“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Hamlet)
Recently I was at a large gathering out of state when the conversation suddenly turned to the subjectivity of life. A certain person impressed upon me that life was subjective to the core, each and every person seeing things differently, even uniquely, from his or her own particular vantage point. I pointed out to this man that if his opinion was ultimately or exclusively true that none of the hundreds of people who had driven to the gathering we were attending would have made it safely to their destination, but because they did there must have been some objective way of looking at roads and highways and traffic lights that they all shared in common. I also raised the question whether he would be willing to get on a plane if the pilot held to his pure subjectivity point of view. A person might even hold that the world is imaginary, but the objectivity of things is such that he will still make a substantial effort to avoid stepping into a pile of dog crap. The world is more real than we think.
It is with these points in mind that I turn to Pope Francis. While the Pope is quite aware of the subjective dimension of life, and thus the mitigating factors affecting guilt, he nevertheless strongly understands that we must call evil what it is, namely, evil. And although Jesus warns us not to judge, he also preached of an uncompromising moral law. More recently, Pope Francis stated that Christians have an obligation to judge objective evil. Pope Francis made this point clear in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, where he said:
“The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions (cf. Mt 18:15)….” (no. 172 of Pope Francis).
If we were not able to recognize objective evil, we would not be able to live a moral life or lead others to the truth. We must not get lost in a world of excessive subjectivity, or we most certainly will get lost and may never arrive at our exalted destination. Speaking once in his role as Pope, Saint John Paul II emphasized the profound universality and unchangeableness of the moral law, stating:
“Each of us knows how important is the teaching which represents the central theme of this Encyclical [on the splendor of truth] and which is today being restated with the authority of the Successor of Peter. Each of us can see the seriousness of what is involved, not only for individuals but also for the whole of society, with the reaffirmation of the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, particularly those which prohibit always and without exception intrinsically evil acts” (paragraph 115 of The Splendor of the Truth)
The Gospel of Life, the Gospel of God who has life in Himself, is a Gospel of truth.
Tom Mulcahy, M.A.
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On Thursday, September 24, 2015, Catholic Strength wrote:
> tomlirish posted: ” “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, > than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Hamlet) 22 Recently > “
Pope Francis is no doubt a holy man and I pray for him daily, but he fails in my opinion to prioritize and stress the most important problems. Not all problems carry equal weight and unless you attack the root of the problem it will never be eliminated. Restoring traditional marriage, the nuclear family and teaching the faith must be restored if we are ever to solve the cancers the plague our society (abortion, violence, war, poverty, etc.). He had an excellent opportunity to tell the nation directly what will happen if we don’t turn away from sin and return to God. Our nation has fallen off the cliff and no longer can we hide from the truth for political correctness. Love means telling the truth. If Jesus had given the same speech to the leaders of our nation would he have used the same language and tone as Pope Francis? I think not.
It has been noted Tom that Francis takes a more pastoral approach, trying to meet people where they are, and preparing them
step by step for the full Gospel. This strategy is open to review like any evangelization strategy. But as I have tried to show in this note
and the previous note, he always preserves and protects
the great moral teachings of the Catholic church which come to us from the apostolic tradition.