On April 18, 2005, in a homily for the Mass ‘pro eligendo Romano Pontifice’, for electing the (next) Roman Pontiff (at which he himself would be elected as Benedict XVI) Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, warned against what he presciently described as the ‘dictatorship of relativism’, a phrase that has echoed ominously in the past near decade-and-a-half since. Ratzinger was one to choose his words carefully, with the precision and clarity required of theology, and ‘dictatorship’ was sure to evoke memories of the Nazi regime in which he grew up, a regime intolerant of any opposition. Theirs was a ‘dictatorship of racism’; ours, one of ‘relativism’, but they both lead to the same nefarious end: An immoral hegemony of ‘elites’ imposing its evil will and practices upon the populace. Lies, murder and mayhem are the order of the day, in one way or another. We just now kill children and old people, and woe to those who stand in the way of such a ‘right’ either to kill or be killed, all under the auspices of false notions of choice, freedom, and autonomy; in their minds, who are we to impose ‘our’ truths upon others? Have we not got with the program, that absolute truth does not exist, except the ‘absolute’ truth that all truths are relative? Oh, and that a woman has an ‘absolute’ right over body and the child, or whatever they consider the entity, growing therein; that there is no absolute gender; no absolute moral law, nor binding moral principles, no sexual right or wrong (except, for now, incest and paedophilia, loosely defined). What is permitted or forbidden are only those actions the ‘dictatorship’ decrees to be so. As in Animal Farm, the rules, with the times, keep on a changin’, until anything goes, and chaos reigns.
Paula Adamick is right: That the further we drift from our Christian foundation, the more unmoored, the more immoral, and even demonic, we will become, as a people, and as a society. The walls may stand for a time, for they were built strong by our ancestors, but they are already crumbling, and will fall at last, and then the howling winds will blow.
God is not a dictator, but a loving Father, and His law is not one imposed, but one revealed and proposed, an invitation to His wedding feast, to that communion of love, in which He wills, even desires with His divine heart, that we all share. The greatest sign of this is His Incarnation, His taking our own nature, and uniting it with His own, so that we might become like He is. Each time we receive Holy Communion, His very substance, we are transformed more and more into His likeness, and this divnization is augmented by all the other sacraments, and by all the practices of that whole mystery of the Christian life,.
That is why Saint Paul says that those motivated by love, and by that we mean the love of God, really have no need of ‘law’, which is, or should be, just a reminder of how to love rightly and truly.
So live in love, by willing the true good of the other, to all those we may meet in our journeys, and all manner of things will be well. Leave the dictatorship to the other side, and they will find out soon enough who the real tyrant is.
While on tyrants, today is the feast of the early martyrs Nereus and Achilleus, likely put to death under Emperor Domitian in the late 1st century, or other sources claim Diocletian in the third; their lives, like many of those of the first martyrs, are shrouded in legend, but Saint Philip Neri, the founder of the Oratory named after him in the sixteenth century, had a great and abiding devotion to them. What they signify, at the very least, is that from the very beginning of the Church’s life Christians have faced persecution for the truth, as Christ said they would. The Son of God was no relativist; rather, not only did He preach the Truth, but claimed to be the Truth Himself, the Way to peace, freedom and eternal life in heaven, where we all may meet merrily one day, Deo volente.
Sancti Nereus et Achileus, orate pro nobis!