Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
I have never used mental reservation in explaining any teachings of the Church. Nor would I be justified in doing so. Even though mental reservation can be lawful in certain circumstances, you must not think that the Church allows it as a regular thing. It can be lawful, for although no one is ever allowed to say what is not true, one is not always obliged to say what is true. In mental restriction no lie is told, but part of the truth is withheld. Thus, to save a small boy from a bully, another lad could say, "He ran down this street towards the station." But he does not add, "And he turned down the first street on the right." He reserves that information within his own mind, and the mental restriction is quite lawful in such a case. However, since it misleads, the Church says that mental restriction is lawful only when there are sufficiently grave reasons either of j'ustice or of charity to justify it. ft is not /awfu/ whenever we please. But there is no sufficient reason for mental reservation when one is asked to explain the teachings of the Catholic Church, and in my replies I have never made use of it.
If all that the speaker says is true, you cannot accuse him of lying. To be silent is not to lie. We may say that such a man is unjust, if he ought to speak yet refuses to do so. We may say that he is disobedient, if he is commanded by lawful authority to tell the rest, and will not. But he is not a liar, for he has not said what is untrue. Thus Christ said to the Apostles "Go up to the festival day, but I go not up to this festival day." Jn. VII., 8. Then, after they had gone without Him, "He Himself went, not openly, but in secret." The full truth was, "I go not in the ordinary way you would expect, and with you; but I intend to go another way known to Myself alone and of which I do not wish to inform you now." But Christ did not add the latter words, although He knew that the disciples would be misled. Yet we cannot accuse Christ, who was truth itself, of telling a lie. As a matter of fact it is not only lawful not to say what is true, but at times there may be a grave obligation not to do so. However, in certain circumstances it would be quite wrong to make use of mental restriction. Its use supposes always a justifying reason, whether of justice or of charity.