Other Names: Single combat
Affair of honour
Provocation of fights
Nature: A pre-arranged regulated contest between two persons with deadly weapons with the intent of settling a quarrel or vindicating a point of honour. A duel is not self defence or a quarrel. It is not a public duel where two men fight rather than two armies, for instance, David and Goliath or Hector and Achilles. One or both people are killed usually because of some social slight.
Claim: Those, moreover, who provoke a private combat or accept one when challenged, deliberately and unnecessarily intend to take a life or at least wound an adversary. Furthermore, divine law prohibits anyone from risking his life rashly, exposing himself to grave and evident danger when not constrained by duty or generous charity. In the very nature of the duel, there is plainly blind temerity and contempt for life. There can be, therefore, no obscurity or doubt in anyone's mind that those who engage in battle privately and singly take upon themselves a double guilt, that of another's destruction and the deliberate risk of their own lives. Finally, there is hardly any pestilence more deadly to the discipline of civil society and perversive to the just order of the state than that license be given to citizens to defend their own rights privately and singly and avenge their honor which they believe has been violated. Fear is not a just excuse for those who accept the challenge of a duel. They are afraid that they will be publicly disgraced as cowards if they refuse. Lastly, the baseness of duelling is so evident, that in our time, despite the approval and patronage of many, legislators have felt bound to repress it by public authority and published penalties. What is so perverse and destructive in this case is that the written laws for the most part are evaded in substance and in deed; and this often happens with the knowledge and silence of those whose duty it is to punish the guilty and see to it that the laws are enforced. Thus it happens that frequently duels are fought and go unpunished, mocking the law. Absurd, certainly, and unworthy of a sensible man is the belief of those who think that civilians are to be prevented from these contests, yet recommend that they be permitted to the military because, they maintain, such experience sharpens military valor. (Papal Writings, Pastoralis Officii, 1891).
Problem Type: F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update 15.06.2018 – 06:34 CEST