13 December 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia


  • » 11/19/2012, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Relativism, the death of faith and mission

    Piero Gheddo

    The secularised mindset accuses missionaries of imposing their truth without respect for others. Even within the Church, the 'dictatorship of relativism' appears to be spreading, extinguishing love for the truth of Christ and mission. A so-called 'adult' faith tries to do without Church and true humanism.

    Milan (AsiaNews) - On 4 October, I held a conference on the persecuted Christians in Nigeria at the Philharmonic Hall in Rovereto, Trentino (Italy), a place that has special relationship with the Church in Nigeria. One member of the audience said, "You say that missionaries bring the truth of Christ and sometimes die as martyrs. But in the modern world, there is no absolute truth. Everything is dialectics. People can say what they think and show respect for others; he cannot impose on others a truth that does not exist. But you missionaries do exactly that."

    In our secularised world, where state and religion are separate, I think that this way of thinking is quite widespread. My answer to that is that if there is no absolute Truth, and that everything is relative and changes over time, then there is no God whose opinions remain unchanging at each passing human generation. If there is no God, then there is also no moral law. Everyone comes up with his moral order, in accordance with his own ideas and tendencies. Finally, among the baptised that lost their sense of the faith, there is not even the faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God-the 'solid rock' of the Gospel on which to build our lives.

    When participating in meetings and conferences in secular venues, more than once I have had to listen to questions, objections and opinions that cast doubts on the universal mission of the Church. Even the proposal of faith in Christ is seen as an attack against other people's freedom.

    The radical individualism that rules modern culture (individuals count, not the family or the common good), which it brings to human freedom, is an expression of the "relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own 'ego'," Benedict XVI said in a speech to the diocese of Rome in 6 June 2005. Similarly, in his encyclical Fides et Ratio (1999, n. 5), John Paul II wrote that amid today's "different forms of agnosticism and relativism," a "legitimate plurality of positions has yielded to an undifferentiated pluralism, based upon the assumption that all positions are equally valid, which is one of today's most widespread symptoms of the lack of confidence in truth."

    I have cited the last two popes to stress the most provocative aspect of the Year of Faith (11 October 2012 - Feast of Christ the King 2013) that is currently underway, i.e. the struggle against "relativism," which represents the death of faith and the mission to the nations.

    It is a struggle that each Catholic must carry out in his conscience even before carrying it out in society. It is easy in fact in today's society, where everyone can do their own thing, where the only danger is being caught breaking the law and having to pay fines, stand trial and go be convicted (with perhaps years of prison), that Catholics might develop a mindset that will gradually move them towards relativism. How many times have we heard significant remarks like: "Everybody does it." . . . "So what, what's wrong with it?" . . . "I have my conscience; I don't need the Church." . . . "I am an adult Catholic, not a bigot." . . .

    The Year of Faith is above all an appeal to question ourselves about our faith, our way of being disciples of Christ, convinced that the faith that can be a smoking and flickering wick can also become the midday sun that shines bright, bringing warmth and joy to life, easily passed onto others.

    Titled 'The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith,' the Episcopal Synod that took place in the Vatican on 7-28 October embodies a commitment by the entire Church and all believers in Christ. For this to be, the faith must be fully experienced and lead to a truly Christian life that bears witness to the truth of Christ. All those who are baptised are the first missionaries of the faith. Living in the world without being of the world, they show how faith experienced in situations everyone experiences is a source of serenity, joy and hope, a boost in life.

    In order to defeat relativism, we must begin with a return to a convinced faith. A few days before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Card Ratzinger said in the Missa pro eligendo Pontifice on 18 April 2005, anticipating the traits of his pontificate, that "Today having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labelled 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." However, we "have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An 'adult' faith is not a faith that follows the trends of fashion and the latest novelty; a mature adult faith is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ."

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    06/05/2011 LIBYA - VATICAN
    War against Libya a reckless outrage
    The Bishop of Tripoli’s appeals for a truce and dialogue go unheeded. The West does not understand Libya, its tribal issues, the positive development of the country, stopping the fundamentalists. And there's room for Christian witness. Who really has interests at stake in this war?

    28/09/2012 VATICAN - ASIA
    Rediscovering the faith, rediscovering the Council
    Following the suggestion of Benedict XVI for the Year of Faith, AsiaNews offers readers reflections, testimonies, stories about the Second Vatican Council. Fr. Piero Gheddo talks about his work as an expert and the genesis of the document on the mission, the Ad Gentes.

    21/05/2012 VATICAN - CHINA
    "Porta Fidei": the Pope's Apostolic Letter for the Year of Faith now in Chinese
    A tool to renew the "joy" and " enthusiasm of our encounter with Christ", written shortly before the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China (May 24). The Day and "Porta Fidei" emphasize the importance of understanding the faith and to witness it in public, in unity with the pope.

    13/10/2012 INDONESIA
    Jakarta, seminars and meetings on the Year of Faith and the Second Vatican Council
    A “grand” seminar programmed for December, devoted to the study of the texts of the Council Fathers. In the capital, a two-day study course of the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini. Archbishop of Semarang: the Council a gift from God and "cornerstone" of the universal Church.

    14/09/2013 VATICAN
    'Mission without ifs and buts,' Fr Gheddo's last work
    The book describes the missionary path followed by the Church from Vatican II to Pope Francis's Church, including the ambiguities that followed the council, the mission without Christ reduced to humanitarian care, as well as the relevance of John Paul II's encyclical 'Redemptoris Missio'. A first-hand witness, PIME missionary Fr Piero Gheddo, whose final work comes with an introduction by Vatican expert Sandro Magister, tells the whole story.



    Editor's choices

    MIDDLE EAST – UNITED STATES
    Mideast Christians against Trump over Jerusalem capital, a decision that destroys hope for peace



    The Chaldean patriarchate criticises a choice that complicates the situation and fuels conflicts and wars. Card al-Rahi calls the decision “destructive” and a violation of international resolutions. Coptic pope Tawadros II cancels a meeting with US Vice President Pence. Somewhat resigned, Palestinians continue their protest. For Israeli peace group, the US has abdicated its role of mediator in the region.


    CHINA
    Xi Jinping’s false promises and the expulsion of the “low-end population” from Beijing

    Willy Wo-Lap Lam

    Tens of thousands of migrants and their families have been expelled and sent away from the capital. Yet, at the recent Party Congress, President Xi had promised to provide support and help against poverty. There is no reward nor legal or charity for displaced persons. The country’s "social Darwinism" condemns the rural people to marginalisation and allows urban classes to enjoy privileges and advantages. Courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation.


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®