Life in Christ: Catechism #2309
The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force
require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time: the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success; the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
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