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596

Part Three

2486

Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does real

violence to another. It affects his ability to know, which is a condi­

tion of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord

and all consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it under­

mines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social

relationships.

2487

Every offense committed against justice and truth entails

the

duty of reparation,

even if its author has been forgiven. When it

is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be

made secretly. If someone who has suffered harm cannot be di­

rectly compensated, he must be given moral satisfaction in the

name of charity. This duty of reparation also concerns offenses

against another’s reputation. This reparation, moral and some­

times material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the

damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience.

IV.

R

espect

for

the

T

ruth

2488

The

right to the communication

of the truth is not uncondi­

tional. Everyone must conform his life to the Gospel precept of

fraternal love. This requires us in concrete situations to judge

whether or not it is appropriate to reveal the truth to someone

who asks for it.

2489

Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the re­

sponse to every

request for information or communication.

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 a discreet language. The duty to avoid scandal

often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the

truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.

283

2490

The

secret of the sacrament of reconciliation

is sacred, and

cannot be violated under any pretext. “The sacramental seal is

inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to

betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any

reason.”

284

283 Cf.

Sir

27:16;

Prov

25:9-10.

284 CIC, can. 983 § 1.

1607

1459

2412

1740

2284

1467