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Chapter 32. Eighth Commandment: Tell the Truth • 435


The more our culture has moved away from acceptance of objective

truth, the more it has moved toward the culture of opinions. Each

day, newspapers give us a diet of opinions on their op-ed page. Talk

shows on television have turned the sharing of opinions into a national

pastime. Editors and talk show hosts strive to give us a range of opin-

ions that stretch from one end of the spectrum to another. At the high

end of these presentations, experts and scholars are recruited to offer us

their best current research. At another level, people are simply enlisted

to share their thoughts and feelings publicly on any number of social,

moral, and political matters. Sometimes debate degenerates into expres-

sions of hatred.

Though the intuition remains that there is really such a thing as

objective truth, it tends to be lost in a marathon of inconclusive discus-

sions. As a result, some spend valuable time sharing only feelings or

Lying is linked to the tragedy of sin and its perverse con-

sequences, which have had, and continue to have, devas-

tating effects on the lives of individuals and nations. We

need but think of the events of the past century, when

aberrant ideological and political systems willfully twisted

the truth and brought about the exploitation and murder

of an appalling number of men and women, wiping out

entire families and communities. After experiences like

these, how can we fail to be seriously concerned about

lies in our own time, lies which are the framework for

menacing scenarios of death in many parts of the world.

Any authentic search for peace must begin with the

realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the

concern of every man and woman; it is decisive for the

peaceful future of our planet. (Benedict XVI, “Message for

World Day of Peace,” January 1, 2006)