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Courage Regarding an Oath

Selections adapted from Fr. John J. Nacca's

"True Stories You'll Love and Remember"

Daniel O'Connell, fervent Catholic and great political crusader for Irish Independence, was elected to the House of Commons from the county of Clare in 1821, and before taking office, was told that he had to take the oath of allegiance that acknowledged the British King as head of the Church, and not the Pope.

He reat it attentively, in silence, amid the general suspense of all. Then he said, "I resolutely reject this statement because it makes a declaration that I now is not true, and it holds and opinion that I know is false."

And with indignation he slammed the document on the table. The other Irish deputies followed him. The assembly was dumbfounded.

He was stopped from entering Parliament and his election was nullified.

He returned to Ireland amid great acclamation. He was re-elected by double the majority of before.

In view of this vote, the English government was forced to abolish the blasphemous oath.

If only more politicians in our day stood up for the beliefs and values of the Faith they claim to profess, our world would be a much better place!

"If you wish to return, O Israel, says the Lord, return to Me. If you put your detestable things out of My sight, and do not stray. Then you can swear, "As the Lord lives," in truth, in judgment and in justice. Then shall the nations use His Name in blessing and glory in Him." (Jer. 4:1-2)


Taking An Oath in Bad Faith

A merchant about to leave on a long trip, asked the landlord to safeguard a large amount of his money until he returned. The landlord promised to do so willingly, but when the merchant returned, and asked for the money, he said that he did not know anything about the money.

The unfortunate merchant, to avoid being reduced to absolute poverty, had to bring the matter to court.

The landlord, having been asked to swear to tell only the truth, gave the bailiff his hollow cane, in which he had hidden the money belonging to the merchant, thinking he could now swear with a clear conscience that he did not have the money, which at that moment was in someone else's hand.

The merchant was astonished to hear him take a false oath. But God's punishment was not long in coming.

The landlord was acquitted because of insufficent evidence. But coming down the court steps, and with that feeling of guilt on his conscience, he stumbled against his cane, tumbling down all the steps, and breaking his leg. Meanwhile, even the cane broke, so that the money spilled out, and all those present could see his bad faith, and the Divine punishment.

In rememberence of that incident, there is to this day a marker at the base of the statue of justice.

Jesus said - "Let your 'yes' mean 'yes,' and your 'no' mean 'no.' Anything beyond that is from the evil one." (Mt. 5:36-37)


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