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432 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

mental relation of man and of his word to the Lord” (CCC, no. 2483).

People sin against the truth when they are guilty of ruining the repu-

tation of another by telling lies, when they practice rash judgment, or

when they engage in detraction (the unjust telling of someone’s faults),

perjury (lying under oath), or calumny (telling lies about another).

Scripture is clear about the evil of lying. In the Sermon on the Mount,

Jesus said, “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything

more is from the evil one” (Mt 5:37). This reminds us not only that

we need to be truthful, but also that hypocrisy—saying one thing while

doing the opposite—is a sin against truth.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus describes the devil as father of lies (cf. Jn

8:44). St. Paul discouraged lying: “Stop lying to one another” (Col 3:9);

“Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of

another” (Eph 4:25).

Happily, history is filled with stories of people who valued the truth

so highly that they were willing to die for it. St. John Fisher (1469-1535)

and St. Thomas More (1478-1535) surrendered their lives rather than

approve of the divorce of King Henry VIII or deny the truth that the

pope is Christ’s appointed head of the Church. During World War II,

Pope John Paul II has named St. Thomas More the Patron Saint

of Statesmen, Politicians, and Lawyers. This saint’s willingness to

die rather than compromise the truth serves as an example to

all. Often, society tries to convince us that faith is personal and

should not influence political or legal positions and decisions.

St. Thomas More is someone who reminds us that this is a false

understanding. His example reminds men and women who serve

in public office or who practice law of the importance of personal

integrity, which is, after all, a form of truth. Integrity requires that

we allow our faith to shape every aspect of life, public as well

as private.