Lying... it’s part of everyday life, isn't it?
Father Dick Wilson - Roman Catholic viewpoint As a boy I went to see a play in which the central character for a bet had to speak nothing but the truth for a set period of time.
Father Dick Wilson - Roman Catholic viewpoint
As a boy I went to see a play in which the central
character for a bet had to speak nothing but the truth for a set period of time.
We can imagine the traps his friends set to make him
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lose the bet. If nothing else, the play illustrated how
many lies are almost the staple constituent of every-day conversation.
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I well remember a wedding at which I assisted where the bride's best friend asked if she could sing during the service (which was far away from East Anglia).
A music critic once described a poor vocal effort as "mutiny on the high Cs".
This singer was in the same class. She asked my opinion of her singing. I seem to remember saying that it was out of this world. I maintained complete honesty by not suggesting which world it was in, but was I truthful?
In the world that we are in, truth seems to have become almost unimportant. Like Pilate we may ask "What is truth?", but like Pilate we do not wait for the answer.
Of course people were dishonest 60 years ago but even crime had a slightly less toxic look.
When I was a youngish priest I had a parishioner who was caught up a ladder by a first floor window of a house.
He explained to the police who arrived on the scene that he had observed that the house he was trying to enter had dirty windows and he was doing the householder a favour.
This happened at 2am, hardly an hour for window cleaning. He told me his story, adding that he would never lie to a priest. The harvest for burglars is large.
A few years ago I visited one of the largest cities of our land by train. Virtually every house in the large and humble estate we passed through had a burglar alarm.
We can regard the house breaker almost as a glamorous figure, but the character appearing in films as the daring jewel thief is hardly typical.
More real are the organised criminals whose standard equipment is the sawn-off shotgun which they are happy to use.
The prize is measured in millions of pounds.
Some years ago a Catholic archbishop was asked on TV whether he was concerned about the immorality in this country. He replied that he was not worried about the immorality but about the morality.
He was making a valid distinction because strictly
speaking a moral is not a rule of behaviour but a custom.
So it may be said that it is moral for a cannibal to eat a missionary if cannibalism in the cannibal's country is customary.
By the way, I would urge my readers to resist any temptation to eat ministers of religion, however.
We're a tough lot.
What the archbishop was saying was that he was concerned about bad behaviour that is treated as acceptable.
We need not look far for examples. Speed limits are routinely broken when we drive.
Einstein taught that the maximum speed possible in our universe is 186,000 miles a second, the speed of light. Every day in my neighbourhood drivers are trying to prove that it is more than that.
No wonder that pedestrians are classed as the quick and the dead.
The, to some, false tax returns are considered acceptable works of fiction and most of those working in insurance could give examples of false claims.
Is it likely that the shed that was burned down was the home of an original Constable which went up in smoke?
To be fair, few would have the nerve to try falsely claiming on a grand scale.
Perhaps the biggest sin of our society and one that seems to concern relatively few is the starvation of millions of our fellow people in the world.
Unfortunately it is a custom in our society largely to ignore those in need. As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus I hope we can see it as the triumph of truth over petty mindedness, life over death.
Cynicism is not restricted to our nation.
A lady travelling on an American railroad picked up a flea. She naturally complained and received a fulsome apology. In its long history never had such a thing happened. The rail road was shattered and would ensure that the entire rolling stock would be fumigated.
She was won over until she found with her letter the typist's instruction in the envelope. It read: "Send this dame the usual bug letter".