Parishes | Schools | Priests | Masses |
More in this section MAIN MENU

Collaborators with the Truth

English Spanish
Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual trust that they were being truthful to one another…as a matter of honor, one man owes to another to manifest the truth.” — St. Thomas Aquinas

At times I wonder how society would function if we would always abide in the truth. It takes considerable courage to witness to the truth at all levels and all times.

To strive for this integrity one pays a price because social conventions encourage people to do what is “politically correct”, which demands tolerance at all costs, but not witness to the truth.

It has always been so from the times of Socrates. St. Justin saw his trial as a pre-figuring of the trial of Jesus. Theologian Jean Danielou states: “It was by no means only yesterday that truth became embarrassing. The witness of truth is the greatest stumbling to the powerful in their schemes of domination, and to the clever in their desire for self-sufficiency…but eventually the sense of the truth is crippled under so many assaults, rude or subtle, even in the souls of those who profess it. They allow themselves to be intimidated by the kind of interrogation which alternates mockery with menaces. They agree to relegate truth to the dark corners of their sacristies or to the hidden places in their hearts…at this precise moment of time—our times—nothing is more seriously ailing than intelligence, nothing is less loved than truth…” (The Scandal of Truth, 1-2).

As a pastor of communities, St. Paul was very aware of the struggle that this represents: putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (Eph 4, 25). We need to respect the reputation of others by avoiding rash judgment, detraction, and calumny. The common good requires this honor to one’s neighbor, who for his own peace needs to be protected from deceit, lies, flattery and adulation.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in a most remarkable commentary on the eighth commandment: “Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation” (#2487).

One of the most serious matters affecting Catholic laity today lies with those who are serving in political life but refuse to witness to the truth of human life and other basic truths in order to keep their offices or to be in good graces with their parties’ leaders. Some even argue that they affirm these values at a personal level but their job entails representing the views of the majority of the population. I wonder if St. Thomas More or St. John Fisher would entertain such a sophism.

One of the most serious challenges for us as clergy is to welcome accountability and transparency in governing our parishes and institutions. The truth makes us free. There is nothing to be afraid of in giving an objective account of our administration.

St. John with amazement says that Jesus Christ is “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14). He is the light. He is the Truth. He encourages the disciples to dwell in the truth and “let what you say be simply yes or no” (Mt 5:37)

At times I hear that Benedict XVI’s pontificate is affected by all kinds of alarming crises. No doubt, times are challenging in the whole world and even in his own city, where a university would “disinvite” him for fear of pressures. I am convinced that the pope is ready to confront the manipulations of the prince of evil head-on, without being intimidated by the scandal of truth, because he has the character, the intelligence and the wisdom to shine as a true servant of the Truth.

A poet said that truth is very scarce in our times. If so, there is a greater need to witness to it. The great Cuban thinker Father Felix Varela made it a permanent quest: “la caridad cristiana y la buena logica” — Christian charity and reason!

Comments from readers

Neida D. Perez - 07/11/2010 08:48 AM
In preaching the TRUTH that is Jesus Christ, I often hear the counsel of the monks: "Ora e labora, pray and work. I extend the prayer part to all the talk that I do. I also live by the words of the late Pope Paul VI: "Prayer is the starting point of action." Of course, there is much more to prayer. I also remember the words of Christ, something like don't hide your light under the bushel or "celemin." Those are some of the ideas that have helped me to witness to the TRUTH, Jesus Christ.
Br. Jay Rivera - 07/11/2010 03:33 AM
The good bishop is pointing to one the saddest tragedies of human history, the attack on courage. Truth never disappears, because Truth is the person of Jesus Christ. However, Truth requires witnesses and witnesses often become martyrs. Today, those who try to lead by truth will experience intimidation. Others will accuse them of being extremists, disconnected from reality, intolerant, unpatriotic and unreasonable. The pressure to be politically correct instead of truthful is a refined form of torture of the human spirit.
Maria Jose Mitsoulis - 07/09/2010 04:05 PM
It is not easy to be a witness of Christ in our society today. But, it is our greatest challenge as followers of Christ. May God's grace be always with us to live in the Truth and be true witness. Thank you for your beautiful reflection. The Truth will set us free.
Neida D. Perez - 07/08/2010 03:24 AM
I always learn something new from your program "Entre lo Humano y lo Divino." Regarding TRUTH, it can be taken in multiple levels of meaning. At the personal level, I have adopted a sort of mantra response, "We need to learn how to live with each other." That saves me from the sin of gossip and of revealing the limitations of other people. Regarding human life, I try hard not to sound like a prophet of doom. Future generations will ask what the young Germans are asking today, "Where were the men and women of good faith? Where were the Christians.?" In a dissenting opinion of the Supreme Court (5-4) the judges affirm that the decision was based on what is popular, not on constitutional law. There is a popular saying among the Cubans, "apaga y vamos"; meaning there is nothing else to do. I hope we can wake up and bring the light of Christ everywhere.
Daniel Rodriguez - 07/07/2010 03:06 PM
Bishop Estevez peace be with you and our brothers in truth. It is always a pleasure hearing the truth, especially from our church leaders. I understand why some people withhold the truth to spare hurting someone else's feelings. I have been guilty of that myself. I pray that the Holy Spirit help me with this type of confrontation with the truth. I also ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit, to help me always in being Christ like, in a world where our values are constantly being challenged. Thank you for being the instrument of truth in our community. Let the light of Christ shine brightly in truth and in love.
Thomas Comerford - 07/07/2010 01:23 PM
Bishop Estevez you are on the mark and certainly when it come to the politians at the local, state and federal levels. Then not only need to speak the truth, but also avoid speaking half-truths. God bless you for your words of wisdom and the words of wisdom of the saints.
Sister Lidia Valli - 07/07/2010 09:34 AM
Thank you Bishop Estevez for your clarity and for the importance of the subject you presented. I plan to use it with our teachers when we will be back in August. May God bless you! Deo gratias! Sr. Lidia Valli
Katherine Orces - 07/06/2010 08:36 PM
WOW! What a letter you have written here Bishop Estevez! Excellent! Thank you for writing this - really speaks to my heart. Living in the truth is extremely difficult in our secular world. I love all the quotes you include. Thank you and God bless!
p.s. Glad you all had a glorious time at the Vatican and that you made it home safely!
Cecilia Sone - 07/06/2010 07:09 PM
Thank you Bishop Estevez for this wonderful article. As a Catholic Healthcare provider I can understand the ramifications that our society places on those who speak the truth especially in the area of contraception, abortion, Invitro, euthanasia etc.. etc.. But one thing I can share: is that there is nothing more freeing or liberating than the Truth! The Truth will set us free and those whom God entrust to our care as healthcare providers. Science and Faith mounted on the Truth...found in Christ and in the teachings of Our Beloved Catholic Church. Jesus said: I Am the way the Truth and the Life! (John 14:6) Thank you for your spiritual fatherhood as Christ you always lead us to the truth which in Christ always gives life!
ED INFANTE - 07/06/2010 07:01 PM
I'd like to make a short comment about this section of the article written by Bishop Estevez: "One of the most serious matters affecting Catholic laity today lies with those who are serving in political life but refuse to witness to the truth of human life and other basic truths in order to keep their offices or to be in good graces with their parties' leaders".
Dear Bishop Estevez: When have you heard any prophetic voice from our clergy (bishops, priests, deacons) exhorting the laity to do what you say they should do? When do you hear bishops, priests, deacons telling doctors the inmorality of abortion? When do you hear prophetic voices proclaiming to us, laity, the evils of abortions and contraception? Our Lord said very clearly to "Go, baptize and TEACH what I have told you" The prophetic voice of the clergy is missisng!
Ed Infante
Norma T. Molina - 07/06/2010 02:46 PM
Thank you for such a great article, Bishop Estévez.
The challenge is ahead of us! If we Christians and Catholics would only understand the words of Jesus himself: The truth shall set you free! (Jn 8:32) Jesus asked us to believe in him and to remain in his word, so that we may become his disciples, and then we will know the truth... (JN 8:31)
May the Lord give us his grace through the hands of the Immaculate, so that we may be open to receive and know the truth and communicate it to others in charity but with courage so that we may all be free.

Let's Talk Blog

Meet the Bloggers