PART III: LIFE IN CHRIST
Section Two: The Ten Commandments
Chapter 2: “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”
Article 8, The Eighth Commandment
III. Offenses Against Truth (cont’d)
§ 2478 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 condemn 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” (SE 22).
§ 2479 Detraction and calumny [slander/defamation of character] destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.
§ 2480 Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery, adulation, or complaisance [to comply willingly] encourages and confirms another in malicious acts and perverse conduct. Adulation is a grave fault if it makes one an accomplice in another’s vices or grave sins. Neither the desire to be of service nor friendship justifies duplicitous [dishonest] speech. Adulation is a venial sin when it only seeks to be agreeable, to avoid evil, to meet a need, or to obtain legitimate advantages.
§ 2481 Boasting or bragging is an offense against truth. So is irony aimed at disparaging someone by maliciously caricaturing [mocking] some aspect of his behavior.
§ 2482 “A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving” (DM 4, 5: PL 40, 491). The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: “You are of your father the devil…there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
§ 2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man’s relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord.
Tomorrow – Offenses Against Truth (to be continued)
(Part III, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 8 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “DM” – St. Augustine, “De Mendacio [The Lie]”
- “PL” – “Patrologia Latina [Latin Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Latin language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1841‑1855 A.D.)
- “SE” – St. Ignatius of Loyola, “Exercitia Spiritualia [Spiritual Exercises]”