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Moral relativism

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 Contents - Feb 2012AD2000 February 2012 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Climate change alarmism in the classroom - Michael Gilchrist
Curia: Benedict XVI names 22 new cardinals for his fourth consistory - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Religious Freedom: Freedom of religion American style - Babette Francis
Law: Catholic politicians and same-sex 'marriage' - Michael Gilchrist
Culture Wars: Catholic universities and secularism - Achbishop Charles Chaput
Domus Australia: 'Roots and wings': a little corner of Australia in Rome - Fr Anthony Denton
Census: Growth and decline in the churches: research findings - Frank Mobbs
Youth: iWitness 2011: a celebration of young adult Catholic life - Br Barry Coldrey
Missionary outreach: Melbourne parish's gifts for a growing Fijian parish - Christopher Akehurst
Mission UK: Can pagan Britain recover its Christian identity?
Letters: Same-sex 'marriage' - Robert Bom
Letters: Unwelcome truth - Brian Coman
Letters: Abortion laws - Terry and Rosemary McDonnell
Letters: Human right? - Arnold Jago
Letters: SSPX schools - Ken Bayliss
Letters: Moral relativism - Fr Bernard McGrath
Letters: Interest invited - David Forster
Letters: Catholic reading - Gerard Wilson
Books: HOW TO GET EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL, by Ian Plimer - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: THE RETURN OF MODERNISM:The Second Wave Revisited, by Dr J.N. Santamaria - David Perrin (reviewer)
Books: SLO-MO TSUNAMI And Other Poems, by Bruce Dawe - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Pope's New Year Message for 2012 underlines the right use of freedom - Pope Benedict XVI

The moral relativism of the majority in our society today is a dangerous foundation on which to base our government and laws.

Without leaders who exercise reason's grasp of the natural law, on which human rights and justice absolutely depend, the state easily becomes nothing more than an expression of arbitrary power.

Majority relativism has displaced natural law by the spread of positivism, an ideology based on a narrow concept of reason, which regards it as impossible to have any certain knowledge of right and wrong.

Positivists regard nature as only the totality of objective data linked by cause and effect and having no implications in ethics or law. They say an "ought" can never be derived from an "is" in nature. It is purely functional, and anything that is not verifiable or falsifiable does not belong to the realm of reason.

So to them, ethics and religion are only subjective feelings and opinions, and the classic sources of such knowledge (the unseen) are excluded from consideration.

This is a serious matter and requires urgent debate since such ideas have dire consequences for true freedom.

It is strange that while this positivist culture has an enthusiasm for ecology - that matter is not just raw material for us to shape at will, but that the earth has a dignity of its own and we must follow its directives - there is not a similar ecology of man.

Man himself is not merely a self-creating freedom. He is intellect and will - and a nature to which his own will must be rightly ordered by his acceptance of its laws (conscience).

True freedom is not to do whatever we feel like, but to do as we ought (nature), otherwise we become slaves to passion, feelings or ideology, not to the true freedom of right reason and happiness. We prayed for these at Christmas time, as we recalled how our Creator took on our human nature to save us from our fallen selves.

Bendigo, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 25 No 1 (February 2012), p. 15

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