Telling the Truth

I thought this exchange from my interview with Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput was one we all ought to meditate on this Holy Week:

LOPEZ: Why the Melville quote — “Truth is like a threshing-machine; tender sensibilities must keep out of the way”?

CHAPUT: The public discourse of Catholics needs to be guided by charity and respect for others, but above all by truth. The truth can be difficult, so we often want to soften its edges. But this just wastes time and compounds our problems. Candor can be uncomfortable in the short run, but it’s much healthier in the long run.

The point is this: We need to be frank with each other as Christian adults, frank in our public witness and frank in our own self-criticism. Again, we also need to be prudent and kind — but not at the expense of courage, and not at the expense of speaking the truth.

Not just in public discourse, of course. How often do we veer toward the more comfortable ground throughout our lives? But goodness could politics use some charity, respect, and truth!


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