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'But now, if you have not a good reason, is it a mortal sin to swear amphibologically, or with non-pure mental restriction? Viva says so, as well as Toletus, Anglès, Armilla, Navarrus; so does Busembaum, together, as he declares, with Layman, Sanchez, and "the common opinion." But he has no right to claim Sanchez, and to call his own opinion the "common" one, for Sanchez follows the contrary, and so do Lugo, Cajetan, the Salamanca Doctors, with Soto, Valdez, Prato, Hurtado, Candido, Leandro, and Lessius; and even Busembaum thinks it "probable." This, then, is the "more probable" opinion, and the reason of it is, that in oaths of this kind there are already present truth and justice; good judgment or discrimination is all that is wanting, and the absence of that is only venial. Nor is there anything in what Viva says, that a man swearing in this way calls on God to witness to what is false, for in fact he calls upon Him to witness what is true, according to his own meaning, although for good reason he allows the other to be deceived by reason of his carelessness or inadvertence. This must not, however, be done in a trial, or in contracts. It is an inference from the opinion given above, that for swearing in this way, in all cases except trials or contracts, it is not necessary to have a reason of any importance in itself, but any reasonable cause is sufficient, such as to free oneself from a man's troublesome questions which he has no right to ask. Note here, however, first, that you must have a better reason for equivocating with an oath than without it; and secondly, that in proportion as the words give the more occasion for a mistake, the better the reason must be; whence they say, that when words give scarcely any reason for a mistake, like words which are simply equivocal and bear two meanings, one equally well with the other, the very lightest reason is an excuse.

'Mental Restriction is of two kinds, one purely mental, which cannot be discovered in any manner by others; the other, not purely mental, which can become known from circumstances connected with it. Purely mental restriction is never allowable, nor an oath with it, as is shown by the three propositions condemned by Innocent XI. . . . On the contrary, it is allowable to use non-pure mental restriction, even with an oath, if it can be discovered by circumstances. This is proved from John vii. 8, where Christ said, "I go not up to this feast," and yet Scripture says that He afterwards went up. He understood "I go not up openly (as the Disciples inquired) but secretly." This opinion is held in common by Gonet, Layman, Paludanus, Adrian, Soto, Wigandt, Cardenas, La Croix, Holzmann, Sporer, Viva, and the Salamanca Doctors; Collet also has the same opinion, with Vanroy and Boudart, saying, that even the overstrict theologians declare that non-pure mental restrictions are not unlawful, arguing from S. Augustine, who, in his Book against Lying, c. 10, says, "Although every one who tells a lie may wish to conceal the truth, yet not every one who wishes to conceal what is true tells a lie." Even the extremely rigid Contensonius agrees, for in explaining the passage in John about Christ's going up to the feast, he says that Christ used somewhat obscure words, which a man of thought might easily interpret and discover the meaning. S. Thomas favours this view by saying, "that to be silent about the truth, and to express falsehood, are different things." He says, too, "It is not lawful to tell a lie for the purpose of freeing another from any kind of danger; it is lawful, however, to hide the truth prudently under some dissimulation, as S. Augustine says in his Book against Lying." The reason of this opinion is, that if it were not allowable to use non-pure mental restriction, there would be no way of lawfully concealing a secret which a man could not discover without loss or inconvenience, and this would be as harmful to intercourse between man and man as lying. The condemnation

passed by the pontiff on mental restriction is rightly to be understood of restriction purely and strictly taken, for that alone ought to be called true mental restriction which takes place solely in the mind, and there remains concealed, and can by no means be discovered from outward circumstances.'-4. 2. 151, 152.

We have thus stated the principles of Amphibology or Equivocation, and of Mental Restriction, in Liguori's own words. It will be seen that there are three sorts of equivocation, all of which are allowable, even with the addition of a solemn oath. Accordingly, a man may swear that the heir was present, meaning that the air was present. He may swear that another person is a man about town, meaning that he frequently goes to London. To the question, Is the grass green? he may answer with an oath, I say, no,' meaning, not to deny the fact, but to affirm that he was using the word No. Mental restriction, since the days of Innocent XI., is of two sorts, pure, and non-pure. Pure mental restriction is that which, in the nature of things (ullo modo) is undiscoverable; non-pure mental restriction is that which, in the nature of things, is discoverable, but which, nevertheless, the person with whom we are dealing does not discover. An example of the first would be the secret insertion of a negative into an affirmative oath, without any external sign: an example of the second would be the secret insertion of a negative in a whisper not observed by the other party. Thus, 'I swear that I will do it,' with the mental insertion ofnot,' meaning 'I swear that I will not do it,' would be pure mental restriction; and, as such, has been condemned by Pope Innocent, and is disallowed by Liguori. But, I swear that I will do it,' with the insertion of 'not' under the cover of a cough, or with the addition of a 'perhaps' in an unobserved whisper, would be non-pure mental restriction, and such an oath might, according to Rome's moral teaching, be taken by a man who had no intention of fulfilling what the other party considered that he had bound himself to perform. We will presently proceed to point out the very grave effects which, on Liguori's own showing, the admission of these and like principles have on all security and good faith in dealings between man and man; on the security of oaths, of vows, of promises, of evidence; on truthfulness in general. But first we must make a few remarks suggested by the passage which has been quoted. Three technical expressions are used, the special meaning of which it may be well to recal to our readers' minds. These are mortal sin,' 'probable and more probable opinions,' 'common opinion.'

For an act to be sin at all, it must fulfil three conditions. It must be voluntary, it must be free, and its wickedness must be

recognised. Those acts which fulfil these conditions are then arbitrarily divided, according to Roman teaching, into mortal and venial sins. For a sin to be mortal, it is required that the consent of the will should be perfect, that the recognition of the intellect should be full and deliberate, and that the materia, or thing about which the sin is, should be of a certain 'gravity.' A mortal sin puts a man out of the grace of God, a venial sin does not, but only diminishes the man's own fervour, and is so light a thing that it need never be confessed. What sins are mortal, and what venial, is left to the decision of the casuists. We will not here pause to point out the irreconcilable differences between doctors of greater and less rigidity on so vital a point as this. We may say, however, in passing, in order to show how totally impossible it is that the arbitrary division into mortal and venial can be really maintained, that after pages of patient calculation Liguori is reduced to the conclusion that a theft of 48. by the same individual, and in identically the same state of mind, from a merchant of great opulence, and from a very rich nobleman, is a mortal sin in the first case, and a venial sin in the last; that is, that the first, on account of its own grave importance, destroys favour and friendship with God, and deserves eternal 'punishment;' that the other, on account of its insignificant importance, does not take away favour and friendship, though it diminishes our fervour of charity, and deserves temporal punishment;' that the one takes away the principle of spiritual life,' the other is not worth confessing. Again, we find that the sin committed by a nobleman's son in stealing 107. from his father, is a venial sin, but that once to omit attending mass on Sunday is mortal.

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Pascal will explain to us the doctrine of Probable Opinions in his own inimitable manner :

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"The generality of our authors," said the monk," and, among others, our four-and-twenty elders, thus explain it : An opinion is called probable when it is founded upon reasons of some consideration. Hence it may sometimes happen that a single very grave Doctor may render an opinion probable.'... Hear Sanchez, one of the most famous of our Fathers: You may doubt, perhaps, whether the authority of a single good and learned Doctor renders an opinion probable. I answer that it does; and this is conYou don't firmed by Angelus, Sylvester, Navarre, Emanuel Sa, &c.' understand it! No doubt Doctors are often of different sentiments, but what signifies that? Each renders his own opinion probable and safe. We all know well enough that they are far from being of the same mind; what is There are very few questions indeed in more, they scarcely ever agree. which you do not find the one saying Yes, and the other saying No. Still, in all these cases, each of the contrary opinions is probable. And hence Diana says: Ponce and Sanchez hold opposite views of it; but as they are both learned men, each renders his own opinion probable.""

"But father," I remarked, "a person must be sadly embarrassed in choosing between them!" "Not at all," he rejoined; "he has only to follow the opinion which suits him best." "What if the other is more probable?" "It does not signify." "And if the other is safer?" "It does not signify," repeated the monk; "this is made quite plain by Emanuel Sa of our Society, in his Aphorisms: A person may do what he considers allowable according to a probable opinion, though the contrary may be the safer one. The opinion of a single grave doctor is all that is requisite.'" "And if an opinion be at once the less probable and the less safe, is it allowable to follow it," I asked, "even in the way of rejecting one which we believe to be more probable and more safe?" "Once more I say, Yes," replied the monk. "Hear what Filiutius, that great Jesuit of Rome, says: It is allowable to follow the less probable opinion, even though it be the less safe one. That is the common judgment of modern authors.' Is not that quite clear?"

"Well, reverend father," said I, "you have given us sinners enough room, at all events! Thanks to your probable opinions, we have liberty of conscience with a vengeance! But are your casuists allowed the same latitude in giving your responses?" "O yes," said he, "we answer just as we please; or rather, I should say, just as it may please those who ask our advice. Here are our rules." "Well, seriously, father," I said, "your doctrine is an uncommonly agreeable one! Only think of being allowed to answer Yes or No, just as you please! It is impossible to prize such a privilege too highly. I see now the advantage of the conflicting opinions of your doctors. One of them is always ready to serve your purpose, and the other never gives you any annoyance. If you do not find your account on the one side, you fall back on the other, and always land in perfect safety." "That is quite true," he replied, "and, accordingly, we may always say with Diana, on finding that Father Bauny was on his side, while Father Lugo was against him: Sæpe premente Deo fert Deus alter opem.”—Letter V.

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In like manner Garnet, in the Treatise of Equivocation,' lays it down as certain that when both opinions are probable, 'a man may without sinne folow either, if it may be done with'out prejudice of our neighbour,' and that it is within the 'compasse of probability, if it have two or three grave autours.'

A common opinion" is supposed to be that on which all or most doctors agree. We say supposed, because, except on points where neither obtuseness nor over-subtlety of intellect could fail of coming to the right conclusion, they never do agree; nor is even a respectable majority found on one side or the other. In other words, when their agreement might be of use, it never exists; so irreconcilable are the differences between the strict and the lax schools. No one can read a dozen pages of Liguori without finding that, whatever may be said of Rome's dogmatic precepts, his dream of anything like certainty in her moral teaching has passed away for ever. This doctor is opposed to that doctor, while the third and fourth agree with neither of them, nor with themselves, and the inquirer at the oracle finds, to his dismay, that he is left with a mass of opinions of all shades of

difference, out of which he may take his choice, or his director may choose for him.

We cannot pass over the inferences drawn from the quotations made in the passage which we have extracted without some criticism. These quotations are made from our Lord's words, as related in the Gospels, from S. Augustine, and from Thomas Aquinas. From the first two an inference is drawn that nonpure mental restriction is allowable, and the third is given as favourable to the same view. Let us see if such an inference can fairly be drawn from the words.

'I go not up to this feast,' said our Lord, understanding, adds Liguori, by non-pure mental restriction, openly, but I do go up secretly.' An appeal to the words of Him who was and is the Truth, for the purpose of showing that He used towards His brethren a form of expression the effect of which would inevitably be to deceive them, is grating to our moral feelings. If any other hypothesis would satisfy the account in the Gospel narrative, we cannot doubt that it would be the part of reverence to accept it in place of this explanation. Not only, however, are there more natural explanations of the words, but they will not even bear this explanation. Let us turn to the original, and what do we find? Υμεῖς ἀνάβητε εἰς τὴν ἑορτήν ἐγὼ οὔπω ἀναβαίνω εἰς τὴν ἑορτὴν ταύτην, ὅτι ὁ καιρὸς ὁ ἐμὸς οὔπω πεπλήρωται. Go ye up to the feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, because my time is not yet fully come. Accordingly, when it was fully come, he went up, and Ts éоpтns μεσovσns, when the feast was about half over, began to teach. But it may be said that the reading ouπo ȧvaẞaivo is not found in all the MSS. True, in the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Beza, and the Codex Cyprius, the reading is our vaßaivo. But the authority of these three Codices, important as the first two are, cannot be equal, or nearly equal to that of all the rest; and further, if the reading were our instead of ouπw, the sense would remain identically the same. To get any other meaning out of the words, the tense of avaßaivo must be changed (for as it stands it cannot avow any intention or purpose of not going up, but merely a present act), and the second ovπw must also be got rid of, for which there is not a shadow of an excuse in a single MS. My time,' says our Lord (ó épòs is used as distinguishing it from that of his brethren who were urging him to go and manifest himself at once) is not yet fully come; therefore I am not yet going up [ovπw], or, I am not at present going up [ok] to this feast.' The ouk avaßaive of the three MSS. combined with the ойπш Tеπλýρwτai, equally with the general reading ovπw, overthrows the unworthy hypothesis

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