Wednesday 26th September 2018

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Democracy, Relativism, And A Swim Across The English Channel

August 24, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By ALBERTO M. PIEDRA

(Editor’s Note: Alberto M. Piedra is professor emeritus of the Institute of World Politics.)

+ + +

“A Power which regulates human behavior according to its own notions of social utility is absolute in a quite different way from one whose subjects have had their actions prescribed for them by God. And here we glimpse the fact that the denial of a divine lawgiving and the establishment of a human lawgiving are the most prodigious strides which society can take towards a truly absolute Power. So long as a supernatural origin was ascribed to law, this step remained untaken” — Bertrand de Jouvenel.

+ + +

A month ago, my grandson Gordon, studying at Eton College in England, participated in a relay and decided to cross the treacherous English Channel with three other schoolmates of his. They left England from the White Cliffs of Dover and swam toward the port city of Calais in France. Calais is well known for the historical event called the Siege of Calais (1346-1347) which occurred when the English under the command of King Edward III successfully besieged the French garrison in the early phase of the Hundred Years’ War.
The boys from the prestigious Eton College made the crossing despite some very tough conditions in the second half of the crossing — high winds, waves, and many jellyfish. They swam without wetsuits 13.5 hours and they were rewarded with over ten thousand English pounds, a sum which will be very helpful for kidney patients; the brother of one of the swimmers is one of those.
There is no doubt that to cross the English Channel swimming and without a wetsuit requires a lot of stamina and preparation in order to reach the desired goal, the coast of France.
This made me think of a similar problem that our contemporary world is facing today in the realm of politics and economics; the goal of reaching and sustaining free and healthy political and economic systems that would benefit all sectors of society and respect the dignity of the human person. Do or can political democracy and economic liberalism meet this challenge in this relativistic world of ours? This is the subject matter of this essay.
For not a few persons “democracy” in politics has become a “sacrosanct” term which, under no conditions, must be challenged. They don’t seem to understand that, unfortunately, under the banner of democracy and free elections the very process of political freedom can be undermined and gradually metamorphosed into a totalitarian regime.
There is no doubt in my mind that this would be a great tragedy because it would violate God’s greatest gift to man: freedom.
The young generations of today must be taught that freedom is like a beautiful and delicate rose plant which is being cultivated under the care of the garden’s owner. He has the obligation to fertilize and prune it and, if necessary, spray it against the spread of all sorts of insects and weeds. Not to do so would only result in the gradual deterioration and final destruction of the plant and the owner would be left without his precious roses.
This is precisely what can happen to freedom if we do not realize that, as in the case of the rose plant, it is also a delicate gift from God which it is our duty to protect from the many sources of destruction that surround it.
The first and most serious and subtle danger for freedom today is the concept of relativism. According to this “philosophy” (educational practice) there is no objective truth. Everything is relative; the ultimate source of truth is man’s own interpretation of truth itself. In other words, it is my own misinformed reason or will which guides me in deciding what is right and what is wrong.
There is no other authority beside my own, according to relativism, much less a belief in a transcendental or external authority which would serve as a moral compass that can help man decide which actions can or cannot be ethically justified. This moral compass is what has been called since early antiquity, even before the Stoics, the law of nature or what is also known as natural law. To ignore or reject it can only bring about chaos and increasing demands for order which can easily turn into some type of totalitarianism.
Let us not forget that that the words democracy and freedom do not mean the same thing for all people. Madame Roland, a Girondin aristocrat supporter of the French Revolution and a friend of Danton and Robespierre, became well aware of this when, on her way to the guillotine cried out: “O Liberté, que de crimes on commet en ton nom!” (O Liberty! What crimes are committed in thy name!)
Something similar can be said of the term democracy: “O Democracy, how many crimes are committed in thy name.” If any doubts exist about this statement, just take a look around you and analyze the recent political events that have taken place in Latin America, especially in “democratic Venezuela”!
Thus, beware of the terms democracy and freedom which are often used in our relativistic society as a subterfuge for government controls and/or collectivist policies, especially in politics and economics. The new generations must be taught that freedom, being such a delicate plant, can easily disappear under the slogan of democracy and the hypocritical mantle of social justice and the common good.
To avoid such an outcome, the new generations of the twenty-first century must be made aware of these dangers, starting with the family and going all the way up to the higher levels of education. They must be reminded that freedom is the greatest gift of God, but like roses in a well-cultivated garden cannot be left unattended and abandoned to the whims of a relativistic public that has no clear notion as to what is the best method for their healthy development.
Opinions may abound but, it is worth repeating, there is only one truth, not many from which man can choose.
Before concluding this short essay let me insist that if freedom is to flourish and endure it must be founded on a solid ethical foundation which does not shy away from emphatically declaring what is right and what is wrong. What better way of reaching this goal than by recognizing the historical validity of an objective moral order, without which disorder and chaos would certainly follow! That is why when God created the universe, He established not only physical laws (such as the law of gravity) but also moral laws which served as the moral compass in ethical questions.
Later these laws were clearly enumerated on Mount Sinai by Moses in the Decalogue or the Ten Commandments. They play a vital role in both Judaism and Christianity. To violate them will only bring the wrath of the Lord upon mankind.
Relativism, the greatest foe of freedom, so much in vogue today, denies the reality of an objective moral order or what historically is known as natural law.
Modern philosophy, in many cases, could be summarized in the short phrase “anything goes,” because for quite a few philosophers objective truth does not exist. It is a purely subjective phenomenon which not only changes over time but even from person to person. Change is the order of the day. Acts which historically have been considered evil are now legitimized and even praised.
No longer is evil considered evil and goodness, civility, and chivalry are relegated to a distant past. Young people today are surrounded by false ethical doctrines which come under the appearance of progressive dogmas that need to be spread around the globe for the benefit of mankind.
These popular tenets or maxims are like dangerous bright-colored jellyfish that pollute the waters of this Earth and/or the numerous insects which gradually destroy the flowerbeds on which beautiful roses are grown. To follow their popular ideas will only slow, if not impede, the arrival of the young generations of this confused era to the safe haven of the celestial Beatific Vision.
Let us, therefore, congratulate the brave young men who crossed the dangerous waters of the English Channel for the benefit of suffering kidney patients. They have demonstrated that freedom and true democratic values still prevail and good deeds are not done under the shadow of dictatorial rule but freely and gladly accomplished. Love, freedom, and the belief in true social responsibility are still very much alive.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

BREAKING: AP Source: Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein is expecting to be fired, heading to White House Monday morning.

Load More...

Cardinal Cupich removes pastor for burning gay flag, wants psych evaluation

September 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Blase Cupich has removed a priest in his archdiocese from his parish in apparent retaliation for his decision to burn a homosexualist “rainbow pride flag” previously used by the parish to promote the homosexual agenda. According…Continue Reading

Opposition grows to controversial deal between Beijing and the Vatican

(CNN)A long-expected, controversial deal between the Chinese government and Catholic leaders in the Vatican has sparked opposition, including inside the Church itself. The provisional agreement, which will see the Vatican recognize the legitimacy of bishops appointed by the Chinese government, comes…Continue Reading

Youth synod deserves in-depth Catholicism, not LGBT lobbying, critics say

Vatican City, Sep 20, 2018 / 12:01 pm (CNA).- A coalition of secular and dissenting Catholic LGBT groups aims to influence the Church’s upcoming Synod on Young People by rallying the like-minded to write to the synod to contend that…Continue Reading

NFL star stuns interviewer: We have 8 kids and hope for more

MILFORD, Connecticut, September 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers made an interviewer gasp with amazement when he confirmed that he has eight children – and wants more. Dan Patrick of The Dan Patrick Show chatted with NFL…Continue Reading

Vatican deals with China are leaving Catholics around the world baffled

In what was an unprecedented move, the Vatican earlier this year asked Chinese underground bishops to step down. Apparently, Rome believes the atheist Chinese regime is better qualified to select its bishops than the Roman Catholic Church. And thus, it is conceding…Continue Reading

Yet another US bishop calls for Youth Synod to be canceled so Church can ‘deal with abuse crisis’

TYLER, Texas, September 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Texas bishop has called for the Youth Synod to be canceled in light of the ongoing scandal regarding the cover-up of episcopal sexual abuse of minors and seminarians. On September 8, Bishop…Continue Reading

ATLANTA ARCHBISHOP WILTON GREGORY INVITES HOMOSEXUALIST FR. JAMES MARTIN TO SPEAK

ATLANTA (ChurchMilitant.com) – Celebrity Jesuit Fr. James Martin is heading to Georgia, courtesy of pro-gay Abp. Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Georgia. On Friday, Martin announced on Twitter that Abp. Gregory has invited him to speak in October at two Atlanta-area locations.…Continue Reading

Leaked sex abuse report rocks German church, 3,677 victims

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two German major media outlets – Der Spiegel and Die Zeit – leaked today the findings of a sexual abuse commission funded by the German Bishops’ Conference and which Cardinal Reinhard Marx had planned to present to the public…Continue Reading

US bishops’ president accused of allowing reported sex abuser access to kids

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, has been accused of allowing a priest who confessed to sex abuse of a minor to function as a pastor of a parish,…Continue Reading

Cdl. Cupich on abuse crisis: We shouldn’t be ‘distracted’ by this, Church has ‘bigger agenda’

CHICAGO, September 10, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – When challenged about the clergy sexual abuse scandal now facing the Church, Cardinal Blase Cupich told a large gathering of seminarians that the Church’s agenda is “bigger” than the sexual corruption now facing the…Continue Reading

Catholic prelates must speak out, now, as the faithful are attacked by their own shepherds

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The following reflection is the result of a couple of days of my reading and thinking about the last five years, but then also about the last fifty years. Trying to get an interview with…Continue Reading

Oklahoma archbishop: I’ve ‘deepest respect’ for Viganó. His claims demand ‘deeper examination’

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley has issued a statement saying he has the “deepest respect” for Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó and his “integrity.” Some on the left have attempted to cast doubt…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Archbishop Chaput shares theological critique of youth synod prep document

Philadelphia, Pa., Sep 23, 2018 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Charles Chaput offered Friday on First Things a critique by a theologian of the working document for the upcoming Synod on Youth, which highlights five principal theological difficulties in the document. The synod will be held Oct. 3-28 at the Vatican. Archbishop Chaput is one of five representatives who were chosen by the US bishops’ conference to attend the meeting. In addition, Pope Francis…Continue Reading

Newly published excerpts from Benedict’s private letters reveal his concern over Church crisis

ROME, September 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A German newspaper today has published excerpts of two private letters Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote less than one year ago, that give insight into how he views his resignation, and his deep concern for the state of the Church following his departure from the papacy. Bild newspaper has reported that the two letters bearing Benedict’s signature — and which independent sources have authenticated — w

US bishops’ silence on meeting with Pope could put their credibility on sex abuse at risk

ROME, September 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Have the jocular images and low-key statements of US Bishops following their meeting with Pope Francis last week set back their attempts to address the grave situation in the Church, especially the handling of sexual abuse cases by bishops? The details that have been revealed of the bishops’ meeting with Francis last Thursday give no indication that they addressed the extent of the McCarrick coverup or the need for…Continue Reading

Cardinal Maradiaga rebukes papal critics: McCarrick abuse scandal ‘of a private order’

September 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The scandal of ex-Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual abuse of young priests and seminarians and Pope Francis’ alleged cover-up are “of a private order,” and a merely “administrative affair,” according to one of the Pope’s top advisers, Cardinal Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga. He made these remarks in a recent interview in one of the most revealing statements to date on the Viganò testimony. In an interview published on Wednesday evening by Religion Digital, the religious portal…Continue Reading

Dutch Catholic church accused of widespread sexual abuse cover-up

More than half of the Netherlands’ senior clerics were involved in covering up sexual assault of children between 1945 and 2010, a press report claimed on Saturday, further engulfing the Catholic church in a global abuse scandal. Over the course of 65 years, 20 of 39 Dutch cardinals, bishops and their auxiliaries “covered up sexual abuse, allowing the perpetrators to cause many more victims”, the daily NRC reported. “Four abused children and 16 oth

Advertisement(2)

Truth And Candor

By DONALD DeMARCO Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, in his book, Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World, makes two most important points when he reminds all those who love life that “candor is not the enemy of love” and that “real hope begins in honesty.” Candor may disturb one’s…Continue Reading

Staying Aboard The Barque In A Raging Sea

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON “Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but He was asleep. They came and woke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ He said to them, ‘Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?’” (Matt. 8:24-26). The Barque…Continue Reading

And What’s Next?… Why The Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings Turned Into A Circus

By REY FLORES By the time you are reading this, it’s possible that the Senate Judiciary Committee will have already voted for Brett Kavanaugh and sent him on his way to full Senate approval, making him the newest member of the Supreme Court of the United States. However, given the way the first day of…Continue Reading

Like Its Film Students… JP Catholic University Steps Out Into The Wild On Its Mission

By DEXTER DUGGAN ESCONDIDO, Calif. — Discussing a few definitely different films as The Wanderer visited with him, Derry Connolly turned to the monitor at his desk and called them up instantly, from the 1993 Western Tombstone, directed by George Cosmatos, to Scout: A Star Wars Story, released by students at his own school last…Continue Reading

Chaplain Tells Medical Workers…. Discovering God’s Will Leads To Love And Joy

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Although those seeking a direction in life may turn to searching for God’s will, a Phoenix chaplain reminded listeners that another ruler from beyond the Earth also has a plan for their lives, Satan. Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski, FHS, chaplain of the Phoenix Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, explored a…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Being Transformed Into Jesus

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Numb. 11:25-29 James 5:1-6 Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 During His time on Earth our Lord was not very popular among the powers that be. While that has not changed, He is becoming less popular among the common people in our day. Unfortunately, some of this includes those who…Continue Reading

Leaven In This World “As for Me and My Household, We Will Serve the Lord”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Confession… More Testimony From The Early Christians

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 5 A few more quotations from the Early Fathers of the Church will conclude our list of testimonies. If our Wanderer readers feel I have quoted too many of them, I am glad, because it proves ad nauseam that the Early Christians believed and practiced the Sacrament of Confession since the very beginning of…Continue Reading

The Integral Parts Of Prudence

By DON FIER Prudence, the first of the four cardinal virtues scrutinized by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), is defined in its Glossary as “the virtue which disposes a person to discern the good and choose the correct means to accomplish it.” It is designated as the charioteer of all the virtues in that “it guides [them] by…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. It’s been several years since a Vatican commission was appointed to investigate the legitimacy of the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. What is the status of that investigation? — M.K., South Carolina. A. In 2014, the commission concluded a four-year study of the Medjugorje phenomenon and sent a report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Servant of God Rozalia Celak

By CAROLE BRESLIN The closer one comes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the hotter the flame, as many saints have attested. St. Catherine of Siena bore the marks in her heart where the arrow of Christ’s love pierced it. With the flame of the burning love, the Sacred Heart touches those whom He loves in a special way. To…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

By CAROLE BRESLIN In northern Israel between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea, a mountain range stretches inland. This range, although named Mount Carmel, is really a series of mountains stretching inland. The main site of the Mount, the Stella Maris monastery of the Discalced Carmelites, sits on a limestone bluff overlooking the city of Haifa. The view…Continue Reading