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The age of bearing false witness

At catholicculture.org, Phil Lawler named the “defining sin of our era”. The Commandment “most conspicuously disregarded in our society today”, Lawler suggested, is “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

It isn’t just everyday lies which come under this commandment; it also applies when a society’s leaders “proclaim a falsehood, and then ask – or demand – that ordinary people do the same”. Politicians perpetrate obvious falsehoods. And it happens in the Church too: many bishops, when confronted with allegations about clerical abuse, accused the complainants of calumny. “In doing so, they bore false witness against honest, faithful Catholics who were asking for justice,” Lawler wrote.

Lawler cited Solzhenitsyn’s essay “Live Not By Lies”, which “argued that if ordinary Russians simply refused to accept the lies of the communist ideology, the corrupt regime could not survive. We now know that he was right.”

Lawler concluded: “Truth is a powerful weapon; light is a strong disinfectant. A culture that bears false witness cannot indefinitely withstand the power of simple honesty.”

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