October 8, 2012

And Truth Shall Set You Free

The Eighth Commandment:  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

This chapter of the catechism deals with truth, and the ways truth are expressed, including in beauty.  “The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others.  Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness:  they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.” 2464

“Man tends by nature toward the truth.  He is obliged to honor and bear witness to it … once (he) comes to know it, and direct his life accordingly.  2467   The virtue of truth gives another his just due.  It entails honesty and discretion.  2469   The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it.  This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds.  Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known.”  2472  

“Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.  He becomes guilty: of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor; of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them; of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.  2477   To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way.  2478   Boasting or bragging is an offense against truth.  So is irony aimed at disparaging someone by maliciously caricaturing some aspect of his behavior. 2481  (I think most politicians and newsmen need to go to confession over this one.)   Lying is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others.  2485  Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships.”  2486  

“The Gospel precept of fraternal love requires us to judge whether or not it is appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it.  2488   The good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of discreet language.  No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.  2489   The secret of the sacrament of reconciliation is sacred, and cannot be violated under any pretext.”  2490

“Users should practice moderation and discipline in their approach to the mass media.  They will want to form enlightened and correct consciences the more easily to resist the unwholesome influences.  2496   Civil authorities have particular responsibilities in this field because of the common good.   It is for the civil authority to defend and safeguard a true and just freedom of information.”  2498 

“Truth is beautiful in itself.  Truth in words is necessary to man.  But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words:  the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God.  God reveals himself through the universal language of creation, from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.  2500   Created ‘in the image of God,’ man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works.  2501  The fine arts, but above all sacred art, ‘of their nature are directed toward expressing in some way the infinite beauty of God in works made by human hands.  Their dedication to the increase of God’s praise and of his glory is more complete, the more exclusively they are devoted to turning men’s minds devoutly toward God.’” 2513

YOUCAT Q460:  What dangers result from the media?  Many people, especially children, think that whatever they see in the media is real.  If in the name of entertainment violence is glorified, anti-social behavior is approved of, and human sexuality is trivialized, this is a sin both of those in the media who are responsible and also of those supervisory authorities that ought to put a stop to it.  Those who consume violence, hatred, and pornography in the media become spiritually deadened and do themselves harm.”    

Next week is the final week in this series of catechism readings, completing the section titled Life in Christ.  We’ll look at the Ninth and Tenth Commandments, and consider “coveting.”     

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