Is one ever justified in killing another person, in defence of justice, or in war? Secular law would condemn a killing for the sake of justice but wars have been fought throughout history where killing the so-called enemy is the objective. In Old Testament times God was seen to be on the side of his chosen people, but increasingly war is being seen as intrinsically evil and capital punishment too is being abolished almost universally.
When Mattathias a leader in the community was standing before the king’s men who were forcing the people of Israel to offer sacrifice against their beliefs he stood up and said, “Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him and have chosen to do his commandments, departing each one from the religion of his fathers, yet I and my sons and my brothers will live by the covenant of our fathers.” As he was speaking a Jew did come forward to make the offering and in his anger Mattathias killed him, as well as the king’s officer, and tore up the altar. Chaos broke out and Mattathias, his family and any who would follow him and remain true fled into the mountains to start an uprising against the foreign king. 1 Mac2:15-29.
Pope Francis: Our world is being torn apart by wars and violence and wounded by widespread individualism which divides human beings, setting them against one another as they pursue their own wellbeing. In various countries, conflicts and old divisions from the past are re-emerging. Those wounded by historical divisions find it difficult to accept our invitation to forgiveness and reconciliation since they think we are ignoring their pain or asking them to give up their memory and ideals. EG100