The Catholic University of America

David Cloutier, associate professor, theology, was interviewed in a Religion News Service article on “alternative facts” and the immorality of lying. See below.

Thou shalt not speak alternative facts: religion and lying

From: Religion News Service 
Date: Feb. 16, 2017
Author: Kimberly Winston


... “The eighth commandment is pretty basic: ‘Thou shalt not lie,'” said David Cloutier, an assistant professor of theology at the Catholic University of America.


“Lying consists in saying what is false with the intention of deceiving one’s neighbor,” the catechism states. And “an offense against the truth requires reparation.”

“The work is in understanding what a lie is,” Cloutier said. “A lie has to include an intention to deceive people and told to someone who has a right to know the truth.”

But Catholics are “called,” Cloutier said, to continually seek the truth, even in the face of lies from people in power.

“Catholics should not accept lies for the sake of some further end, even if that end is highly desirable,” he said. “The tradition has long taught that one may not choose an evil as a means to achieving a good, and so the duty to seek the truth can never be abandoned.”

“They harm a person’s relationship to God, because God ‘is the truth and wills the truth,'” Cloutier said. “The catechism quotes Aquinas, who says that people ‘could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another.’ Lying fundamentally disrupts our relationships to one another in a society. Society would crash if we lost confidence in truth-telling.” ...

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