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Janet Smith joins moral theologians' debate on Live Action tactics

February 25, 2011

Janet Smith continues the debate among moral theologians about the morality of Live Action’s tactics, in an analysis posted on the web site.

After summarizing the argument of St. Thomas Aquinas, who said that a lie is always morally wrong, Smith questions whether the Thomist arguments can be seen in a different perspective. St. Thomas, she notes, also argued that in time of war, deceptive tactics are morally justifiable. Smith asks whether in political battles, the same sort of argument might apply. She concludes:

Perhaps we can articulate the principle: “We cannot always expect full disclosure from others.” I think especially evildoers should not expect full disclosure and even truth from others.”


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  • Posted by: impossible - Feb. 28, 2011 11:11 PM ET USA

    So when the home invader brandishing a gun, kills one of the family members and asks the survivors if there are any other people in the house, they should not commit the sin of lying to protect them? I deeply respect Dr. George, and confess that I haven't read his article on this, but sure have my doubts on this.

  • Posted by: filioque - Feb. 25, 2011 11:35 PM ET USA

    A lie is a sin against justice, which requires that we give each person his due. So the question is what is due to criminals? Not much. The police carry out undercover operations all the time. Why is this suddenly a problem?