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diminish the sin of Ijdng, on the part of the end intended.
Now the sin of Ij^ng is aggravated, if bsinned
in promise, and did well to change his mind. Secondly,
if circumstances have changed with regard to persons and
the business in hand. For, as Seneca states {De Benef. iv.),
for a man to be bound to keep a promise it is necessary for
everything to remain unchanged : otherwise neither did he
lie in promising — since he promised what he had in his
mind, due circumstances being taken for granted — nor was
he faithless in not keeping his promise, because circum-
stances are no longer the same. Hence the Apostle, though
he did not go to Corinth, whither he had promised to go
(2 Cor. i.), did not lie, because obstacles had arisen which
prevented him.

Reply Ohj. 6. An action may be considered in two ways.
First, in itself, secondly, with regard to the agent. Ac-
cordingly a jocose lie, from the very genus of the action, is
of a nature to deceive; although in the intention of the
speaker it is not told to deceive, nor does it deceive by the
way it is told. Nor is there any similarity in the hyperbolical
or any kind of figurative expressions, with which we meet
in Holy Writ: because, as Augustine says {Contra Mend, v.),
it is not a lie to do or say a thing figuratively : because every
statement must he referred to the thing stated : and when a
thing is done or said figuratively , it states what those to whom
it is tendered understand it to signify.

Fourth Article,
whether every lie is a mortal sin ?

We proceed thus to the Fourth Article : —

Objection I. It seems that every lie is a mortal sin. For it
is written (Ps. vi. 7) : Thou wilt destroy all that speak a lie,
and (Wis. i. 11) : The mouth that belieth killeth the soul. Now
mortal sin alone causes destruction and death of the soul.
Therefore every lie is a mortal sin.

Obj. 2. Further, Whatever is against a precept of the

95 LYING Q. no. Art. 4

decalogue is a mortal sin. Now lying is against this precept
of the decalogue : Thou shall not hear false witness. There-
fore every lie is a mortal sin.

Obj. 3. Further, Augustine says [De Doctr. Christ, i. 36) :
Every liar breaks his faith in lying, since forsooth he wishes
the person to whom he lies to have faith in him, and yet he does
not keep faith with him, when he lies to him : and whoever
breaks his faith is guilty of iniquity. Now no one is said to
break his faith or to he guilty of iniquity, for a venial sin.
Therefore no lie is a venial sin.

Obj. 4. Further, The eternal reward is not lost save for
a mortal sin. Now, for a lie the eternal reward was lost,
being exchanged for a temporal meed. For Gregory says
(Moral, xviii.) that we learn from the reward of the midwives
what the sin of lying deserves : since the reward which they
deserved for their kindness, and which they might have received
in eternal life, dwindled into a temporal meed on account of the
lie of which they were guilty. Therefore even an officious lie,
such as was that of the midwives, which seemingly is the
least of lies, is a mortal sin.

Obj. 5. Further, Augustine says [Contra Mend, xvii.)
that it is a precept of perfection, not only not to lie at all, hut
not even to wish to lie. Now it is a mortal sin to act against
a precept. Therefore every lie of the perfect is a mortal
sin : and consequently so also is a lie told by anyone else,
otherwise the perfect would be worse off than others.

On the contrary, Augustine says on Ps. v. 7, Thou wilt
destroy, etc. : There are two kinds of lie, that are not grievously
sinful yet are not devoid of sin, when we lie either in joking,
or for the sake of our neighbour s good. But every mortal
sin is grievous. Therefore jocose and officious lies are not
mortal sins.

/ answer that, A mortal sin is, properly speaking, one that
is contrary to charity whereby the soul lives in union with
God, as stated above (Q. XXIV., A. 12; Q. XXXV., A. 3).
Now a lie may be contrary to charity in three ways : first,
in itself; secondly, in respect of the evil intended; thirdly,

g. no. Art. 4 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 96

A lie may be in itself contrary to charity by reason of its
false signification. For if this be about divine things, it is
contrary to the charity of God, whose truth one hides or
corrupts by such a lie; so that a lie of this kind is opposed
not only to the virtue of charity, but also to the virtues of
faith and religion: wherefore it is a most grievous and a
mortal sin. If, however, the false signification be about
something the knowledge of which affects a man's good,
for instance if it pertain to the perfection of science or to
moral conduct, a lie of this description inflicts an injury on
one's neighbour, since it causes him to have a false opinion,
wherefore it is contrary to charity, as regards the love of our
neighbour, and consequently is a mortal sin. On the other
hand, if the false opinion engendered by the lie be about
some matter the knowledge of which is of no consequence,
then the lie in question does no harm to one's neighbour :
for instance, if a person be deceived as to some contingent
particulars that do not concern him. Wherefore a lie of
this kind, considered in itself, is not a mortal sin.

As regards the end in view, a lie may be contrary to
charity, through being told with the purpose of injuring
God, and this is always a mortal sin, for it is opposed to
religion; or in order to injure one's neighbour, in his person,
his possessions or his good name, and this also is a mortal
sin, since it is a mortal sin to injure one's neighbour, and
one sins mortally if one has merely the intention of com-
mitting a mortal sin. But if the end intended be not
contrary to charity, neither will the lie, considered under
this aspect, be a mortal sin, as in the case of a jocose lie,
where some little pleasure is intended, or in an officious
lie, where the good also of one's neighbour is intended.
Accidentally a lie may be contrary to charity by reason of
scandal or any other injury resulting therefrom: and thus
again it will be a mortal sin, for instance if a man were not
deterred through scandal from lying pubHcly.

Reply Ohj. i. The passages quoted refer to the mis-
chievous lie, as a gloss explains the words of Ps. v. 7, Thou
wilt destroy all that speak a lie.

97 LYING Q. no. Art. 4

Refly Ohj. 2. Since all the precepts of the decalogue are
directed to the love of God and our neighbour, as stated
above (Q. XLIV., A. i, ad 3 : I.-II., Q. C, A. 5, ad i), a lie is
contrary to a precept of the decalogue, in so far as it is
contrary to the love of God and our neighbour. Hence it
is expressly forbidden to bear false witness against our

Reply Ohj. 3. Even a venial sin can be called iniquity in
a broad sense, in so far as it is beside the equity of justice;
wherefore it is written (i John iii. 4) : Every"^ sin is iniquity.
It is in this sense that Augustine is speaking.

Reply Ohj. 4. The lie of the mid wives may be considered
in two ways. First as regards their feeling of kindliness
towards the Jews, and their reverence and fear of God,
for which their virtuous disposition is commended. For
this an eternal reward is due. Wherefore Jerome (in his
exposition of Isa. Ixv. 21, And they shall huild houses)
explains that God huilt them spiritual houses. Secondly, it
may be considered with regard to the external act of
lying. For thereby they could merit, not indeed eternal
reward, but perhaps some temporal meed, the deserving
of which was not inconsistent with the deformity of
their lie, though this was inconsistent with their meriting
an eternal reward. It is in this sense that we must under-
stand the words of Gregory, and not that they merited by
that lie to lose the eternal reward as though they had already
merited it by their preceding kindliness, as the objection
understands the words to mean.

Reply Ohj. 5. Some say that for the perfect every Ue is
a mortal sin. But this assertion is unreasonable. For no
circumstance causes a sin to be infinitely more grievous
unless it transfers it to another species. Now a circumstance
of person does not transfer a sin to another species, except
perhaps by reason of something annexed to that person,
for instance if it be against his vow: and this cannot apply
to an officious or jocose lie. Wherefore an officious or a
jocose lie is not a mortal sin in perfect men, except perhaps

* Vulg., — And sin is iniquity.
II. ii. 4 7

Q. no. Art. 4 THE '' SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 98

accidentally on account of scandal. We may take in
this sense the saying of Augustine that it is a precept of
perfection not only not to lie at all, hut not even to wish to lie:
although Augustine says this not positively but dubiously,
for he begins by saying: Unless perhaps it is a precept, etc.
Nor does it matter that they are placed in a position to
safeguard the truth: because they are bound to safeguard
the truth by virtue of their office in judging or teaching, and
if they lie in these matters their lie will be a mortal sin : but
it does not follow that they sin mortally when they lie in
other matters.



* [In Four Articles.)

In due sequence we must consider dissimulation and hypo-
crisy. Under this head there are four points of inquiry:
(i) Whether all dissimulation is a sin ? (2) Whether hypo-
crisy is dissimulation ? (3) Whether it is opposed to truth ?
(4) Whether it is a mortal sin ?

First Article,
whether all dissimulation is a sin ?

We proceed thus to the First Article : —

Objection i. It seems that not all dissimulation is a sin.
For it is written (Luke xxiv. 28) that our Lord pretended
(Douay, — made as though) he would go farther; and Ambrose
in his book on the Patriarchs {De Abraham, i.) says of
Abraham that he spoke craftily to his servants, when he said
(Gen. xxii. 5) : I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder,
and after we have worshipped, will return to you. Now to
pretend and to speak craftily savour of dissimulation: and
yet it is not to be said that there was sin in Christ or Abra-
ham. Therefore not all dissimulation is a sin.

Obj. 2. Further, No sin is profitable. But according to
Jerome, in his commentary on Gal. ii. 11, When Peter
(Vulg., — Cephas) was come to Antioch: — The example of Jehu,
king of Israel, who slew the priests of Baal, pretending that he
desired to worship idols, should teach us that dissimulation is
useful and sometimes to be employed; and David changed his
countenance before Achis, king of Geth (i Kings xxi. 13).
Therefore not all dissimulation is a sin.


Q. Ill Art. i THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " loo

Obj. 3. Further, Good is contrary to evil. Therefore if
it is evil to simulate good, it is good to simulate evil.

Ohj. 4. Further, It is written in condemnation of certain
people (Isa. iii. 9) : They have proclaimed abroad their sin
as Sodom, and they have not hid it. Now it pertains to
dissimulation to hide one's sin. Therefore it is repre-
hensible sometimes not to simulate. But it is never
repreb<?nsible to avoid sin. Therefore dissimulation is not
a sin.

On the contrary, A gloss on Isa. xvi. 14, In three years, etc.,
says : Of the two evils it is less to sin openly than to simulate
holiness. But to sin openly is always a sin : Therefore dis-
simulation is always a sin.

I answer that. As stated above (Q. CIX., A. 3: Q. CX.,
A. i), it belongs to the virtue of truth to show oneself out-
wardly by outward signs to be such as one is. Now out-
ward signs are not only words, but also deeds. Accordingly
just as it is contrary to truth to signify by words something
different from that which is in one's mind, so also is it con-
trary to truth to employ signs of deeds or things to signify
the contrary of what is in oneself, and this is what is properly
denoted by dissimulation. Consequently dissimulation is
properly a lie told by the signs of outward deeds. Now it
matters not whether one lie in word or in any other way,
as stated above (Q. CX., A. i, Obj. 2). Wherefore, since
every lie is a sin, as stated above (Q. CX., A. 3), it follows
that also all dissimulation is a sin.

Reply Obj. i. As Augustine says {De QQ. Evang. ii.),
To pretend is not always a lie : but only when the pretence
has no signification, then it is a lie. When, however, our
pretence refers to some signification, there is no lie, but a
representation of the truth. And he cites figures of speech
as an example, where a thing is pretended, for we do not
mean it to be taken literally but as a figure of something
else that we wish to say. In this way Our Lord pretended
He would go farther, because He acted as if wishing to
go farther ; in order to signify something figuratively either
because He was far from their faith, according to Gregory

loi HYPOCRISY Q. III. Art. i

(Horn, xxiii. in Ev.) ; or, as Augustine says (De QQ. Evang.
ii.), because, as He was about to go farther away from them
by ascending into heaven, He was, so to speak, held back on
earth by their hospitality.

Abraham also spoke figuratively. Wherefore Ambrose
{loc. cit.) says that Abraham /or^^/i what he knew not : for
he intended to return alone after sacrificing his son*, but
by his mouth the Lord expressed what He was about to do.
It is evident therefore that neither dissembled.

Reply Obj. 2. Jerome employs the term simulation in a
broad sense for any kind of pretence. David's change of
countenance was a figurative pretence, as a gloss observes
in commenting on the title of Ps. xxxiii., / will bless the Lord
at all times. There is no need to excuse Jehu's dissimulation
from sin or lie, because he was a wicked man, since he
departed not from the idolatry of Jeroboam (4 Kings x.
29, 31). And yet he is praised withal and received an
earthly reward from God, not for his dissimulation, but for
his zeal in destroying the worship of Baal.

Reply Obj. 3. Some say that no one may pretend to be
wicked, because no one pretends to be wicked by doing good
deeds, and if he do evil deeds, he is evil. But this argument
proves nothing. Because a man might pretend to be evil,
by doing what is not evil in itself but has some appearance
of evil: and nevertheless this dissimulation is evil, both
because it is a lie, and because it gives scandal; and although
he is wicked on this account, yet his wickedness is not the
wickedness he simulates. And because dissimulation is
evil in itself, its sinfulness is not derived from the thing
simulated, whether this be good or evil.

Reply Obj. 4. Just as a man lies when he signifies by
word that which he is not, yet lies not when he refrains from
sa5ring what he is, for this is sometimes lawful; so also does
a man dissemble, when by outward signs of deeds or things
he signifies that which he is not, yet he dissembles not if he
omits to signify what he is. Hence one may hide one's
sin without being guilty of dissimulation. It is thus that
we must understand the saying of Jerome on the words

Q. 1 1 1 . Art. 2 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 102

of Isaias {loc. cit.), that the second plank after shipwreck
is to hide one's sin, lest, to wit, others be scandalized

Second Article,
whether hypocrisy is the same as dissimulation ?

We proceed thus to the Second Article : —

Objection i. It seems that hypocrisy is not the same as
dissimulation. For dissimulation consists in lying by deeds.
But there may be hypocrisy in showing outwardly what
one does inwardly, according to Matth. vi. 2, When thou
dost an alms-deed sound not a trumpet before thee, as the
hypocrites do. Therefore hypocrisy is not the same as dis-

Obj. 2. Further, Gregory says [Moral, xxxi. 7) : Some there
are who wear the habit of holiness, yet are unable to attain
the merit of perfection. We must by no means deem these
to have joined the ranks of the hypocrites, since it is one thing
to sin from weakness, and another to sin from malice. Now
those who wear the habit of holiness, without attaining
the merit of perfection, are dissemblers, since the outward
habit signifies works of perfection. Therefore dissimulation
is not the same as hypocrisy.

Obj. 3. Further, Hypocrisy consists in the mere intention.
For Our Lord says of hypocrites (Matth. xxiii. 5) that all
their works they do for to be seen of men : and Gregory says
(Moral, xxxi. loc. cit.) that they never consider what it is that
they do, but how by their every action they may please men.
But dissimulation consists, not in the mere intention, but
in the outward action : wherefore a gloss on Job xxxvi. 13,
Dissemblers and crafty men prove the wrath of God, says that
the dissembler simulates one thing and does another ; he
pretends chastity, and delights in lewdness, he makes a show
oj poverty and fills his purse. Therefore hypocrisy is not
the same as dissimulation.

On the contrary, Isidore says {Etym. x.) : * Hypocrite '
is a Greek word corresponding to the Latin ' simulator,' for

103 HYPOCRISY Q. iii.Art.2

whereas he is evil within, he shows himself outwardly as being
good ; vTTo denoting falsehood, and Kplcn^ judgment.

I answer that, As Isidore says (ibid.), the word hypocrite is
derived from the appearance of those who come on to the stage
with a disguised face, by changing the colour of their com-
plexion, so as to imitate the complexion of the person they
simulate, at one time under the guise of a man, at another
under the guise of a woman, so as to deceive the people in
their acting. Hence Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. ii.) that
just as hypocrites by simulating other persons act the parts
of those they are not [since he that acts the part of Agamemnon
is not that man himself but pretends to be), so too in the
Church and in every department of human life, whoever wishes
to seem what he is not is a hypocrite : for he pretends to be just
without being so in reality.

We must conclude, therefore, that hypocrisy is dissimula-
tion, not, however, any form of dissimulation, but only when
one person simulates another, as when a sinner simulates
the person of a just man.

Reply Obj. i. The outward deed is a natural sign of the
intention. Accordingly when a man does good works
pertaining by their genus to the service of God, and seeks
by their means to please, not God but man, he simulates
a right intention which he has not. Wherefore Gregory says
[Moral, xxxi.) that hypocrites make God's interests subservient
to worldly purposes, since by making a show of saintly conduct
they seek, not to turn men to God, but to draw to themselves
the applause of their approval: and so they make a lying
pretence of having a good intention, which they have
not, although they do not pretend to do a good deed without
doing it.

Reply Obj. 2. The habit of holiness, for instance the
religious or the clerical habit, signifies a state whereby one
is bound to perform works of perfection. And so when a
man puts on the habit of holiness, with the intention of
entering the state of perfection, if he fail through weakness,
he is not a dissembler or a hypocrite, because he is not bound
to disclose his sin by laying aside the habit of holiness. If,

Q. 1 1 1 . Art. 3 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 104

however, he were to put on the habit of hoHness in order to
make a show of righteousness, he would be a hypocrite and
a dissembler.

Reply Ohj. 3. In dissimulation, as in a He, there are two
things: one by way of sign, the other by way of thing
signified. Accordingly the evil intention in hypocrisy is
considered as a thing signified, which does not tally with
the sign: and the outward words, or deeds, or any sensible
objects are considered in every dissimulation and He as a sign.

Third Article,
whether hypocrisy is contrary to the virtue of


We proceed thus to the Third A rticle : —

Objection i. It seems that hypocrisy is not contrary to the
virtue of truth. For in dissimulation or hypocrisy there is
a sign and a thing signified. Now with regard to neither
of these does it seem to be opposed to any special virtue:
for a hypocrite simulates any virtue, and by means of any
virtuous deeds, such as fasting, prayer and alms deeds, as
stated in Matth, vi. 1-18. Therefore hypocrisy is not specially
opposed to the virtue of truth.

Ohj. 2. Further, All dissimulation seems to proceed from
guile, wherefore it is opposed to simplicity Now guile is
opposed to prudence as above stated (Q. LV., A. 4).
Therefore, hypocrisy which is dissimulation is not opposed
to truth, but rather to prudence or simplicity.

Ohj. 3. Further, The species of moral acts is taken from
their end. Now the end of hypocrisy is the acquisition of
gain or vainglory : wherefore a gloss on Job xxvii. 8, What
is the hope of the hypocrite, if through covetousness he take by
violence, says: A hypocrite, or, as the Latin has it, a dissimu-
lator, is a covetous thief : for through desire of being honoured for
holiness, though guilty of wickedness, he steals praise for a life
which is not his.^ Therefore since covetousness or vainglory

* The quotation is from S. Gregory's Moralia, Bk. XVIII.


is not directly opposed to truth, it seems that neither is
hypocrisy or dissimulation.

On the contrary, All dissimulation is a lie, as stated above
(A. i). Now a He is directly opposed to truth. Therefore
dissimulation or hypocrisy is also.

/ answer that, According to the Philosopher {Metaph. text.
13, 24, X.), contrariety is opposition as regards form, i.e. the
specific form. Accordingly we must reply that dissimulation
or hypocrisy may be opposed to a virtue in two ways, in one
way directly, in another way indirectly. Its direct opposi-
tion or contrariety is to be considered with regard to the
very species of the act, and this species depends on that
act's proper object. Wherefore since hypocrisy is a kind
of dissimulation, whereby a man simulates a character
which is not his, as stated in the preceding article, it follows
that it is directly opposed to truth, whereby a man shows
himself in life and speech to be what he is, as stated in
Ethic, iv. 7.

The indirect opposition or contrariety of hypocrisy may
be considered in relation to any accident, for instance a
remote end, or an instrument of action, or anything else of
that kind.

Reply Obj. i. The hypocrite in simulating a virtue regards
it as his end, not in respect of its existence, as though he
wished to have it, but in respect of appearance, since he
wishes to seem to have it. Hence his hypocrisy is not
opposed to that virtue, but to truth, inasmuch as he wishes
to deceive men with regard to that virtue. And he performs
acts of that virtue, not as intending them for their own sake,
but instrumentally, as signs of that virtue, wherefore his
hypocrisy has not, on that account, a direct opposition to
that virtue.

Reply Obj. 2. As stated above (Q. LV., AA. 3, 4, 5), the
vice directly opposed to prudence is cunning, to which it
belongs to discover ways of achieving a purpose, that are
apparent and not real: while it accomplishes that purpose,
by guile in words, and by fraud in deeds: and it stands in
relation to prudence, as guile and fraud to simphcity. Now


guile and fraud are directed chiefly to deception, and some-
times secondarily to injury. Wherefore it belongs directly
to simplicity to guard oneself from deception, and in this
way the virtue of simphcity is the same as the virtue of
truth as stated above (Q. CIX., A. 2, ad 4). There is, how-
ever, a mere logical difference between them, because by
truth we mean the concordance between sign and thing
signified, while simplicity indicates that one does not tend
to different things, by intending one thing inwardly, and
pretending another outwardly.

Reply Ohj. 3. Gain or glory is the remote end of the dis-
sembler as also of the liar. Hence it does not take its species
from this end, but from the proximate end, which is to show
oneself other than one is. Wherefore it sometimes happens
to a man to pretend great things of himself, for no further
purpose than the mere lust of hypocrisy, as the Philosopher
says {Ethic, iv. 7), and as also we have said above with
regard to lying (Q. CX., A. 3).

Fourth Article,
whether hypocrisy is always a mortal sin ?

We proceed thus to the Fourth Article : —

Objection i. It seems that hypocrisy is always a mortal
sin. For Jerome says on Isa. xvi. 14 : Of the two evils it is less
to sin openly than to simulate holiness: and a gloss on Job i. 21,*
As it hath pleased the Lord, etc., says that pretended justice is

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