LEO XIII 1878-1903

Assistance of a Physician or of a Confessor at a Duel *


[From the Response of the Holy Office to the Bishop of Poitiers, May 31, 1884]


To the question:


  1. Can a physician when invited by duelists assist at a duel with the intention of bringing an end to the fight more quickly, or simply to bind and cure wounds, without incurring the excommunication reserved simply to the Highest Pontiff?


  1. Can he at least, without being present at the duel, stay at a neighboring house or in a place nearby, ready to offer his service, if the duelists have need of it.


III. What about a confessor under the same conditions?


The answers are:


To I, he cannot, and excommunication is incurred.


To II and III, that, insofar as it takes place as described, he cannot, and likewise excommunication is incurred.


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