Down to the Wire: Just $5,537 left to match to win our Challenge Grant. Your gift will still be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

The Universality of Truth

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Mar 22, 2007

Truth, of course, is the mind’s conformity with reality. It is hard to see why our age has difficulty with such an elementary concept. All falsehoods, including all forms of relativism, are simply mental deviations from reality.

Within this proper understanding, there are still many aspects of truth to explore. For example, in an address on March 20th to a gathering of youth interested in journalism, Archbishop John Foley stressed that the media has an obligation to deal in truth because people have the right to truth. (The Vatican itself could take a cue from Foley, the head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, when it decides whether to be frank the next time a pope is ill, but never mind.) In what sense is truth a right?

In his Confessions, St. Augustine gives us part of the answer when he says that truth is the common property of all. Moreover, he who “speaks of his own”, says Augustine, “speaks a lie.” There are two interesting concepts here: first, that reality, the object of knowledge, is the heritage of all; second, that those who are most intent on advancing their own peculiar theories—like all those who attempt to mask reality for their own ends—are liars. The nature of a lie, perhaps, is that it steals truth by obscuring reality.

Apparently, Benedict XVI is similarly interested in this subject. In his last Wednesday audience (March 21), he argued that reason is the antidote to both myths and relativism. Citing Justin Martyr, the pope pointed out that it is through Christ, the Divine Word, “that is, the eternal Word, eternal Reason, creative Reason,” that everything comes to be. Therefore, all of us participate in this “logos” by the use of our reason.

We begin to see what Augustine might have meant when he said that truth is the common property of all, and what Archbishop Foley meant when he said we had a right to the truth. Again, there are many aspects to consider. For example, you aren’t morally bound to shout all your darkest secrets to the world. But in the midst of these many considerations, focusing on the sheer universality of truth makes a good start.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($53,732 to go):
$150,000.00 $96,268.13
36% 64%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The gift of orthodoxy: A mercy and a challenge to mercy November 26
Getting Marriage Right November 25
O Earthly Lord, vouchsafe to us high speed Internet. November 25
No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg November 25
What Pope Francis told European Parliament, and what Pope John Paul II said November 25

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25