By Jeffrey T. Singer
Millions of Catholics living in America are liars and the Catholic Church, at all levels, from the U.S. Bishops to priests in local parishes, is not speaking out publically about these lies. Perhaps those who are lying have confessed their sins and the priests, through individual pastoral care, are urging repentance and a change of heart to live in truth and make amends to those who have been deceived – somehow, though, I doubt it as I think we would notice the change.
What the heck am I talking about?
Well, first let me note that I was inspired to write this post by this blog’s own Ed Feser, who wrote an excellent post on his own blog about the infamous Live Action sting against Planned Parenthood. I take it for granted that Professor Feser is correct in his analysis, that lying is intrinsically wrong, and that we have to take the Church’s own Catechism seriously when it says:
2482. "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving."  The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: "You are of your father the devil, . . . there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." 
2483. Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man's relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord.
2484. The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and charity.
2485. By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.
2486. Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does real violence to another. It affects his ability to know, which is a condition of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord and all consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships.
*281: St. Augustine, De mendacio 4,5:PL 40:491.
*282: Jn 8:44.
I also take it for granted that even in a case in which we sympathize with the goals of Live Action (i.e. the desire to stop Planned Parenthood from performing abortions and/or receiving taxpayer money for the gruesome work), we all recognize that we still cannot condone the action of lying as it would be a case of consequentialist ethics – doing something intrinsically wrong in order to do good.
Which brings me to this post – why is the Catholic Church so supportive of the liars that they like to refer to as ‘undocumented workers’, or since I prefer to use clear and precise language in my respect for the truth, illegal immigrants? Go to the USCCB’s special website set up to deal with the issue of immigration and all you’ll get is the occasional reference to respecting our laws (e.g. “The USCCB believes that immigrants should come to the United States lawfully”). But let’s get real – the Mexican immigrant coming to America has to lie to get in the country (by paying a smuggler for forged documents, knowingly sneaking across the border, etc.), he has to lie once inside the country (for a fake Social Security card, for a fake Green Card, or whatever document he uses for a job), and probably has to lie on occasion when dealing with government officials and/or even his neighbors. But the church turns a blind eye to all of this lying and instead asks us American Catholics to focus on the “immoral system [our current immigration laws and their enforcement] that thrives upon the weakness and suffering of those without a voice."
Where is the concern that millions of lying illegal immigrants, through their lies, “contain[s] the seed of discord and all consequent evils”? Or that they are “destructive of society” and their lying “tears apart the fabric of social relationships”? Instead, we get a lot of rhetoric around the idea that illegal immigrants have inherent dignity, that they want a better life for themselves and their families and that enforcement of our laws can break up families (only because when we deport an illegal father and mother her kids can stay in this country because they are citizens – of course the parents could take the kids back with them if they choose but let’s ignore that for the moment). I agree with the Bishops and all the liberal Catholics about (relatively) poor Central Americans wanting a better life and having inherent dignity – but it is of course a matter of debate whether or not they have to come here to escape poverty and more importantly it is not a matter of debate that good ends (assuming for a minute that their coming to America is a good end) can be achieved through intrinsically immoral actions.
Here is a final thought – what does it say for the morals and ethical development of all those illegal immigrants when they are not called out on their lying? One could argue that their experience in the U.S. testifies to the idea that by not confronting the problem of their lies, the result hasn’t been good.