Friday, March 11, 2011

Fr. Walter Ciszek SJ : One More Example of the Morality of 'Undercover Exposes'

I have covered the whole "lying" while working undercover issue before but it looks like I may have indeed struck gold in finding an example which shows how realistically, that telling a lie in certain circumstances, such as in cases of saving souls while facing possible death or while saving lives is not a sin.  I found this great summary on A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics of Fr. Walter Ciszek's life.

From Veneremurcernui:

"I was reading the story of Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ last night.  He was an American Jesuit who spent 15 years in the ‘Gulag Archipelago.’  He was in Poland in 1939, ministering to Polish Catholics.  When the Russians invaded, he realized he could finally achieve his dream of ministering to Russians.  The Russians, of course, had been very thoroughly doing everything in their power to kill or imprison every Orthodox or Catholic priest they could identify, destroying churches, etc, and essentially driving the Faith totally  underground – where it could persist at all.  So, Fr. Ciszek had a fake identity created so he could enter Russia as a Polish laborer to work in the factories in the Urals and minister to the Poles and Russians there.  He did this with the approval of his religious superiors and the Cardinal Archbishop of Lvov.  They all knew fake papers had to be obtained in order to enter Russia.  If he and his White Russian priest partner tried to enter Russia openly as priests they would likely be shot on the spot.
When presenting himself to the Russian work agency looking for laborers for the factories in Poland, he misrepresented himself, of course, saying he was a Polish widower.  His compatriot did this, as well.  His religious superior and the Cardinal Archbishop approved of this.  The entire basis of what was to be a 1 year period of service to Russians (but wound up being 23 years in and out of prison) was based on a forged identity – just like Lila Rose and O’Keefe.  He had to lie repeatedly in the furtherance of this mission, and all his superiors including the Cardinal knew this.  Fr. Ciszek, whose cause for canonization is underway, does not express any ‘regrets’ over this sin he committed, nor does he report that his superiors or the Cardinal Archbishop had any moral qualms about his repeated acts of lying."

In my post Realism vs. Idealism, Dr. Peter Kreeft addresses the moral idealists legitimate but misguided objections to Live Action's methods but points out how they are wrong. 

Dr. Peter Kreeft points out: 
"The closest analogy I can think of to Live Action’s expose of Planned Parenthood is spying. If Live Action is wrong, then so is all spying, including spying out the Nazis’ atomic bomb projects and saving the world from a nuclear holocaust.
If you say that morality changes in wartime, I reply that police ‘sting’ operations are an example of legitimate peacetime spying. An undercover policeman saves children from becoming drug addicts by pretending to be a drug customer to expose the drug dealer. Is this pretending ‘lying’ or not? I don’t much care, except as a professional philosopher and logician. I do much care that the ‘sting’ works and my kids are protected. Do you care more about protecting your own moral correctness than protecting your kids’ lives?
If lying is always wrong, then it is wrong to lie to a nuclear terrorist (the “ticking time bomb” scenario) to elicit from him where he hid the nuclear bomb that in one hour will kill millions if it is not found and defused. The most reasonable response to the “no lying” legalist here is “You gotta be kidding”—or something less kind than that. Thomas Aquinas said that even torture is sometimes justified; in emergency situations like that; if torture, then a fortiori lying."

If 'undercover exposes' are immoral and unjustified then how in the Church's eyes could a Catholic ethically or/and morally be allowed to be a policeman?  Plus, as the earlier version of the Catechism pointed out there are people who do not have a right to the truth.  But, after the 'undercover exposes' have ended it is more probable than not that the person who was once not privy to the truth will be privy to the truth after the investigation is over.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, Teresa! BTW, Fr. Powell posted a reply in a separate post where doubles down on the absolutism:

God Bless!