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I didn't realize up until recently the firestorm surrounding the Live Action sting operations against the abortion industry. Quite frankly, I'm pretty disgusted that there are fairly high-profile Catholics who believe simply impersonating a seedy persona to undermine Planned Parenthood's diabolical efforts is morally questionable.

I've read mention of Aquinas and Augustine (and am familiar with the specific citations being pulled) as positing the notion that lying is an intrinsic evil. However, it must be acknowledged that much of the lexicon used by pre-moderns has been mutilated into non-meaning: such as soul, reason, intuition, etc. Does "lie" in the Summa denote the same "lie" that we think of today? My Thomistic-Fu is lacking a bit, so I'll ask those who are stronger in this respect:

(1) Would Aquinas find simple, verbal deception morally reprehensible, even when it used to rescue the unborn?
(2) Would Aquinas find WWII-era Catholics who lied to the Gestapo in regard to hiding refugees from the Nazis in their homes in a state of sin?
(3) Would Aquinas find the day-to-day occurrence of police and military using espionage and deception to bring drug dealers, rapists, murderers, terrorists, etc. to justice?

This is something I could never ascribe to.

What's the definitive position on this?
(02-20-2011, 10:16 PM)Joshua Wrote: [ -> ](3) Would Aquinas find the day-to-day occurrence of police and military using espionage and deception to bring drug dealers, rapists, murderers, terrorists, etc. to justice?

How are drug dealers any worse than liquor store salesmen or bartenders?
(02-20-2011, 10:19 PM)Resurrexi Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-20-2011, 10:16 PM)Joshua Wrote: [ -> ](3) Would Aquinas find the day-to-day occurrence of police and military using espionage and deception to bring drug dealers, rapists, murderers, terrorists, etc. to justice?

How are drug dealers any worse than liquor store salesmen or bartenders?

What? ...

Just about every booze under the sun has its origins in monasteries. Take your non-Catholic puritanism elsewhere, please. Don't derail this thread.
Two flaws we fall into - according to a priest on Raymond Aroro's show recently:

That the magnitude of evil justifies sin - "two wrongs can make a right."
That the ends justifies the means.

I do not think the Church has ever promoted these. The priest called the sting operation of Lila Rose a "gray area" and encouraged further discussion on it while keeping the above in mind.

When protecting civilians, we have all kinds of gray areas. A policeman sometimes has to shoot. In times of war we drop bombs - even though innocent civilians may die. Spying, hiding Jews in the attic and lying to Nazis, is part of it. Hiding priests during times of religious persecution is part of it. I have argued on other threads that the pro-life movement is, in a way, a "war." But it's not the kind of war in which we use aggressive means to combat the enemy, but rather passive means.

Ancient Rome was a pro-death culture. Infanticide was common, so was torture and crucifixion. What means did Our Lord use in converting the pagan? I think the fact that some pro-lifers are questioning the morality of these sting operations shows their uprightness and integrity. 
I'm still having a very hard time wrapping my head around all of this.

The only thing I have to contribute to this thread is to point out that Live Action is not analogous with "permissive" truth- that is, mental reservation or lies akin to it. 

A) A catholic is put into an awkward position- being accosted by gustapo on whether or not they are hiding jews.  the catholic (or whoever is hiding the jew) says "no, there are no jews in my house."  this is a passive lie.

B) Live Action infiltrates pp with false identities and backgrounds.  They manipulate and lie to expose the goings on of the facility.  This is a pro-active lie. 

We cannot compare Lila Rose's actions to that of catholics hiding Jews because Lila rose is the instigator.  I think we need to find a better analogy.

For the record- I believe what Lila Rose is doing is not only moral but commendable and maybe even saintly. 
(02-20-2011, 11:39 PM)Mithrandylan Wrote: [ -> ]The only thing I have to contribute to this thread is to point out that Live Action is not analogous with "permissive" truth- that is, mental reservation or lies akin to it. 

A) A catholic is put into an awkward position- being accosted by gustapo on whether or not they are hiding jews.  the catholic (or whoever is hiding the jew) says "no, there are no jews in my house."  this is a passive lie.

B) Live Action infiltrates pp with false identities and backgrounds.  They manipulate and lie to expose the goings on of the facility.  This is a pro-active lie. 

I agree with this. I also agree that we need to come up with a better analogy between Lila Rose's actions and that of Catholics hiding Jews because Lila Rose is the instigator. I don't know what it is yet. I read that some zealous Christians in the earliest centuries were known to "desecrate" (destroy) pagan temples. Isn't that commendable, since they were contributing the downfall of a false belief system? I do not know that their local bishops ever approved of such a thing.
(02-20-2011, 11:02 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: [ -> ]Two flaws we fall into - according to a priest on Raymond Aroro's show recently:

That the magnitude of evil justifies sin - "two wrongs can make a right."
That the ends justifies the means.

Yes, Lisa, I actually watched that episode as well. I don't think Father really contributed anything to this discussion to be honest.  However, in regard to the notion of "two wrongs can't make a right", I think that strikes at the very heart of the discussion: can lying be said to be intrinsically evil?

If so, then is an undercover police officer in a state of mortal sin? Is someone who lies to protect refugees in a state of mortal sin?

Mithrandylan Wrote:We cannot compare Lila Rose's actions to that of catholics hiding Jews because Lila rose is the instigator.  I think we need to find a better analogy.

True. We'll continue to use the Nazis as they seem to be one of the few universally accepted images of evil. Lets imagine a moral man purposefully lies and uses deception to infiltrate the Gestapo to undermine their efforts and, in so doing, saves the lives of Jews and other targets of the Nazi regime. Is this sinful?
I'm concerned that Lila Rosa's enterprise will end up hurting the pro-life movement.  Coercing a few Planned Parenthood employees into agreeing to do something immoral and illegal is not the death blow to PP some think it is.  

The PP leadership has said and will keep saying that the employees were not acting in accord with PP policy.  They have also fired or demoted the employees, I believe, so all Lila Rose has accomplished is putting some women on unemployment.  Babies are still being aborted at PP clinics.  

Even if PP employees never dare to break the law in the future, abortion is still legal and PP is still funded by our tax dollars.  


Pro-life groups need to focus on defunding PP.  


It would be more effective to communicate to the public that

1) PP does little except provide abortions, and rhetoric,

2)  the other health care procedures (pelvic exams, Pap smears, mammograms) and contraceptives available at PP are available at local health centers free or at low cost.  

PP is a mega-business and their business is selling abortions to women.  They also act like an advocacy organization and solicit funds widely, and they get millions from the government, too?   This is wrong.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
(02-21-2011, 12:03 AM)Joshua Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-20-2011, 11:02 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: [ -> ]Two flaws we fall into - according to a priest on Raymond Aroro's show recently:

That the magnitude of evil justifies sin - "two wrongs can make a right."
That the ends justifies the means.

Yes, Lisa, I actually watched that episode as well. I don't think Father really contributed anything to this discussion to be honest.  However, in regard to the notion of "two wrongs can't make a right", I think that strikes at the very heart of the discussion: can lying be said to be intrinsically evil?

Bearing false witness against one's neighbor is intrinsically evil, and the Church puts lying with the intention to deceive under the umbrella of that commandment - as the priest on the Raymond show also pointed out. Of course, any sting operation, spying, is meant to deceive. Does the morality/immorality of the act depend on the outcome? If good prevails and lives are saved, is it okay? I admit I'm perplexed.

Of course I'm all for shutting down Planned Parenthood. Couldn't we encourage clients to come forward and tell their own stories? 
(02-21-2011, 12:18 AM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-21-2011, 12:03 AM)Joshua Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-20-2011, 11:02 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: [ -> ]Two flaws we fall into - according to a priest on Raymond Aroro's show recently:

That the magnitude of evil justifies sin - "two wrongs can make a right."
That the ends justifies the means.

Yes, Lisa, I actually watched that episode as well. I don't think Father really contributed anything to this discussion to be honest.  However, in regard to the notion of "two wrongs can't make a right", I think that strikes at the very heart of the discussion: can lying be said to be intrinsically evil?

Bearing false witness against one's neighbor is intrinsically evil, and the Church puts lying with the intention to deceive under the umbrella of that commandment - as the priest on the Raymond show also pointed out. Of course, any sting operation, spying, is meant to deceive. Does the morality/immorality of the act depend on the outcome? If good prevails and lives are saved, is it okay? I admit I'm perplexed.

Of course I'm all for shutting down Planned Parenthood. Couldn't we encourage clients to come forward and tell their own stories? 

Your last paragraph nails it.  We want PP shut down.  But we can do it with true stories that no one coerced from anyone.  There are former PP employees who would speak out if given the chance.

This "sting operation" makes Lila Rose famous, which is great for her, and maybe she's sincere and had pure motives. 

BUT it also makes a lot of people equate "pro-life" with "approving of deception" and "the end justifies the means" thinking.

That's why pro-lifers should step back from Lila Rose, not be so enthusiastic about her actions, call for truth about PP.



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