Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
I would define it as the uttering of what one knows to be false, and that whether by speech, writing, or gesture.
Yes. A lie is wrong in itself, not merely in reference to the rights of others. If others have a right to the truth, a lie is by that fact a still graver sin. But, even if they have no right, to say what one knows to be untrue is still a lie, and sinful before God.The idea that men may tell lies provided the listeners or readers have no right to the truth leads to immense evils. Each man constitutes himself as the judge concerning the extent of other people's rights, and soon ends by saying what he thinks will be for their good, or his own good, whether it be true or false. Thus, we have official lies in war time, political untruths, newspaper dishonesties, and a general spirit of mistrust which renders social peace and confidence impossible. In December, 1935, a statement by a Polish doctor on the scene in Abyssinia was sent to the League of Nations, declaring that the Italians had deliberately bombed the Red Cross hospital at Dessye.That news at once got headlines in the newspapers, so that all the world could read of Italian brutality, and work up suitable feelings of indignation and disgust. The item was quoted and re-quoted, and as it went from lip to lip it left in its wake a train of ill-will, hatred, anger, and contempt in people of a dozen countries.Two months later the news was cabled that the doctor in question had retracted his statement, saying that he signed it without reading it, being forced to do so while performing an operation in the presence of the Abyssinian Emperor. But this retraction does not alter the fact that the original lie had had two months' liberty to enkindle ill-will and hatred; nor was it possible to undo the harm already caused. This is but one instance of the evils wrought by lies.