BROAD MENTAL RESERVATION
Speech that limits the meaning of what is said but contains a reasonable clue to the sense intended. No lie is involved, because what is said really has two meanings. The two meanings are present either by reason of the words themselves or by reason of the circumstances. One who employs a broad mental reservation expresses what he thinks and uses words according to the meaning they really have. His words have another meaning also, and the speaker foresees that in this other meaning the one listening will not understand. For a sufficient reason, it is permitted others to deceive themselves by taking the wrong meaning of what is said, and this remains true although the listener, because of his ignorance, does not know there is another meaning to what he had heard. The main reason that justifies the use of a broad mental reservation is the need for preserving secrecy, where the value to the common good is greater than would be the manifestation of something that is sure to cause harm. Such reservation must be used with great prudence, at the risk of creating suspicion and mistrust if people cannot be sure that what they are being told is what they hear.-- From Father John Hardon's (actual name!) Modern Catholic Dictionary
Rule 2: Ignore Rule 1
By Barry Crimmins - barrycrimmins.com
Dedicated to my comrades in the Fr. Thomas Neary branch of the Hell Alumni Association
The Catholic Church has responded to a gushing hemorrhage in its membership (brought on by centuries of self-inflicted wounds) by starting a campaign to urge parishioners who have fled the wretched, crooked and perpetual blight upon humanity to "Come home."
Despite television ads that threaten that old over-roasted chestnut of eternal damnation ("When our transition to eternity begins, there won't be a chance for any do-overs,'') the Hokey Roman Empire continues to lose four former suckers for every new dupe it cons into joining the money-grubbing, child molesting, pedophile-protecting, woman-hating, historically anti-Semitic, Nazi-sympathizing, witch-hunting, Inquisition-unleashing, Sun-God cross-dressing, fear-mongering, untaxed, sexually repressive cult.
The lemmings of the laity's craving to take direction has for once aimed them away from danger. They're now hot on the padded little heels of millions of their fellow followers who've been spooked into turning around and sprinting inland rather than hurtling themselves off the rocky cliffs of hypocritical and inane dogma imposed by men who should be making confessions rather than hearing them.
'Come home?' Hardly. 'Come to' is more like it. Because there is only false shelter for the spiritually homeless in the Catholic Church -- a false shelter built on a foundation of falsehoods. Lying, or a parsed and spun version of it, isn't a sin for Roman Catholics clerics. They are free to fib providing their stretchers can be rationalized as being for the good of the mother church. Propagation of disinformation is permitted under the justification for misleading double-talk that is 'mental reservation.' It's defined above by Father Hardon. (I will refrain from referring to him as 'Raging') Whether or not his definition is fully accurate depends on whether he felt the church could be hurt by widespread knowledge of this clerics-only escape hatch in the Eight Commandment.
In any case, this Cath-22 looms beneath every murky move the church makes. It clears up questions about how church leadership could offer so many implausible alibis and rationales when caught again and again with their skirts up. Mental reservation turns the rest of the Catholic rulebook into window dressing. It's the greatest example of Rule 2: Ignore Rule 1 in recorded history. The lying-for-the-good-of-the church edict countermands most any clerical urge to be forthright. After all, when isn't the church threatened by the truth?
Considering the hokum it's expected to sling, the Catholic clergy's propensity to lean on a clause that would turn any used car dealer lime green with envy is understandable. So much is at stake. Unfettered truth would set 1.2 billion worldwide Catholics free of an organization that has spent 2,000 years holding its membership hostage with contrived threats of burning in hell for failure to comply to ever-shifting edicts issued by ass-covering, criminal frauds. George Carlin best summarized the fickle nature of Catholic condemnation when the secular saint pondered, "I wonder how many people are in Hell on a [Friday] meat rap?"
What we needn't wonder is whether or not the Catholic Church is trustworthy. I promise you, without even the slightest possibility of fallibility, that it is not. When the collared ones tell us that child molestation is an aberration and not prevalent among their ranks, they are lying and we know it. When Pope Pedopologist XXXVIII issues a proclamation denouncing priestly sexual abuse of children and adolescents and then tags on an amendment that deems ordaining women as priests as an equally mortal sin, those of us capable of any sort of critical analysis see it for the religious quackery that it is. We already know that it is wrong to molest children. We also know that as sure as the Cardinal eats squab on any Friday he wants to eat squab, someday even the home office of misogyny will have to allow women to be ordained -- if only to con some of us into returning to its indelibly tainted auspices to be among the first to see a woman say mass.
Novelty acts or not, most of us will never return to the church because even without knowledge of the self-applied dispensation concerning bearing false witness, we already know the pope is a liar. And we know the cardinals, bishops and priests are liars, too. If they're not liars, they're crazy. If that's the case, they should be rounded up and confined indefinitely to a locked mental reservation for the criminally insane.
Coming up: Greed, perversion and mental reservation -- the unholy trinity of the abuse scandal.
And: You bet it's personal -- a demand for excommunication