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
Every offense committed against justice and truth entails
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.
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.
Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the re
sponse to every
request for information or communication.
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.
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
284 CIC, can. 983 § 1.