Chapter 32. Eighth Commandment: Tell the Truth • 431
SPEAK THE TRUTH AND LIVE THE TRUTH
Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in
showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and
guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.
. . . Respect for the reputation and honor of persons for-
bids all detraction and calumny in word or attitude.
—CCC, nos. 2505 and 2507
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
The Bible teaches that God is the source of truth. Jesus not only taught
the truth; he also said, “I am the truth” (cf. Jn 14:6). The Hebrew word
, refers both to truth in words and truthfulness in deeds.
Jesus both personalized truth and spoke nothing but the truth.
When Christ stood before Pilate, Pilate asked Jesus if he were a king.
In his reply, Jesus declared that his Kingdom was not political but spiri-
tual; he had come to bear witness to truth. A spiritual kingdom is based
on truth. Pilate could not understand Christ’s reply. Jesus reached out
to him and offered him the possibility of change. Pilate could only say,
“What is truth?” (Jn 18:38).
In our culture, relativism challenges our ability to tell the truth
because it claims there is no objective truth. This attitude undermines the
distinction between truth and lies; it leads to an environment of deceit.
In such an atmosphere, even Christ’s teachings, based on divine truth,
fail to persuade those whose trust in the possibility of objective truth has
disappeared. This is the climate in which the Church needs to call people
back to the reality of objective truth and to the link between doctrinal
truth and everyday life.
SINS AGAINST TRUTH
“Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. . . . By injuring man’s
relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the funda-