Seminary/School of Divinity



Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.)

Type of Paper/Work



Paul J. Wojda

Second Advisor

John Boyle

Third Advisor

Greg Coulter


In times of social crisis, moral reasoning about lying becomes more urgent. This is because the desire for justification for routine lying is suddenly needed, as hostile governments force citizens to swear allegiance to propositions or practices that violate their consciences. To safeguard their profession, their religion, or even their lives, people seek to avoid the threatened penalties by compromising with the aggressor. Their desire is to maintain a good conscience and avoid harm while giving their conscience’s aggressor some indication of cooperation or acquiescence. Catholic moral theology, particularly in the Early Modern Period (1450-1700), offered reasoning about how to preserve the truth and one’s life in the context of Elizabethan England. In the contemporary United States, health care workers in particular foresee the crisis of being required to participate in procedures that violate their consciences or to lie about them, or be forced to leave their professions. It is thus timely to re-consider the Catholic moral tradition, and St. Thomas Aquinas’ thought on lying and the requirements of the truth.

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.