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The eighth commandment: you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour 52 VAN HONTHORST, Gerrit (1590-1656) Christ before the High Priest Oil.

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Presentation on theme: "The eighth commandment: you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour 52 VAN HONTHORST, Gerrit (1590-1656) Christ before the High Priest Oil."— Presentation transcript:

1 The eighth commandment: you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour 52 VAN HONTHORST, Gerrit ( ) Christ before the High Priest Oil on canvas 107 x 72 inches (272 x 183 cm) Private collection

2 Compendium of the Catechism 523. What is forbidden by the eighth commandment? The eighth commandment forbids:  false witness, perjury, and lying, the gravity of which is measured by the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims;  rash judgment, slander, defamation and calumny which diminish or destroy the good reputation and honor to which every person has a right;  flattery, adulation, or complaisance, especially if directed to serious sins or toward the achievement of illicit advantages. A sin committed against truth demands reparation if it has caused harm to others.

3 Introduction The Gospel relates that when Jesus was judged by the Sanhedrin, Jesus kept silent in the face of false and contradictory testimonies. Only when the High Priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” (Mark 14,61), did he confess the truth even though he knew that for speaking the truth he would undergo tremendous suffering and even death. The commandment is very necessary because sins against it obscure and mar human relations so much. To all these sins we have to oppose the love of truth. GIOTTO di Bondone Scenes from the Life of Christ: Christ before Caiaphas Fresco, 200 x 185 cm Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

4 Main ideas

5 1. Jesus teaches us to tell the truth Saint Thomas says that truth is something divine, and it has to be respected and loved. At times, saying the truth is hard and requires quite an effort, we have to be brave to tell the truth always and never lie. Jesus said once:  “All you need say is ‘Yes’ if you mean yes, ‘No’ if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the Evil One” (Matthew 5:37) This is a good motto which will help us to be sincere and faithful with God, with ourselves and with others. SEMITECOLO, Niccolo ( ) Two Christians before the Judges Tempera on wood, /2 x 28 1/4 inches (65 x 72 cm) Sacresty, Duomo, Florence

6 2. Lying harms Lying can destroy the treasures of friendship and parental trust. Social life requires that we be sincere and tell the truth. To do so we have to strive to be sincere with ourselves Though lying is never justified, at times we have to remain silent in order to keep a secret or to avoid damaging others. TOURNIER, Nicolas Denial of St Peter c Oil on canvas, 171 x 252 cm Museo del Prado, Madrid

7 3. Reasons for lying Often one lies due to fear or to the shame of being exposed, to avoid being embarrassed, or in order to play a practical joke on someone. If the common or a particular good does not require us to be silent, we always have to tell the truth. LEMOYNE, François Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy 1737 Oil on canvas, 149 x 114 cm, enlarged to 181 x 148 cm Wallace Collection, London

8 4. The eighth commandment obliges us to respect people’s honour Honour is more precious than material goods.  How people’s reputation can be harmed : Calumny Defamation False witness Rash judgement To violate a secret  How a Christian ought to behave : If one hears someone speaking badly of a particular person or institution, one is obliged not to listen, and to defend that person or institution if what one hears is not true.  The duty of restoring honour : He who harms someone’s good reputation has the duty to restore that person’s good reputation. MÉNAGEOT, François-Guillaume Envy Plucking the Wings of Fame (1806) Oil on canvas, 105 x 91 cm Private collection

9 5. To care for and defend our good reputation In the trial before the Sanhedrin a guard slapped Jesus in his face as he was answering Caiaphas. Jesus defended himself:  “If there is some offence in what I said, point it out; but if not, why do you strike me?” (John 16:23) Jesus provides us with an example of how to defend our good reputation when it is unjustly harmed. RAFFAELLO Sanzio St Paul before the Proconsul 1515 Tempera on paper, mounted on canvas Victoria and Albert Museum, London

10 6. We can help others by fraternal correction Moved by charity we have the duty to tell the truth to others gently, face to face, never backbiting. To tell things in truth and charity is to help our brothers by fraternal correction. As Our Lord said :  “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32) BORCH, Gerard ter ( ) Paternal Admonition Oil on canvas, /2 x 23 1/2 inches (70 x 60 cm) Staatliche Museen, Berlin

11 Resolutions for Christian life

12 Resolutions to move forward Do not speak ill of others nor allow others to do so; and if it should happen, make amends for the harm done. Admit our own faults and accept the blame.


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