Is trickery a good trait?


What is the Catholic view on trickery or craftiness? Aren’t they intelligence?


Intelligence is a gift of God.
If we pervert it’s use we commit grave sin, and if we use it to make a simpler fellow man stumble we are committing a very grave sin. Jesus and the Apostles warned us of this.

That does not mean that we cannot use our God given intelligence to further our status in life, as long as we did not trample over other fellow men/women in order to do so.
We should strive to use it to further us in our “real” life. When we will have to give account for what we did while here on earth.


I remember a little of a bible passage, where there are Hebrew spies which covered up by a non Hebrew woman and it’s credited as righteousness according to the new testament. It’s spying and covering up a spy seemed to be considered good but I always thought trickery is usually bad.


When I was young I was a very smart lawyer. If anyone did me a disservice, I would get even in any cunning way possible. What a failure of a human being I was. Now I try to use what natural intelligence God gave me for His work. I found humility the hardest virtue, because I was naturally superior… You see? Now I take the advice of the drunk hero of the film Harvey and am extremely pleasant and willing to please. I hope I will become a man Christ will recognise as His on the last day. Cunning is the ability to cheat relying on someone else’s
simplicity. It is a gave sin by definition.


I don’t consider trickery intelligence. To ‘trick’ or use cunning involves the decision of the will. This is not intelligence. It is the will. There are many times when a more ‘simple soul’ could have decided to become involved in ‘cunning’ in order to achieve the goals of this life - and decided against it because it is against God’s law. It is not pure. To willingly involve oneself in deception for a gain that is of this world - is becoming involved in the work of the devil, who is himself, the master of deceit - and unfortunately those who are deceiving others are actually deceived themselves by the master of deceit. In truth it is stupid, selling your soul to the devil like that. For where a man’s heart is, lies his treasure… The will governs a lot - especially how we use our intelligence. And don’t be fooled into thinking that God doesn’t see all.


I Love that movie…:thumbsup:

Elwood P. Dowd: Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.

Dr. Chumley: This sister of yours is at the bottom of a conspiracy against you. She’s trying to persuade me to lock you up. Today, she had commitment papers drawn up. She has your power of attorney and the key to your safety box, and she brought you here!

Elwood P. Dowd: My sister did all that in one afternoon. That Veta certainly is a whirlwind, isn’t she?

Dr. Chumley: Good grief man. Don’t you have any righeous indignation?

Elwood P. Dowd: Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” - she always called me Elwood - “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

Yup - a great character is Elwood P. Dowd. :thumbsup:



I assume it depends on what sort of trick it is. I don’t think tricking people is always wrong. For instance, you could say that the Ten Boom family tricked the Nazis for a long time, but they did it to save people’s lives. I think that’s a good use of “trickery”. Outsmarting others is a key part of many jobs that involve protecting people- police outsmart criminals, and generals must outsmart their enemies in order to win wars and protect their home countries. :shrug:

I wouldn’t say that the ability to trick people is the same as being intelligent, though.


Intelligence itself is morally neutral. It is neither objectively good or bad…It is what one does with one’s intelligence that is good or bad.

As to Trickery - My first thought was - It might be good or bad depending on the use to which it is put…However I looked up the definition of trickery and it appears that - by definition - trickery is meant to deceive and cheat. These would violate the law of love and so are not good.

That said…the magician who does “tricks” for fun or for a living is certainly deceiving but is not cheating anyone. In fact, if he does it well, the audience is not only not cheated, but are delighted and happy.

So - I guess in general one would say trickery is not good…but then there are cases where it is OK…



all commercial advertising is trickery because that is how they sell their product to you. Othewise you wouldn’t want to buy it. Is that good or bad:thumbsup:


I’d say that this statement is too broad…
Advertising may be trickery - or it may not
I may want to buy a product with or without a given advertisement.
In fact I have been known to avoid a product because I didn’t like the way they advertised it.



Here is a quote I heard once…
“When we deceive for personal gain, we make Jesus cry.”

Being deceptive or using trickery to get ahead is not a sign of intelligence. It is a sign that a person cannot be trusted. I think in warfare (war between nations, not a street gang war or something) it is a little different. But don’t quote me on that, because I don’t know what the Church teaches about what can and cannot be done during warfare. it is just my guess.


This is right. I dont think anyone would include magicians among those considered evil & cunning - they are not truly deceiving people cause everyone knows they are doing a trick & therefore gaining people’s consent & the participants are aware it is a trick & participate willingly. Not so with the truly cunning, where they disguise themselves & their motives completely.




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