Thursday, 5 March 2009

Times: Blog: The dictatorship of relativism

Blogs » Fr Joe Borg
Wednesday, 4th March 2009

[Excerpt from the article]

The Bishop of Gozo, Mgr Mario Grech, recently commented about abuses committed during the Nadur Carnival. It seems that there were some people who thought that it was funny parading around the streets mimicking the Risen Christ and the Apostles. Their warped sense of humour is considered as disgusting behaviour by many. The Bishop was right to voice his protest and concerns.

But the goings on of the Gozo carnival had other grotesque aspects. Someone thought that it would be a good idea to do a maskra grottesta in the form of a door which resembled the door of the Basilica of St George in Victoria. This “outrage” against the door brought a strong reaction against it. A judicial protest was filed and it was reported that the police took swift action so that the door was immediately locked away. Isn’t it incredible! In this most Catholic segment of the world you can make fun of the Risen Christ but you cannot make fun at a Church door! Bishop Emeritus Cauchi once had referred to some Catholics in Gozo as people with a “pigeon mentality”. This is quite an appropriate appellative in these circumstances as well.

The seriousness behind the Carnival

But the aspect I wish to bring out is not the reference by Bishop Grech to such outrages. More important was his conclusion. He said – and I quote in the original:

“Din l-imġiba tikxef il-qawwa tal-irrazzjonalità preżenti fi żminijietna. Għax kieku l-bniedem juża r-raġuni żgur li ma jwettaqx għemejjel degradanti u juri aktar rispett lejh innifsu u lejn is-soċjetà.

Inċidenti serji bħal dawn jikkonfermaw li qed ngħixu taħt id-dittatura tar-relattiviżmu, fejn kulħadd jemmen li għaliex huwa ħieles minn kull kejl legali jew etiku, allura jista’ jgħid u jagħmel li jrid, anke jekk b’dak li jgħid u jagħmel ikun jikkawża ħsara fl-oħrajn. Hija mentalità relattivista li twassal biex il-bniedem jirridikola mhux biss dak kollu li għandu x’jaqsam mas-sagru, imma wkoll li jneżża’ lilu nnifsu mid-dinjità umana tiegħu.”

The fault line of relativism

Bishop Grech’s reference to the dictatorship of relativism is not original and I am certain that he makes no such claim. He was repeating a phrase used by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger one day before he was elected Pope. On that occasion Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger gave a homily calling on his fellow cardinals to counter forces sweeping the world toward what he called a "dictatorship of relativism."

He has since then spoken on more than one occasion about this scourge.

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, when asked to comment on this phrase said that Pope John Paul in his 1993 encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" "showed that just as there was a fault line in the Soviet empire that eventually brought it down ... there is a fault line in our society, in our culture, between concern for personal freedom and abandonment of objective truth.”

While Pope John Paul supported the democracy movement in countries like his native Poland, he later feared that policies were no longer being based on moral principles. After his experience under totalitarian rule, the Pope worried that if a democratic society cannot reach consensus about truth then power takes over. Pope Benedict shares this concern.

So should we as this fault line has been causing so much havoc in our societies.

How awful he’s a Catholic

In the above mentioned homily to the cardinals the then-Cardinal Ratzinger said that standing up for Catholic principles in political debates is often derided as fundamentalism.

Let’s take a number of examples from different countries in the last few years.

Spain. When the Socialist government was pushing homosexual marriage, adoption by gays and express divorce all those who took a stand against this position were submitted to all kind of abuse and attacks. In March of last year El Pais daily reported that Zapatero had pledged to "put the bishops in their place" after his party's victory.

The Buttiglione case can be considered as a good example of intolerance towards Catholics by many today. He suffered for his convictions at the hand of intolerant relativists.

When Catholic leaders expressed their opinion against abortion during Mexican national debates, politicians and others wanted the federal government to silence them. Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico City, and his spokesman, Father Hugo Valdemar Romero, were accused by several political parties before the Secretaria de Gobernacion (Ministry of Internal Affairs) of violating state laws by engaging in the abortion debate. They were eventually cleared in 2007.

Boston Catholic Charities in Massachusetts, ran an adoption agency that had been placing children with families for over 100 years. In 2006, however, the agency had to stop this service rather than submit to a state law requiring it to place children with homosexual couples.

Besides we all remember the opposition of many secularists to any mention of God or Christianity in the European Constitution.

Today it is very politically incorrect to be anti-gay, anti-Semitic, anti-black etc. And so it should be. But the creeping mentality, even in Malta, considers being anti-Catholic as the zenith of political correctness. It seems that everyone has ever increasing rights except for Catholics. It seems that every opinion has a place and a value barring Catholic opinions and positions.
Relativism starts by promising to be very democratic. It pretends that all ideas should be treated equally. But it soon becomes very intolerant of everyone who does not believe in relativism. The relativistic mentality is the archenemy of real dialogue as it tries to impose itself on everything and everyone.




C Attard (20 hours, 59 minutes ago)
Part 1:

Rather than Catholics being persecuted, it is more a case of Catholics losing their grip on power (at long last) and not being able anymore to impose their beliefs on all and sundry. You mention the Buttiglione case, but you don't mention his inflammatory remarks with respect to homosexuality and his attempts to deny gays and lesbians their human rights. Examples: 1. He tried to deny gays in Italy from staging peaceful marches, in violation of their right to freedom of assembly. 2. As a member of the Convention that drew up the EU's Charter on Fundamental Rights, he moved a motion to remove sexual orientation from the anti-discrimination provision.

Armed with this information, no wonder that MEPs refused to confirm him as Commissioner. As our elected representatives, they rightly decided not to trust such a sensitive office (dealing of all things with human rights in the Commission!) to such a bigot.

C Attard (20 hours, 59 minutes ago)
Part 2:

You also fail to mention that the post in question is political, not administrative. With your same argument, you would be discriminating against a pro-choice political candidate if you don't vote for him. Whilst people are entitled not to be discriminated against when it comes to jobs and administrative posts, the same does not hold for positions of political power where the individual is responsible for shaping policy and where that individual requires the confidence of the people and of their elected representatives. That's what happened in Buttiglione's case. His vision of human rights, which excludes people because of their sexual orientation, was not the one espoused by the majority of MEPs or the majority of the people of Europe. Well done for sending him back where he belongs!

1 comment:

  1. It is quite acceptable to dress up as a witch, a wizard, zoro, batman or any other fanciful mythical or imaginary character. So what's the big fuss in wearing the costume of a bunch of religious icons?
    Religion is entrenched deep in superstition. It is the creation of fertile, deluded and most often warped minds - simply look up the Gospel of the Big Tea Pot in the sky to understand the delusional phenomena of religions.
    We should be all very sad that Malta's social intellect is still not very far removed from that of the Dark Ages and the regime of Inquisitors remains strong. Only the tools of torture have changed - the Inquisitors are today resorting to the techniques of mental torture rather than physical. Nothing else has changed in this obscure island.