International Day for the Right to Truth

International Day for the Right to Truth

The truth sets us free

The relevance of truth in human relations dates back to ancient times. For example, the name ‘Mouth of Truth’ – one of the most visited monuments in Rome, now located in the pronaos of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin – dates back to 1485, when a curious medieval legend spread that the mouth could bite the hand of anyone who did not tell the truth… in truth, we inherit this marble slab from the works of the ancient Romans, more precisely from one of the seven kings of Rome, Tarquinio il Superbo (5th century BC).

The focus on truth is also recalled by the great philosopher Plato in the same historical period, with a phrase now in common use: ‘a friend of Plato but more of the truth’.

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For us, the words of Jesus apply, referring to the evangelist John (8:32) who invites us to take responsibility for a true life.

The need for truth is especially vital for children, especially those taken in by our apostolic realities, who are involved in situations of witnessing violence, who often move in disorganised ways, through pain and chaos that reproduce situations experienced in the family.

The International Day for the Right to Truth about Gross Violations of Human Rights and for the Dignity of Victims is also of profound significance because it allows us to remember the victims of what is in effect a grave violation of humanitarian law. The date, chosen by the UN, is the day of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador on 24 March 1980 – by a sniper – while he was celebrating mass, because he denounced the violations of the Human Rights of the most vulnerable people in El Salvador.

When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. (Khaled Hosseini)