Choose a topic from Part 2B:

98. Irreligion: Perjury

1. Perjury is a lie confirmed by an oath. It is thecalling upon God to witness that truth is spoken, when, in fact,truth is not spoken. We hear the term perjury used mostlywith reference to false evidence given by a witness in a court oflaw. But any lie confirmed by oath, in court or out, is perjury.Perjury involves an injury to God, and therefore is a sin againstreligion. It is also a great sin against commutative justice, forit ruins the necessary guarantee of honesty among men.

2. Thus, by its very nature, perjury is sinful, and isessentially a sin against religion.

3. And, again by its very nature, perjury is a mortal sin.For it is not only irreverence towards God; it is contempt of God,for it invokes Him to witness what the perjurer knows is nottrue.

4. We should not lightly demand an oath from others merelyto assure ourselves that they are telling the truth; to require anoath, a matter must be serious and important, and one in which itis essential to know the exact truth. Private individuals shouldnever demand an oath from a known liar; his oath would bemeaningless in any case, and to require it is only to furnish himan occasion of sin. But a judge in court rightly demands an oathfrom every witness, even if he knows that this witness or that iswholly unreliable. For the judge acts in an official capacity, nota personal one, and the common good demands a consistent procedureof supporting court testimony by oath.

"When the devil has failed in making a man fall, he puts forward all his energies to create distrust between the penitent and the confessor, and so by little and little he gains his end at last."
St Philip Neri

* * *

"God has no need of men."
St Philip Neri

* * *

"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

* * *