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434 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

differences occur. “Always be ready to give an explanation [of your

faith] to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with

gentleness and reverence” (1 Pt 3:15-16).


“No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the

right to know it” (CCC, no. 2489). The security of others, their right

to privacy, and a respect for the common good are reasons for keeping

silent or being discreet in our language concerning matters that should

not be disclosed. It is also for these reasons that gossiping is a sinful vio-

lation of the privacy of others.

Professionals such as politicians, doctors, lawyers, psychologists,

and others in positions where confidences are entrusted should pre-

serve confidentiality, unless there is a grave and proportionate reason

for divulging the information. The same is true about ordinary personal

relationships in which confidences are shared.


In our culture, the communications media hold an influential place in

disseminating information, forming attitudes, and motivating behavior.

Technological advances are increasing the role of the media and its capac-

ity to shape public opinion. “The information provided by the media is

at the service of the common good. Society has a right to information

based on truth, freedom, justice, and solidarity” (CCC, no. 2494). In the

assembling and publishing of news, the moral law and the lawful rights

and human dignity of men and women should be followed.

The requirements of justice and charity must guide communications

just as much as other public institutions. Those who undertake to form

public opinion need to be governed by these principles. Human solidar-

ity is one of the positive effects of media communications when a com-

mitment to a right-minded policy is followed—one that supports a free

circulation of ideas that advances knowledge and people’s respect for

each other. Mutually respectful dialogue also aids the quest for truth.