Monday, May 27, 2013

C. S. Lewis: The Truth, the Lie, and the Lion

Troy Hinkel writes an excellent post on the modern disdain for truth and C. S. Lewis' answer to that in The Last Battle.  

But, good as that article is, and good as C. S. Lewis' insights into morality are - of course if someone else is scornful of the truth, I need not be particularly worried about it.  I'm mostly truthful, except when the small lie suits me.  If they lie for their Bad Cause, I may lie for my Good Cause, or else their Bad Cause will win.  Right???  And Scripture, Augustine, Aquinas, Trent, and the Catechism - they're not Magisterial, right???  Lying for a Good Cause is a good thing, right????

Then there's this.

Fear of scandal prompted the cover-up of child sex abuse allegations within the Catholic Church, Australia’s top-ranking Cardinal George Pell admitted Monday.

Now Pell is one of OUR guys.  He's not a liberal Jesuit lying to keep an abusive priest out of jail.   He's an orthodox bishop who has taken heat for his opposition to liturgical abuse and his devotion to Church teaching.  He's even been the victim of a lie - a man who falsely accused him of abuse in 2002.

So when Cardinal Pell tells us why the Church in Australia lied, and says

“The primary motivation would have been to respect the reputation of the church ...  There was a fear of scandal.”

... my questions, dear readers who are gung-ho for Lying for a Good Cause - are these

  1. May a Catholic lie to avoid scandal?
  2. May a Catholic lie to protect the reputation of the Church?
  3. May a Catholic lie if his lie might put innocent children in harm's way?

And before you answer that, read Hinkel's article.  Read, as he did, C. S. Lewis' The Last Battle, about which Hinkel says ...

There are many profound themes Lewis skillfully weaves through his book: manipulation of sentiment versus pursuing the truth, ends justifying means, cynicism versus conversion, as well as a scary portrait of the minimum necessary conditions needed for evil to appear triumphant over good.

The minimum necessary conditions for evil to triumph over good?  Doing bad so that good may come would be one of them.  But I can think of others.


Anonymous said...

You know, in the Last Battle the hero, Tirian, dresses himself and his allies in the clothes of his enemies (Calormenes -- they even dye their skin brown) in order to deceive them into thinking Tirian's on their side. And I'll bet you bottom-dollar Troy doesn't take your side in this debate about deception. I'd just suggest you be careful before you claim Lewis or Hinkel is in agreement with you on this. God bless, JM

Kevin O'Brien said...

JM, if Hinkel is not on the Church's side in this debate, he is contradicting the things he says in his own article. As to warfare, I cover that here -

Joey Higgins said...

Lying to protect reputation doesn't work in the Church, especially when your "opponent" already is against you. Lying will just give more ammunition. If people admitted that they were part of this thing called sin, no one could legitimately rally against the church on this topic. The cover-up was a much bigger story than the original sex abuse.

The sex abuse was a terrible thing, but every institution has problems with sex abuse - but not all institutions are able to go to the length the Church did to enable and cover up that abuse. Although, I imagine this is a human/psychological issue as there have been some pretty heinous stories about abuse in schools and moving teachers as well.

Anonymous said...

The real question is why is the Church doing things it has to cover up like this--at such a rate??