Relativism is the belief that concepts such
as right and wrong, goodness and badness,
truth and falsehood are not absolute but
change from culture to culture and situation
At a recent gathering of College professors,
one teacher reported that at his school
most damaging charge one student can
against another is that the person
"judgmental." He found this
"You can't get a good argument
in class anymore," he said. "As
soon as somebody takes a stand on any
issue, someone else says that the person
is being judgmental. And that's it.
discussion. Everyone is intimidated!"
In the name of being tolerant, we have
intolerant. At the Mass prior to the
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger warned of
of relativism" that is threatening
"To have a clear faith, according
the creed of the Church, is labeled
And this while relativism, that is,
oneself to be led here and there by
of doctrine, is seen as the only behavior
abreast of the times," he said.
ultimate measure is only the measure
one and his desires." Relativism
gained despotic power in our society.
Everyone has a right - they say - to
family, sexuality, maleness, femaleness,
parenthood, and culture as he wants
fit. You believe that abortion is right.
I believe abortion is wrong. I respect
you respect me! Who is right? Both
I believe that marriage is a union
a man and a woman. You believe that
is a union between a man and a man.
right? According to our society, both
Today's dictatorial impulse declares
the only view permissible among reasonable
people is the view that all subjective
are equally valid. It declares, further,
that anyone who claims that there are
truths and objective goods and evils
When a woman tried to defend heterosexuality
against homosexuality on a Larry King
she was ridiculed out of the show.
Obviously relativism is bankrupt in
principles. You drive on the right.
on the left. Who is right? According
both of us are right. Try it on a busy
and you will see what will happen!
And yet, in the name of tolerance,
is no absolute truth except relativism!
This is the cultural tyranny we live
which the present Pope denounced in
a strong way. This is understandable.
his most formative years, Ratzinger
Nazi propaganda shouting that there
truth, no justice, there is only the
of the people (enunciated by its leader).
As its necessary precondition, Nazism
on the debunking of objective truth
morality. Truth had to be derided as
and naked will had to be exalted.
To anybody who said: "But that's
the Nazi shouted, "That's just
opinion, and who are you, compared
Fuehrer? To anybody who said, "But
you are doing is unjust!" the
louder, "Says you, swine."
Novak on Cardinal Ratzinger on National
Perhaps Alexander Solzhenitsyn was
when in his 1983 acceptance speech
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion,
recalled the words he heard as a child,
his elders sought to explain the ruinous
upheavals in Russia: "Men have
God; that's why all this has happened."
He added, "If I were called upon
identify briefly the principal trait
entire twentieth century, here too
be unable to find anything more precise
pithy than to repeat once again: 'men
That is why the Pope sees clearly that
you want people to move the world it
helps if you put some ground under
feet. This is one of the things that
does. "Mature faith, he said,
follow fashions and the latest novelty,
is profoundly rooted in friendship
This friendship opens us to all that
and gives us the measure to discern
what is true and what is false, between
The story is told of a man who came
his old friend, a music teacher. As
came in, he said, "What's the
today?" The old teacher was silent
he stood up and walked across the room.
picked up a small hammer and struck
fork. As the note sounded throughout
room, he said, "That is the musical
note 'A.' It is 'A' today; it was 'A'
years ago, and it will be 'A' 10,000
from now. The soprano upstairs sings
the tenor across the hall flats on
notes, and the piano downstairs is
tune." He struck the note again
said, "That is 'A,' my friend,
the good news for today!"
The only hope for a world out of tune
to know that Jesus is the truth: "Yesterday,
today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
the good news of truth!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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