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Old 26th May 2009, 12:35 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,628
Default lying

Lying is the direct and voluntary assertion of a falsehood. If you do not know that an assertion is false, then you are not knowingly choosing to assert a falsehood, and so you are not lying. Any assertion of a falsehood is a disorder (termed 'physical evil'), since God is truth, but such an assertion is only a moral disorder (sin) if it is knowingly chosen.

Lying is intrinsically evil and always immoral. It is never moral to lie, nor for any purpose, not in any circumstance.

St. Catherine of Siena: "The light of discretion (which proceeds from love, as I have told thee) gives to the neighbor a conditioned love, one that, being ordered aright, does not cause the injury of sin to self in order to be useful to others, for, if one single sin were committed to save the whole world from Hell, or to obtain one great virtue, the motive would not be a rightly ordered or discreet love, but rather indiscreet, for it is not lawful to perform even one act of great virtue and profit to others, by means of the guilt of sin."

Mental reservation is an assertion or omission, which is not a falsehood, but which either omits a particular truth, or makes a true assertion that has as a consequence that someone may misunderstand what is said. This misunderstanding must be an unintended consequence, since it is never moral to intend that someone believe what is false (since God is truth). The only intention in mental reservation is some act of justice, such as to withhold a truth which the other person has no right to know, to prevent harm to an innocent person, etc.

Now some persons claim that mental reservation can be used such that the assertion itself is false, but the person mentally adds an unstated qualification that makes the assertion true. This idea was condemned by the Holy See under Pope Innocent XI.

Every direct and voluntary false assertion is a lie. Lying is always a sin.

Mental reservation is not always moral; it depends on the intention and circumstances. All three fonts of morality must be good for any act to be moral. The intention must not be to deceive someone into believing a falsehood. The intention must always be good in all our acts in order to avoid sin. The good consequences must outweigh the bad consequences.

We can compare direct abortion to lying, since both are intrinsically evil. Of course, abortion is a grave matter, whereas lying may be only venial. But otherwise the comparison is useful.

Abortion is intrinsically evil when it is direct and voluntary (i.e. a chosen act). Indirect abortion is sometimes moral (when the death of the prenatal is the indirect result of a moral act, such as treating cancer). Spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) is not a chosen act, i.e. not voluntary, and so it is not a sin, but a physical evil (a harm or disorder).

Lying is intrinsically evil, and is only lying when it is direct and voluntary. Indirectly permitting a person to misunderstand an assertion or omission is sometimes moral, and is comparable to indirect abortion. If a person asserts a falsehood, not realizing that it is false, this is not an objective sin, nor an actual sin, but only a physical evil (a harm or disorder).

[The unfortunate term 'physical evil' includes any type of harm or disorder that is not moral evil. The term 'metaphysical evil' refers to the finiteness and limits inherent to created things.]
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Old 27th May 2009, 02:57 AM
Dan A Dan A is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: KS
Posts: 205

Most of us, I think, prefer to tell the truth. Lying makes us uncomfortable. Lying is not a choice most make but when under pressure we use it as a drowning man would a stray log.
King of kings and Lord of lords.
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Old 27th May 2009, 07:08 AM
ExCelciuS ExCelciuS is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 711

Basically any man have a conscience which he/she couldn't lie against it. So, what make us feel discomfort when lying is first our conscience and then our faith(the teaching of Catholic Church). So Holy Spirit + our conscience + our faith (the teaching of Catholic Church) is our "divine tools" to filter any act of us, what we've done, what we are doing, and what we'll do.

It is good for us not to against our conscience.

God is always there, in our heart and mind...

Last edited by ExCelciuS : 27th May 2009 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 27th May 2009, 01:44 PM
Brother Brother is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,887

I think that because of our concupiscence, it is "easier" for a person to say a lie (a venial one) than to tell the truth, even knowing that lying is wrong. "The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". This is as when St. Paul says that he wants to do what is right, but he ends up doing what is wrong sometimes. It is also what happened to St. Peter who said that he was not going to deny Jesus, yet he did it three times by lying. But we have to continually fight against it, if we fall, repent and ask God for His forgiveness and Spirit.

I particularly know that lying is always wrong! But sometimes I end up saying a lie, not because I have planned to say it, and even though I don't want to say it, but because I end up defeated by my flesh, I guess I love myself more than God and in order to appear good or pleasing against others I end up saying what others may like to hear and not the truth. It happens to me what happened to Peter. I really need Godís Spirit and thank God He has given us His Church to be reconciliated with me so Jesus can say to me once again "Peace be with You". I hope one day I could go to the Confessionary and I would have no need to say "I have lied" to the priest again.
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