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Up from Literalism

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Michie, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Michie

    Michie Manipulation Resistance Team Supporter

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    The past few weeks have seen a contentious, sometimes enlightening debate over how committed Catholics must be to truth-telling, in what circumstances, and at what price. The issue arose when bloggers responded acerbically to the pro-life sting operations of the heroic Live Action operatives who exposed Planned Parenthood's use of our tax money in violation even of America's lax abortion laws. The discussion has since gone viral, enlisting serious theologians and philosophers, raising vexed historical questions such as Pius XII's and Angelo Roncalli's (later Bl. John XXIII) use of false baptismal certificates to save Jews from Hitler, and occasioning a deep reconsideration of one strand in the Western theological tradition. I've learned quite a bit myself, including the lesson that I should always read the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on something before writing about it.

    In my first contribution on the subject, I made too sweeping a statement about "mental reservation," condemning alike the "broad" kind that only employs ambiguity and the "narrow" kind that essentially entails saying silently to yourself, ". . . except I don't mean what I just said." The Church, in the person of Pope Innocent XI, has taught that the first type passes Thomistic scrutiny, while the latter is indistinguishable from lying. And the dominant theological tradition in the Western Church follows the philosophical position outlined by St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas that all false statements, regardless of context, amount to sinful lies -- although Aquinas makes the distinction that lies told to save the innocent from harm are venial sins.

    Continued- http://www.insidecatholic.com/feature/up-from-literalism.html