You Shall Not Kill

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Johannes Ude
Ingrid M. Leder
  • Eugene, OR: 
    Wipf & Stock Publishers
    , November
     324 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Because the Catholic Church, other Christian churches, and almost every national government permit exceptions to God's commandment that "you shall not kill," Johannes Ude examines Catholic moral law to discern whether this commandment has absolute validity or may be modified so that in certain instances it is permissible to kill another human being. Written clandestinely during the Hitler regime, the book examines the generally accepted Catholic teachings of moral theologians and philosophers and finds that while they almost always reject abortion, suicide, sterilization, and the killing of terminally ill or mentally disabled persons, they justify the death penalty and "just defensive" wars.

Ude concludes that because Christ commanded to love one's neighbors, including one's enemies, "You shall not kill" does not permit any exceptions and denies not only the right but especially the duty of self-defense, and, consequently, repudiates all wars. Ude firmly believes that the highest authority of the Catholic Church must forbid its members to fight in wars. He vehemently opposes the taking of interest (usury) and names capitalism a major cause of war, along with the weapons industry, competition for oil, and the complicity of Christian churches.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Johannes Ude (1874-1965), an Austrian priest and university professor who earned doctorates in theology, philosophy, economics, and the natural sciences, wrote more than 150 books and pamphlets. A prominent figure in the international pacifist movement, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twelve times--once by Albert Schweitzer. In the more than four thousand speeches he gave throughout Europe, he emphasized that providing for a dignified existence for every human being is a prerequisite for peace. For this and other views he was imprisoned under Hitler.


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