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Archive for July 17th, 2008

We all know that if you want to get your point across you need to begin teaching it early and with much fanfare and pomp. Families use holidays and traditions to cement the family unit and the values they collectively hold every time there is a birthday party, birth, wedding or death. Clearly getting to the youth early makes them become part of the unit early and potentially moves to maintain them in the fold for as long as possible.

 

It is not surprising then that the Catholic Pope Benedict XVI moved to get to the important stuff at the World Youth Day this week in Australia. I’ve been to one before and they are something to behold! Clearly the faithful and searching youth need to know what’s most important in their life. What great timing. He gets to tell the gathering eager searchers how to make the world a better place.

 

Worldwide AIDS/HIV fight…? No…

Condemnation of sexual abuse by priests…? No…

End to war..? No..

End of 43 years of impotence on genocide in Europe or Africa? No..

Return of art from the masses taken for “safe keeping”…? No…

Lead a simple life…? No…

Support of sex education in poor nations…? No…

 

The Pope attacked moral relativism! Right! The Pope made it clear what the enemy was and attacked – again – the idea that there are no absolute truths.

 

Nothing infuriates the Catholic Church and some less voracious church fathers as much as relativism (the denial of absolute truth which they, not surprisingly, are in charge of) that leads to moral relativism that leads to – according to their thinking – preventing ‘human minds’ from the ability to arrive at truth. For Catholics, denial of an absolute reference denies God.

 

But wait, there’s more. Some have referred to the subject matter as the “dictatorship of relativism” (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger). In this sense, any thinking is to be done, any evaluation, they will do it.

 

“Relativism… …has made ‘experience’ all-important. Yet experiences, detached from any consideration of what is good or true, can lead not to genuine freedom, but to moral or intellectual confusion, to a lowering of standards…”

 

Those would be the standards we’ve seen in the news for the last 20+ years (for actions of 60+ years) and that resulted in 3 excommunications out of the 244 priests that have been dismissed for inappropriate actions. Nineteen have served jail time. Oh, those absolute truths…!

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Consider that Ernest Jones, the colleague and biographer of Sigmund Freud has said that science has dealt three heavy blows to mankind’s self-love (narcissism; separation above and from other animals) above all else. One was the cosmological and it was dealt by Copernicus; the second was biological and it was dealt by Darwin; the third was psychological…and struck at the belief that something internal to man…called ‘will power’ dictates one’s behavior.

What causes man to behave as he does if it isn’t the ‘will power’, credit, blame and other properties of the autonomous man?

(No, this is not a trick question.)

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