Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XLI.: OF ASSAULT AND BATTERY. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION XLI.: OF ASSAULT AND BATTERY. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF ASSAULT AND BATTERY.
Article I.—Is assault and battery always sinful?
R. As contention means a conflict, so assault and battery means a conflict in deeds. Assault and battery is a sort of private war between private persons, not sanctioned by any public authority, but prompted by a disordered will. And therefore an assault always involves sin. And in the party who assails another unjustly, it is a mortal sin; for to do hurt to another by work of hand is not without mortal sin.1 But in him who defends himself the act may be without sin, and it may be a venial sin, and it may be a mortal sin, according to the different motion of his mind and different manner of defending himself. For if he defends himself with the mere purpose of repelling the wrong offered, and with due moderation, it is not a sin, nor can it be properly called assault and battery on his part. But if he defends himself with a purpose of vengeance or hatred, or beyond the bounds of due moderation, it is always sinful,—a venial sin when some slight motion of anger or vengeance blends itself with the act, or when it does not go much beyond the bounds of moderate defence; a mortal sin, when you rise up against your assailant with mind resolved to kill him or do him grievous hurt.
[1 ]If the hurt be serious. Hurting a man in the middle ages meant something more than putting him to slight pain. (Trl.)