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Toletus says that a man commits a grave sin who uses equivocation when he offers to take an oath without being asked, because then he is bound to use words in their common acceptation, having no grounds for equivocating; but with 'greater probability, and the most common opinion,' the Salamanca doctors say the contrary; namely, that, when there is good reason of necessity or expediency, a man may use amphibologies in swearing, even though he offers to swear without being asked.'-4. 2. 169.

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This most common opinion of the doctors' overthrows the only defence under which, as we shall see presently, Romish apologists, when pressed with arguments, are able to attempt to shelter themselves, viz. that they are protecting themselves from the aggressor. Here we see that the whole authority of their own Moral Theologians is directly on the other side. The use of equivocal swearing is declared to be not only defensive but aggressive. The next extract cries out for the pen of Aristophanes to lash once more the modern sophists' form of the celebrated Ἡ γλῶσσ ̓ ὀμώμοχ', ἡ δὲ φρὴν ἀνώμοτος.

A man who has only outwardly taken an oath, without intending to swear, is not bound, except perhaps on account of the scandal, for he has not sworn, he has joked.'-4. 2. 171.

It was time, as Ranke has observed, for Jansenism to arise, when such sentiments as these could be published; and yet, in spite of the warning of Jansenism, Rome retains them in her codes of morals, awaiting, perhaps, a rougher hand than that of Port-Royal to undertake the work of reform.

If a man makes a false promise and swears to it, what sin does he commit, and to what is he bound? Distinguo. A man may make a false promise with an oath in three ways: 1. Not intending to swear; 2. Not intending to bind himself; 3. Not intending to fulfil the promise.'—4. 2. 172.

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Here is a precious distinction' to puzzle simple persons' brains then it is worked out. The man who swears without the intention of swearing, does not commit perjury, but only a venial sin. The man who swears, intending to swear, and not intending to bind himself, also commits a venial sin, and is not bound to keep the oath. Distinguendum is a wand of power in the hands of the modern casuists, and works wonders.

It is certain that it is no grave thing to fail in keeping a small part of what you have sworn; for example, if you have sworn not to drink wine, you commit no mortal sin by drinking a little, because the smallness of the materia is an excuse. . . . . You may say the same of a man who takes away only a little from a sum which he had sworn to give to another.'—

4. 2. 173.

It seems that we have improved upon the morality of the children of Jonadab the son of Rechab, and have developed wonderfully since the days of Ananias and Sapphira.

'You are under no obligation if you swear what is bad, or vain, or useless, or, as Cajetan says, indifferent, if it be not dignified by its end, or

circumstances connected with it; for an oath cannot be a bond of iniquity, or of vain and idle things to which God does not wish us to be bound. Bonacina and others, according to the common opinion.'—4. 2. 176.

We must recollect that the judge of what is bad, vain, idle, or indifferent, is the Director, and therefore that no oath of which he disapproves is to be kept.

Is a man who promises his concubine with an oath not to know another woman bound to keep his promise? Diana says No; but the Salamanca doctors with greater probability say Yes.'-4. 2. 181.

' Is a man who has made a promissory oath to return to prison bound to keep his promise, with a probable fear of death, or very grave unjust wrong? The first opinion says No, because it is an action intrinsically bad to offer oneself to death. So say Navarrus, Manriquez, Vasquez, Pontius, Covarruvias, Tamburini, Reginald. The second opinion with much more probability is in the affirmative, because when the promise had been made, it would be a work of virtue to go back. So Toletus, Suarez, Lessius, and the Salamanca doctors, though they call the first opinion probable.'-4. 2. 186.

Poor Regulus! We used to admire his conduct, and to think that he had acted gloriously, as we read over and over Horace's spirit stirring ode when we were at school; but it seems that, in the judgment of Navarrus, Manriquez, Vasquez, Pontius, Covarruvias, Tamburini, and Reginald, he was doing a thing wicked in itself,-and the doctors who maintain the contrary still think it not improbable. Pity that our minds were not imbued with Liguorian morality after the fashion which has been lately proposed in France. Let Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle bow before our modern moralists!

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There is another sort of swearing, which we who are accustomed to the Third Commandment and to our Lord's discourses in the Gospels have been inclined to consider wrong;-but away with scruples: We must mark that generally men who angrily utter words, such as, By God! By Christ! I will kill you! 'commit no grave sin, as they are for the most part excused on the ground of ignorance or want of deliberation.'—4. 2. 146. This is sickening work. We will pass over vows which are treated much in the same way as oaths. But at least it may be thought that, in solemn courts of justice, men will be allowed to give their evidence without this miserable dallying with their consciences and sense of truth: there, at least, they will not be justified in lying. Let us see.

'A witness or defendant, when not legitimately questioned by the judge, may swear that he does not know a crime which he really does know, understanding to himself that he does not know a crime about which he can be legitimately questioned, or that he does not know it so as to give evidence about it. So Cajetan, Sporer, Azorinus, Roncaglia, Sanchez, with Navarrus, Toletus, Valentia, &c. The same is the case if the witness, for some other reason, is not bound to give evidence; for example, if he is himself quite assured that the act committed is without guilt, as the Salamanca doctors and

Elbel say; or if he knows the crime only as a secret, and no ill repute has previously got abroad. When, however, the witness or defendant is legitimately questioned by the judge, he must not use any equivocation, because he is bound to obey the rightful precept of his superior. This is the common opinion; and the same must be said about an oath in onerous contracts, because otherwise injury would be done to another. Except in the case of a trial the crime be altogether concealed; for then a witness may, nay he is bound to say that the defendant has not committed it, and so may the defendant if there is not half-full proof. So says Tamburini, with the common opinion, because then the judge does not question legitimately.'-4. 2. 154.

Can we any longer wonder at its being impossible to get evidence in Ireland, upon which to convict murderers?

'But it is asked, if a defendant or contractor, who is not permitted the use of equivocation, has deceived by equivocally swearing, can he be absolved without declaring the truth? Some say No, not without probability; but with more probability Sanchez, the Salamanca doctors, and Philiarchus say Yes, because by such an oath, which cannot be called perjury, he has not sinned against commutative justice, but against legal justice, and the obedience due to the judge, whose command to discover the truth is only transient, and only lasts as long as he is making the inquiry. Sanchez says the same, also, about a lying witness; and so both of them may be absolved without their declaring the truth. They are, however, bound to make satisfaction in another way, if they can. If they cannot, the Salamanca doctors say that they are bound to discover the truth afresh in the court. But I should even excuse them, if they were altogether unable to make satisfaction either at present or at a future time.'-4. 2. 155.

Our readers will inquire what is the meaning of legitimate questioning on the part of the judge. In the next book Liguori explains his meaning.

'It is certain that a witness is not bound to confess the truth to a judge, when he does not legitimately interrogate; for then he may lawfully answer, even with an oath, that he does not know the crime (aside) so as to be bound to declare it to him. But it is asked, when does a judge question legitimately? The reply is, when there is already half-full proof. . . When there is this, the crime is no longer said to be secret, and therefore the judge has a right that the witness should declare the truth. So in common, Lessius, Navarrus, and others, with the Salamanca doctors, who observe that no witness is bound to answer in this way, unless repute of the guilt, or halffull evidence of it, or clear signs of it, be already proved and shown to him by the judge, unless, indeed, it is quite certain that the judge is a good man, and he declares that he is legitimately questioning. . . A judge does not legitimately question, unless there has previously been notoriety, ill repute, or other half-full proof.'-5. 3. 266.

In the same spirit the Treatise of Equivocation explains the order of law, which order of law requires these five things:'

'First, that the party who examineth must be a lawfull superiour... Secondly, he must have authority over the person whom he examineth. Thirdly, the matter itself must be subject to the judge... Fourthly, he must procede according to a just law: for whereas a judge is, as Aristotle calls hym, a living law, as the law itself is a dumb judge; even as the law when it is unjust is no law, so a judge, in the execution of an unjust law, is no judge. Fynally it is very necessary, for the due observation of order

of law, that the judge do not proceede against a man to examine hym or call hym into question, but in cases which are publick and manifest, or when great suspicions and presumptions or common reportes, do seem to condemn the partye, or sufficient testimony convince hym, for otherwise it were against the law of nature. For how can there be greater disturbance of commonwealth than to have honest men molested or called into question at any one's fancye? . . . In these cases, when order of law is not observed, a man is not only not bound to confesse anything of hymself, but he is also bound to confesse nothing at all, for it were to prejudice hymself without necessitye. And no man may prejudice his own fame, or goodes, or lyfe, without at the least a veniall synne, except he be bound thereunto by order of law.'--P. 68.

Liguori continues:

'Even when legitimately and juridically interrogated, you are not bound to give evidence in the following cases. 3. If notable harm will result to yourself or any belonging to you from your testimony. . . . 6. If the man probably did not commit sin in what he did, either owing to ignorance, or because he took something by way of compensation for a debt, and for doing so was charged with theft. For the judge's intention is to inquire about what is really a guilty action.'-Theol. Mor. 5. 3. 268.

Bonacina says that if a witness has sworn to speak the truth, he is bound to speak it on the grounds of justice, because an obligation of justice arises from an oath and promise; but with greater probability Lessius contradicts him, because a witness swearing that he will speak the truth, does not intend to bind himself to declare it on the grounds of justice, but only by virtue of religious scruple.'—5. 3. 270.

Is a witness bound to make restitution for the harm that has ensued, if he has concealed the truth when legitimately questioned by the judge? Yes, say the Salamanca doctors. .. No, says Molina, &c. But you will say that if a man has, by his lie, hindered another from obtaining a good to which the latter has a right, he is bound to make restitution, and that so the witness is bound to make restitution, because he has hindered his neighbour from getting his rights by saying that he did not know what he did know, which was a lie. But it is replied that this holds when the lie is the positive cause which produces the harm, not if it is only the negative cause. Now, a witness who says that he does not know some true thing which he does know, is only the negative cause of harm; for he puts no positive impediment in the way of the other man's getting his rights, he only does not remove an impediment in his way, which impediment is defect of proof. This impediment a witness may be bound to remove, from obedience and religious scruple, as we said, or even sometimes from charity, but not from justice, unless it has happened that he has entered into a special compact with that side that he will divulge the truth.'-5. 3. 270.

We are told a little further on, that a witness commits a crime in five ways, one of which is, If he discovers the truth which he ought to conceal. Who would not have expected the very converse of this proposition?-If he conceals the truth which he ought to discover? But what wonder that barefaced lying should be taught and justified, in courts where barefaced bribery is approved? Two extracts on this head, as it is not immediately connected with our subject, shall suffice.

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May a judge take money to despatch the cause of one man before another? Layman says that, looking to natural right, he does not dare to condemn it, because the new obligation which he undertakes is worth pay

ment. The Salamanca doctors, however, more truly say the contrary, because a judge is bound on grounds of justice to be speedy in despatching the causes of all who have an equal right to despatch; unless he should take any extraordinary trouble which he was not bound by his office to

take.'-5. 3. 196.

'Does a man commit a sin who offers bribes to a judge, or to his ministers? Distingue. If he give without good reason, he commits sin by co-operating in an unlawful receiving, but not if he gives with a reason, namely, to free himself from annoyance which he does not deserve: but he must take care that there is a probable risk of his otherwise suffering manifest injustice; for then it is not a case of corrupting another, but of taking care that his own rights are awarded to himself. So in common, Sanchez, Lugo, Molina, Antony of Cordova, Palao, and the Salamanca doctors, against Ledesma. Nor are the prohibitory laws any objection; for what the laws intend is to provide against men giving money, and so corrupting the judges by bribes, not to prevent them from getting a just sentence.'

5. 3. 212.

Is it strange that the courts of justice are what they are in Spain, in Rome, in Naples? Look at the case of witnesses. The distinction between legitimate and non-legitimate interrogation is enough to destroy all hopes of arriving at the truth. If a man is anxious to conceal the truth, he has only to say to himself that the judge is questioning illegitimately, and then he has no obligation to speak the truth. Even when that door is closed, and he acknowledges the legitimacy of the interrogation, he is still allowed to settle in his own mind whether the fact which he has witnessed was to the individual agent a sin; and if he determines that it was not, he may deny that it was done at all. Then, if he acknowledges that it is a sin, he must ask himself if any one else knows of it; and if it is known to himself alone, he is bound to lie, and say that he does not know it, or even that the culprit has not done it. And when, at last, he is bid to tell the truth, it is not on the grounds of the sacredness of truthfulness, but on the principle into which Rome resolves every duty -obedience to positive precept. Look again at the litigants; they may bribe almost at pleasure, but must take care (by a direction of the intention, we presume) to be not corrupting the judge, but only getting their own rights. And look at the judge; he may without scruple receive bribes for despatching causes, according to the laxer opinion (which, however, is quite sufficient to justify him in acting), in virtue of the new obligation into which he has entered according to the stricter view, on account of any special trouble that he may take. Can degradation be lower? Can rottenness be more loathsome? And this is morality!

We feel that our readers have seen sufficient to be assured that Rome and her casuists have cut away every tie of obligation contracted by assertion, promises, vows, and oaths; that they have done away with all confidence that we could in the word of their genuine disciples, under whatever sanctions


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