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Ukrainian Church leader: Christians have duty to defend their nation

July 22, 2014

The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church told youth taking part in a pilgrimage that Christians have a duty to defend their nation against military aggression.

“We never fought wars of conquest, and now do not attack other people, but we have a sacred duty to defend our country,” said Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, according to a report from the Religious Information Service of Ukraine. “Sometimes it happens that the wicked invader cannot be stopped other than answering with arms to arms, and this is a tragedy.”

The Christian, he added, “has a right to defend his land. I cannot speak about the right to kill, but a right to protection. And the Church of God will ask for God’s mercy for a man ready to sacrifice his life defending his country, even with radical means, and for the healing of the wound that the murder might inflict to his heart.”


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jul. 22, 2014 9:12 AM ET USA

    Murder? Since when is defending innocent human life to the point at which an aggressor's attack results in his own death considerd murder? Someone needs to review the principle of double effect. There is nothing unjust about defending the life of someone who is under mortal attack. The moral object on the part of the defender is to stop the attack and save a life. The possible death of the aggressor is an unintended consequence of the defense and a risk taken by an aggressor who chooses it.