12. Beyond all doubt, in certain cases duelling may constitute a test of physical courage, of disdain for life. But unquestionably it is a proof of moral cowardice, just as suicide is. The suicide has not the courage to face the vicissitudes of life, whereas the duellist cannot support offences. Was it not Christ who said there is more honour and value in presenting the left cheek to he who has hit you on the right, than in avenging an offence? Did He not say to Peter in the Garden of Olives: 'Put away your sword because he who kills with the sword shall also perish by the sword'? In so saying did He not condemn for ever the act of duelling? In fact, my children, what kind of courage comes from a violent disposition, from a bloody and wrathful temperament which bellows at the slightest offence? What greatness can be found in a person who at the least insult believes that only blood can repair the damage? Let him tremble! For, from the bottom of his conscience a voice will persist in saying: "Cain! Cain! What have you done to your brother?" And he will answer that it was necessary to spill blood in order to save his honour. Then the voice will reply: "In the few minutes that remain to you of your earthly life, you thought only to save your honour before men, but you never thought to save it before God!" Poor wretch! How much blood will Christ demand of you for all the violence He has received? Was it not enough that you injured Him with thorns and lances? That you put on Him an infamous garment, and that in the middle of His atrocious agony, you made Him listen to the mockery and derision that was showered upon Him? How many reparations has He asked of you for your many offences? The last cry of the Shepherd was a supplication to God in favour of His torturers! Oh! Be like Him! Forgive and pray for those who offend you.
My friends, remember the precept: 'Love one another.' Then for every blow received through hate, you will be able to reply with a smile and to every affront, you will offer forgiveness. Without doubt the world will rise up in fury and treat you as a coward. So, lift your head up high and show you are not afraid to gird yourself with thorns as Christ did, and that your hand does not wish to be accomplice to an assassination authorized by false ideas of honour, that are nevertheless nothing more than pride and self-conceit When God created Man, did He bestow the right of life and death one over the other? No, this right was given only to Nature for the purpose of reconstruction and reorganization, whereas you are not permitted to dispose even of yourselves. The duellist then, just as the suicide, will find himself marked by blood when he comes before God. For both of these the Supreme Judge will reserve long and harsh penalties. If this same Judge has threatened all who call their fellow beings by the name of Raca, how much more severe will be the punishment for those who reach His presence with the blood of their brothers and sisters on their hands! - SAINT AUGUSTIN (Paris, 1862).