- tortures people
- unleashes a demon
- kills a classmate
- signs the "book of the beast," promising her soul to Satan
- conducts a seance to talk with her dead mother
"My truth?" I asked. "Sure," she said, "you needed to tell your side of what happened; that's your truth. You know, there's three sides to every story, yours, mine, and the truth." The associate in question is in her late 20s and Jewish. She was hired just prior to the COVID outbreak. Still being angry from the argument, and a hothead by nature, I asked her, "Do you believe six million Jews died in Nazi Germany?" She looked perplexed and answered, "Of course." I replied, "We'll that's your truth. There's three sides to the story, the Jews, the Nazis, and the truth." If looks could kill, I wouldn't be here. She hasn't spoken to me since.
Although I should have handled it better, my point remains: objective truth exists and we can have knowledge of it. Among those under age 40, the idea that truth can never be known for certain, and/or truth is somehow unique to each individual, is near ubiquitous. Truth, they say (especially moral and religious truth), is not something objective, but totally relativistic. This has affected people's approach to religion and morals. The attack on morals came first, because the enemies of God knew that there's no faster way for someone to lose their faith than by losing their morals. It started prior to the Robber Council. Religious relativism followed Vatican II, as the new sect taught that all religions are more or less true, and lead to Heaven.
The focus of this post will be to combat moral relativism and also the idea that the truth cannot be known objectively, only what's "true for you."
The Beginning: Situation Ethics
While moral relativism has always been around, the incredible resurgence in the 21st century can be traced back to situation ethics which began prior to the Robber Council. Simply put, situation ethics is "a moral theory where the situation is taken into account first, before deciding on the rules of right and wrong. There is no set of principles, because what might be considered immoral in one situation could be considered the most moral thing to do in another." Hence, there are no intrinsically evil or good actions. The morality of any given act must be considered within the totality of the circumstances. This was solemnly condemned by the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office in 1956:
Contrary to the moral doctrine and its application that is traditional in the Catholic Church, there has begun to be spread abroad in many regions, even among Catholics, an ethical system that generally goes by the name of a certain "Situation Ethics," and which, they claim, does not rest upon the principles of objective ethics (which ultimately is rooted in “Being” itself), rather, it is not merely subject to the same limit as objective ethics, but transcends it.
The authors who follow this system hold that the decisive and ultimate norm of conduct is not the objective right order, determined by the law of nature and known with certainty from that law, but a certain intimate judgment and light of the mind of each individual, by means of which, in the concrete situation in which he is placed, he learns what he ought to do.
And so, according to them, this ultimate decision a man makes is not, as the objective ethics handed down by authors of great weight teaches, the application of the objective law to a particular case, which at the same time takes into account and weighs according to the rules of prudence the particular circumstances of the "situation", but that immediate, internal light and judgment. Ultimately, at least in many matters, this judgment is not measured, must not and cannot be measured, as regards its objective rectitude and truth, by any objective norm situated outside man and independent of his subjective persuasion but is entirely self-sufficient.
According to these authors, the traditional concept of "human nature" does not suffice; but recourse must be had to the concept of "existent" human nature, which in many respects does not have absolute objective value, but only a relative and, therefore, changeable value, except, perhaps, for those few factors and principles that pertain to metaphysical (absolute and unchangeable) human nature.
Of the same merely relative value is the traditional concept of the "law of nature". Thus, many things that are commonly considered today as absolute postulates of the natural law, according to their opinion and doctrine, rest upon the aforesaid concept of existent nature and are, therefore, but relative and changeable; they can always be adapted to every situation.
Having accepted these principles and put them into practice, they assert and teach that men are preserved or easily liberated from many otherwise insoluble ethical conflicts when each one judges in his own conscience, not primarily according to objective laws, but by means of that internal, individual light based on personal intuition, what he must do in a concrete situation.
Many of the things set forth in this system of "situation ethics" contradict the truth of the matter and the dictates of sound reason, betray traces of relativism and modernism, and wander far from the Catholic doctrine handed down through the centuries. In many of their assertions they are akin to several non-Catholic ethical systems.
Having considered these things, in order to avert the danger of the “New Morality,” of which the Supreme Pontiff Pope Pius XII spoke in the Allocutions held on the days of March 23 and April 18, 1952, and in order to safeguard the purity and intactness of Catholic doctrine, this Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office interdicts and prohibits this doctrine of "Situation Ethics” from being taught or approved, under any name whatsoever it may be designated, whether in Universities, Athenaeums, Seminaries or houses of religious formation, or in books, dissertations, lectures, whether, as they say, at conferences, or by any other means of being propagated or defended.
Given at Rome, from the Palace of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, on the day of February 2, of the year 1956.
[signed] Giuseppe Cardinal Pizzardo, Bishop of Albano, Secretary
(See theologians Ford and Kelly, Contemporary Moral Theology, , pgs. 121-123; Emphasis mine).
After the Robber Council, situation ethics became rampant, even in Vatican II sect schools. This was followed by Values Clarification. The "exercise-simulations" in values clarification are outright wicked. There is one such insidious simulation called "Lifeboat." In this (and similar scenarios) there are more people on the boat than food to survive. You're given a list of people with "pros" (a scientist) and "cons" (the scientist is also a paraplegic). You must then decide (individually or as a group) who will live and who gets thrown into the ocean to drown. What's the purpose of doing something so hideous? It has nothing to do with critical thinking and everything to do with the evil idea that some people have a fundamental right to choose life or death for others.
The values clarification movement was developed primarily by philosopher John Dewey, an atheist. Accordingly, behavior should be the result of free, uninfluenced, autonomous choice, based on personal analysis of a given situation coupled with the moment's emotions and desires. Rather than adherence to an external moral code, Dewey pushed something he called "valuation" in which a given situation is explored and various "solutions" discussed. This directly contradicts Church teaching on making choices based on a rightly formed conscience.
Hence, choices are good or foolish, never right and wrong. Sin and repentance are never mentioned.
Human sexuality programs came next in both schools and "religious education" programs in an attempt to inculcate appreciation for "waiting until marriage" by cultivating fear of bad consequences: pregnancy, disease, and heartbreak. They never state that premarital sex is sinful and they do not urge sinners to repent. Therefore, the dilemma posed to youth by their teachers is no longer a question of morality--- it is a health issue. And, yes, I'm talking about programs in Vatican II schools, not just public schools.
Moral Relativism is further reinforced by our therapeutic era. Sin, repentance, and forgiveness have given way to self-realization or self-authentication. Treatment is in; consequences are out. We’re victims, not responsible moral agents. But we actually demean humans by refusing to hold them accountable for their actions. This therapeutic view has no room for evil—only what is statistically abnormal. It’s just another variation of relativism, this one dressed up in a psychiatrist’s white coat.
In contrast, the Church teaches there are objective morals. According to theologians McHugh and Callan, "Morality is the agreement or disagreement of a human act with the norms that regulate human conduct with reference to Man's Last End." (See Moral Theology, , 1:22). Therefore, morality is based on God and is external, eternal, and unchanging. To further clarify:
1. Moral duties—positively (ought) or negatively (ought not)—aren’t a function of individual or cultural preferences or opinions. We don’t make up or invent morality and then it becomes right; objective morality is applicable to all.
2. Objective morality also includes (a) obligation—a duty to comply with what we ought to do (right) and to avoid what is forbidden (wrong)—as well as (b) virtue or character. We ought to pursue the good, and that for its own sake. We are duty-bound to do certain things and refrain from others, and we can’t forgo the cultivation of character.
Answering Moral Relativism
These days, a person will more than likely encounter a relativist who will spew one of two objections if anyone dares to assert moral absolutes:
Each will now be considered.
Your values are true for you, but not true for me
It is an observed and recorded fact that cultures disagree over what is right and wrong, even when the terms in dispute are clearly defined and accepted by both groups of people. This proves that moral codes are mere social conventions invented by people. What is good for one culture might be considered bad by another. To be moral simply means to act in accordance with one’s society. Even the U.S. Supreme Court speaks of a "relevant community" for determining what constitutes "obscenity." (See Miller v. California 413 U.S. 15 ). In Miller, the Court says to look towards the "contemporary community standards" and rejects attempting even a "national standard" for determining what materials shall be deemed "obscene."
Reply: First, cultural relativism is descriptive, not prescriptive. It merely describes the way things are factually, without reference as to why things ought to be a certain way. Many disagreements are really factual, not moral. In the battle over abortion, the pro-abortionists never concede the unborn child is human. That would put them in a position of advocating for the killing of innocent babies, which everyone understands to be wrong. Instead they de-humanize the pre-born into mere "cells" and make the issue about "choice." Even the evil Justice Harry Blackmun, who authored the infamous majority opinion in Roe v. Wade (legalizing abortion in the United States, 1/22/73 and thankfully reversed on 6/24/22), admitted in his very opinion that if the fetus was a person abortion could not be made legal. This proves that many underlying moral precepts are shared by all humans irrespective of society. As another example, no culture has ever valued cowardice in battle.
Second, it does not follow from the premises of the thesis that no moral code is correct or can be known by people. Different cultures have disagreed in the past as to the shape of the Earth, but it does not follow that no one can ever know the correct shape of the world.
Third, the Supreme Court has done nothing to clarify moral judgments. Miller can easily be attacked for obfuscating the issue. Why is any given "relevant community" correct in its ethical assessments? If there is no external Moral Norm, how could the Nuremberg Trials condemn Nazis for following the moral dictates of their relevant community? It might also be asked where, precisely, we find the apposite community. People hold simultaneous membership in several communities, each with differing moral codes. In New York City, one could belong to his/her family, extended family, social club, place of employment, religion, and New York State. Which one is the "relevant community?"
Fourth, normative relativism suffers from what has been deemed the "Reformer’s Dilemma." If cultural/normative relativism is true, then a reformer who wishes to correct a perceived injustice becomes a logical impossibility. The reformer, such as a Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi, must stand outside the society’s moral code and pronounce some feature of it to be wrong. However, if you are moral if and only if you conform to society’s standards, the reformer is immoral by definition and there is no allowance for any substantial change to practices like apartheid. (See "Sociological Approaches to Ethics: Cultural Relativism" at http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil220/relativism.html).
Fifth, there are at least two logical inconsistencies with moral relativism. Suppose Society X believes that killing deformed babies is immoral, but Society Y thinks it’s moral to do so. How should a member of Society X view the killing of deformed babies in Society Y? According to the moral code of Society X, he should condemn the acts as murder, but if the member of Society Y can only be ethical by following the code of his own community, how can you condemn that person for being moral by his society’s standards? The implication is that you can never condemn the acts of another relevant community. The logical extension is that the U.S. had no right to condemn the acts of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, and the North had no right to condemn slavery in the Confederacy. Lastly, cultural/normative relativism violates the Law of Non-Contradiction: To assert that "All morality is relative" (to culture or in general), you’ve just made an absolute statement that applies to all people in all cultures! How can you deny the existence and/or ability to know moral oughts, and then pronounce that we ought to do/abide by the standards of our relevant community? This line of thought is self-refuting.
Don't impose your morality on others
If someone expresses disapproval of another's actions (e.g., they support abortion or use marijuana, etc.), the moral relativist will almost inevitably speak up by saying something like "You shouldn't try to impose your religious beliefs and morals on others." This is especially used by those who don't want laws "imposing morality" (e.g., pro-life laws).
Reply: All States should be Catholic because "error has no rights." This seems extreme in today's world where religion is seen as no more than opinion. However, morals are always legislated. For example, those who are in favor of capital punishment want those who intentionally kill innocent people to be executed and remove them as a danger to society forever. This involves morality. Those who oppose capital punishment also impose a moral viewpoint on both the victim and society. They are saying the crime against the murdered victim does not merit execution, and society need not be forever protected from repeat murderers. Therefore, the people against "legislating morality" are not opposed to legislating any moral standard (that would be impossible), but rather want to replace one set of moral standards for those of their own choosing.
Even apart from law, those who tell you not to impose your morality are claiming it's immoral to impose your morals, and hence, self-refuting. We are all guided by the Natural Law. Natural law is rooted in the teaching of Saint Paul, “When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts.” (Romans 2:14-15; Emphasis mine). The guiding principle of the Natural Law is inflexible: “Do good and avoid evil.” It might not always be clear as to what is good or what is evil, but it is what everyone seeks.
The Truth About Truth
Generally, there are two ideas about truth today; the one advocated by my colleague, and what is called the "Correspondence Theory of Truth."
View #1: Truth Is What’s True for You: In this view, truth is relative—a subjective opinion. “Truth” becomes true to you as you believe it. In other words, I’m convinced of it, so that settles it. Someone with this view might say, “You have your truth, and I have mine.”
View #2: Truth Is What Matches the Facts: In this view, truth is absolute—an objective reality. Truth isn’t personal, and it doesn’t belong to me or to you. Whether everyone, or most, or few, or nobody believes it, truth is what matches up with what’s real. In other words, It’s true, so that settles it, whether or not I believe it. It "corresponds to objective reality." Modernism, which has infected society, rejects the objective for the subjective. Hence, View #1 is all around us.
The definition of the Correspondence Theory of Truth can be put in simple terms: “Truth is what matches reality.” Or again, “Truth matches the facts.” People once believed the earth was flat and thought that if you sailed too far from land you’d fall off. It is true that people believed this, but that didn’t make it true. The earth was and is round, no matter what anyone has believed. No opinion about the planet’s shape has altered reality. Another way to describe truth is to say, “Truth is telling it like it is.” What we claim to be true must match the way things really are. My claim to have a thousand dollars in my savings account is only true if I actually have a thousand dollars there. If only a hundred dollars is in my account, my statement isn’t true—I did not tell it like it is.
1. We don’t invent truth; we discover it. In the early 1500s, Ferdinand Magellan sailed around the world by heading west and returning from the east. His demonstration of the earth’s roundness wasn’t the invention of a new truth. Rather, he discovered what had always been true.
2. Our understanding of the truth can change, but truth itself does not change. After Magellan’s voyage, people had a new understanding of what had always been true: The earth is round.
3. Truth does not depend on how fervently or sincerely we believe something to be true. The correct answer to this true/false question: “The Twin Towers in New York City were attacked on September 11, 2000” is false. The date was September 11, 2001. It wouldn’t matter how strongly someone believed that event took place in 2000; the answer is still false.
4. When something is true, it’s true everywhere, for all people, at all times. Some cultures used to believe a dragon living under the earth (not the movement of tectonic plates) caused earthquakes—that the earth moved when the dragon moved. It’s true that they believed this, but that didn’t make it true. No one’s beliefs make anything true or false. Truth is true, and falsehood is false, no matter what anyone believes.
Bergoglio: Situation Ethics Celebrated
The very situation ethics which were condemned by the Holy Office under Pope Pius XII, are now taught by false pope, Francis. In 2016, Bergoglio issued Amoris Laetitia, which de facto permits those who divorced their legitimate spouse and shack up with a "civil marriage" in adultery can receive the Vatican II sect "communion." How is this accomplished? The use of situation ethics. In para. # 301:
For an adequate understanding of the possibility and need of special discernment in certain “irregular” situations, one thing must always be taken into account, lest anyone think that the demands of the Gospel are in any way being compromised. The Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations. Hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin. (Emphasis mine).
Here, someone who "know(s) full well the rule" (objective norm of morality as Traditionally taught by the Church) can be in a “concrete situation” where he has no choice but to live in mortal sin (!) and is justified in staying in that condition.
Para. #303 teaches:
Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It [conscience]can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. In any event, let us recall that this discernment is dynamic; it must remain ever open to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized.(Emphasis mine).
In plain English, this is a blasphemous statement that a person can come to the "realization" that God Wills him to stay in his sinful condition.
Is it any wonder immorality is so rampant?
"True for you, but not for me," is a statement that is false in and of itself. The idea of "my truth" comes from those who reject the objective order of the world created by Almighty God and replace it with their own "reality" setting themselves up as little "gods." In the teaching of my spiritual father:
"Suffice it to say that there will always be a chasm dividing those who believe in God as the ultimate norm of morality for man created for a supernatural end, and those who look upon man as another temporary worker experimenting on this globe in order to get the best and the most out of this short existence."--Fr. Gommar A. DePauw, JCD, leader of the Catholic Traditionalist Movement (founded 1964), in The Educational Rights Of The Church And Elementary Schools In Belgium, his dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment for the degree of Doctor of Canon Law, Catholic University of America Press, Washington D.C. (1953).