Christ’s disciples have “put on the newman, created after
the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
“putting away falsehood,” they are to “put away all malice and all
guile and insincerity and envy and all slander.”
False witness and perjury.
When it is made publicly, a state
ment contrary to the truth takes on a particular gravity. In court it
becomes false witness.
When it is under oath, it is perjury. Acts
such as these contribute to condemnation of the innocent, exonera
tion of the guilty, or the increased punishment of the accused.
They gravely compromise the exercise of justice and the fairness of
Respect for the reputation
of persons forbids every attitude
and word likely to cause them unjust injury.
He becomes guilty:
who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without
sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
who, without objectively valid reason, discloses
another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the
reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments con
To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to
interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and
deeds in a favorable way:
Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a
favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to con
demn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other
understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the
former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the
Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct
interpretation so that he may be saved.
278 Cf. CIC, can. 220.
280 St. Ignatius of Loyola,