Thursday, November 1, 2012
Hey kids! Free casuistry!
Some time back I posted a set of links to some older works in Scholastic philosophy and theology available online via Archive.org. Fans of Scholastic moral theology will be interested to know that five volumes of The Casuist: A Collection of Cases in Moral and Pastoral Theology, a very useful series published about a century ago, are also available online. Here are the links: Volume 1; Volume 2; Volume 3; Volume 4; Volume 5.
Also available at the same site is Fr. Thomas Slater's similar work Questions of Moral Theology.
Among the many articles of interest you’ll find within these resources, some readers might find especially interesting “Is It Ever Permitted to Tell a Lie?”, at pp. 44-49 of Volume 3 of The Casuist. This is an issue that I have addressed in a number of earlier posts (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). As my longtime readers know, I endorse the traditional view that (a) lying is deliberately speaking contrary to one’s true thoughts and that this is always and intrinsically wrong, even if not always gravely so, but that (b) broad mental reservation, even when it is hoped that that its use will deceive one’s listener, does not count as lying. A minority view within the tradition holds that a deliberate falsehood counts as lying only when the listener has a right to the truth. In an earlier post I firmly rejected this latter view, but I also emphasized that it has had defenders in the tradition and that it would be unjust to accuse those who hold it of somehow dissenting from Catholic orthodoxy. The article from The Casuist gives a good idea of how seriously this matter was debated by earlier generations of Catholic moral theologians.