Prophetic words

How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – flung from one extreme to another… Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true.

Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine”, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.

~Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
18 April 2005

What strikes me most from this homily of [Pope Benedict XVI’s] (before they elected him to be the next successor of St. Peter after Pope John Paul II), are two parts. The first, is his remark that “today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of Church is often labeled as fundamentalism”. We are being attacked on all fronts today. Now, even by our own (i.e., fellow Catholics), we are being criticized for holding fast to the Faith of the Church. Fidelity is a bullseye on our back rather than a badge of honor.

The second idea that strikes me is the picture of relativism: being tossed about by the waves, flung from one extreme to another… all dictated by one’s own desires (whether understood consciously or not). In the immediate realm of things (of life), relativism is the easy answer. It lets us agree quietly with everyone about everything. Relativism loves tolerance. And as the ever quotable GK Chesterton reminds us: “tolerance is the virtue of a man with no convictions”.

This is the attack on the Church by Satan… Relativism. Indifference. If he can just get people to be apathetic enough, he can win the world… and we just won’t care. In fact, we probably wouldn’t even notice.

 

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