Well, I Certainly Think This Example of Lying is Immoral!

The Catholic blogosphere has been debating the morality of the Lila Rose sting operation against Worse Than Murder, Inc. a\k\a Planned Parenthood, with a diverse crop of conclusions ranging from Mark Shea and our own Joe Hargrave who are opposed to this as an example of lying to be condemned, to Dr. Peter Kreeft and myself who find absolutely nothing wrong with it.  This of course obscures the fact that most Catholics understand that deceit in most circumstances is to be condemned.

Now, in one of those examples of synchronicity regarding events which help establish to me that God has an infinite sense of humor, we have an example of lying that I think all Catholics would condemn.  Teachers have taken the lead in the protests against the public employees union legislation proposed by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.  Thousands of teachers have called in sick to attend the rallies.  Doctors, as shown in the video above, have been passing out certificates to teachers, falsely indicating that they have examined the recipient of the certificate and that the teacher is ill.  To me lying to save innocent human life is one thing, lying to allow an employee to avoid work is quite another, even if one might be sympathetic to the employee on political grounds.

As to Geraldo Rivera, or as he was known when he started out his career, Jerry Rivers, in the above video, my overall opinion of him throughout his career is nicely summed up here.

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  1. Yes, exactly.

    I am sure that Mark Shea and the girls at Vox Nova who worked themselves up into enough lather to clean a battlefield tank with their 5,000 word posts on Lila Rose will rush to condemn this act of clear medical fraud by Wisconsin liberals.

  2. I dunno — are those fellow really physicians, or are they SEIU hands who have stolen some white coats from their employers?

    Of your logic and kindness do remember that only 15 states permit teachers to bargain collectively.

    As for me, I am definitely for that famous “poor ol’ workin’ man” (when he’s working), and opposed to unions period. It will be a cold day in Buna, Texas when I walk out on my students.

  3. It’s a never ending debate if Jerome and Aquinas were at odds about dissimulation:

    Jerome, in his commentary on Galatians 2:11, “The example of Jehu, king of Israel, who slew the priest of Baal, pretending that he desired to worship idols, should teach us that dissimulation is useful and sometimes to be employed”.

    Aquinas counters in the ST:
    There is no need to excuse Jehu’s dissimulation from sin or lie, because he was a wicked man, since he departed not from the idolatry of Jeroboam (2 Kings 10:29-31).

    But Aquinas allowed ambush in war and ambush is dissimulation…..you by omission are not announcing your whereabouts in order that you can attack from those whereabouts. You have lied about the safety of the location thru omission.

    Jerome wins.
    Judith is the more outstanding example. In chapter 12 of that book she lies repeatedly to Holofernes til she gets the opportunity to behead him in his tent in defense of her people who Holofernes intended to slaughter. What example is better vis a vis abortion and in Judith 16:5, Scripture praises her: ” But the Lord Almighty thwarted them, by a woman’s hand He confounded them.”

  4. Don, you linked to Opus! Oh what memories. Funny how some things are forgotten. I don’t consider myself a comic strip type person, but there were two strips I enjoyed. I liked Bloom County though didn’t really lose any sleep when it was stopped. The other is what I would consider probably the best/funniest/most consistent humor ever published, The Far Side. The loss of that still stings. Fortunately, it was so good you can read the collection books and still get great laughs. 🙂

  5. RL I loved Bloom County and I think Opus and his misadventures in life were screamingly funny. I read the strip at the time and I have collections of most of them. I like my comedy topical and take no prisoners on all sides and Bloom County had those qualities in abundance.

  6. Frequent commenter DonnaV has an interesting report at Ace of Spades reguarding citizen reaction to the union protests behind the Cheddar Curtain.

    “Today after work, I went grocery shopping and ran a few other errands near a busy intersection in Shorewood WI. Shorewood is a well-to-do, lily white and generally very liberal suburb of Milwaukee.
    There was a small band of high school students, in obviously high spirits because of their extra long weekend, jumping around and waving signs saying “Support Worker Rights.” They were accompanied by a few older people, teachers I assume, holding similar signs.

    This is what struck me: it was rush hour, plenty of cars were going past and during the course of 15 or 20 minutes or so, I didn’t hear one single honk of support from any passing cars. This is a ‘burb where there is no shortage of Volvos with Obama/Biden and “Co-Exist” bumper stickers. I remember the anti-war rallies during the Bush years. The honks and cheers of support and encouragement the “Bush = Hitler” protesters got were constant. “Walker = Hitler” doesn’t seem to be going over nearly as well.The silence of the rush hour crowd was very noticable.

    I don’t blame the kids for being clueless because they are kids, but their elders are another matter. Did any of those bozos pause to consider that even a wussy Volvo-driving Obama voter, driving home after a long, hard work week, might have glanced at those signs and thought “Worker rights? Hey, I’m a worker too – been busting my butt all week. Had to scramble to find sitters for the kids today and it made me late for work. Nobody will stand on the corner waving signs if I get laid off, or take a pay cut. Screw these people.”

    Some otherwise pretty apolitical friends were furious at having to take two days off to watch their kids. They’ve become big Scott Walker fans. Keep making friends and influencing people, lefties, it’s working so well!

    Really, if pro-union protesters can’t attract a bunch of cheering, honking libtard supporters in libtard Shorewood of all places, you know Walker’s winning this one.”

  7. “This is a ‘burb where there is no shortage of Volvos with Obama/Biden and “Co-Exist” bumper stickers.”

    LOL. I think I’m the one of few conservative Volvo drivers out there. I have a ‘GoArmy.com’ bumper sticker….

  8. “…Lila Rose can be doing good and still sinning at the same time, the same would apply here.”

    Or the union can be acting contra the common good and lying to help accomplish it.

  9. I say fire them all Monday. Hire new, pass a law to never allow union representation for state workers of any kind. I have not only NO sympathy for the union thugs, but antipathy and animosity. Maybe they would appreciate their jobs more if they were able to taste the “benefits” of left-wing economics the way the construction industry has had to. Screw them.

  10. Is “Abortion is health care” an statement wherein lying is immoral?

    Meanwhile, the Obama regime is quietly removing legal safeguards protecting Catholic health care workers from committing “health care” acts they undertstand to be murder.

    In accordance with today’s Gospel, I’m loving liberals (America’s/my worst enemies) and praying for the (Fatima) conversion of Obama.

  11. Those who lie to save innocent lives or avert imminent, great evil, I am guessing that in MOST cases, they are simply doing the best they can and not acting out of malice. Whether they are subjectively guilty of sin would be questionable. We can debate the morality of lying to save lives all we want, but who among us really knows what he or she would do in a life or death situation. We are, after all, all sinners in need of God’s mercy.

    It’s one thing to cut some slack to people who commit a sinful act out of desperation or out of ignorance of any alternative; it’s another thing entirely to decide that such acts are good or justified as a matter of policy, or in response to far lesser evils.

  12. In reference to the Catechism Zach, what I would like to know is why 2483 was modified in 1997:

    “To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead into error someone who has the right to know the truth.”

    This sentence will be modified to read:

    To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error.”

    That is a fairly major change. Was the catechism in error in 1994 with the original language or was it in error in 1997? Catechisms not infrequently have fairly significant changes along the edges of Church teaching as new ones come out and old ones gather dust on shelves. How they are constructed and why would be fascinating to learn. However, the laity usually are not privy to the internal debates that go on behind the scenes in regard to the precise language used in catechisms of the Church.

  13. Then of course we have 2488:

    “2488 The right to the communication of the truth is not unconditional. Everyone must conform his life to the Gospel precept of fraternal love. This requires us in concrete situations to judge whether or not it is appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it.”

    I think 2488 is simple to reconcile with original 2483, harder to do with modified 2483. The fraternal love aspect of 2488 is significant I think. What if fraternal love requires deception? I can think of many instances where that would come into play. Additionally we have the additional factor of coercion of the will. Is someone entitled to the truth who literally puts a gun to your head in order to harm third parties? This robs you of your ability to simply refuse to answer and walk away. What then? This was of course precisely the dilemma facing the Church during World War II in its efforts to protect Jews and other innocent victims of the Nazis.

  14. 2488 is underlined by 2489:

    “2489 Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. The good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. The duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.”

    Note the “good and safety of others.” If our right to remain silent is taken away by force majeure, and this right is essential for the “good and safety of others”, what then?

    Then we have 2491:

    “2491 Professional secrets – for example, those of political office holders, soldiers, physicians, and lawyers – or confidential information given under the seal of secrecy must be kept, save in exceptional cases where keeping the secret is bound to cause very grave harm to the one who confided it, to the one who received it or to a third party, and where the very grave harm can be avoided only by divulging the truth. Even if not confided under the seal of secrecy, private information prejudicial to another is not to be divulged without a grave and proportionate reason.”

    Of course in regard to soldiers, which I assume is shorthand for the military, elaborate deception schemes are usually engaged in to protect military movements, etc.

  15. In reference to the Catechism Zach, what I would like to know is why 2483 was modified in 1997

    There is a law professor at Notre Dame, Bob Blakey, who spends the first class of every year trying to see what horrible things he can get his students to agree to do to further the greater good (he starts with white lies, then gradually works his way up to having people boil infants alive). When the original Catechism came out, Bob Blakey noted the “right to the truth” restriction, and cited it against a student who was arguing lying was always wrong. As it happened, one of the other students in the class was the daughter of the philosopher and theologian John Finnis. She told her Dad, who informed the Vatican that the phrasing of section 2483 was contrary to more than 1500 years of Church teaching on the matter, and so it was altered.

    This is according to Prof. Blakey.

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