Catechism of the Catholic Church

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