luc. 3, 14. The Baptizer (who so much publicly lashed Herodes, only for being in concubinage with Herodias, the woman of his brother, end who led him to being beheaded) did not ask the troops to leave the weapons and to be dispersed or to dedicate to humanitarian actions type «Mary Complaisant». An Army is not a Non Government Organization… He said to them that should behave with honesty in their jobs of dislocating legally the combat capacity of the enemies of their Motherland, in order to defend it.
And all this in a land hungry of peace, which was boiling of indignation against the Romans, for their ungodliness and paganism. Where the zealots, guerrillas or armed rebels (Barabbas was probably one of them) were people´s heroes.
The Lord rather prohibited the death of the innocent, or the murder, the unjust death. This is the really sense of «thou shall not kill”. Someone altered it…
«The Jew Easter was close and Jesus came up to Jerusalem. He found the porch of the Temple full with dealers of oxen, sheep and doves and coins changers sat all around. He made a scourge of ropes and then he began to expel all out of the Temple, with their sheep and the oxen and overturned the coins tables of the cambists. He said to the of doves sellers: «Remove this of here; do not do of the House of my Father a cave of thieves». His disciples them remembered the Scripture: «The zeal of your House devours me». Saint John 2, 13 to 17.
The Lord, as a truly man, also has the passion of the wrath, but he controls it and arranges it to the Good. The sin is the disorder, the injustice and the going beyond…
The Jew authorities were interrogating Jesus before Anas and the witnesses were incurring in contradiction, so the accusations being dissolved. “Anas then asked him about his disciples and his doctrine. Jesus answered him: «I have always spoken publicly in the synagogues, in the Temple, where the Jews re-join. Why do you ask me? Ask those that have heard me, what is what I have said». On having said this, one of the guards gave a slap to Jesus saying: “This way do you answer to the Supreme Priest?” Jesus answered him: «If I have spoken evil, demonstrate it; and if I have spoken well, why do you beat me?» Saint John 18, 19 to 23.
The opportune word is stronger than the fists: the guard remained quiet and Anas, the old chief of the Sanhedrin, had to send Jesus before Caiaphas, his son-in-law, who was the Supreme Priest that one year. In order that he begins again the legal pantomime.
It is very curious that the Lord, whose body ended totally swollen and disfigured, deprived even of the last quantum of vital energy and whose heart split up the last drop of blood, which torments he assumed patiently, was answering so forceful to a simple blow in the cheek…
Against the stupidity, the silliness, the unjust complacency or tolerance with the evil and the own weakness, Jesus warns us: «Do not give your pearls to the pigs, because they can trampled them and then turn against you and destroy you» Math. 7, 6.
The Catholic Church does not pardon, does not give the Sacrament of the Reconciliation, which its Matter are the sins of the penitent, if this one does not have intention of the repair of the caused damage. Any mental reserve of the intention would make invalid the Sacrament and to the sins of the penitent, a sacrilege would be added. The repair of the caused damage is to return the stolen money and its interests or to compensate sufficiently the family or the interested party for a murder, a mutilation, a rape, a kidnapping, a false testimony before the judge, a spread calumny. God does not pardon without repairing justice. The Injustice lead to untidy revenge…
Can we see an example of what are you talking from History?
When the Church has held the political power and has felt threatened by an equal or superior enemy power, of course that she has used the weapons. And with good reason, I thought.
Two shining brush-strokes and a final note:
In 1209 the Crusader armies promoted by the Pope Innocence III, came on the verge of Beziers’s city. This one was in the hands of the Cathars (of the Greek katharos, that means «pure») or Albigensiann (Albi’s toponym, one of their many cities). It was a naturist heresy very persistent in the epoch. The Cathars were despising the matter and the human body (so, their supposed spiritual «purity») and, therefore, to their Creator. One of the more famous preachers against the heresy was Saint Domingo de Guzmán.
The army was so powerful that the capture of the city was sure. The chiefs of the troops got to Simón de Monfort, pontifical legacy and supreme chief of the expedition and ashed him:»In the city there are many faithful Christians. When we take it, how we will differ them from the heretics?» Monfort was very clear: «Kill all of them. The Lord God will be able to distinguish them». More than 20 thousand men, women and children were passed by knife after the occupation.
«Si no e vero, e ben trovato». If it is not true, it is very well appropriate. Let’s do the critique. Some authors attribute to Arnaud Amaury, the military chief, a good Cistercian priest, these words. The population of Beziers was around 15 thousand souls. And the refugees with content in her, which were fleeing from the Crusaders’ «spiritual cleanliness» (today we probably would call it the “military roller”), could not be much more than 5 thousand. To kill all the people in the city would be very difficult. But the capture brought an impressive bath of blood, narrated by some witnesses. What seems to be clear is that none of the military or civilian chiefs of the Crusader Forces made for anticipating or prevent it. To say that veteran troops, blessed as Crusaders, do whatever they want and kill without orders (it is not a plunder, in it the hands go away a little). And, therefore, without responsibility of their commands, is absurd and offensive for the human reason.
Let’s see Lepanto’s case. The expansionism and the power of the Sublime Door were evident: By the sea, she was an inconvenient and rapacious neighbor of the western Christian Mediterranean, with enclaves in Tunis and Algeria. By land, she was occupying the Balkans and part of the former Western Roman Germanic Empire was threatening to be devoured.
The only man who saw clear the situation created by the Turkish danger from the first moment was the Pope Saint Pio V. Inclusive Philip II of Spain was very much late in becoming convinced of the need to confront abreast the danger and to aim the Turks an important blow. The capitulations to constitute the Holy League would be delayed until May 25, 1571, due to the disparity of interests and projects. Finally, it was only constituted by the Pontifical States, Spain and Venice. France was away, very earthly, for her hatred and envy towards Spain.
On August 29, 1571, bishop Odescalco, the pontificial legacy, came to Messina, and gave the Apostolic benediction and granted indulgences of Crusade and extraordinary Jubilee to all the men of the Allied Navy, in the name of Pope Saint Pio V. On September 15, Don Juan of Austria arranged the exit of the Allied fleet from port. And by the 26th, the fleet dropped anchor in Corfu. A flotilla went out to reconnaissance the zone.
The case is that Lepanto was staying at the entry of the Corinth gulf, in full territory of old Ottoman authority. Mahommed II, the Conqueror ( Mehmet, in Turk, that of the aquiline nose), holds Morea (the Peloponeso) and conquers Albania, Serbia and Bosnia, in both shores of the gulf, between 1460 and 1476. There we went to get them all. The Pope had promoted a preemptive attack, with the moral conviction of the continuity of the Turkish intentions against Europe. And without existing immediately before a Turkish provocation or a “casus belli”. Pope Pio XII also wrote on the right morality of these preemptive attacks in the first fifties of XX century. I have not found this text in the corresponding library in the Vatican City complex.
On Sunday, the 7th of October in the evening, the Pope was conversing with a group of cardinals in his office. Suddenly, softly captivated, he went out to the balcony. There he received the “intellectual vision” of the Great Christian Victory in this day. The Pope had previously ordered that the Rosary should be prayed fervently in all the Christian lands. Asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, for the Christian victory. In gratefulness, the Pope instituted October 7 as a Church’s Holiday dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary.
Finally, before Nasser’s continuous boasts and all the warlike preparations of the Arabic countries that were surrounding her in a belt of iron, what had been of Israel, if in June, 1967 she had not attacked preventively the Arabic military aviation in ground, being air supremacy guaranteed this way to her in the so called war of Six Days?