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Old 18th April 2010, 12:55 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,590

There is a certain approach to the question of whether lying is always wrong, which is to base the morality of lying on whether or not the other person is owed the truth. In this approach, if someone is doing evil, then it is claimed that telling falsehoods to that person is not a type of lying. But this approach is contrary to the teaching of the Church on intrinsic evil.

Lying has an evil moral object, because God is truth. And so lying is inherently immoral. Like all intrinsically evil acts, lying is defined by its moral object, not by intention and circumstances.

The intention to avoid harm, whether harming someone's feelings or grave harm to the innocent, never justifies any intrinsically evil act.

The circumstance that harm might result if one does not lie cannot change the moral object. Lying remains immoral; it is always at least a venial sin.

Any approach which defines lying based on the intention or the circumstances has the effect of nullifying the teaching of the Church that intrinsically evil acts are independent of intention or circumstances.
Ron Conte
Roman Catholic theologian
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