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Archbishop says it's a sin to tell a lie to the media, and stupid as well

Pontifical Council for Social Communications President, Archbishop John P. Foley, has told an audience in Rome that they should never lie to the media in order to do 'what is best for the Church'.

Addressing the fourth International Conference of Institutional Communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, he suggested telling the truth is at once virtuous and the most efficacious response to a difficult situation.

He said: "When you tell the truth, you never have to cover your tracks; you don't have to think up a new lie consistent with an old one. Literally, the truth will make you free."

The theme of the conference was "Quality Communications between the Church and the Media - The Press Offices of Dioceses and of Bishops' Conferences."

He told his audience that their effectiveness as Church communicators is tied to their reputation for honesty, integrity and credibility, and this can have positive spinoffs for their work.

He said: "Once such a reputation is established -- that people can believe everything you say -- then people will be open to accept from you what I call 'good news' ideas -- ideas about possible feature stories on people and movements in the Church that do extraordinarily good work in the name of Jesus for the poor, the handicapped, the sick, the forgotten."

Archbishop Foley suggested that telling the truth is a more important virtue than loyalty or obedience to authority.

"So sacred is the responsibility to tell the truth that one must be ready to accept dismissal for refusal to tell a lie," he said.