Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Festival For Freedom at Notre Dame: Michael Voris was a big hit!

June 27th, 2012, Promulgated by Diane Harris

On Wednesday, June 27th, and Thursday, June 28th, Michael Voris of fame (and now ChurchMilitant.TV ) spoke at the Festival for Freedom at 7:00 PM both evenings.  First was the subject: “Fighting Tyranny,” and then “The Church Militant.”  He pulled no punches. 

Michael Voris re The Church Militant


One could not help but realize the responsibility each of us has for other souls. 

Fr. Peter Stravinskas

For those who wonder what has been taking place, some of the talks are already on the website, under “BLOG” (like Fr. Stravinskas’s) and others will soon be added. 

The MEDIA section has pictures posted from 7 of the 10 days so far.

Please visit to see more.




Multiple Displays on Freedom of Religion


30 Responses to “Festival For Freedom at Notre Dame: Michael Voris was a big hit!”

  1. Ben Anderson says:

    Diane, thank you for posting all these updates. As someone who can’t make it out, it’s just encouraging to know it’s going on.

  2. brother of penance says:

    Approximately one year ago, a diocesan priest sarcastically commented about me in a group email by writing: NEXT THING YOU KNOW,(HE) WILL SUGGEST WE WATCH MICHAEL VORIS AND READ CLEANSING FIRE….

    Since then I haven’t stopped doing either.

    Both have helped me strive to be faithful to the Lord Christ’s great commission: preach the gospel, make disciples, and teach obedience.

    And tonight at the Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua, I had the fascinating opportunity to “sit at Voris’ feet”. I came away inspired to persevere in what is most important: BE CATHOLIC IN WORD AND DEED FOR THE SALVATION OF SOULS.

    Tonight we were helped to reflect on the erroneous philosophical, ideological, theological and moral teachings which for years have contributed to the cultural and political corruption which will culminate eventually in the utter ruin and fall of our society.

    Mr. Voris was not quiet about our own complicity through silence in the face of evil which has contributed as well to the culture of death and political tyranny.

    Rather than harp on our guilt, he reminded us of our high call in Christ Jesus, the purpose of our baptism and the reality that God has placed each and every one of us in this specific time and place in history for a great purpose: Live and Speak the Truth.

    Do I recommend driving out tomorrow night to watch and hear Michael Voris talk on the Church Militant? Absolutely.

    Recently on the internet, Michael has broadcast a number of Vortex shows regarding this most traditional of appellations for the Church on earth. Yet, whether or not anyone has already seen those shows on the Church Militant, it could prove most worthwhile to meet this Catholic brother in Christ; to pray with him; and to be inspired by his passion and zeal for our Blessed Lord Jesus, His Catholic Church and the Salvation of souls.

    Thank you, Diane Harris, for inviting Michael Voris to Canandaigua. May all of us take his exhortations to heart!

  3. Eliza10 says:

    Wow. I am SO glad I made the effort to get out there yesterday. The day was SO WORTH it. Very memorable. I was unexpectedly moved by the movie on Oscar Romero and most moved by Michael Voris’ talk. I would really like to go back tonight to hear what else he has to say, if I can get elder-care. I thought I night see other Cleansing Fire people there but I must have missed you. I saw Diane and I also met Raymond Rice and we had a nice talk. Brother of Penance, I did not meet you but I had lunch with a friend of yours!

    By the way, if this helps with the weather getting hot again, its ALL air conditioned there, and quite comfortably. And there is comfortable seating in the conference room. Its a very nice place to be. And such a fine view of the lake! The food provided is good, but it is not necessary to order and purchase a meal – plenty of people brought their own lunch, dinner or snacks and ate together in the comfortable dining room. Sitting to eat together is the best ever for enjoyable fellowship.

    Michael Voris’ talk has been on my mind since. It makes me want to change what I am doing in my life, eliminate some of the time-wasters so I can make more time to learn more about what our Church teaches. Starting with contraception. Not an issue for me personally as I am not married, and such an uncomfortable issue to discuss – particularly since people think there is nothing to discuss! I prefer to change the topic! But I should know more about why our Church teaches this, because as Michael Voris said last night, like it or not, this is the issue that is in the forefront today. We need to be able to stand up for our Church teaching when we are called to, and we will be called to. I want to be able to defend our Church when she is disparaged because of this teaching, and right now I do not feel I could say much in Her defense. Even though I do stand behind what She says. But people need to know WHY. And I need to be prepared with an answer if I am asked. Its my sacred responsibility as an Evangelist (which we are all called to be).

    Michael’s speech was really enthralling. The whole room was kept at rapt attention the entire time. You could just feel all the minds tuned-in. Yes, his 3 and 5 minute videos are interesting, well-presented and full of good information. But in a longer format he can develop and teach his ideas, and he does this well, and you get to digest it better. It was well-paced. He gave me so much to think about, and now I want to learn more about some of those topics he brought up. And be, as he exhorted us, a faithful representative of Holy Mother Church, and a defender of Truth.

  4. Eliza10 says:

    Brother of Pennace, you wrote: “Approximately one year ago, a diocesan priest sarcastically commented about me in a group email by writing: NEXT THING YOU KNOW,(HE) WILL SUGGEST WE WATCH MICHAEL VORIS AND READ CLEANSING FIRE….

    Since then I haven’t stopped doing either.”

    I’d call that priest a typical Rochester Diocesan employee! I also have found that anything a typical Diocesan employee publicly disparages to be a particularly important thing to look into because its probably really good for me spiritually. Its how I found Cleansing Fire – when the Courier disparaged the website. It works pretty consistently that way with our Diocese. Its pretty consistently “opposite” on anything truly Catholic, any real spiritual food. Except of course the One True Food that in spite of themselves they are not allowed to do away with, and are required to provide us with at Mass, lest they lose their coveted positions…

  5. Scott W. says:

    “Its how I found Cleansing Fire – when the Courier disparaged the website” Every moral compass needs a butt end.

  6. Raymond F. Rice says:

    I have been going to the festival regulary. My head is spinning and I am overwhelmed by the people there and the lecturers who are about as smart as you can get.

  7. brother of penance says:

    The PRE-CANA session conducted at Corpus Christi in December 1978 was the first time I ever heard a discussion in a Church setting on artificial birthcontrol.

    The facilitator, apparently Diocesan approved, made a statement about not going against one’s conscience and then proceeded to teach the pre-cana participants how to use various artificial birth control methods. No kidding.

    While studying theology at SBI late 80’s, early 90’s I came away with an arsenal of rationalizations against Official Church teaching on contraception. Again conscience ruled supreme! Well formed conscience? Hmm….

    One time, one time only, I heard a faithful deacon, originally ordained in 1986, preach and teach at St. Andrew Catholic Church in 1994 that artifical birth control use was an intrinsic evil. Now that was courageous!

    How interesting that it is over the contraception issue the Church has risen to challenge a threat against religous liberty. How interesting that the Church for years has been silent on this issue. How interesting that Divine Providence would use this issue to call the Church to speak up and speak out.

    Michael Voris in a SPECIAL REPORT exhorts the Church to be true to her Lord and to realize the potential challenge Culture presents to that faithfulness. Yes, all of us have failed, but now is the time to speak up and speak out. Enjoy Voris’s boldness at:

  8. annonymouse says:

    Folks who treat freedom of conscience as some sort of hall pass to get out of following the Church’s teachings have it quite backwards, it seems to me. If I am to conclude, in good conscience, that a teaching of the Church is erroneous, I must be of the opinion that the learned and holy leaders of our Church are wrong on a particular issue and that I, obviously more intelligent and studied than our Popes and Bishops, am correct. Is that not the ultimate in hubris?

    Following one’s well-formed conscience means doing the right even in the face of opposition and difficulty. It means NOT using artificial birth control (or paying for it), even when pressures, laws, regulations and such seemingly require it.

    I would like an answer from the St. Bernards folks to the following question: Can a well-formed conscience deviate from the teachings of the Church? To answer “yes” to that question, it seems to me, is emblematic of the utmost sinful pride.

  9. BigE says:

    Would you say telling someone it is ok to lie sometimes is going against church teaching?

  10. brother of penance says:

    Why is it that BigE’s question reminds me of the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus?

    BigE, are you attempting to corner annonymouse?

    Help a simple guy like me out. Go ahead, BigE, just post the times/examples that it is just and charitable to withhold information? Share with us what you understand. It could be helpful, it really could.

  11. annonymouse says:

    BigE – why do you refuse to embrace ALL that the Church teaches? You became a Catholic, yet you refuse to go all-in – why do you think you’re so much smarter than Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI?

  12. BigE says:

    @brother of penance
    What if I was jewish sympathizer during WW2 hiding a jewish family in my cellar and the nazi’s came knocking at my door asking me if I had seen any jews? I might withhold information then. I probably would even lie…..

    Who says I haven’t embraced all the church teaches? And my example to BofP above was in response to your question “Can a well-formed conscience deviate from the teachings of the Church?” I think I have shown a situation in which it can have I not? And btw, I’m not anywhere’s near as smart as Paul VI, John Paul II or Benedict XVI. I’m also not anywhere’s near as smart as Barack Obama. But I disagree with him sometimes too.

  13. brother of penance says:

    Yes, BigE, and so would have I, by God’s grace and help.

    Now, if I may, I will tell you that by withholding that information you have not deviated from the Church’s teaching.
    In fact, BigE, in that particular instance you have exercised a well-formed conscience and for the sake of what is just and loving, you have actually done the right thing; and upheld the teachings of the Church.

    Be at Peace.
    Let’s continually strive to have our consciences well-formed and trust the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Let’s continually give thanks for His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church;
    receiver, bearer and teacher of the Truth which sets us free.

    Have you heard or read Archbishop Chaput’s homily at the July 4 closing of the Fortnight of Freedom?
    Access it at this link and be encouraged :

  14. annonymouse says:

    Thanks BoP for running interference.

    BigE, with all due respect, you have on this board argued (ad nauseum) that you disagree with the Church position on artificial contraception, so you have NOT embraced all that the Church teaches. I suspect that you disagree with the Church’s teachings regarding sexual morality across the board (masturbation, homosexual relations, homosexual marriage) for to do so would at least be intellectually consistent with support for contraception.

    BTW, I probably don’t know you, but I am willing to bet that you are smarter than Barack Obama.

    And if you think that on the issue of contraception you are smarter than the three aforementioned Popes, please elaborate on exactly how/why they’re leading the world’s one billion plus Catholics astray.

  15. BigE says:

    @ Brother of Penance
    The Church teaching on lying is that it is NEVER acceptable to lie.

    From the Catholic Encyclopedia: “St.Augustine…wrote two short treatises to prove that it is never lawful to tell a lie. His doctrine on this point has generally been followed in the Western Church, and it has been defended as the common opinion by the Schoolmen and by modern divines.”

    CCC: 1753 A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just.

    Veritatis Splendor: If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain “irremediably” evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person…. Consequently, circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act “subjectively” good or defensible as a choice.

    So in the situation I have described, I think you can agree with me that “a well-formed conscience CAN deviate from the teachings of the Church”, ie sometimes it is acceptable to lie.

  16. BigE says:

    If I don’t use contraceptives because the church says I shouldn’t even though I disagree with the teaching, and if I don’t commit homosexual acts, and if I agree homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to marry because the church says so, even if I disagree with that. Have I embraced the church’s teachings or not?

    and just out of curiosity, why would someone disagreeing with the contraception issue mean they would also disagree with the masturbation and homosexuality issue? They are totally unrelated issues.

  17. annonymouse says:

    BigE – it’s sad, because you were starting to find agreement with me, but you insist on picking and choosing the teachings you support.

    On your first point, you should endeaver to align your thinking with the teachings of the Church. That is what is meant by “intellectual assent.” But you should also pray and study such that the law becomes “written on your heart.” It is good to adjust behavior to conform with the Church’s teachings; it is better that your mind and heart are aligned with her teachings. Because, after all, we believe that these are not only the Church’s teachings, but that they are GOD’s teachings! God’s will.

    On your second point, all these issues rely on a divorce of procreation from the sexual act. Artificial contraception, by nature, separates the possibility of procreation (more importantly, the INTENDED possibility – we go back to what is intented in the will, in the intellect) from the sexual act. Masturbation, homosexual relations/marriage) rely on the same separation. If one can justify artificial contraception, I don’t see how one can intellectually find fault with two men or two women, or three or four or five for that matter, having “sexual” relations.

    You did not answer my question – how you’re so much smarter than every Pope (and 2000 years of Church tradition) on this subject. Why are you so hard-hearted and refuse to give assent to the teaching of the Church? You’ve stated you became a Catholic because you like the Sacraments and the social justice teachings – but you refuse to embrace her whole-heartedly – why is that?

  18. annonymouse says:

    Big E – If it is acceptable to lie to protect these Jews from the Nazis, is it then acceptable to kill the Nazis to protect the Jews? Where do you draw the line? Was Bonnhoefer justified to plot to kill Adolph Hitler? Was the guy in Kansas justified to kill the abortion doctor? Why one and not the other?

    See the slippery slope? It is always an act of evil to lie. That’s what the Church teaches. I assume you think that (along with an ever-growing list) is another example of where Holy Mother Church is wrong.

  19. annonymouse says:

    BigE – here’s a little news for you:

    I asked you this a long time ago, and I’ll ask again – why are you not an Episcopalian? They teach all the things you appear to believe, and have none of that which you reject, namely the teaching AUTHORITY of the Church. The Episcopalians have sacraments and emphasize social justice, yet have “gotten with the times” on such issues as birth control and homosexuality. They have no Pope or teaching bishops leading them astray – so why Catholic, E?

    If you obstinately refuse to follow the teachers of our Church, why do you stay?

  20. BigE says:


    1) I agree I should always be endeavoring to align my thinking with the Church. I’m trying to do that by asking questions, challenging, trying to get to the truth. For me personally, I can’t get there by just saying “because the Church says so….” You didn’t answer my question though. Am I following Church teachings? Or am I supposed to lie about where my mind and heart are at?

    2) I see your point on the contraception issue as it relates to the procreation tie.

    3) I already admitted to not being as smart as the Popes you mentioned. Are you trying to tell me that in any disagreement or discussion, the smarter person is always right? If I could find a person smarter than the Pope who disagees with him, would that validate a contrary theological opinion?

    4) About a lie. I agree in the absolute about the Church teaching of a lie always being a sin. However, I also agree with Brother of Penance that I would have lied to save the Jewish family. So I have simply provided an example of where a well formed conscience would go against Church teaching (as you asked…). Would you have lied to save the jewish family?

    5) I have explained before why I’m not an Episcopalian. At least a couple of times. Do I really need to go through it again?

    6) I find it interesting that of ALL the Church teaches, which is a TON of stuff over 2,000 years. Historical teachings, moral teachings, spiritual teachings, liturgical teachings, theological teachings, philosophical teachings, etc etc….you claim I “refuse to follow the teachers of our church” because I question a few sexual issues? Really?

  21. brother of penance says:

    BigE, you are a man after my own heart. I really appreciate argumentation with substantiation.
    Forgive my original assertion without documentation.

    So, let’s continue this discussion.

    My first thought of rebuttal is: Did the Nazis looking for Jews for the purpose of doing them harm, have a right to know where they were? Did a Nazi inquirer have a right to the information whether a sympathizer was hiding a Jewish person?

    Before attempting to answer those questions, perhaps it would be best to define “lying” and “lie”.

    “To lie is to hold something which one knows is not the whole truth to be the whole truth, intentionally.” (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

    From one reads:lie noun, verb, lied, ly·ing.
    a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
    something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
    an inaccurate or false statement.
    the charge or accusation of lying: He flung the lie back at his accusers.

    So, would withholding information, using discreet language, be lying?

    BigE, you made a reference to the Catholic Encyclopedia regarding Augustine’s two treatises which assert it is never lawful to lie. Did that referenced article mention that Augustine later composed a work entitled RETRACTIONS in which those two treatises on lying appeared as well?

    A reference above to Saint Augustine on lying can be supplemented by the following from Wikipedia:Augustine’s taxonomy of lies

    Augustine of Hippo wrote two books about lying: On Lying (De Mendacio) and Against Lying (Contra Mendacio).[16][17] He describes each book in his later work, Retractions. Based on the location of De Mendacio in Retractions, it appears to have been written about 395 AD. The first work, On Lying, begins: “Magna quæstio est de Mendacio” (“There is a great question about Lying”).

    From his text, it can be derived that St. Augustine divided lies into eight categories, listed in order of descending severity:
    Lies in religious teaching
    Lies that harm others and help no one
    Lies that harm others and help someone
    Lies told for the pleasure of lying
    Lies told to “please others in smooth discourse”
    Lies that harm no one and that helps someone materially
    Lies that harm no one and that helps someone spiritually
    Lies that harm no one and that protects someone from “bodily defilement”
    Augustine wrote that lies told in jest, or by someone who believes or opines the lie to be true are not, in fact, lies.[18]

    So, for Augustine lies which harm no one but which help materially, spiritually and protect from bodily harm are of the least severity.

    BigE, you made an apparent apt reference to CCC: 1753. Yet, to me the question of withholding from Nazis information about Jews hiding has not been definitively categorized as a behavior that is intrinsically disordered. CCC: 1756 continues by stating: “There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object.”

    Is withholding information to which those Nazis have no right one of those acts in and of itself always gravely illicit by reason of its object?

    Your reference to VERITATIS SPLENDOR, BigE, again appears to be apt but once again, it hasn’t been established defintively that our example’s act is intrinsically evil.

    So, if we can establish that our example’s act is intrinsically evil, then have we agreed that a well-formed conscience can deviate from the teachings of the Church? No.
    Are we saying that when we think it is sometimes acceptable to lie we have in fact deviated from the teachings of the Church? Again, no. Neither our conscience nor the Church teaches we can deviate from the Church and that deviation per se is a moral act.

    Accomplished Moral Theologians we are not. Therefore, shouldn’t we examine more carefully (and I admit I need to do this)CCC:1776-1802 Moral Conscience Article 6 of Part Three Life in Christ? Shouldn’t we understand thoroughly CCC: 2475-2487 III Offenses Againt the Truth and CCC: 2488-2492 IV Respect Fot the Truth?

    In the mean time, the Catechism is very clear about conscience’s potential to remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments of which we can still be guilty. (CCC:1801)
    Moreover, the Catechism is very clear that:

    “Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. The good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. The duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.” CCC: 2489

    To assert that we can deviate knowingly from what is true and still be morally upright just doesn’t make sense?

    BigE, I can’t agree with you. You have not definitively established that “a well-formed conscience CAN deviate from the teachings of the Church” and that somehow, sometimes is acceptable.

    (While composing my response to BigE July 6, 2012 9:47 AM, other comments were posted of which I was unaware. I will read them now apologizing in advance for any inadvertent redundancies.)

  22. BigE says:

    Brother of Penance,

    No problem. I enjoy these type of exchanges and challenges. Thanks for the detailed response. All is good.

    As for the issues you raised:

    1) As opposed to simply withholding information; Let’s say the Nazi’s point blank ask, “Do you know where any Jews are?” Would you lie and say “Nope. Haven’t seen any”? (that gets us out of the whole lying vs witholding information loop which I agree can get tricky)

    2) I think the Church has defined lying as ALWAYS intrinsically evil. Some lie’s may be deemed less evil, but intrinsically evil nonetheless (kinda like mortal vs venial sin) Thus Augustine’s list.

    3) I agree 100% that conscience can lead to error. But the Catechesism is clear we should follow our conscience, even if it leads to error.

    So I do think I have provided an example of a well formed conscience going against a church teaching (for a specific situation).


  23. annonymouse says:

    E, the very thing that separates us from the Episcopalians is the thing which you seem to find most problematic – the teaching authority of the Magisterium. You seem to feel free to disagree with it and form your own conscience based on your own relative morality, so it is beyond me why someone who so thinks would stay.

    To answer your question – yes, you are following Church teaching. As Catholics, we are called to give assent to all that Holy Mother Church teaches, infallible and fallible.

    Peace to you

  24. BigE says:


    1) I don’t have a problem with the teaching authority of the Magisterium. I think they serve a valuable role. Based on your premise, I should have left home, dropped out of high school or college everytime I disagreed with a parent, teacher, or professor.

    2) I stay because in the spiritual pecking order of things, sexual issues for me, are far, far down the list…and besides…do you really think that the only thing that seperates Catholic and Episcopal theology are sexual ethics and infallibility?

    Peace to you too!

  25. Raymond F. Rice says:

    B of P:

    “My first thought of rebuttal is: Did the Nazis looking for Jews for the purpose of doing them harm, have a right to know where they were? Did a Nazi inquirer have a right to the information whether a sympathizer was hiding a Jewish person?”

    It is my understanding that you give the truth to those who have a right to truth. If they are going to misuse the FACTS to accomplish an evil, do they still have the right to the truth? Do we have to cooperate with their sin by telling them the facts??

    This way of thinking can also lead to problems because for years the hierarchy thought that the laity did not merit the truth in Church/clerical matters so we were left in the dark. How many in the recent sex abuse scandal thought it appropriate to be quiet (withholding the truth) to protect the church. Does the laity have the right to know of church operations?? Do the stockholders need to know how a company is run?

  26. BigE says:

    @ Richard Thomas
    I guesss I disagee on a number of fronts.
    1) I think power, greed, corruption, violence, discrimination, and poverty are the primary problems we face as a society.
    2) Is our society really on the brink of disolution? Was the world really a better place 50 years ago?
    3) And since many here apparently want to kick out of the church anyone with any sexual issues, exactly how would the church reach (teach) those folks and save society?

  27. brother of penance says:

    To BigE July 6, 2012 at 12:42 PM and Raymond F. Rice July 6, 2012 at 4:42 PM:

    “Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. The good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. The duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.” CCC: 2489

    1&2) I would need to have lots of Holy Spirit Help and Grace. My desire is to be able to answer the Nazis in a way that protects the Jewish People from harm, from evil, and from their insane hatred. Somehow it seems appropriate to pray for the grace to love even at cost to myself, even if that cost is moral rectitude, if in fact it proves to be somewhat wrong: “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” {As I have stated before, I am not an accomplished moral theologian, just trying to do the right thing}

    3) Does the CCC teach that “conscience can lead to error”? Rather, I understood the CCC to be teaching that conscience can be in ignorance or make erroneous judgments of which we can still be guilty. (CCC:1801)

    At the risk BigE of talking past each other or “splitting hairs”, I do not agree that well-formed consciences have any license to go against Church teaching. Can people be wrong and culpable? Yes.

    In our situation/example regarding Nazis hunting for hidden Jewish People; up to now I am convinced those who protected and did not tell the murders where they were hiding or whether any had been seen,
    did do the right, moral, good thing.

    Raymond F. Rice, You and I seem to be in agreement about giving the Nazis information to which they have no right. Your questions about the Hierarchy and Laity and stockholders and Company operation are fascinating. My suggestion is we re-read CCC :2489 quoted above and apply, to the best of our limited ability, those pertinent principles.

    Regarding the Hierarchy withholding sex abuse information to protect the Church’s reputation or finances; seems they erred in judgment and are culpable. Being concerned for the common good seems to be the priority.

  28. brother of penance says:

    Now that I have exhausted my limited ability to understand the rightness or wrongness of “lying”,
    it seems best to resort to the experts.

    Janet Smith at

    One pertinent excerpt from Janet Smith’s paper states:

    “I think telling falsehoods might be the best way at times of protecting the truth; actually protecting the truth of justice. Telling a falsehood to a Nazi to deter him from killing Jews protects the Jews from unjust death and the Nazi from unjust killing is, possibly, a very good use of speech.”

    Note that even this expert uses the word “possibly” in giving this example of a good use of speech.

    At, one reads:

    “A famous hypothetical scenario to illustrate what deontological theories look like if taken to an extreme is the “Nazi at the door” scenario. It goes as follows: say you are hiding Jews in your basement to protect them from being sent to a concentration camp. A Nazi comes to the door and asks if you have any Jews in your house. You know that lying is wrong, but you also know that if you do you obey your duty to tell the truth, the Jews in your basement will probably die. A deontological theorist would say that even in this scenario, lying is immoral.”

    In an article published in FIRST THINGS, Janet Smith, again, writes:

    “Christopher Tollefsen wrote in the online journal Public Discourse that intentionally telling falsehoods to anyone is immoral. He holds that people faced with such challenges as protecting Jews from Nazis should resist them by means other than falsehood and volunteer to die with any Jews captured. Peter Kreeft, writing for, countered with the claim that all decent human beings intuitively know that it is moral to tell falsehoods to protect the lives of the innocent from those threatening serious evil.”

    In this Janet Smith article entitled “Fig Leaves and Falsehoods
    Pace Thomas Aquinas, sometimes we need to deceive”, our expert reminds readers that the
    CCC fails “to condemn explicitly such practices as spying, sting operations, the deceptive missives and maneuvers of warfare, and research that involves deception….”

    Smith writes: “just as destruction of life and property is now sometimes necessary and thus moral for the protection of what is good, false signification is sometimes necessary for the protection of life, property, and even truth itself. Uttering a falsehood to deceive a Nazi in order to save a Jew seems to be just such a case.”

    Janet Smith asserts: “our dissimulations serve as fig leaves, protecting and hiding what others need not know, and in some cases should not know. The use of false signification preserves justice and harmony.”

    This Catholic Moral Theologian asks: Isn’t giving the truth to a Nazi like returning a loaded weapon to a madman?
    Does he have any right to the truth?”

    “In a sinless world our words and gestures serve only to convey the truth, but in a fallen world they promote civility, encourage, console, and on some occasions stymie the evildoer and protect the innocent.”

    Thus, the reasoning of Janet Smith which can be accessed at:

    Before closing, and in fairness to BigE, after reading Janet Smith I am beginning to wonder if in fact “a well-formed conscience CAN deviate from the teachings of the Church”? My heartfelt desire, however, is to learn what the Church teaches, believe what the Church teaches and obey what the Church teaches. Anything less is not good enough!

    God bless you, BigE; God bless you, Raymond F. Rice; God bless each of us who seek to commit our selves radically to the Lord Jesus Christ through radical commitment to His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    Come, Holy Spirit, Come Lord, the giver of Life!

  29. BigE says:

    @ Brother of Penance and Annonymouse,

    Your both good and faith filled Catholics. I am proud to call you brothers and sisters in Christ even with our occasional theological disagreements. Peace to both of you and thanks for the thoughtfull discussions.

    I’m sure we’ll talk again!…lol….

  30. brother of penance says:

    is a link to an EWTN audio series entitled Catholic Morality and the Catechism.
    The series presenter is Msgr. William Smith, a Catholic Moral Theologian.

    The blurb for the fourth episode states in part:

    “An informed conscience will then direct us to either avoid or pursue an action. Forming a correct conscience is a lifelong task. We can always act on a certain conscience but should never act on a doubtful one.”

    Particularily pertinent to our discussion about conscience is the assertion that the forming of a correct conscience is a lifelong task.

    Ah, I breathe a sigh of relief.
    Here I am committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,
    but I must admit, I make moral decisions which are many times erroneous which have precipitated bad and sinful actions.

    “Don’t give up, Brother of Penance”, I say to myself. “Your obligation to form a correct conscience (well-formed conscience) is a life long task. Be at Peace, Brother.”

    “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin”

    Thanks be to God.

    Enjoy Msgr. Smith at

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