Christendom and the Dictatorship of Relativism

Pope Benedict XVI - overview
Pope Benedict XVI defender of Christendom, with a heart pierced by the Dictatorship of Relativism – Photo courtesy of rohan chennai

Not every statement must be thorough or finished in order to possess merit.

Sometimes a man stammering, in fragments of a few words at a time, might still have something worthy of listening to.

At least, so I tell myself, when I allow myself to stammer in public, writing posts – such as the following …

I look to people who seem to me unusually acute regarding the reasons for the degeneration of civilisation.

Recently we have, for example, invoked Hilaire Belloc and Valentin Tomberg on that degeneration.

In his Degeneration and Regeneration of Jurisprudence (2023 Update: Now republished as The Art of the Good and reviewed here) Valentin Tomberg writes:

Plato considered justice to be a virtue, and an expression of a truly ordered, internal life of a human being.

For in order to be just, wisdom, courage, and temperance must be present.

A stupid person cannot be just, because he cannot judge; the coward cannot be just either, because his fear directs his judgement, and the same holds true for an intemperate person, because he lets passions and emotions influence his judgement.

Thus justice, as an individual’s internal order, is the result of harmonising the three virtues reason, emotions and will.

Such is also the case with the law, as the external order of humankind, it is the result of harmonising the three cultural realms of religion, science, and politics.

Thus law has the same moral and ordering significance for a community, as justice has for the individual.

Probably My Best Tomberg Video to Begin With—Article Continues Below

I look to the world, Lector.

How far, how very far we are moving from ‘the harmonising of the three cultural realms of religion, science, and politics’.

How much science and politics now rage against religion.

I look to the world, lector.

I see the epidemic of mental illness, I see totalitarianism looming in so-called Political Correctness.

And how these two testify to basically the same thing: disease of the soul.

I look to Catholic Ireland, of even recent memory, good reader, and I see how much more harmony there was of ‘the three cultural realms of religion, science, and politics’.

I see how much less mental illness there was, back then.

How Catholic Ireland haunts my soul.

And how so many of the modern, secularised elements of Ireland hateCatholic Ireland.

At root, it seems to me these elements hate Catholic Ireland’s (admittedly far-from-perfect) harmony of ‘the three cultural realms of religion, science, and politics’.

Yes, I know this harmony was far from perfect. But compared to the viciousness, degeneration and disease today …?

I look to Catholic Ireland, dear Lector.

I look to Belloc. I look to Tomberg. I look to Benedict XVI speaking of ‘a dictatorship of relativism’ and what I sometimes dare to call at this website the dictatorship of secularism.

Tomberg’s legal writings are acute about the dictatorship of relativism. He convinces me, at any rate, that a society based on relativism must necessarily unleash very dark currents of the human will.

The dictatorship of relativism results because this dark will wants emancipation from all the restraints of a non-relativistic society, a religious society.

To take one particularly salient example …

‘I will have the freedom to kill unborn children, because the values here, are purely relative ones. We cannot say with any objectivity that a fetus is a human being, with a human soul …’

All this, of course, is what Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was getting at, just before he became Benedict XVI:

We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires. We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism.

And so Tomberg argues for that thing we moderns find barely comprehensible: a system of jurisprudence that would not only integrate natural law and positive law, but also divine law.

Only a system that integrates the three can be living and healthy.

Tomberg sees how Christendom possessed that in the past. But he recognises that by the Nineteenth Century the idea had become deeply unfashionable and that only Catholics still clung to it.

The battle fought between natural law and positive law in the Nineteenth century (Divine law remained beyond question even then, and was left to the Catholics and thus dismissed), would more than likely never have taken place had the philosophy of law and – jurisprudence remained healthy, i. e. if no cleavage had developed in the interaction of the three levels of the sense for justice.

But in Catholic Ireland even into the late Twentieth Century, Catholics were still honouring Divine law and there was still an admittedly imperfect harmony of religion, science and politics …

I am haunted by Catholic Ireland, that last remnant of Christendom, and stammering …

Ninety-Eight Seconds on the Real Ireland

Classics from Valentin Tomberg
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Foreword for Monarchy by Roger Buck

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One response to “Christendom and the Dictatorship of Relativism”

  1. […] Recently, I have been talking about what Benedict XVI called the Dictatorship of Relativism, in modern secularism. […]