I’ve used the “L” word with respect to Roman Catholics, on more than one occasion. And generally speaking, these charges have been dismissed as baseless or uncharitable.
In our day, the history of that institution has been largely forgotten, or whitewashed. But the casuistry (argumentation that is specious or excessively subtle and intended to be misleading) of the Jesuits following the Reformation was well known and widespread. In our day, the Roman Catholic Church continues such practices of deceit, often which are practiced “under the radar.”
But here is an instance of it that’s officially documented.
There is another “sex abuse” scandal raging in Ireland; the pope just this week traveled to Ireland to meet with the Bishops there. Here is something that I found in the links to the various official reports that have been produced in conjunction with this investigation:
(Bear in mind, this is not to speak about the phenomenon of sexual abuse, which is horrible in itself. It is to speak about the policy, admitted when a government organization could twist the arm, so to speak, of one of the primary players in this scandal, who in turn admitted just one of the ways this institution has of excusing itself from lying about a grave matter):
58.14 One unifying strand in all of the complainants‟ evidence heard by the Commission was the sense of dismay and anger felt by them that their Church, in which they had placed the utmost faith and trust, had in their view, duped and manipulated them over the years and that it had done so in order to preserve its reputation and its assets. Unlike Church authorities, complainants did not perceive any distinction between their local church and the universal church. They were shocked by the growing realisation that their Church founded on a gospel of love, truth and justice could treat its own members, many of them defenceless children, so shabbily.
58.15 A common refrain amongst the complainants was that the nature of the apologies issued by the Archdiocese was general rather than specific. They stated that this type of apology was not sufficient to ease their personal pain. They felt that if they could meet someone in authority who would personally apologise to them for the hurt and trauma they had suffered this would greatly help them. Some acknowledged the fact that Archbishop Martin had met them personally and apologised to them.
58.19 Marie Collins was particularly angered by the use by Church authorities of ‘mental reservation’ in dealing with complaints. Mental reservation is a concept developed and much discussed over the centuries, which permits a churchman knowingly to convey a misleading impression to another person without being guilty of lying. For example, John calls to the parish priest to make a complaint about the behaviour of one of his curates. The parish priest sees him coming but does not want to see him because he considers John to be a troublemaker. He sends another of his curates to answer the door. John asks the curate if the parish priest is in. The curate replies that he is not. This is clearly untrue but in the Church’s view it is not a lie because, when the curate told John that the parish priest was not in, he mentally reserved to himself the words ‘to you’.
58.20 Cardinal Connell explained the concept of mental reservation to the Commission in the following way:
“Well, the general teaching about mental reservation is that you are not permitted to tell a lie. On the other hand, you may be put in a position where you have to answer, and there may be circumstances in which you can use an ambiguous expression realising that the person who you are talking to will accept an untrue version of whatever it may be – permitting that to happen, not willing that it happened, that would be lying. It really is a matter of trying to deal with extraordinarily difficult matters that may arise in social relations where people may ask questions that you simply cannot answer. Everybody knows that this kind of thing is liable to happen. So, mental reservation is, in a sense, a way of answering without lying.”
Keep in mind this is just one of the ways that Rome bears false witness. There are all kinds of examples like this: from the known use of forgeries to support its causes, to Jesuitical casuistry, to things like this. This is just one instance that has risen to the surface because of public and governmental pressure. How many more such tactics are they holding close to their vests? (Or under their robes, as the case may be?)