Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $41,060 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Pope Francis backs Benedict’s stand against relativism

Catholic World News - March 22, 2013

In his first major statement on the world’s political affairs, Pope Francis strongly backed a fundamental theme of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, warning against a “tyranny of relativism, which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples.”

Speaking on March 22 to the ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, the new Pope stressed his commitment to dialogue, particularly with Islam, and to the fight against poverty. Yet his most significant statement may have been clear backing of his predecessor’s message: an indication that no major change is likely in the Vatican’s approach to world affairs.

The Pope received the ambassadors in the Sala Regia of the apostolic palace. Greeted by Jean-Claude Michel of Monaco, the dean of the diplomatic corps at the Vatican, he began his remarks by saying that the diplomatic work of the Holy See is guided by the desire to serve all people.

The Pope went on to say that in choosing the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, he was evoking “a familiar figure far beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, even among those who do not profess the Catholic faith.” He said that St. Francis is an outstanding model for two reasons.

First the Pope mentioned the love that St. Francis showed for the poor. “How many poor people there still are in the world!” the Pontiff interjected. He observed that the Church all around the world works to ease the suffering of the poor, and added that “I think in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just.”

“But there is another form of poverty,” Pope Francis continued. “It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously.” In that context he mentioned the “tyranny of relativism.” While the quest for peace is a top priority, the Pontiff cautioned:

But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.

The Pope reminded the diplomats that his title, “Pontiff,” refers to a bridge-builder. He said that he hopes to “help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced.”

Once again, however, Pope Francis underlined the spiritual nature of his mission. “It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God,” he said. “But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people.”

The Pope promised to promote dialogue across religious boundaries, and said “I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

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 ($128,907 to go):
$150,000.00 $21,092.70
86% 14%
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!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Mar. 22, 2013 8:43 PM ET USA

    Dialogue with Islam is a good thing if it results in the people and their clerics reining in the radical elements. Right now the jihadists are in charge and mosques are the training ground for violence. As long as they look on Christians and Jews as apostates, there can be no peace.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Mar. 22, 2013 7:50 PM ET USA

    Poverty with Jesus is far safer than wealth!

  • Posted by: mario.f.leblanc5598 - Mar. 22, 2013 1:59 PM ET USA

    The Holy Spirit hasn't failed, and never will!

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

Recent Catholic Commentary

Cardinal Kasper's nose is growing again October 18
Challenge Grant Begins as Synod Ends October 17
What's wrong with this Synod, IV: Unprepared for marriage October 17
No, mainstream religious orders aren't attracting vocations as fast as younger traditional orders October 17
The Synod: Is the sky falling? October 17

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6