Is truth a matter of opinion? If it is, we are in trouble. Chaos is the natural result.
It seems the news coverage post election offers resounding proof that the triumph of “personal truth” only leads to fragmentation and chaos. Dialogue in the pursuit of truth has been replaced with “a difference of opinion” not to be reconciled.
There is a battle being waged between those who believe in objective/universal truth and those who argue for subjective/personal truth. The battle cry of the latter, ironically, sounds something like “it is true universally that there is no universal truth.”
If you are confused by this illogical assertion of a truth that there is no such thing as real truth, then you are not alone. Shockingly, many Catholics have fallen prey to this fallacy (heresy).
The culture’s love of subjective truth seems inextricably linked to a false interpretation of freedom. Personal truth allows me to “create” truth that justifies my choices. In fact, there is no such thing as wrong/sin because my personal truth accommodates all of my vices and is oh so convenient.
When pressed to choose the good in a challenging moral conflict, personal truth always rides in to the rescue, reinterpreting the choices to give me permission to make the easy/popular/expedient choice. I am now “free” to follow my personal truth, especially if I refer to it as “following my conscience” – sadly, a common refrain of Cafeteria Catholics.
In a postmodern world, the new age movement reduces truth to feelings and impulses devoid of responsibility. The result is chaos. An infinite number of competing truths demanding to be recognized is sure to lead to anything but peace in society and in the family of God. Truth must be liberated from the chains of individual interpretation.
In his 2005 homily at Mass before the Conclave that elected him Pope, the then Cardinal Ratzinger, explained, “To have a clear faith, according to the creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of “doctrine,” seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the “I” and its whims as the ultimate measure. . . Adult and mature is a faith profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ. This friendship opens us to all that is good and gives us the measure to discern between what is true and what is false, between deceit and truth.”
Make no mistake, the “dictatorship of relativism” is self-deceit. We lie to ourselves as Catholics when we declare our personal truth must be followed in contradiction to declared doctrine. Both faith and reason acknowledge that Catholic doctrine is the truth of the Creator, which governs His creation.
The voices of popular culture are loud and ever distracting. The noise is deafening. The faithful are led astray and seduced by things that entertain. The secular world forsakes truth, which forms us in virtue, in order to pursue the easy and comfortable. Society has become confusing and disordered in this way.
Chaos is not only “complete disorder,” but by definition, it means “confusion.” When truth is “random” and “unpredictable” according to personal subjective interpretation or popular sentiment, confusion dominates our lives. Chaos replaces truth.
What an inheritance we Catholics have! The fullness of truth in the teachings of the Church and the person of Truth in our Eucharist! Why then does confusion dominate the minds of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ? Why is there conflict among the faithful regarding truth? You have to look no further than questions about abortion or contraception to see the divisions. Let us speak honestly about this lack of unity and begin to address it.
In love, Christ established His Church on earth to protect His beloved children from error and confusion. He established a priesthood to minister grace to His children and a Magisterium, guided by the Holy Spirit, to protect and teach the truth of God. All this because we had a loving Father who wants us to be confirmed in truth and united to both His Will and His Heart.
If we are not reconciled as Catholics to God’s truth, taught by His Church, then we have appointed ourselves as the author of truth and it is ourselves that we worship while our bodies occupy the pew. Our Lord wants more than just our attendance. He wants to be King of our hearts and minds.
Let us pray:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.