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Catholic Dictionary




The killing of another human being by a person acting on his or her own initiative. The term is ambiguous because of its indiscriminate use, especially in countries where direct abortion, which is voluntary homicide, is legalized. Church law distinguishes voluntary homicide, which is murder, from other forms that may be more or less culpable but are not the unjust killing of an innocent person. (Etym. Latin homo, man + -cidium, a killing.)