Thursday, September 21, 2023

On Lying, for Catholic Answers

My latest for Catholic Answers.

It begins:

The Catholic tradition takes the Eighth Commandment—“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”—extremely seriously. Strict condemnations of all kinds of lying can be found from the Fathers of the Church, notably St. Augustine (who wrote two short works on the subject), to the Doctors and the modern Magisterium. The act of lying is per se malum: it cannot rightly be done even for a good end.

One reason for this is that lying is contrary to the nature of God, who is Truth. It is of the utmost importance that we can believe what God tells us—both what he reveals about himself and what he promises to those who love and obey him—since this is the basis of the Christian life. God could permit the children of Israel to take others’ property, as when the Israelites conquered Canaan, because he is the primary owner of the whole universe. God could permit Abraham to kill Isaac, because all humans born in original sin owe God a life. But he cannot permit anyone to tell a lie.

Read the whole thing there.

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