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    "Deliberate deceit" – correction
    Posted by BrianC on October 15, 2003, 1:15 am

Dear all, I used the expression deliberate deceit in the above post. The full sentence was: "The only thing they can do is own up to the truth and admit they were engaged in deliberate deceit." That needs more nuancing than as it has been written.

It was "deliberate deceit" in one sense but ignorance, I'm pretty sure, in another. I think Cardinal Lopez-Trujillo actually probably does believe what he is saying. In that sense then it is not "deliberate deceit". He is simply ignorant of the significance of what he is saying and why it is causing such a storm around the world. Others in the Church will undoubtedly try and excuse him, as I have explained elsewhere by saying something like "well, it's just an opinion isn't it. The Church (or this Cardinal) is entitled to have an opinion isn't he!" without understanding that this material simply is not in the domain of personal "opinion". It is in the realm of "observable fact". That is a whole new ball game. People who think like what I have just described are acting in the literal meaning of the word ignorance.

What has happened though at the institutional level of the Church though is deliberate deceit particularly the materials that have so obviously been published and distributed to the front-line priests and nuns working in these third world countries. There has been a serious breakdown in the Church in the whole business of "Imprimatur" or "Imprimi Potest" on what the Church teaches. Someone in authority should have picked this up a long time ago that the Church was relying on information that is objectively and observably wrong. Of course all the people in the Church who have invested everything in Humanae Vitae and the Church's teachings on artificial contraception will not understand the significance of what is at stake here and that is going to make it enormously harder for the leadership of the Church to clean up the damage Lopez-Trujillo has caused without impacting on those teachings. The irony is that it is not actually the Church's teaching about the moral unacceptability of barrier methods of contraception which has caused the problem. It is certainly a matter related to condoms but it is matter of scientific certitude not theological certitude that is on the line here. The whole thing is going to confuse a heck of a lot of people because they keep hearing the word "condom" but, in a sense, that is not the issue. This is very much like the very first big dispute in the Church between Ss Peter and Paul over the issue of circumcision. The word at the centre of that issue was "circumcision". The critical issues at stake actually had little to do with the actual business of cutting off the foreskin in males. Most people cannot distinguish things in debates like this.

To summarise then: at the institutional level it certainly would appear to be deliberate deceit (in the sense that there has been a breakdown in the way these things are normally vetted in the Church). At the level of the individuals though who've been quoted one suspects the problem is merely enormous ignorance and people being in way over their heads in their professional knowledge of the matters they are supposed to be knowledgeable about.

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