Pious Lies

Pious lies are fabrications that have religious motivations. An example is when a nun found that Pope John Paul I had died while he read Vatican financial documents, she substituted a book about the lives of the saints. That was a lie to improve the image of the pope’s death. She later admitted her lie.

Pious lies are made with good intentions, but ethics would dictate that the truth be told.

A nun told our class some pious lies. One was the story of a monk who once had an impure thought he did not confess. When he died and was buried, his body kept popping out of the ground because he was unworthy to be buried in the hallowed ground of the monastery graveyard.

In another story a man received communion and removed it from his mouth and took it home where it started bleeding and bleeding until he called the church to help him. This might have been derived from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Telltale Heart” short story. In Poe’s story, a man hid the heart of his murder victim under the floor of his room and his conscience was bothered by what he perceived to be that heart beating louder and louder until he confessed to the police what he had done.

I consider such lies to be “clergy religious abuse”. The church has paid millions of dollars for clergy sexual abuse, but I have never heard of any compensation for religious abuse. They might be trying to scare the Hell out of their students, but they should be inspiring them to be happy and live good lives. This is a case of the “inmates running the asylum”. Such nuns should not be teaching children.

Do we need two more commandments?

11. Think – Do not do anything stupid.

12. Do not be an embarrassment. If you have a problem that would be a scandal to the church or other organization, do not infiltrate it. Unfortunately, predators strategically put themselves in positions where they can take advantage of other people.

Of course, these two suggestions are redundant with the first ten commandments and should be considered guideposts, not new commandments.