Yes, Aquinas, There Is a Santa Claus
Nathan Schlueter on a Disputation in the Scholastic Tradition
Fifth Article: Whether the Practice of the Santa Claus Tradition is Permissible according to the Christian Faith? We proceed thus to the Fifth Article:
Objection 1: It would seem that the practice of the Santa Claus tradition is not permitted by the Christian faith, insofar as pretending to your children that Santa Claus enters your home in some supernatural way, and gives presents, involves lying to your children. Lying, or “to tell a falsehood in order to deceive” ( Summa Theologica [ ST], II-II, q110, a1), is contrary to God’s commandment “Do not lie” (Lev. 19:11). As Scripture says, God will “destroy all who speak falsehood” (Psalm 5:6), and the devil is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Accordingly, the Catechism states that “by its very nature lying is to be condemned” ( Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2485).
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Nathan Schlueter is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hillsdale College in Michigan, where he lives with his wife and six children. He is currently writing a book entitled Utopian Fiction: Recovering the Political Science of the Imagination. His latest book, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry (ISI Books), will be out this spring.
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