Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Carl Anderson

3/29/2010 (5 years ago)

Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)

Overcoming the allure of relativism with a message of truth has been a consistent project of Pope Benedict.

On Palm Sunday, the Pope also reiterated 'to all the young men and women […] that being Christian is a journey, or better: It is a pilgrimage, it is a going with Jesus Christ, a going in that direction that he has pointed out to us and is pointing out to us.'

On Palm Sunday, the Pope also reiterated "to all the young men and women […] that being Christian is a journey, or better: It is a pilgrimage, it is a going with Jesus Christ, a going in that direction that he has pointed out to us and is pointing out to us."

Highlights

By Carl Anderson

Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)

3/29/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in Lent / Easter


NEW HAVEN, CT.  (Zenit.org) - Twenty-five years ago, Pope John Paul II inaugurated the celebration of World Youth Day -- to be celebrated on Palm Sunday each year. He understood -- as does Benedict XVI -- that the future of the Church depends on the youth, on the next generation of Catholic parents, priests and religious. But reaching the next generation is not always easy -- especially when young people today are inundated with messages that push them toward a "relativistic" view of morality, toward a value system in which relevant values are chosen on an individual basis -- and are not thought to be universally applicable. It was this relativistic interpretation of living that Pope Benedict spoke out against in the days just before his election as Pope -- when he warned of a "dictatorship of relativism." There is certainly a problem with relativism among young people today. A recent Knights of Columbus/Marist poll found that 82% of 18-29 year old Catholics see morals as "relative." That's a shocking number, but fortunately there is more to that statistic than meets the eye. First, the majority of "practicing Catholics" disagreed, and second, the 82% who see themselves as relativists nevertheless don´t consistently apply relativism to moral issues.
 
When confronted with a series of moral issues, those same Catholic young people who saw themselves as relativistic chose overwhelmingly to categorize issues such as abortion or euthanasia as "morally wrong" -- despite being given the option of classifying each as "not a moral issue" -- which one would assume would be the logical choice of a true relativist. Inconsistencies Relativism, unlike truth, leads to exactly such inconsistent thinking, and so ultimately is not a fulfilling philosophy of life. Overcoming the allure of relativism with a message of truth has been a consistent project of Pope Benedict. Again this weekend, on the 25th celebration of World Youth Day, the Pope took the opportunity to address the young people in St. Peter's Square for his Palm Sunday Mass on the subject of leading a life based on truth. At the Angelus following the Mass, he appealed "to the new generations to bear witness, with the mild but luminous power of truth, that the men and women of the third millennium may not lack their most authentic model: Jesus Christ." Truth -- in the person of Jesus Christ -- must be the basis for witness to the faith. It´s a simple, yet profound statement. But to witness to the truth that is Christ requires a relationship with him. As then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger pointed out ten years ago in an address to catechists and teachers that the art of living "can only be communicated by [one] who has life -- he who is the Gospel personified." We cannot expect to change culture or influence people if we ourselves do not present an authentic witness to Christ, whom we know personally. And we cannot expect young people to witness effectively to their peers unless they have first developed a relationship with Christ that they are able to present in a very real way. On Palm Sunday, the Pope also reiterated "to all the young men and women [...] that being Christian is a journey, or better: It is a pilgrimage, it is a going with Jesus Christ, a going in that direction that he has pointed out to us and is pointing out to us." This is not to say that being a faithful young Christian in the face of peer pressure is easy. Be not afraid The Pope recognized this in his remarks when he said: "Do not be afraid when following Christ leads to misunderstandings and affronts. Serve him in the weakest and most disadvantaged people, especially your own peers in difficulties." There are many reasons such a message can resonate with young people. Who -- even among relativists -- could oppose or not be moved by the witness of one of their peers helping those in need? It is the preaching by deed more than by word that can often have the greatest effect. In contrast, the Christian message of love of God and neighbor is both consistent and fulfilling. What it requires to be accepted by those searching for answers in their lives is the effective witness of their peers and of the previous generations. Only in light of the truth does the passion of Christ, which we celebrate this week, make any sense. Under a relativistic interpretation, Christ´s death for others is senseless -- unless he died only for himself -- since the rest of humanity would have no need of him, or of salvation. Our job is to bring the truth to those young Catholics searching it, to the two in three in the recent Knights of Columbus/Marist poll who expressed openness to learning more about their faith. In witnessing to the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, let us bring into our hearts that love of God and neighbor so that we can effectively share it with our peers, and with future generations. Let us take as our own the words of St. Francis: "Preach -- and if necessary, use words."

-----

Carl Anderson is the supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus and a New York Times bestselling author.



Comments


More Lent / Easter

Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Take our Lent quiz! See how much you know about the tradition of Lent! Take our Lent quiz, then challenge your friends. See how much you know about this special season in the Liturgical year. The quiz has just a few questions, but will certainly provide a quick ... continue reading


Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How familiar are you with the Stations of the Cross? Take the Catholic Online survey now to share your answers to our questions. Your responses will help us serve you better by tailoring content that suits your needs. The survey is short and should take just 1 minute ... continue reading


10 important things to consider during Lent Watch

Image of What are our options during Lent? (Shutterstock)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Every year we give something up for Lent. Sometimes picking what to give up is hard and other times we consider doing something extra to really immerse ourselves in what God has for us - but what are our options? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lent isn't just ... continue reading


5 little-known facts about Lent you need to learn this Ash Wednesday Watch

Image of Lent is more than just fasting (Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Everyone knows that Mardi Gras kicks off the upcoming 40-day Lent, which honors the time Jesus fasted in the wilderness, but did you know there is more to it? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Recently the Independent released their list of "5 things you might not ... continue reading


Ash Wednesday: 'Seek To Experience God's Presence Within' Watch

Image of

By F. K. Bartels

"You may ask me: 'But, does God exist? And if he exists does he really concern himself with us? Can we reach him?' It is, indeed, true that we cannot place God on the table, we cannot touch him or pick him up like an ordinary object. We must rediscover our capacity to ... continue reading


POPE'S MASS: Ash Wednesday (FULL TEXT: English) Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana

The unofficial English translation to Pope Francis' prepared homily for the 2016 Ash Wednesday Mass: The Word of God, the beginning of the Lenten journey, addressed to the Church and to each of us invitations.The first is that of St. Paul: " Be reconciled to God " ( ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special Ash Wednesday message for 'Keep Lent' initiative Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis sent out his first audio message for "Keep Lent" over social media. 'Keep Lent' is an initiative of the Prelature of the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii's youth ministry office. According to the Vatican Radio, "The initiative begins on Ash ... continue reading


Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras Meant to Be More than a Party Watch

Image of Some have tried to argue that this term meant that people should discard their moral faith commitments and for the night and just

By Fr. Randy Sly

One could call this celebration the last gasp of Ordinary time as the Church anticipates the penitential Season of the forty days of Lent. Rich foods are consumed as pilgrims prepare for times of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance. Ironically, carnival ... continue reading


Missing The Point of Easter Watch

Image of Alex Basile is the Religion Department chair at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, NY. He has written nine books for Saint Pauls/Alba House. www.alexbasile.net

By Alex Basile

Author Alex Basile reflects of the true meaning of the Resurrection of Christ and how many Christians overlook the real joy of Easter. In the haziness of the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene made her way to tomb of her friend and teacher. Fighting back tears and ... continue reading


The Happy Priest on Easter: He Has Truly Risen, We Are Free From Fear Watch

Image of

By Fr. James Farfaglia

With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted.  When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled ... continue reading


All Lent / Easter News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15 'Look, today I am offering you life and prosperity, death and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:22-25
22 He said, 'The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 11th, 2016 Image

St. Paschal
February 11: Paschal was the son of Bonosus, a Roman. He ... Read More