Is this lying under oath and sinful?

Hi, I know someone who had a bankrupt business and swore an oath about the property in the business at the time of closing and selling up. She says the property was rightfully hers but in the eyes of the law it was not. If she swore an oath that the property was hers and no one knew about the property or found out what should she do? It’s a complicated matter. I would appreciate your input if you are an orthodox catholic who really knows your moral theology. Can she stay quiet about this? Does she sin if the property is hers but not in law and she tries to hide it and keep it?

In Bankruptcy, a person has to tell about ***all ***property. Failing to do so is definately illegal.

Now, I’m not going to say that this is the same, but it may help clarify. Anyway, I once knew a man who tried to hide his income. In a four year period he earned $100,000 that he didn’t claim. During that time he lived in low income housing and received food stamps. He didn’t even pay taxes on it. Well, it was discovered and he ended up spending time in jail for fraud. I can’t remember about any monetary penalty, it’s been awhile. :shrug:

If she lied about it, it’s a sin. If she was mistaken, it’s not. Either way the right thing to do is to try to correct any sort of injustice that resulted from her statement(s).

not commenting about the specific case because I do not know laws that applied in that situation, however, in general lying under oath breaks not only the 8th commandment but the 2nd, taking God’s name in vain, actually the more serious, and depending on the gravity of the matter at stake could be a mortal sin (probably almost always is unless there were some mitigating circumstance).

“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’”
-Matthew 5:37

From the footnotes in the NAB on this verse:

…Oath-taking presupposes a sinful weakness of the human race, namely, the tendency to lie. Jesus demands of his disciples a truthfulness that makes oaths unnecessary.

It sounds like she is caught up in a legal technicality. She thinks the property is hers but it is not hers in the eyes of the law? Is this a case of her being in another legal situation where the ownership of the property is being disputed? In a case like this it would seem like the right thing to do would be to hire an honnest lawyer, explain the situation completely, and do as the lawyer instructs.

What you have outlined in your original post is none of your affair. It is a business matter related to someone else. You are not her conscience. Stay out of it.


Stay out of it? Would you stay quiet if you saw someone you know commiting a crime? How is this any different? :mad:

since he has no evidence whatever a crime was committed, he has nothing on which to base a protest, and has given no evidence that he has a vested interest in the situation.

She knows what’s right and what’s wrong. So does God, and he will judge her according to the complexity of the decision and her understanding and/or confusion about things. Leave the decision up to him.

If the bankruptcy was “corporate”, in that the business going through the process of Chapter 7 or 13…held “title” to the property or paid for the property, and was listed as an asset on the books of the business…it was subject to the bankruptcy and to lie about it under oath was illegal and sinful.

If the property was not corporate, and the title or proof of purchase could be provided to show that it was a personal asset…loaned or leased to the company…then it was not subject to the bankruptcy and there would have been no crime or sin.

Now the tricky one…if the business was operated as a “sole proprietor”…everything owned by the person is subject to the bankruptcy…possibly. But then that would be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Much of the answers lie in state and federal laws, and would also depend on what the tax status of the business was…LLC, Sub-S, C, etc. It could depend on other things as well.

I can only guess that you have not been a fly on the wall, and party to all of this persons affairs business and tax wise… so I would have to agree with Tracy10…

Note: I am not an Attorney, so what I have said carries no legal weight…its merely my opinion, and thats all. :smiley:

Look again, Rob. Original poster is in Australia (officially the southern land of the Holy Spirit). As most of us are from the US and are thus unlikely to be conversant in Australian corporate law, we are completely unqualified to comment in that area. All I can tell is that the situation is none of the business of the writer. Let it go.


Note to self: If theres ever a moral issue going on regarding someone in my life I might want to ask on this forum, make sure to phrase it as a hypothetical or else get stink eye.

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