instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The good open lie system

If I may be excused rehashing the polemics of a bygone age, the following (from that same Dublin Review article I've been droning on about for several posts) suggests an ironic inversion in the last century:
...we have no objection to avowing our belief, (for from the bottom of our soul we detest making people say what we suspect they don't mean,) that from the national character of England's Church, and its proverbial fondness for broad views, it would most likely, could it ever express its mind upon the subject, reject the doctrine of amphibology as sophistical subtlety, and incline rather, in cases of difficulty, to the good open lie system.
The irony of suggesting the course of rejecting equivocation in favor of the good open lie is this:

Not a few Catholics today favor the good open lie system of the Nineteenth Century, through use of a discoverable equivocation on the definition of "to lie." They agree with the universal opinion of Catholic theologians for the previous fifteen hundred years, that lying is always wrong -- as long as they get to change what it means to lie.

A further irony is this: many of these Catholics consider themselves traditionalists, opposed to modernist relativism.