Lying in itself

A moral act takes its species from its object and its end (Q 110, a1) To tell the truth is to make a manifestation by certain signs The object of the manifestation is either true or false The end may be to tell a falsehood or to deceive

Lying and morality

The essence of falsehood is taken from its formality (the end) A man may tell a material falsehood without intending to lie

Division of lies (as lies) (Q 110, a2)

Go beyond the truth

Stop short of the truth

Division of lies (as sins) (Q 110, a2)

Mischievous: For malice and injury of another

Jocose: For pleasure

Officious: For usefulness, ie another’s wellbeing or convenience

Division of lies (as regards the end)
(Q 110, a2)

Mischievous lies

Lust of lying

Jocose lies

Officious lies

Against God

Against man

Profits someone in saving money

Saves a man from death

Saves a man from defilement of his body

Profits one, Injures another

Profits no one

Lies and sins

“In order for an action to be good it must be right in every respect” (Q 110, a3) A lie is always evil in at least one respect, ie, materially a falsehood is told Hence every lie, for whatever intention, is evil (lacking due good) in this respect

Lies and mortal sins (Q 110, a4)

In themselves

As concerns the end

Accidentally: Mortal sin through scandal

Against God: Mortal sin

Against man: Depends upon the matter

To injure another: Mortal sin

Not to injure another: Venial sin (jocose & officious)

Lying and the Bible
 “If

any of [the holy men of the Bible’s] statements appear untruthful, we must understand such statements to have been figurative and prophetic” (Q 110, a3, ad3)  “We must not judge that someone is lying if several persons fail to describe in the same way and the same words a thing which they remember to have seen or heard” (Ibid, ad 1)

Specific examples

Abraham did not lie; Sara was both his wife and his sister Jacob spoke in a mystical sense when deceiving his father Judith too spoke mystically when deceiving Holofernes