“Ask a Priest: What If I Lied About Going to a Pro-life Protest?”

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Q: I am scared that I committed a mortal sin by not telling my mom I was going to counter-protest at a pro-abortion demonstration. She has different views, and I knew she wasn’t going to let me do it if I told her. What do you think? – A.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: While it’s not good to lie, especially to your mom, it’s not always easy to say what the gravity of a lie might be, given the few details in your e-mail. Perhaps this lie was not a mortal sin.

On the other hand, if it was “only” a venial sin, would you keep doing it? If your answer is yes, there is a problem. To deliberately choose to offend God is a sign that mortal sin looms on the horizon.

But let’s assume that you don’t really want to lie or go through life lying.

The big question here is how to deal with your mom regarding abortion.

Part of your mission in life might be to help her understand and embrace the pro-life cause.

You might want to intensify your prayers and sacrifices for her.

One way to win her open will be your honesty. If she finds out that you are sneaking around, this might feed her belief that the pro-life movement isn’t good — “Look what it’s doing to my son — he lies to me!”

In her defense, it’s worth noting that she was probably concerned for your personal safety, given the rising tensions over the abortion issue right now.

In any case, it would be good to be honest with Mom. Pro-life convictions don’t require anyone to be pro-lie.


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One Comment
  1. Well, Father, I usually like your replies to those who ask questions… but this one sure did confuse me.

    First, I don’t know how old the son is, but I assume if he can attend to a pro life counter protest where pro abortion group is, he is old enough to know what is right and to act to that good conscience. From how I read his question, he simply DIDN’T TELL his mom he would be taking part in a pro life protest group, because his mom is pro choice) I do not see NOT SAYING something as lying. A lie is the deliberate attempt to deceive another. I AGREE with you on this much, I do think this is previous matter. I think of our Lord, who was not with the caravan of other and Mary, his mother, frantic she could not find him. Searched for 3 days. Found him in the temple: ‘about His father’s business.’

    Our Lord can’t be said to have lied to his mother because HE DIDN’T TELL HER he was ‘staying back’ in the temple, would He? His LOVE for His heavenly Father motivated his actions. When His mother told him she couldn’t find Him; his answer (per written words was: did you not know I had to be about my Father’s business?)

    Seems that sometimes, particularly if adult is of age (don’t know how old this person is) but if adult in age NOT TELLING others of what we are going to do, especially if IT IS A GOOD THING and the other is not of that same understanding, should not be considered lying. There are many cases where people simply do not tell what they are doing. Not saying . . . is free will of an adult.

    This son, who sounds like past the age of high school years… seems to know what to do. As and adult
    of such wisdom and stature, he was not under obligation to say anything to his mom.

    if you explain your reply I will apologize for not understanding.

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