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“ lie” in any sense except a bad sense. But I am not bound to maintain his views. Taylor does not stand to me as S. Alfonso stands to you. The latter's system has, as you are doubtless aware, been discussed twenty times by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, and approved, “voce concordi, unanimi consensu, una

unâ voce, unâ mente.” It has been declared that it contains nothing to be censured, which is explained to mean “that his whole teaching is altogether free from all error, which the Church now sees to be error; that we are quite certain, from the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, that in S. Alfonso's works, in the whole of his Moral Theology, not one principle is disapproved of; that there is not in it any opinion contrary to faith or good morals, new, opposed to the sense of the Church, heretical, erroneous, approaching to error, savouring of heresy or error, suspected of error, rash, scandalous, offensive to pious ears, ill-sounding, such as to lead the simple astray, schismatical, harmful, impious, blasphemous.”_So that, in the words of the Preface to his Life, edited by the Fathers of the Oratory, and approved and recommended by Cardinal Wiseman, “the morals of this saintly Bishop cannot be censured, without setting up as a censor of authority itself; without, in fine, censuring the decision of the Holy See.” It cannot be denied that Liguori's book is the authoritative exponent of Rome's moral teaching:

There are two of the original points of discussion which I see you have not touched. I should be glad to know whether or no you do approve of the four answers put into the mouth of the adulterous wife: (1.) that she had not broken marriage; (2.) that she was innocent of the crime; (meaning that she had confessed it;) (3.) that she had not committed adultery; (meaning that she had not committed idolatry;) (4.) that she had not committed adultery; (meaning so as to have to tell her husband)?

I should like also to know whether or no you do think that a man who has seduced a maiden on promise of marrying her, is not bound to keep his promise, (whether the victim did, or did not know of any disparity between them,) because he is of considerably higher birth, or because he is considerably richer. And whether, on this point, you would yourself, in the confessional, hold, with the Cardinal Archbishop of Besançon, “that the judgment of Rome should be fully adhered to, and that the opinion of the blessed Alfonso de' Liguori should be followed, and reduced to practice, all doubt whatever being thrown aside."

I am, dear Sir,
Yours faithfully,



Rev. F. MEYRICK to Rev. H. E. MANNING.

My dear Sir,

In my two last letters I believe that I did not acknowledge and thank you for your note of May 29. Allow me to thank you for the kindly tone pervading it and the rest of your letters, and at the same time to inquire whether you intend to make any further answer to my remarks of May 12, July 14, and July 18, or whether you propose that our correspondence on these points should now close.

I am, my dear Sir,
Yours very faithfully,

Kinson, Wimborne, Aug. 16, 1854.


Rev. H. E. MANNING to Rev. F. MEYRICK.

78, South Audley Street, Aug. 18, 1854. My dear Sir,

I did not write again to acknowledge your two last letters, because I understood them to be the conclusion of one which preceded them, in which you said that you would send sonje further remarks. My note was intended as an expression of

my thanks for all your letters. You will believe me that I should regret to seem wanting towards you in this.

It seemed to me that our correspondence had reached its natural end, for we could do no more than re-affirm our opposite views, and out of this no good could come. Indeed, most correspondences end in a wider difference, which, at least, I hope has not been the case with ours.

If we cannot approach more nearly in this, we can at least remember each other at other times, and in a better way: and I may assure you that, so far as I am able, I do not fail of my part in this. Once more, with my thanks,

Believe me, my dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,




Rev. F. MEYRICK to Rev. H. E. MANNING.

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London, Sept. 14, 1854. My dear Sir,

I return your copy of the Homo Apostolicus, with many thanks to you for allowing me to keep it so long. I hope that it has not received any damage since I have had it. Our correspondence has now terminated, and, I am afraid, has not wrought conviction on either side. With regard to gravity of matter, on which we have written most, I am still quite unable to reconcile either of the views which you have put forward. 1. That it is gravity of sin. 2. That it is objective and material malitia of the act, with the frequent expressions, "sumere materiam gravem, &c. and with the whole scope of the chapter in S. Alfonso. I am, therefore, left with the same opinion as that with which I began, owing to a belief that your hypotheses do not account for the facts of the case. Nor am I shaken by S. Alfonso having declared, as you have said, that the external act adds no essential malitia to the internal act, or words to that effect. (He does not speak very clearly in the Homo Apostolicus.) For it is of the nature of error to be discordant with itself. And that statement appears to be adopted from earlier writers, to whom gravity of matter was unknown.

I should have liked to have learnt whether you should individually feel yourself justified in condemning as immoral, some of the opinions of S. Alfonso, which I quoted in my last letters,

, and also to have inquired whence you draw your explanation of venial sin, which, on again referring to the Homo Apostolicus, and the Theologia Moralis, I see is considerably more stern than that of Liguori, who says that a man does not sin gravely though he determine to commit every possible venial sin; but I have already detained you a long time in the discussion of these matters, and I shall only now return you my sincere thanks for the kindness and courtesy which you have shown.

I am, dear Sir,
Yours very faithfully,





The teaching of St. Alphonsus on the subject of falsehood is as follows:

I. That to speak falsely, is immutably a sin against God. It may be permitted

under no circumstances, not even to save life. Pope Innocent III. says, “ Not even to defend our life, is it lawful to speak falsely.”

II. That when interrogated by those who have a right to interrogate, and in a lawful way, men are bound to communicate all their knowledge on the matter of the interrogation, e.g. in a Court of Justice in the Sacrament of Penance, &c.

ÎII. That when interrogated by those who have no right to interrogate, or in an unlawful way, men are not bound to communicate all their knowledge on the matter of the interrogation. A Judge cannot administer an oath out of his own court to compel evidence, nor a Confessor interrogate out of the sacrament, much less may others interrogate men as to the matter of their confessions, and as to the sins or dishonours of their parents, friends, &c.

IV. That in case of such interrogations, every man has a right to set them aside by lawful means.

V. That to do so by falsehood, is absolutely unlawful.

VI. That to do so by an answer with mental restriction, i. e. made silently, or in the mind only, is equivalent to falsehood, because the words spoken, as they are heard, are false. This is condemned by the Church, under Innocent XI. in full and absolute terms.

VII. That to do so by an answer, of which the matter is true, but the sense ambiguous, is not falsehood, and is, therefore, lawful. This is called amphibologia, equivocation, or restriction not purely mental, because the words spoken are absolutely true in the sense they hear.

Every instance given by St. Alphonsus is of this kind. He


allows the instances because they are not falsehood. If they were false, his first principle would condemn them.

They who accuse him, do it in one of these two ways. I. Either they say, “I call this falsehood, and St. Alphonsus allows it, therefore St. Alphonsus allows falsehood," which is nonsense; or, II. “St. Alphonsus admits this to be falsehood, and yet allows it, therefore he allows falsehood,” which is simply to break the ninth (Anglican) commandment. He allows it, because he maintains it to be Truth. Anybody may reject his instances if they will; they may think him large and lax, but they may not falsify his words. Let us now see what Anglicans have said. Jeremy Taylor, in his Ductor Dubitantium, which is full of irritability and unfairness against the Catholic Church, says:

I. “It is lawful to tell a lie to children and madmen, · provided the lie be charitable.”

II. “ It is lawful to tell a lie to our neighbour by consent, provided the end be pious."

III. “To tell a lie for charity, to save a man's life, &c. hath been done and commended by great, and wise, and good men.” (See above, Innocent III.)

IV. “When things are true in several senses, the not explicating in what sense I mean the words, is not criminal reservation."

V. “It is lawful, upon a just cause, ... to use words of diverse significations, though it does deceive him that asks.”

VI. “ Ăn equivocation is like a dark lantern—if I have just reason to hold the dark side to you, you are to look to it, not I. Now that part of the ambiguity which I intend it in is true," &c.

VII. “ If it be fit that he be deceived, though I have no right to do it, let him deceive himself. It must be by his own act, to which I

may indeed minister by any fair and innocent means.” VIII. “An equivocal speech hath a light side as well as a dark: it is true as well as false, and, therefore, it is in its own nature innocent; and it is only changed into a fault when it is against justice and charity, under which simplicity is to be

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There are abundant more expressions of the same kind from Protestant writers, who only differ from St. Alphonsus in going beyond him, and in allowing what the Catholic Church condemns.

Sincere writers on both sides teach the same principles, though they may differ as to particular examples.


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