Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Dictatorship of Relativism

I found this picture of Pope Benedict on the American Papist Blog and it seems an appropriate one to use for this post.
Today I preached on the 'Dictatorship of Relativism', expanding some of the ideas in Cardinal Ratzinger's sermon to the College of Cardinals just before they were to elect him as the successor to the great Pope John Paul II.
I didn't say it in the sermon, although I have before, that some people behave like Verruca in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' - they want it and they want it now! The moment a notion of absolute truth goes out the window we find ourselves in danger of pandering to people's latest whim. Ironically, having preached along these lines at today's Masses, this afternoon at a baptism I was presented with a Moslem 'godparent'. I had, of course, already told the family that it's not possible for a Moslem to be a godparent - not least because they would have to make a profession of faith in the Triune God - but I guess they thought that by presenting me with a fait accompli I would just have to give in. If that is what they thought they were, of course, wrong!
Priests are ministers of Word and Sacrament. As ministers of the Word we have to stand up for the Truth. In matters of human opinion it is good for us to be flexible, but when it comes to the faith we can only be unyielding. The trouble with relativism is that it denies truth. If there is no truth there can only be falsehood, everything becomes a lie. Relativism is, of course, self-contradicting: if there is no truth then relativism itself cannot be true!
It is important for those thinking of priesthood to realise that they will have to study in order to unmask some of the lies of our society. They will also need courage to proclaim the truth even to those who would rather not hear it.

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