As Christians are we suppose to "turn your cheek" when someone hits you on the street?
When Jesus said in Matthew 5:39 “When someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek” he was not speaking literally. We know this because when Jesus was struck in the cheek here is what he said (John 18:22-23):
“When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, "Is that how you answer the high priest?" 23. Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"
In Acts 23:34 Paul was also struck on the face and here is what he said:
“And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3. Then Paul said to him, "God shall strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?"
What the Church teaches is that we are suppose to live with forgiveness in our hearts. Even if someone has hurt us we should be ready to forgive that person who wants to reconcile with us. Obviously there are people that have “toxic personalities” and their very present amongst us is a “near occasion of sin.” You should remove yourself from those types of persons.
Many of us are familiar with the Gospel story where Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion. A Centurion was in charge of 100 soldiers, he was the equivalent of a sergeant. This story is recorded in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. In Matthew, we are told that the centurion came to Jesus to plead for the healing of his servant. Jesus said He was willing to come to the centurion’s house, but the centurion said there was no need for Jesus to do so. He believed that if Jesus simply spoke the word, his servant would be healed. Marveling at the man’s faith, Jesus pronounced the servant healed. Jesus tells him “Go, be it done for you as you have believed” (cf. Matt 8:5-13). Luke tells a similar story. Jesus didn’t say, “you better quit the military & throw your sword away because I want you to be a pacifist.” In Luke 22:36 Jesus says: “And let him who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.” (Don’t quote this verse – it could be a metaphor cause our Lord tells the apostles not to use a sword in verse 49-51). In fact Romans 13:1-8 says that a soldier is God’s servant for your good, but if you do wrong be afraid of him cause he does not carry his sword for looks, he carries a sword to execute God’s wrath on the evildoers.
Finally, the Church doesn’t teach us to be “pacifist” (doormats). Self defense is clearly stated as a part of Catholic teaching in the Catechism (paragraph 2263).
Again, regarding your question there is no CATHOLIC ANSWER but I am simply giving you principles to think about and take this to prayer and ask Lord for some guidance in this area. Go before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and talk to HIM about this situation - he will speak to you in the quietness of your heart or HE may even speak to you through this email.
By the way, 1/3 of the soldiers in the Middle East are Catholic, which goes to show you that you can fight and be a good Catholic.
In fact, if Catholics would not have fought back against the Muslims during the Crusades the entire world would be Muslim today and we would all be bowing 5 times a day to Mecca with our rear up in the air. Bless those brave Catholic Crusaders that showed courage and chivalry against the evil threat of Islam.
St Nicolaus allegedly punched the heretic Arius in the face at the Council of Nicea: http://taylormarshall.com/2011/12/saint-nicholas-allegedly-punched-this.....
Finally in answer to your question, years ago when I was much younger and less wise, I may have punch a loudmouth who was insulting me in the mouth. But that scenario has never happened to me. Now I would probably take the moral high ground and just stand there and pray for him, however if he got close enough and I felt he was a threat, than the gloves would come off. Hope that helps.
God Bless you and keep the faith, it is more precious than silver and gold