Lying - Confession

If we have lied, in moments of weakness, about small things (e.g. we have been caught off guard with a question, and reluctant to be honest, for whatever personal reasons, we have lied)… presuming the lies are of small nature (e.g., lies that do not cause any harm or injury or adversely affect what can be known of us) (e.g. if we lie about somebody’s name…) if we then confess this, are we still obligated to tell the truth the person in question (even if the same personal reasons are still there etcetera, and telling the truth could actually cause make things very awkward etcetera…)??

It is not necessary to tell a person that you lied to them in minor details of little importance.

If you lied about someone and thereby harmed their reputation, for example, that would be an example of when you would need to tell the person you lied to, that what you said about the other person was not true. Justice would require correcting the damage done. But “small” lies that don’t do any harm, do not require you to undo any damage by fessing up to the one you lied to.

theres no such thing as a small lie.

just like theft.

you steal $5 or you steal $500.
its still theft.

One lie becomes many and you are easily in a bad circle. It`s better to tell it like it no matter what and confess that you have lied.

Yes, it is always best to tell the truth, and we should always confess any lies. However, the OP was not asking if he should or should not confess the lie to the Priest; he asked if, in addition to confessing the lie, whether or not he was also obligated to tell the person who he lied to that what he said was untrue.

So, for example, a women asks you if she looks fat in a certain dress. Indeed the dress makes her look fat, but instead of telling her the truth you lie so as not to offend her. Now, in addition to confessing to the Priest that you lied, is it also necessary to track down the women and tell her that she did look fat in the dress, and that you lied to her about it previously? I say no.

That’s also a very different sort of lie, in that it does not pervert an objective reality e.g. it is only your opinion that she may look fat, so to lie is merely to give a false opinion.

What if we lie about objective truths: e.g. we tell a friend that we attended one University, when in-fact we attended another(?) What then do we do(?)

**Originally Posted by Thomas_Aquinas **So, for example, a women asks you if she looks fat in a certain dress. Indeed the dress makes her look fat, but instead of telling her the truth you lie so as not to offend her. Now, in addition to confessing to the Priest that you lied, is it also necessary to track down the women and tell her that she did look fat in the dress, and that you lied to her about it previously? I say no.

When you tell a friend something like you attended one university when you actually attended another, you will need to set up another lie everytime the subject of school comes up in order to protect yourself from the first lie. It may make it awkward to go back to the person and tell them, “I don’t know what made me say I went to A University. I actually went to B University and didn’t get my degree. I felt embarrased to say so, but now I realize I don’t want to lie.”

It might make it awkward for you at the moment, but so much better than piling one lie upon another until one day you get caught, and your credibility is out the window.

Just mention at the next opportunity to your friend that you misspoke, and you have no idea why you told her you went to the other place; it must have been on your mind for some reason. :shrug:

I agree with Patti. While you may not necessarily be obliged to tell them you lied, you probably should find a way to tell them the truth, lest you have to tell more lies to cover it up.

May I ask though: does the Church teach of an obligation to tell the individual that we have lied.

I read in the catechism of a ‘duty of reparation,’ but again this does’t go so far as to say: you are obligated to address the lie and rectify it.

I am not trying to ‘get away with the easiest option,’ but also in some circumstances, telling the truth and rectifying the lie might involve a degree of damage to the friendship, especially if the lie in question was small (venial) and of no real consequence.

I think the answer is certainly no, but you should ask your priest to be sure.

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