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Pope links England’s riots to relativism

By on Friday, 9 September 2011

Pope Benedict XVI: a society plagued by moral relativism suffers 'frustration, despair, selfishness and a disregard for the life and liberty of others' (PA photo)

Pope Benedict XVI: a society plagued by moral relativism suffers 'frustration, despair, selfishness and a disregard for the life and liberty of others' (PA photo)

Pope Benedict XVI has urged the British Government to root its policies in objective values, saying this is “especially important in the light of events in England this summer”.

In a speech welcoming Nigel Baker, Britain’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Benedict XVI said: “When policies do not presume or promote objective values, the resulting moral relativism, instead of leading to a society that is free, fair, just and compassionate, tends instead to produce frustration, despair, selfishness and a disregard for the life and liberty of others.

“Policy makers are therefore right to look urgently for ways to uphold excellence in education, to promote social opportunity and economic mobility, to examine ways to favour long-term employment and to spread wealth much more fairly and broadly throughout society,” the Pope said.

“Moreover, the active fostering of the essential values of a healthy society, through the defence of life and of the family, the sound moral education of the young, and a fraternal regard for the poor and the weak, will surely help to rebuild a positive sense of one’s duty, in charity, towards friends and strangers alike in the local community.”

The full text of his address can be read here.

  • ms catholic state

    I’m sorry the Pope didn’t say to root values in Jesus Christ and Christianity.  Surely this makes more sense….otherwise who is to know what objective values are?!  Or is ‘objective values’ code-word for Christianity.  I hope so….but I wish the Pope were more direct.

  • ms catholic state

    I’m sorry the Pope didn’t say to root values in Jesus Christ and Christianity.  Surely this makes more sense….otherwise who is to know what objective values are?!  Or is ‘objective values’ code-word for Christianity.  I hope so….but I wish the Pope were more direct.

  • Anonymous

    This is really foolish thinking. He gives the impression he really has no idea what the term entails. I truly hope he gets a grip on this entirely irrational scapegoat.

  • Oconnordamien

    More platitudes. No realistic or constructive suggestions.

  • Anonymous

    As you d expect, nail on head from Holy Father.

  • Anonymous

    As you d expect, nail on head from Holy Father.

  • Parasum

    Objective values, such as…?  What about, say, taking responsibility for one’s actions, rather than trying to  scapegoat Jews, homosexuals, Freemasons, dissenters, and many others (as the Vatican tried to do a short while ago) ? What about the objective wrongness of hob-nobbing with dictators, and making pornographers into Papal Knights ?

    The Vatican uses talk of relativism – which it never bothers to define: very clever tactic, that – as a fig-leaf for its own nakedness. That doesn’t work, sorry.

  • Recusant

    An insincere criticism. Constructive suggestions would be called meddling.

  • Halifax

    “The Vatican uses talk of relativism – which it never bothers to define: very clever tactic, that…”

    What the heck…??

    The “Vatican” shouldn’t be expected to define the terms it uses to accommodate for every instance there’s a moron who doesn’t realise what it means. Try picking up a book, read a speech or watch a lecture for a change – the “Vatican” has published an insane amount on relativism and related topics.

    He’s a starter for you. Try reading Pope Benedict’s book, “Without Roots: The West, RELATIVISM, Christianity, Islam”.

    Can’t believe the ignorance of some people who write such ill-informed comments.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OTCKAYXC6V65WVJUPZFYCCUEUU Lee

    To an extent, true but then again, one has to remember that The Pope’s calling is not that of a rabble rouser or a troublemaker but of Christ’s Apostle upon Earth. When he is ready to hit home with the absolute truth in the most devastating fashion, that will be the time when it is correct. Until then, we should pray that people who have ‘ears’, let him hear !

  • Anonymous

    As opposed to who, exactly?  Politicians?  The Pope’s thinking is clear, and it’s up to society – through its elected politicians – to create the solutions to the ethos.  Moral and social relativism has actually proven to be one of the causes of Britain’s ills, hence his comments.

  • Guest

    relativism is a well-known philosophical concept. it is already defined. it’s even on wikipedia if you want a short introduction …

  • Anonymous

    The Pope should at the very least point to the particular points he
    objects to, as relativism comes in many different forms. Relativism is a
    large spectrum of philosophical views.

    The idea behind one strand of relativism is that different cultures have different moral rules, and that all are equally valid.

    The idea behind another strand of relativism is that different moral
    rules apply in different circumstances. For example that we should give
    different sentences to a child who has been convicted of murder, and to
    an adult that has been convicted of murder.

    I am both sure that the Pope would agree that children should not be
    sentenced in the same way as adults, and am similarly sure that people
    in the riots do not know the least bit about relativism – nor thought at
    all about the morals of looting and rioting.

  • Oconnordamien

    So the most powerful religious leader of the most well-organised religion the world has ever known, blames a concept. Not his fault as a powerful leader, just relativism.

     I just sat on my hands while this movement grew.  As a leader of doctrine and faith, well I knew nothing. It’s always secularists, or atheists or those darn protestants. 

  • Anonymous

    @Oconnordamien,       
                                 The Church and its leaders(well most of them) have always counselled against relativism.  Indeed a large part of “Veritatis Splendor”(1993) comments on this issue comprehensively. No sitting on hands in the Catholic Church on this issue I m afraid Damien. As for the other Churches…….well I ll  say nothing.

  • Jamesc

    Ratzinger : the “devil” who covered up “sexual abuse”,motivated; not by holiness but an un-quenching ambition to rock the “petrine throne” may he rot in hell !

  • Davidfsavage

    we do know relativism when we see it…the Pope is following the tradition of many wise leaders and it was warned against  over three thousand years ago
    Isaiah 50.10Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.We see it in massaging education statistics so that it appears students are doing better when literacy rates are falling, that waiting times are falling in A and E when people are seen by a nurse in 20 mins then left on a trolley for hours, we see it when we see detection rates are improving but it is just minor traffic offences  the Police are prosecuting rather than going after burglars,  We see it in letting rich people off paying taxes by dodges where the low wage pay, when its ok for the private schools  to dominate universities but the state school students with higher IQs can try modern apprenticeships,  and we saw it when  it is ok to arm the Mujahideen to fight Russia and let Heroin be used to fund wars.  Please tell me why are you defending relativism ?   

  • Oferdesade

    he’d do so much better by linking them to caritas in veritate. the economist was also quick to blame the police and the rioters. but one must ask why so many riots in so many places around the world after bankers destroyed the system and bonused themselves into the package. on the other hand, maybe b16 is right: if people were more religious they’d get madder (like jesus overturning tables on the temple?)
    facebook.com/israelinholysee

    tinyurl.com/3ucp4k

  • Anonymous

    “…and to spread wealth much more fairly and broadly throughout society…”

    Did he say this with a straight face, whilst sitting on a jewel-encrusted throne, surrounded by caravaggios & michaelangelos?  I expect his faithful african subjects will be welcoming a bit of trickle-down from the next vatican garage sale.