Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fibbing for Rome

There's a controversial report that Pope Francis has brain cancer:

I don't have an informed opinion to offer on that claim. Time will tell.

However, Vatican spokesmen used to lie about John-Paul II's Parkinson's disease, even though the whole world could see his drastic deterioration. 

Last year, at the Synod, Cardinal Kasper was caught in a lie when he made dismissive remarks about conservative African bishops.

Likewise, many bishops, or their spokesmen, have lied about the abuse scandal. 

Recently, a private letter which some ranking bishops wrote to Pope Francis, expressing grave concerns about the direction of the Synod, was leaked to the press, as a result of which the signatories began to issue disclaimers. 

It's striking how high-placed representatives of Rome resort to lies whenever it's convenient. Striking because, according to their very own denomination, lying is intrinsically immoral. According to the catechism:

2464 The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant. 
2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man's relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord. 
2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray. 
2486 Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does real violence to another. It affects his ability to know, which is a condition of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord and all consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships.

Yet Vatican spokesmen and Catholic bishops lie with the same abandon as the White House press secretary, State Dept. officials, or spokesmen for totalitarian regimes (e.g. Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea). For instance, when a dictator is ailing, spokesmen reflexively deny that he is sick. 

Even for Christians like me who think lying is sometimes permissible or obligatory, Rome doesn't lie for good reasons. It doesn't lie to protect the innocent. Sometimes it lies to protect the guilty. 

People barely notice this. It's expected. There's what it says on paper, then there's the reality–which makes the official position a joke. A bad joke. 


  1. While no fan of the Babylonish Whore, I still wonder what this piece proves except that religious establishments rank self-preservation ahead of thier manifest reason for existence...kind of like other establishments (government, corporations, etc). Having been shafted by church kangaroo courts, I'm afraid Protestants are no better than papists.

    1. But Rome isn't supposed to be just like any other denomination or secular establishment. Rome is supposed to be the One True Church®. So if it acts just like any worldly institution, that tells against the credibility of its lofty claims to the contrary.