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Disturbing--truce

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Disturbing--truce

Post  Guest on Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:21 pm

Hey you guys!!!! that means MRyan and tornpage too! truce on the baptism of desire Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus controversies,please.
I think I will need all your help on this one.
I just found this article by Peter Kreeft. Who is considered pretty othodox by most people, but this article seems fishy. You can say my intuition says somethings wrong--lol-- you'll understand when you read it.

"If lying is always wrong, then it is wrong to lie to a nuclear terrorist
(the “ticking time bomb” scenario) to elicit from him where he hid the
nuclear bomb that in one hour will kill millions if it is not found and
defused. The most reasonable response to the “no lying” legalist here is
“You gotta be kidding”—or something less kind than that. Thomas Aquinas
said that even torture is sometimes justified; in emergency situations
like that; if torture, then a fortiori lying."

http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=14306

I think he is saying the ends justifies the means.

I really want to know all your comments on this!

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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Elisa on Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:12 pm

I’ll leave the torture part to Mike. That is probably right up his alley. I haven’t made up my mind on torture that will definitely save lives, which is such a rare occurrence anyway. Most of the time it’s just conjecture and they don’t definitely know it will save lives. Most of the time it’s abhorrent . Personally I don’t consider water boarding the same as torture, but I don’t think it should always be used, just on rare occasion. Mike and I don’t always see eye to eye politically and he’s more experienced in this area, so his opinion will probably be more valuable to you than mine.

Here’s another opinion I found that you might be interested in. Mark Shea. Again, I don’t agree with him here on everything, but some of it I do. And he presents it in the light of Catholic teaching which is against torture.

http://markshea.blogspot.com/2010/07/disgrace-of-ewtns-world-over.html


But as far as lying goes, I just heard a priest on EWTN last month talking about this. How “some people don’t deserve the truth.” Like in Nazi Germany if an official knocked on your door and asked if there were any Jews hidden there.

And he brought up Scripture. How Rahab in Joshua chapters 2 and 6 hid Joshua’s 2 Jewish spies and lied to the King of Jericho about them to save them. Remember the story of tying the red cord and how she and her whole family were saved when Jericho fell and they joined the Israeli community.

Her lying was considered to be a necessary evil and virtuous in Scripture.

Rahab was an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/joshua/joshua2.htm


I forget the other example he used from Scripture.

Got to run. If I remember I'll come back tonight.



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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Guest on Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:44 pm

This is disturbing. Kreeft has always struck me more as a poet than a philosopher.

Cowboy, if you look at the bottom of the article you linked to the first comment by Mark Shea has a link to a pretty good article he wrote. It could help speed things up. While I don't like Shea's stand on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, he wrote pretty good article and I agree with him. Kreeft is wrong:
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/last-comments-on-lying-for-jesus/

PS- The foundational principle of well functioning society is honesty.

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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Guest on Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:05 pm

Thanks for the quick response Elisa and Duckbill.
Yeah I guess I missed the comment section at the end Embarassed.

BUT DUDE! This article just shock me so much I couldn't finish it! I mean I know we have debates on baptism of desire and Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus ect... but to say lying is OK and to be such a big Kahuna like Kreeft just kinda shocked me. I thought Novus Ordo Catholics, Trads, & Feeneyites were on the same page as far as morality goes.

Not to throw my thread off course but Elisa Water-boarding is torture go to 2:05:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoqmH49VBC0&feature=related

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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  MRyan on Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:28 pm

I side with Shea on this one, but I think it is rash to accuse one side or the other with being “wrong” when this is a debate where Catholics of good will can (and do) disagree.

Btw, Kreeft never said the end justifies the means, but said, rather, “I know that an evil means can never justify a good end … But ...” he makes an appeal to the heart (and a child) who just “knows” that there is nothing wrong with such “lying” tactics as in the subject case of Lila Rose and the evil PP.

Shea sums up my thoughts here:

But constructing a carefully planned strategy of aggressively lying is not like that and is, I think, a very morally precarious scaffolding upon which to build the future hopes of the prolife movement. ... I think the prolife movement should consider strategies which do not involve us in telling lies and inviting judgement.  We’ve got enough on our plate and a lot of other ways of fighting the Father of Lies than adopting his tactics. ...

… Personally, I think both the gravity of and the culpability for the sin of lying here is mighty small and I hope God gives us a million more like Lila Rose.
And yes, water boarding IS torture. Well, except when it is sanctioned and/or performed by the morally superior U.S. of A., of course. Shocked

Yes, that last part is called sarcasm.
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Guest on Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:15 pm

Thanks for your input MRyan!
And it is good to see we can agree on the water-boarding, dog.

I am puzzled though, because Kreeft has a big "BUTT" Wink

He says the ends don't justify the means but goes on to illustrate that it does. Shea uses your favorite book, CCC, to show Kreeft is at odds with the "magisterium."

Shea is making an act of Faith while Kreeft is saying "Lets be practical"
I liked Shea's use of 'if you think I'm hiding Jews go look' This I think is better than the usual Jesuitesque metal reservation: "not here"( meaning right beside me while the questioner thinks the whole house)

I'd like to know what you think tornpage or Rasha?


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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Elisa on Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:08 am

I was rushed when I wrote yesterday, so I want to correct 2 things. One, I should have said, “Israelite” not “Israeli.”

Secondly, I agree water boarding is a form of torture. I should have said it is a milder form of torture and one that is acceptable to me in certain circumstances.

I’ve seen videos of water boarding. I know it’s not pretty. I almost drowned myself when I was 15 helping someone who couldn’t swim. I began swallowing water, thought it was over and my life literally flashed before my eyes spontaneously in quick scenes. (that really happens) While not the same as water boarding, I think I know the sensation and it is frightening.

That is acceptable to me when dealing with certain enemies of our country who want to kill our citizens. Like 2 of my brothers-in-law who usually were in the World Trade Center, but mercifully weren’t that day. One had been there the first time the buildings were bombed, when they didn’t fall. Or my friend’s husband who was crushed by the buildings on duty trying to rescue people that horrible day. Or the father a few blocks away from me who never returned home to his family that night. Or my son who goes into New York City every day to work.

While the ends do not “justify” the means, (that is, make the means/method a good thing,) the ends may make the means/method preferable or a necessary evil or the lesser of 2 evils. Degrees of accountability. An extension of “self defense.” Killing is wrong, but allowed in self defense.

Same with lying. No one is saying that lying is ever a good thing in and of itself. Or that choosing it over a greater evil makes it turn from being bad to being good. But sometimes it is a preferable or necessary evil or the lesser of 2 evils, betraying someone or saving a life with a lie.

I like both Kreeft and Shea very much and they both make good points.

St. Thomas Acquinas notes that the Jewish midwives in Moses’ time who lied to Pharoah’s face rather than kill the boy babies were rewarded by God for their “fear of the Lord,” and not for their lying.

But no one is saying that God would reward a lie or make a lie good. The point is that sometimes a lie may be the lesser of 2 evils and thereby being the most venial of sins and preferable to not lying. To betraying someone or to save their life. Because there is no getting around the fact that the “fear of the Lord” of the Jewish midwives (and Rahab’s “fear of the Lord” in the story in Joshua, hiding the spies and lying) is manifested in the lie itself. That was the action used. The action was not intrinsically virtuous, but the motivation and sentiment behind it and the greater evil of not lying, made the lie the preferable route.

Same with the whole hiding Jews from Nazis lie scenario. The preferable route, the most venial of sins.

Lila Rae may not fall into the same exact category, but God bless that precious girl. God knows what lies in her heart.

That is something we all can agree on, thank God.

Good night all. I may not post a lot this month until after tax time.
God bless you all and your families.
Love,
Elisa




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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  tornpage on Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:11 pm

I agree with Kreeft on two points: 1) there is a higher form of knowledge, indeed the way God knows, which is intuitive and immediate (God knows, He doesn't reason His way to the truth); and, 2) there are contexts (such as the "lie" to save a Jew from the Nazis) in which the end may justify a particular means, and I agree with him that the higher form of knowledge kicks in and applies in those contexts.

It's also amusing that an absolute principle - the ends justify the means - is being applied to Kreeft here, whose position rejects such abstract, general and universal "absolutes" in specific contexts, and it is those contexts which are under discussion.
You will note he also accepts such absolutes outside of those contexts: "I know that we should not ever murder or rape or blaspheme even to save the world."

Defining the contexts and the "rules" that would cover them is another matter - worth exploring, but not easily defined.

But I agree with Kreeft.
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Guest on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:16 pm

Tornpage the principles is what morality is. While we may not have the moxie to pay the price it is such principles that keep the world going. To allow certain cases because of the situation takes away the responsibility to own up, especially lying.
If a lie will get me a better job and my family a better life, couldn't that be just as good as other excuses. If you lie when put on the spot you show you are a liar. It is easy to tell the truth when there is nothing to lose. Morality is the principle that informs you on how to act when things are tough.

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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  tornpage on Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:15 pm

Tornpage the principles is what morality is. While we may not have the moxie to pay the price it is such principles that keep the world going. To allow certain cases because of the situation takes away the responsibility to own up, especially lying.
If a lie will get me a better job and my family a better life, couldn't that be just as good as other excuses. If you lie when put on the spot you show you are a liar. It is easy to tell the truth when there is nothing to lose. Morality is the principle that informs you on how to act when things are tough.

Well, Duckbill, I can't say I'm surprised. The highlighted line: if you think it's relevant to Kreeft's analysis, or exposes the weakness of his position, then you simply don't listen.

The man hiding the Jew in Nazi Germany indeed had "the moxie to pay the price." And more principle than most "honest" people in the world.

As I said, Kreeft was right.
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  columba on Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:18 pm

St Thomas Moore was pressed many times to divulge his thoughts regarding king Henry VIII's adultery. In prudence he remained silent.
One can remain silent rather than lie, especially when dealing with those who wish to use the truth to do evil.
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  MRyan on Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:19 pm

columba wrote:St Thomas Moore was pressed many times to divulge his thoughts regarding king Henry VIII's adultery. In prudence he remained silent.
One can remain silent rather than lie, especially when dealing with those who wish to use the truth to do evil.
Quite so, but whose life was on the line?

I've made it clear that I tend to side with Shea, I think he makes the more compelling argument, especially with respect to the methods used to expose PP. But there is one side of this that I tend to agree with Kreeft, and that is the case where you have basically made a promise to someone (let's use the example of the Jew during WWII) that he/she will be protected under your care by being hidden in your house.

With your guest safely hidden, the SS arrive at your door demanding to know if you are hiding so-and-so in your quarters.

Now, how many people, to Kreeft's point, can think on their feet fast enough, and have the composure, to come up with some witty response that is not a lie, but is not exactly the truth, either. I suppose one can "rehearse" for such an eventuality, but really, this is a life and death situation and the life you've sworn to protect hinges on how clever you can be with a "let's hope it is convincing half-truth"?

Are you obligated to tell your hidden occupant when you took him in that if questioned, you cannot lie, but will come up with some witty retort that may or may not fool the SS? Perhaps so, if the guest has the option to seek shelter elsewhere with someone not so scrupulous.

Shea said that he hopes that he hid his guest so well that he would invite the SS to look for themselves if they think someone is being hidden. And I can just hear the guest saying to himself "Oh no, thanks a lot!"

God will forgive, He knows the dilemma, and knows our hearts; even if the lie must be atoned for; if not in this life, than in the next.

Tough one.





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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  tornpage on Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:31 am

2484 The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and charity.

This is an interesting discussion. I'm a bit surprised that I'm the only one who unreservedly - though Elisa comes the closest to my position - agrees with Kreeft, and that most here are opposed to him.

I posted the CCC section because I think it puts the discussion in context, and lying, which is only a venial sin "in itself," must be put in context.

I think consideration of a lie as a "venial" sin is important. You notice how Kreeft said that there was not "ever" an excuse for murder, rape or blasphemy, which are mortal sins. Context doesn't matter there. It seems to me the very factors that the CCC refers to in determining a lie's gravity - the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims - might in fact support lying, as in the case of the lie to prevent harm to an innocent soul by those bent on evil.

The reason why this is not "the end justifies the means" is because there is due consideration of the means here, which is the "venial" sin of lying, and not a mortal sin such as murder, rape or blasphemy. While it is true that the end diminishes the gravity of the offense, lying, it seems to me that the means are in fact very relevant to the consideration of the propriety of the action. There is not a mere weighing of what happens if I do this and what happens if I don't, but also a consideration of what I am doing as well as the why it is being done. I hope that's not too muddled.

The absolutism of some here with regard to lying reminds me of Jesus's comments about the Pharisees and their exaltation of the letter of the law over its spirit, and if some actions which technically violate the law regarding the Sabbath are actually laudatory under some circumstances, so are lies, as in the case of the Jewish midwives, or the man lying to save a Jew from the Nazis.

And this is why - I think for the third or fourth time Very Happy - I say I agree with Kreeft.
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Guest on Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:12 am

Lets use a real example:

"In her book The Hiding Place, [Corrie] ten Boom recounts an episode
where Nazis sought her nephew, Peter, who had been hidden in a root
cellar, a rug and table hastily placed over the trapdoor. When soldiers
demanded to know Peter’s whereabouts, his young cousin Cocky replied,
“Why, he is under the table.”

The soldiers peered under the table
while the family suppressed nervous chuckles. Humiliated, the Nazis
threatened the family, then left. As others chastised Cocky for putting
Peter—and the whole family—at such risk, her mother defended her,
saying, “God honors truth-telling with perfect protection!”
http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/09/defending-christine-orsquo-donnell

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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  tornpage on Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:27 pm

He wants real examples. I guess the accounts of the midwives in Exodus, of Judith in the book of that name, and the other "lies" that worked justice in the Bible aren't real enough for Cowboy. Hey, Cowboy, you're not one of those "the Bible is only poetry and myth" rodeo cowboys, are you?

So you speculate that God saved those Jews from the Nazis because the girl didn't lie? For that reason, eh? And you and the girl's mother know this? Good for you.

I know that the midwives, Judith, and others have lied and thereby wrought justice. I emphatically and actually know this, because as the song goes, "the Bible tells me so."

And, yes, the Bible also says not to lie. Go figure. Life is complicated and justice and mercy don't necessarily follows guidelines in crises that apply in other simpler circumstances, and that is part of Dr. Kreeft's point against the absolutists regarding "lying," and a good part of Our Lord's point in His encounters with the Pharisees.

I actually think some commonality lies between this discussion and the baptism of desire discussion.
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Elisa on Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:11 pm

Tornpage,

I agree with the things you’ve posted.

As to tricking the Nazis by saying the Jew is under the table, I don’t see too much difference. To me it’s just semantics about which exact words the Nazis used in questioning and which exact words the person replied. It’s an evasion from the truth. The person knew what the Nazis were asking and was not forthcoming with the truth.

Technically the person was not hiding under the table. The person was hiding under the floor under the table.

If one wants to be technical and say that the person who answers, “they aren’t here” is engaging in the sin of lying, then one would have to say that tricking them with their true words is a sin of omission. They are still hiding the real truth that is being asked of them.

I think there are degrees of acceptable lies. But they are still lies and sins and not virtuous in and of themselves. And in some cases the lesser of 2 evils.

Even St. Augustine brings up that some lies are not really a lie and therefore not a sin and some are a sin. The question comes where to draw the line. St. Thomas Acquinas builds on him.

St. Augustine on lying (he goes back and forth while fleshing out all the arguments on both sides, so be careful not to take anything out of context):
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1312.htm


St. Augustine mentions that jokes are not a lie. That opinions and beliefs that in fact are wrong are not lies because the person telling them believes them.

Then he talks about how intent to deceive or relate truth is important to whether a falsehood or truth be a sin. That sometimes it depends on if you know the person will believe you are telling a truth or falsehood. In paragraph 4:

“But if it be no lie, unless when something is uttered with wish to deceive, that person lies not, who says a false thing, knowing or thinking it to be false, but says it on purpose that the person to whom he speaks by not believing him may not be deceived, because the speaker either knows or thinks the other will not believe him. Whence if it appear to be possible that a person should say a false thing on purpose that he to whom it is said may not be deceived, on the other hand there is this opposite case, the case of a person saying the truth on purpose that he may deceive. For if a man determines to say a true thing because he perceives he is not believed, that man speaks truth on purpose that he may deceive: for he knows or thinks that what is said may be accounted false, just because it is spoken by him. Wherefore in saying a true thing on purpose that it may be thought false, he says a true thing on purpose to deceive. So that it may be inquired, which rather lies: he who says a false thing that he may not deceive, or he who says a true thing that he may deceive? . . . But if a lie is any utterance whatever with will to deceive; then not the former has lied, but the latter, who even in speaking truth willed to deceive. . . . We shall be clear then of all rashness and all lying, if, what we know to be true or right to be believed, we utter when need is, and wish to make that thing believed which we utter. If, however, either thinking that to be true which is false, or accounting as known that which is to us unknown, or believing what we ought not to believe, or uttering it when need is not, we yet have no other aim than to make that believed which we utter; we do not stand clear indeed of the error of temerity, but we do stand clear of all lying. For there is no need to be afraid of any of those definitions, when the mind has a good conscience, that it utters that which to be true it either knows, or opines, or believes, and that it has no wish to make any thing believed but that which it utters.”

So doesn’t this touch on the story of telling the Nazis the Jew is under the table? St. Augustine isn’t talking here about lying to protect someone (he brings that up later in paragraphs 22-24 and later) and he isn’t talking about telling someone a technical truth that he knows will be believed. But it certainly seems, from what he says, that the person tricking the Nazis by saying the Jew is under the table is speaking the truth with the intention to withhold the truth. Augustine says the intention is what is important. So technically saying the Jew is under the table would also be a sin of lying, if we want to say that lying to the Nazis is a sin.

Besides jokes, that someone knows are not real, we can include acting in plays tonot be a lie. But what about surprise parties? There is no way to throw someone a surprise party without telling some lie. Besides wedding and baby showers, I’ve thrown 3 surprise birthday parties.

I lie very rarely and never on matters of importance or big or serious lies. (We all lie and it would be sin to say we never lie.) Truth is very important to me.

Yet when I threw my daughter a surprise Sweet 16 party, I was stunned at how quickly I came up with 3 lies on the stop when something unexpected came up and I had to hide the surprise party. It was frightening to me how well I could lie. lol

So did I sin? I think these tricks must fall into the category of jokes and playacting, no?

Now for what St. Augustine says about the question in discussion here. All the way down in paragraph 9, he says that lying to save someone’s life is still a sin. “Since then by lying eternal life is lost, never for any man's temporal life must a lie be told.”

But then St. Augustine says that while lying to preserve someone’s temporal life is a sin, lying to preserve someone’s “purity of body” is fine. Then he says, “Therefore no man can prove that it is at any time right to tell a lie, unless he be able to show that any eternal good can be obtained by a lie.”


I’m not sure what he is talking about here, because he then in paragraph 40 he says that when someone is forced without consent (like in rape) then they are not accountable and it does not violate that person’s soul. And only lying to preserve someone’s soul is not a sin.


Here he mentions the various types of lies, all of which are degrees, but still lies.

25. For first to be eschewed is that capital lie and far to be fled from, which is done in doctrine of religion; to which lie a man ought by no consideration to be induced. The second, that he should hurt some man unjustly: which is such that it profits no man and hurts some man. The third, which so profits one as to hurt another, but not in corporal defilement. The fourth, that which is done through only lust of lying and deceiving, which is an unmixed lie. The fifth, what is done with desire of pleasing by agreeableness in talk. All these being utterly eschewed and rejected, there follows a sixth sort which at once hurts nobody and helps somebody; as when, if a person's money is to be unjustly taken from him, one who knows where the money is, should say that he does not know, by whomsoever the question be put. The seventh, which hurts none and profits some: except if a judge interrogate: as when, not wishing to betray a man who is sought for to be put to death, one should lie; not only a just and innocent, but also a culprit; because it belongs to Christian discipline neither to despair of any man's amendment, nor to bar the way of repentance against any. Of which two sorts, which are wont to be attended with great controversy, we have sufficiently treated, and have shown what was our judgment; that by taking the consequences, which are honorably and bravely borne, these kinds also should be eschewed by brave and faithful and truthful men and women. The eighth sort of lie is that which hurts no man, and does good in the preserving somebody from corporal defilement, at least that defilement which we have mentioned above. For even to eat with unwashen hands the Jews thought defilement. Or if a person think this also a defilement, yet not such that a lie ought to be told to avoid it. But if the lie be such as to do an injury to any man, even though it screen a man from that uncleanness which all men abhor and detest; whether a lie of this kind may be told provided the injury done by the lie be such as consists not in that sort of uncleanness with which we are now concerned, is another question: for here the question is no longer about lying, but it is asked whether an injury ought to be done to any man, even otherwise than by a lie, that the said defilement may be warded off from another. Which I should by no means think: though the case proposed be the slightest wrongs, as that which I mentioned above, about a single measure of wheat; and though it be very embarrassing whether it be our duty not to do even such an injury to any man, if thereby another may be defended or screened from a lustful outrage upon his person. But, as I said, this is another question: at present let us go on with what we have taken in hand: whether a lie ought to be told, if even the inevitable condition be proposed that we either do this, or suffer the deed of lust or some execrable pollution; even though by lying we do no man harm.

Further down in paragraph 39 he says,

“But as to those things which are kept for the sake of sanctity and religion, when injurious persons wish to violate these, it is right, if the condition be proposed and the means given, to redeem them even by sins of lesser moment, yet not by wrongs to other men. And then do these things thenceforth cease to be sins, which are undertaken in order to the avoidance of greater sins. For as in things useful, for instance in pecuniary or any other corporal commodity, that is not called a loss which is parted with in order to a greater gain; so in things holy, that is not called sin which is admitted lest a worse be admitted. Or if that is called loss, which one foregoes that he may not forego more; let this also be called sin, while however the necessity of undertaking it in order to the eschewing of a greater is no more to be doubted, than that, in order to avoid a greater loss, it is right to suffer a smaller one.

40. Now the things which are to be kept safe for sanctity's sake are these: pudicity of body, and chastity of soul, and verity of doctrine. Pudicity of body, without consent and permission of the soul, does no man violate. For, whatever against our will and without our empowering the same is by greater force done upon our body, is no lewdness. . . . .

41. There results then from all these this sentence, that a lie which does not violate the doctrine of piety, nor piety itself, nor innocence, nor benevolence, may on behalf of pudicity of body be admitted. . . . Whence it is gathered, that much more must the chastity of the mind be preserved in the mind, in the which is the guardianship of the pudicity of the body. Wherefore, what in us lies, both the one and the other must by holy manners and conversation be walled and hedged round, lest from another quarter it be violated. But when both cannot be, which is to be slighted in comparison of which, who does not see? When he sees which to which is to be preferred, the mind to the body, or the body to the mind; and which is more to be shunned among sins, the permitting of another's deed, or the committing of the deed yourself.

42. It clearly appears then, all being discussed, that those testimonies of Scripture have none other meaning than that we must never at all tell a lie: seeing that not any examples of lies, worthy of imitation, are found in the manners and actions of the Saints, as regards those Scriptures which are referred to no figurative signification, such as is the history in the Acts of the Apostles. For all those sayings of our Lord in the Gospel, which to more ignorant minds seem lies, are figurative significations. And as to what the Apostle says: I am made all things to all men, that I might gain all; the right understanding is, that he did this not by lying, but by sympathy; so that he dealt with them in liberating them with so great charity, as if he were himself in that evil from which he wished to make them whole. There must therefore be no lying in the doctrine of piety: it is a heinous wickedness, and the first sort of detestable lie. There must be no lying of the second sort; because no man must have a wrong done to him. There must be no lying of the third sort; because we are not to consult any man's good to the injury of another. There must be no lying of the fourth sort, that is, for the lust of lying, which of itself is vicious. There must be no lying of the fifth sort, because not even the truth itself is to be uttered with the aim of men-pleasing, how much less a lie, which of itself, as a lie, is a foul thing? There must be no lying of the sixth sort; for it is not right that even the truth of testimony be corrupted for any man's temporal convenience and safety. But unto eternal salvation none is to be led by aid of a lie. For not by the ill manners of them that convert him is he to be converted to good manners: because if it is meet to be done towards him, himself also ought when converted to do it toward others; and so is he converted not to good, but to ill manners, seeing that is held out to be imitated by him when converted, which was done unto him in converting him. Neither in the seventh sort must there be any lying; for it is meet that not any man's commodity or temporal welfare be preferred to the perfecting of faith. Not even if any man is so ill moved by our right deeds as to become worse in his mind, and far more remote from piety, are right deeds therefore to be foregone: since what we are chiefly to hold is that whereunto we ought to call and invite them whom as our own selves we love; and with most courageous mind we must drink in that apostolic sentence: To some we are a savor of life unto life, to others a savor of death unto death; and who is sufficient for these things? Nor in the eighth sort must there be lying: because both among good things chastity of mind is greater than pudicity of body; and among evil things, that which ourselves do, than that which we suffer to be done. In these eight kinds, however, a man sins less when he tells a lie, in proportion as he emerges to the eighth: more, in proportion as he diverges to the first. But whoso shall think there is any sort of lie that is not sin, will deceive himself foully, while he deems himself honest as a deceiver of other men.

It seems he is saying that all lies are sins, but a man can “sin less when he tells a lie” sometimes. So that some lies may not be permissible and we should still call them what they are, a sin, but they are a lesser sin.

While I won’t deny that the Jewish midwives were rewarded by God for their fear of the Lord and not their lying, and that a good intent doesn’t ever make a lie a virtue, it still may be the lesser of 2 evils and the preferable route. So venial a sin. And maybe telling the truth and betraying the hidden Jew and not lying so one can say “I never lie” might in fact be a selfish and vain act so be a sin in itself. Wouldn’t someone with true charity rather spend some time in purgatory and ask the Lord’s forgiveness in advance for the venial sin than betray someone resulting in their death?

We should note also that no where in Scripture are the midwives chastised for their lie. And the lie was the means and action used to show their “fear of the Lord.”


In paragraph 34 St. Augustine says,

“For we have already spoken concerning the Egyptian midwives, that it is in respect of the promise of growth and proficiency to better things that they while lying are spoken of with approval: because it is some step towards loving the true and eternal saving of the soul, when a person does mercifully for the saving of any man's albeit mortal life even tell a lie.”

2 questions come to my mind. Does not lying to a Nazi move the cause of greater truth like the jewish midwives did? To counter and thwart the universal evil Nazi cause?

Also, are we not participants in the murder of the Jew by telling the truth? Are we not enabling the Nazi to sin? Our lie would shield the Nazi from committing a sin. Are we not helping to preserve that Nazi’s soul? Doesn’t that touch on what St. Augustine said,

“Therefore no man can prove that it is at any time right to tell a lie, unless he be able to show that any eternal good can be obtained by a lie.”

Isn’t it in the interest of the Nazi’s “eternal good,” to keep him from the mortal sin of murder and help preserve his soul? If he followed orders and murdered the Jew, he would be mortally sinning, but perhaps until he came to that point and made the decision, he was simply a soldier and had not sinned mortally in searching for the Jew.

Got to go. I have a lot of back reading here that I don’t know when I will get to.

God bless you all.
Love,
Elisa
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Elisa on Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:31 pm

Just want to clarify what I was saying about technically it still being a sin of omission, even though some would like to think the evasion it is virtuous, as opposed to telling the Nazi the Jew isn't there.

If little Johnie’s mother was looking for something that the boy was hiding and he told her it’s under the table instead of saying it’s under the floor, then he would be guilty of the sin of omission. What seems to justify the Jewish situation, is the saving of the Jew’s life. So that places the evasion in the same category as the person who says they don’t know where the Jew is. Both are lies; but with good intent. The evasion is not really telling the truth.
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Guest on Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:38 pm

Thanks for all your work Elisa! It isn't an easy thing to answer.

We need to break it into manageable ( I hope) pieces.

Aquinas says that the nature of a lie is disagreeable to God:
It is written (Sirach 7:14): "Be not willing to make any manner of lie."...

..."Therefore every lie is a sin, as also Augustine declares "
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3110.htm

Now we need to define what is a lie?
again from the Summa--[with outlining for clarity]
Accordingly if these three things concur,
namely,
1.falsehood of what is said,

2.the will to tell a falsehood, and

3. finally the intention to deceive,

then there is falsehood, formally, on account of the will to tell an untruth, and effectively, on account of the will to impart a falsehood...

...However, the essential notion of a lie is taken from formal falsehood, from the fact namely, that a person intends to say what is false; wherefore also the word "mendacium" [lie] is derived from its being in opposition to the "mind."...

...Therefore it is evident that lying is directly an formally opposed to the virtue of truth.

( from the Summa)
"A gloss on Psalm 5:7, "Thou wilt destroy all that speak a lie," says "that there are three kinds of lies; for some are told for the wellbeing and convenience of someone; and there is another kind of lie that is told in fun; but the third kind of lie is told out of malice." The first of these is called an officious lie, the second a jocose lie, the third a mischievous lie. Therefore lies are divided into these three kinds. "

3 kinds of lie:
1. Officious-- told for well being of someone.

2. Jocose-- told in fun

3. Mischivious-- told out of malice

(he adds a fourth"Lust for lying"=habit)

Aquanis divides:
"lies are divided in a more general way, with respect to their relation to some end, whether or not this increase or diminish their gravity"

We have no problem with #2 and #3. I think our problem is with #1. He breaks each of the 3 category down but let's focus on #1:


#1. Officious--wherein something useful to another person is intended.
--This usefulness regards either external things,
--"profits someone in saving his money"; or his body,
--"saves a man from death"; or the morality of his virtue,
--"saves him from unlawful defilement of his body."

All these ends could lessen the degree of the offense but it is still an offense-- at least a Venial Sin.

The Spiritual Exercise of St. Ignatius of Loyola says this about Venial Sin:

The first Mode of Humility is this,
which is necessary for salvation, that I
altogether subject myself to the observance
of the law of God, and that, not even on
the dominion of the whole world being
offered me, or the utmost danger of life
set before me, I transgress deliberately
any divine or human command, which
binds us under the penalty of mortal sin.

The second belongs to a greater per
fection, namely, that with a fixed mind I
be equally inclined towards riches and
poverty, honour and ignominy, shortness
and length of life, where the opportunity
of the praise of God and of my own salvation is equal;
and that by the setting
before me of no condition, either of human
felicity ever so great, or of my own death,
I be ever induced to decide to commit a
sin, although only venial.


The third mode belongs to the most
perfect humility, namely, that, having
already attained to the two former, although without anything superadded, the glory of God should be equal, yet, for the
sake of the greater imitation of Christ, I
choose rather with Him, who was poor,
despised, and mocked, to embrace poverty,
contempt, and the reputation of folly,
than wealth, honours, and the estimation
of wisdom. http://www.archive.org/stream/a588350800loyouoft/a588350800loyouoft_djvu.txt

To offend God even by a venial sin is still the 2nd most evil thing in the universe after a mortal sin. While I can understand the weakness, especially with Nazis at the door, it is still a sin. Once we start to excuse sin as no sin, or as a viable option, I see a slippery slope.

Lastly, to excuse oneself before the situation has arisen, is also I think a mistake. In real life there are always other options that don't appear of the moral theologian's "deserted island" or "Nazi's at the door" situations. Jesus said for us to pray not to be lead into temptation and the Spirit will lead us when we are brought before "the power of this world.":

MK13:11"And when they shall lead you and deliver you up, be not thoughtful beforehand what you shall speak; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye. For it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost."

If we don't seek always holy perfection then answers to problems we have presented will not be forth coming. Like euthanasia the answer to all disease is to kill and not seek the cure.

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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  columba on Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:59 pm

I gree with Duckbill regarding the slippery slope.
There is only one source from whence lies come as Our Lord says in John 8:44
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

I suspect too that using ambiguous language (if done so to deliberately mislead or disguise what one is really saying) is a form of lying.
Yes Yes, and No No, is what's recommended in scripture. Anything else comes from the evil one.

As for how to deal with the above mentioned scenarios. I reckon the grace would be given at the time (and not before) so as one would know what to say to avoid sinning if one had resolved not to lie in any circumstance.

As for me. I'd probably tell on everyone. Embarassed
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Elisa on Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:28 pm

Duckbill,

I agree with what you said about us putting faith in God and He gives us the words, but not all the time. Often God works these small miracles. I’ve seen it in my life. What you say is true and you make an important point.

But there are times when God may, through His permitting will, allow a situation to arise where one is presented with a black and white situation, as the hiding the Jew situation we’ve been discussing. God may or may not change the situation or parties involved to remove the necessity to lie to save the persona and not betray them. Maybe He may even prevent the Nazis from coming to the door in the first place. Certainly this is possible for God and I do believe He does these things. But sometimes God allows other things too.

Sometimes there may not be any “other options” and we have to face a question such as this. We can’t avoid the question by saying that if one has faith, the situation will NEVER arise. It might, even with faith and prayer, God may permit it. Saying there is ALWAYS another option, avoids the question.

I disagree it is a slippery slope. Life and death of innocents are distinct demarcation lines and would not necessarily result in a slippery slope. And the euthanasia correlation is not apropos in the least.

St. Acquinas on self defense:
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3064.htm#article7

What doesn’t make sense to me is that St. Acquinas (and he interprets St. Augustine the same way) says that killing in self defense is lawful, but one can’t lie in self defense?

And he doesn’t even mention defending someone else, which would be an unselfish act. How can it be lawful to kill someone to preserve one’s own life, but not lie to save another’s life?

Acquinas says that it is the intent that matters. That one’s intent is to save their life, which is natural and lawful. Preserving their life is the primary effect of that intent. Killing the person is the secondary effect of the act. One isn’t doing it primarily to kill the person and has no animus in doing so.

In reply to objection 4 he says you can’t compare adultery to save one’s life to killing in self defense because “adultery is not necessarily directed to the preservation of one’s own life.” But in our scenario, the lie would be “directed to the preservation” of the Jew’s life.

In talking about lying, St. Acquinas says this:

Reply to Objection 4. A lie is sinful not only because it injures one's neighbor, but also on account of its inordinateness, as stated above in this Article. Now it is not allowed to make use of anything inordinate in order to ward off injury or defects from another: as neither is it lawful to steal in order to give an alms, except perhaps in a case of necessity when all things are common. Therefore it is not lawful to tell a lie in order to deliver another from any danger whatever. Nevertheless it is lawful to hide the truth prudently, by keeping it back, as Augustine says (Contra Mend. x).


Now something doesn’t seem right with this to me. I probably am not understanding the Saint well. But first he talks about not using “anything inordinate.” Which obviously stealing to give alms would be. But then he allows an exception in the “case of necessity.” Now wouldn’t lying to save a life in our hiding the Jew scenario be considered a necessity? And the lying to protect a life doesn’t seem “inordinate” to me. Yet he then says “it is not lawful to tell a lie in order to deliver another from any danger WHATSOEVER.” I think something is missing in our understanding of this. There may be a missing piece to this that would allow an exception in some cases. Perhaps Acquinas is talking about certain situations and maybe not an immediate situation like we are talking about with hiding the Jew.

He mentions not using “more than necessary violence.” It should not “be out of proportion to the end.” Certainly lying to preserve a life is not “out of proportion to the end.”

Why can’t this be applied to the hiding the Jew situation? The intent is not to lie, but to preserve the Jew’s life. The only means available to do so it the lie, so the lie is secondary to the primary intent. There was no intent to lie first, but to preserve the life.

Something seems wrong to me to even say it is venial sin. The only reason I say it is a venial sin is because the 2 Saints said so. I wonder if they were talking about immediate death or immediate betrayal resulting in death and lying to escape it. When one is presented with the situation and there may be no choice. Or if they were talking about lies more removed in time than the betrayal, more in advance, like a plan to lie.

This is a hard question. I can’t make up my mind. But something in me tells me that God would permit the lie in a case such as this and not call it a sin, even a venial one. I think God would look at the intent to determine if it is a sin. While it may not make the lie a virtuous thing, in and of itself, it may remove the sin. Because I wouldn’t even want to offend God intentionally by a venial sin. All sin comes from the evil one and it turns one’s back on God. But in this situation, I simply cannot see how the unplanned and unavoidable lie would come from the evil one. To me giving up the hiding Jew would be the sin and come from the evil one. Be a selfish act.

Acquinas talks a lot about intention. I think the truth lies somewhere in there. The answer to this that seems elusive to us.

I’d also be interested in what someone here has to say about my 2 questions at the end of my last post.

God bless all of you and your families. Please pray for mine.
Love,
Elisa

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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  tornpage on Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:10 pm

This is a hard question. I can’t make up my mind. But something in me tells me that God would permit the lie in a case such as this and not call it a sin, even a venial one. I think God would look at the intent to determine if it is a sin. While it may not make the lie a virtuous thing, in and of itself, it may remove the sin. Because I wouldn’t even want to offend God intentionally by a venial sin. All sin comes from the evil one and it turns one’s back on God. But in this situation, I simply cannot see how the unplanned and unavoidable lie would come from the evil one. To me giving up the hiding Jew would be the sin and come from the evil one. Be a selfish act.

I agree with you, Elisa. I think the intent and the circumstances make all the difference. And that was a very good point you made about killing in self-defense being ok, but not lying to save a life. I say, "huh?" with you.

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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  tornpage on Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:15 pm

Acquinas says that it is the intent that matters. That one’s intent is to save their life, which is natural and lawful. Preserving their life is the primary effect of that intent. Killing the person is the secondary effect of the act. One isn’t doing it primarily to kill the person and has no animus in doing so.

Excellent, Elisa.

The person lying to save the Jew is doing it for the same intent, to save, and not "primarily" to deceive.

What's the difference?
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  columba on Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:51 pm

Elisa and Tornpage. Those are very good points and indeed there does appear to be a contradiction between the sinfulness of telling a lie to preserve life and the non-sinfulness of taking a life in self defense. However, there also appears to be a subtle difference between the two cases; whereas the primary purpose in killing someone in self defense is the preservation of ones own life, the primary motive in lying is (in all cases) to deceive.
Killing in itself is not intrinscally evil (as in the law of Moses where it was permitted for certain serious crimes) and can serve the cause of justice (one must distinguish here between killing and murder; the latter always being seriously sinful). But lying -on the other hand- is always intrinsically evil even though (as St Thomas says) there are different levels of seriousness.
Even though culpability may be more or less diminished in certain circumstances, the lie is always objectively sinful.
This may be a dilemma peculiar to our times in that the general view in our day is that the worst thing that can befall a human being is bodily death.
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Guest on Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:29 pm

The “Ambiguous Answer” isn't always sinful. Our Lord used it.
Jn 2:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

21But the temple he had spoken of was his body.


Catholic Encyclopedia:

"According to the common Catholic teaching it is never allowable to tell a lie, not even to save human life. A lie is something intrinsically evil, and as evil may not be done that good may come of it, we are never allowed to tell a lie. However, we are also under an obligation to keep secrets faithfully, and sometimes the easiest way of fulfilling that duty is to say what is false, or to tell a lie.

Writers of all creeds and of none, both ancient and modern, have frankly accepted this position. They admit the doctrine of the lie of necessity, and maintain that when there is a conflict between justice and veracity it is justice that should prevail. The common Catholic teaching has formulated the theory of mental reservation as a means by which the claims of both justice and veracity can be satisfied."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10195b.htm

The Church seems to have accepted "Wide Mental Reservation" but to call it a "doctrine" is very misleading. I prefer “Ambiguous Answer” as a better way and more clear term- lol. Because even in the article of the encyclopedia I see no real difference from the wide and the strict. They both seem to be completing the phrase in their mind.

When a priest is confronted about confession. In the old days he could say "I don't know" because of the screen he really didn't know who said what. Face to face makes it more complicated I think.

There was a story an Irish friend of mine told me of priests wearing masks when they said mass in the woods during their persecution. So those who attended the mass could say they "saw" no priest.

Here is a good article:

"When confronted with a similar example, however, St. Thomas Aquinas said we should
reply, “I know where they are, but I will not say where.”
http://www.aodonline.org/aodonline-sqlimages/shms/faculty/latkovicmark/publishedwritings/0610MentalReservation.pdf

The Jesuits were the promoters of mental reservation? Seems like this is true and they were opposed by the Dominicans.

I don't think a lie will keep the SS from searching your house. If they are asking you they already have info that you are.

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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  columba on Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:55 pm

On the subject of hiding people from the enemy, today (coincedently) is the feast of
Saint Nicholas Owen, one of the 40 martyrs of Engand.


Saint Nicholas Owen Martyr.

Very little is known about the early life of Saint Nicholas but it is believed that he was born in Oxford, England around the year 1550 into a devoutly Catholic family. and grew up during the Penal Laws in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. An explanation of Penal in English history :“In English history, penal law refers to a specific series of laws that sought to uphold the establishment of the Church of England against Protestant nonconformists and Roman Catholics, by imposing various forfeitures, civil penalties, and civil disabilities upon these dissenters”

Nicholas was a carpenter by trade and for about thirty years, he built hiding-places for priests being persued by English authorities, in the homes of Catholic families. He frequently travelled from one house to another, under the name of "Little John", accepting only the necessities of life as payment. Constructing these hiding places often involved breaking through thick stonework. To minimize the likelihood of betrayal he often worked at night, and always alone. The number of hiding-places he constructed were never known and, to the ingenuity of his craftsmanship, some may still be undiscovered.

For many years, Owen worked in the service of the Jesuit priest Henry Garnet, and was admitted into the Society of Jesus as a lay brother in 1580. He was first arrested in 1582 or 1583, after the execution of Edmund Campion, for publicly proclaiming the latter's innocence, but was later released. He was arrested again in 1594, and was tortured. He was released after a wealthy Catholic family paid a fine on his behalf.
Nicholas resumed his work, and it is believed that he masterminded the escape of Jesuit Father John Gerard from the Tower of London in 1597.

Early in 1606, Nicholas was arrested again with several priests at Hindlip Hall in Worcestershire. He gave himself up voluntarily in the hope of distracting attention from some other priests who were hiding nearby. Realizing just whom they had caught, and his value, Secretary of State, Robert Cecil exulted: "It is incredible, how great was the joy caused by his arrest... knowing the great skill of Owen in constructing hiding places, and the innumerable quantity of dark holes which he had schemed for hiding priests all throughout England."

After being committed to the Marshalsea, a prison on the southern bank of the Thames, Nicholas was removed to the Tower. He was tried for supposed complicity in the “Gunpowder Plot” Under English law, he was exempt from torture, having been maimed a few years before when a horse had fallen on him. He was, however, submitted to terrible torture on the Topcliffe rack, dangling from a wall with both wrists held fast in iron gauntlets and his body hanging. When this proved insufficient to make him talk, heavy weights were added to his feet. This procedure was followed until "his bowels gushed out with his life. The saint died most horribly.

On Saturday coming it's the feast of St Margaret Clitherow (the most famous of the martyrs) who refused to give information as to the whereabouts of priests she was hiding.

Isn't wonderful today how we don't have to hide from the Protestants. Instead we just have interdenominational sevices with them? (Sorry.. I just can't help adding those little comments).
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  DeSelby on Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:08 pm

duckbill wrote:"When confronted with a similar example, however, St. Thomas Aquinas said we should
reply, “I know where they are, but I will not say where.”

The Jesuits were the promoters of mental reservation? Seems like this is true and they were opposed by the Dominicans.

I don't think a lie will keep the SS from searching your house. If they are asking you they already have info that you are.

For what it's worth, I find St. Thomas's reply the most satisfactory so far. I was never a big fan of Jesuitical fan dancing. I want to add that I really don't know what I would do in any given situation though. I honestly can see myself telling lies in certain circumstances, under pressure. I just don't see it as the ideal.

I also like the point you make here at the end, Duckbill. Does anyone really believe that, after being told "no" at the door, that they would say, "oh, well, sorry to trouble you. Buh bye!"

Perhaps someone here would like to comment on the issuance of false baptismal certificates.
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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Guest on Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:18 am

It may not be about Nazi's but it is about truth and justice. Very good film! Not for kids though. If you get a chance rent it. Big screen is best because of subtitles.


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Re: Disturbing--truce

Post  Guest on Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:32 pm

BTW thank MRyan and Tornpage and to all others for your input. I was a little surprised at your responses but life in the Church is a fog at times.

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Re: Disturbing--truce

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