An occasion of many venial sins
Over at Mark Shea, there is a heated discussion of whether lying is ever not sinful. We should never deliberately commit any sin, venial or mortal.
The Catholic Catechism seems to say that all lies are sins:
By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others.
But is that the ONLY purpose of speech? Is it an intrinsic part of all speech? Cardinal Schönborn wrote the catechism; he is a Dominican and a Thomist, and he certainly presents Aquinas’s position here.
But is that really the only purpose of speech? If you tell an ugly and deformed person, “You are very beautiful,” in Aquinas’s view would be sinful and should never be done, even if the purpose were to dissuade the poor person not to commit suicide in despair.
I suspect that Aquinas had Asperger’s Syndrome, and his view of the purpose of speech is that which Aspergers and autistic people have.
Speech had many purposes, and “communicating known truth” is only one of them, and is not an intrinsic part of every statement.
The Greek Fathers had a very lax attitude to lying, which led to a lot of Anglo-Saxon sniffing by their English translators. God deceived Satan into killing Christ, according to one school of theology.
BTW, the bishops and the Vatican certainly do not follow the Catechism. They lie frequently, copiously, and by habit.