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Catholic Dictionary




The meeting of two parties by private agreement to fight with weapons that can cause death. A duel is undertaken to settle a real or alleged grievance between the contending parties. It is forbidden by the natural law and strictly forbidden by the Catholic Church as partaking of the malice of both suicide and homicide. Dueling is not a case of justifiable self-defense because there is no attack occurring at the time; the injured party may obtain satisfaction through legal or other channels; recourse to deadly weapons is powerless to vindicate one's honor; and dueling is not an apt means of proving one's innocence, since the guilty person may be more skillful than the aggrieved in the use of the weapons selected.