15 August 2018, The Tablet

We have cut off the branch of the tree on which our moral claims once sat


We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognise anything as certain and that has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.” Pope Benedict often returned to the theme of “the dictatorship of relativism” during his pontificate. Even Pope Francis has taken it up.

The phrase is catchy. It nicely sums up a sense of dismay at the “anything goes” morality of contemporary society in the West. Relativism, the view that there is no ultimate truth, would suggest that there is nothing to which we are finally accountable, and gives a licence for morality to mean nothing more or less than what we choose it to mean. Whatever I say, whatever I want, goes.


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