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DEFENDING  THE  BRIDE

 

  
 
TRUTH
 

This is an index of Biblical statements on the subject of TRUTH.
One of the most serious obstacles to the quest for Christian unity is a lack of appreciation of the importance of Truth.  A failure to perceive the life giving qualities of God’s doctrines has caused many not to share them, and many more not to study and contemplate them.  Only by prayerful contemplation can we see how they have an effect on whether or not we go to heaven, and therefore on whether or not we attain eternal happiness.  Only if our love is true, that is, in accord with God's will does it have value.

Click on the following category to jump directly to it:

JESUS AND HIS PURPOSE  - To teach true doctrines.
TRUTH  IS  ABSOLUTE - Not subjective - The Fall
GOD’S  TRUTH  IS  INFINITE
ACCEPT  SUFFERING  TO  BE  UNITED  WITH  CHRIST  
LOVE  OF  TRUTH
UNITY


 


JESUS  AND HIS PURPOSE

 

Jesus Christ identifies Himself as Truth.
 

John 14:6  
“Jesus said to him,  ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ”   NAB.

Jesus said that the purpose of His Incarnation was to Preach the Truth.

John 18:37  
“For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” NAB.

God’s words and law are good and true. They are a solid reality on which a man can base his life.

Psalm 118:1 and 119:42-43, 49-52, 105.
118:1
 
“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!”
119:   
“ … then shall I have an answer for those who taunt me, for I trust in thy word.   And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in thy ordinances… 49 Remember thy word to thy servant, in which thou hast made me hope.  This is my comfort in my affliction that thy promise gives me life.   Godless men utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from thy law.   When I think of thy ordinances from of old, I take comfort, O Lord… 105 Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

 

The world views the truth as unimportant or as arbitrary.

   
‘What is truth ?’ ”  Pilate words to Jesus in John 18:38

Jesus says that this teaching of the Truth is His mission.

Mark 1:32-38  
“ … they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons… He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons… Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said,   ‘Everyone is looking for you.’   He told them,  ‘Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.’ ”
Rather than go to those who are seeking Him because He worked miracles for them, He goes on to the next town to fulfill the more important mission of preaching the truth. God the Son accepts this mission and becomes a Man even though it will lead to His crucifixion.

The essence of the person Jesus is Love and Truth. To know and embrace Him with ones heart, mind, and soul is essential. The first and most important truth is to love God. The second is to love our neighbor.

Mark 12:29-30  
“Jesus replied,  ‘The first (commandment) is this: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” ’ ”

Knowing the Truth is important.

John 17:3  
“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
Matthew 10:32-33   “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

We must strive, with the help of God’s grace, to love God as He truly is and not just embrace a false perception of Him.

Matthew 7:21-23 
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ ”


 

 

ABSOLUTE

 

It is not enough to be just sincere in our worship of God. We must embrace the One True God.

John 4:24  
“ … those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”

John 16:2  
“They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.”    Sincerity is not enough because Truth is not subjective.

 

The Fall from Grace


Genesis 2:16-17  and   3:4-5
“The LORD God gave man this order:  ‘You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.’  . . .
But the serpent said to the woman:  ‘You certainly will not die!  No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.’ ”

There is a real danger that we will follow the path that Adam and Eve took in the Garden of Eden.  When they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that eating symbolized their usurping God’s role in determining what it is that we may or may not do.  They wanted to be like “gods”  knowing and deciding for themselves what is good and what is bad, instead of following what God had revealed.  Perhaps what God had revealed did not make sense to them, but it was still wrong to disobey.

In Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Veritatis Splendor,”  section 35, we read,  

“With this imagery (the above passage in Genesis), Revelation teaches that the power to decide what is good and what is evil does not belong to man, but to God alone. The man is certainly free, inasmuch as he can understand and accept God’s commands. And he possesses an extremely far-reaching freedom, since he can eat ‘of every tree of the garden.’ But his freedom is not unlimited: it must halt before the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil,’ for it is called to accept the moral law given by God. In fact, human freedom finds its authentic and complete fulfillment precisely in the acceptance of that law. God, who alone is good, knows perfectly what is good for man, and by virtue of his very love proposes this good to man in the commandments. God’s law does not reduce, much less do away with human freedom; rather, it protects and promotes that freedom.”

The “tree” represents not just to be able to know the difference between good and evil, but the claim to be able to determine by our own reasoning the standards to which we are obligated to conform our lives.  Even if a person follows his conscience that does not thereby make his choice a good choice.  We are not the arbiters of truth.  Rather we have the obligation to discover the objective and absolute truths that God has revealed and form our conscience by it.

We are free to drive to a destination not if we drive wherever and however we might choose, but only if we drive in the right direction and obey the traffic laws.   Real freedom is to know and submit to God’s laws.  Freedom is not to choose whatever we desire or to decide what is reality, because truth and reality don’t come from within us.  God is Truth.  John 14:6.   Truth comes from outside ourselves.  In Genesis 11, in the Tower of Babel incident, we learn that we cannot get to heaven according to our own plan.  We are obligated to search for God’s plan and follow it.  If a person thinks that he can be free by braking a law that God has revealed through His Church, then he could be compared to a person who wants to brake the law of gravity by jumping from a ten story building.   He will not brake the law of gravity.   He will brake himself against the law.

Hosea 4:6 
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me.  And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”

Hosea 6:6  
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.”

Proverbs 19:2  
“Without knowledge even zeal is not good; and he who acts hastily, blunders.”

Matthew 15:14  
“If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.”

Luke 12:47-48  
“That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.”

Their guilt is mitigated somewhat by their ignorance, but not completely.

Acts 20:26-27  
“And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”


Paul implies that he would have been responsible if he had failed to preach God’s plan to them. He knew that they had an obligation to follow it and therefore a need to know it.  If they had broken God’s laws, then ignorance on their part might have somewhat mitigated their guilt, but they still would have sinned.  God provided us the opportunity to know His saving Truth by sending His Son to teach us. Jesus built His Church on Peter, gave it the charism of Infallibility, and He promised that it would last till the end of time.

Matthew 16:18-19  
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”   RSV
Cf. Isaiah 22: 15, 19-22  and 36: 1-3

Jesus ministers to us the Grace that makes us capable of embracing His truth.

John 3:16-21  
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life…19 And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”

What Saint Augustine said of the pagans of his time also applies to today’s secular humanists:  “Such men often try to persuade others to live a good life without being Christian …(but) the kind of good life that really profits anything is the one that leads to unending life.  No one can have real and solid hope of unending life unless he comes to know the life that is Christ.”

Our whole life long we must strive for a deeper understanding of God’s Truth with our mind and a more devout embracing and living out of it with our heart.

Hebrews 2:1-3 
“Therefore, we must attend all the more to what we have heard, so that we may not be carried away. For if the word announced through angels proved firm, and every transgression and disobedience received its just recompense, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation ?”


 

 

GOD'S   TRUTH   IS   INFINITE

 

God and the Truth’s that He has revealed about Himself are infinite, but our human minds are only finite. These Truths are called Mysteries because while we can know some things about them with certainty we will never finish delving into the depth and the beauty of that one deposit of faith -God’s revealed truths- that He gave to us through His Apostles. For example, we will never know the Bible so well that we can stop reading it.

Isaiah 55:9
“As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.”

We will never completely comprehend the Trinity or how God existence transcends time.

1 Corinthians 2:7  
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory ... ”   KJV

Ephesians 5:32  
“This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.”

Mary gives us an example of how we should ponder in our hearts the works of God so that we might grow in Wisdom.

Luke 2:16-19  
“So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger…And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”

Luke 2:51  
“And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.”

Psalm 107:43  
“Whoever is wise will take note of these things, will ponder the merciful deeds of the LORD.”

Sirach 14:20  
“Happy the man who meditates on wisdom, and reflects on knowledge …”
See also Ps. 77:11-12 and Ps. 145:5 in the RSV translation.


 

ACCEPT  SUFFERING  T B UNITED  WITH  CHRIST

 

We must be open to the grace of Jesus Christ to accept suffering so that our lives are united with His as we grow in holiness.

Jesus is the Light of the world, John 8:12.  If we truly love God then we seek to walk into the light and learn God’s ways so that we may turn from sin and be united to God and live a holy life by conquering the temptations to sin.  

1 John 1:5-7
“God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.  If we say,  ‘We have fellowship with him,’  while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth.  But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” 

John 3:19-20
“And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.” 

Revelation 3:19-21
“Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

 

We must be willing to die to ourselves in order to accept His Truth.

Luke 9:23  
“Then he said to all,  ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ ”

We must be willing to die to our intellectual pride in order to accept God’s Truth.

John 6:60  
“Then many of his disciples who were listening said,  ‘This saying is hard; who can accept it ?’ ”   We are told in John 6:64 that Judas refused to accept Jesus’ teaching - see context verses 47-71.

John 16:12  
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.”
Since even the Disciples found it challenging in accepting Jesus’s teachings the virtue of humility demands that we be especially open to whatever Jesus has revealed regardless of how appropriate it may seem to us.

John 7:16  
“Jesus answered them and said,  ‘My teaching is not my own but is from the one who sent me.’ ”  NAB

John 7:16  
“Jesus answered them, and said,  ‘My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.’ ”   KJV

If an athlete trains himself so that he is able to swim ¾ of the distance from his boat to the edge of the lake, but only that far, then if he attempts to swim the distance doesn’t he ends up just as dead as if could not swim at all.   If a 7 year famine is coming and a person has enough food to eat for 6 years wouldn’t he end up just as dead as if he didn’t have any food at all.   If a person gives up all his mortal sins except one doesn’t he still die estranged from God.   If on judgment day a person finds that he “almost” has saving grace (and assuming that he doesn’t have a true desire for it), what good is that when the only alternative is everlasting hell.   If a Christian really wants to go to heaven, then he should pray for the grace to give to God all that He might ask, knowing that He will provide.   To live and to only desire to satisfy ones conscience is foolish because it is all to easy for a person to deceive himself.


 

 

LOVE  OTRUTH

 

We will perish if we do not love Truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
“ … those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved.  Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned.”

There is no true and perfect love without obedience to all that Christ commanded.

1 John  5:2-3
“In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments.  For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome”

2 John 6 
“For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments”

Hebrews 5:9  
“ … he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him … ”

Bishops are to refute false doctrine.

Titus 1:7-9  
“For a bishop … holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents.”

Jesus came to distinguish good from evil and truth from error.

Luke 12:51  
“Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”   Also see Mat. 10:34-39.

We are called to grow in our intellectual understanding of God, so that we might grow closer to Him.

Romans 12:1-2  
“I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”   The word “spiritual” is translated from the Greek word  “LOGIKOS” , ( Strong’s # 3050).   It means reasonable.  We get the word  “logical” from it.

So, we cannot pit the spiritual life against the logical life.  We don’t grow spiritually just by getting our emotions all worked up and feeling good about how close we are to God.  We grow spiritually when we grow intellectually.  Now, that is not to say that our relationship with Jesus can be reduced to just thinking about religious concepts, or that somehow we can do it on our own without His Grace.  No, His Grace is essential for intellectual growth that enables us to know God better so that we might follow Him more closely.  Our openness to the Holy Spirit cannot be measured by how spontaneous and emotional we are, rather the Holy Spirit calls us to be logical, constant, faithful, persistent and diligent.  True love for God produces a desire to know Him more deeply so that we might gain insight into His Wisdom in order that we might fulfill His will in our lives.  We use our intellect to find God’s will as opposed to just accepting whatever makes us feel good.

It is wrong to just follow our own desires, and to look for teachings that our ears want to hear.

2 Timothy 4:3-4  
“For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.”   NAB

2 Timothy 4:3  
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings ... ”   RSV.


 

 

UNITY

See CCC # 813 - 834

The true Church will always be based on the Truth. We know this is so because Christ prayed a perfectly efficacious pray to the Father when He consecrated the Church in Truth.

John 17:17-19  
“Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.   As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

We know that Jesus’s prayer has been answered by the Father because His prayer was perfect.

James 5:16  
“The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.”

Therefore, all of the definitive teachings of the Church that Christ established must be true.

Jesus had perfect unity with the Father.

John 5:30  
“I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

John 7:16  
“So Jesus answered them, 'My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me’ ”

John 8:28-29  
“So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me.   And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.’ ”

John 10:30  
“I and the Father are one.”   RSV

Jesus prayed that this Church of His would be One.

And this unity, this Church that He founded, is a visible one.  It is an apologetic sign to the whole world that Jesus is the Messiah.

John 17:20-21 
“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

Therefore, this Church must be visible, distinct, and identifiable.
 

The Church has perfect unity, the only question is, to what degree do we as individuals want to embrace that unity. Jesus died on the cross in order that we might be one.

John 11:51-52  
“He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.”

The Church is One.  All those who seek to follow Christ are called to embrace that unity and accept all of the doctrines of His Church that have been passed down to us through the Apostles and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 10:16   
“ … there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

Ephesians 4:5-6    
“ … one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Philippians 2:1-2  
“If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.”

1 Corinthians 1:10   
“I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.”

Romans 16:17  
“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who create dissensions … avoid them.”

Matthew 12:30
“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

The Bible does not speak about some truths being important and other truths being unimportant. All truths are important. We cannot be satisfied with just agreeing on some of the truths. Jesus considered it important that we accept all the doctrines of Christianity.

Matthew 28:19-20  
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  (emphasis added)

Galatians 1:6-9  
“I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by (the) grace (of Christ) for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed !”

Just because there are evil doers in the Church, who fail to embrace Her unity by dissenting from the truths that God has given to Her, that does not mean that their dissent is justified.

Matthew 13:24,28-30  
“Another parable he put before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field … 28  “ … Then do you want us to go and gather them?”  But he said,  “No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.   Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”

We cannot sacrifice truth for the sake of  “unity.”

1 Maccabees 1: 41-42, 52   
“Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people,  and that each should give up his customs … Many of the people, every one who forsook the law, joined them, and they did evil in the land”   RSV

John 6:53-56   
“Jesus said to them,  ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.’ ”

The Moral Law, that is the Ten Commandments, are not to stop us from having fun, but to show us the way to true happiness. The Church’s doctrines are not burdensome, but helpful.

John 8:31-32  
“Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him,   ‘If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ ”

See CCC # 813 - 834


Pope Benedict XVI

“I was reminded of the fact,” Benedict XVI said, “that the medieval theologians have translated the word ‘logos’ not only as ‘verbum,’ but also as ‘ars.’  ‘Verbum’ and ‘ars’ are interchangeable.  Only in the two together does the entire meaning of the word ‘logos’ appear for medieval theologians.  The ‘Logos’ is not simply a mathematical reasoning; the ‘Logos’ has a heart.  The ‘Logos’ is also love.  Truth is beautiful.  Truth and beauty go together.  Beauty is the seal of truth.”  … 

Benedict has been a disciple even more than a teacher.  He chose as his motto precisely that: Cooperatores Veritatis.  A cooperator of the truth — the definition of both a disciple and a teacher.
Catholic Education Resource Center

 


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Pope Francis to diplomats: Moral relativism endangers peace

By Francis X. Rocca

Catholic News Service

Recalling the love of the poor practiced by his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, the pope lamented both material poverty and the "spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the 'dictatorship of relativism,' which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples."

"Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace," Pope Francis said. "But there is no 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."

 

 

Pope says truth, not relativism, is source of non-violence

.- Pope Benedict XVI told a group of Catholic theological leaders that commitment to objective truth is not a cause for violence but necessary for dialogue and peace in society.

“When you deny the opportunity for people to refer to an objective truth, dialogue is rendered impossible and violence, whether declared or hidden, becomes the rule of law of human relationships,” the Pope said in Dec. 7 comments to members of the International Theological Commission.

“Without openness to the transcendent, which allows us to find answers to questions on the meaning of life and how to live a moral life, mankind becomes unable to act in accordance with justice and work for peace,” he said.

His comments came in a speech at the conclusion of the theological commission’s plenary assembly at the Vatican Apostolic Palace’s Hall of the Popes. The commission is headed by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Pope Benedict said Christian believers have “strong reactions” against the idea that religions, especially monotheistic ones, are inherent “bearers of violence” because believers claim to advance a universal truth.

Some critics of religion, however, say a “polytheism of values” is needed to preserve tolerance and civil peace in a democratic society.

The Pope countered that the revelation of God in “the life and death of Jesus Christ,” including his death on the Cross, is “a radical rejection of all forms of hatred and violence” in favor of “the absolute primacy of agape,” the Greek word for Love.

He attributed violence in the name of God to “human errors” and “the forgetfulness of God that immerses human societies in a form of relativism.”

He added that reconciliation with God through the Cross of Jesus Christ is “the fundamental source of unity and fraternity.”

The Pope also directed specific comments to the International Theological Commission, which he said illustrates “the specific way in which theologians, in loyal service to the truth, may share the Church’s evangelizing impulse.”

The Pope said the commission’s recent document on contemporary theology sets out criteria for a “truly Catholic theology” that contributes to the Church’s proclamation of the Gospel. Theologians who faithfully serve “the truth of faith” can help participate in the Church’s missionary efforts, he said, advocating a place for theology in the academy.

“In a cultural context where some are tempted to deprive theology of its academic status, because of its intrinsic link with the faith, or the confessional and faith dimension of theology ... your document rightly reminds us that theology is inextricably confessional and rational and that its presence within the academic institution provides a wide-ranging and full vision of human reason,” Pope Benedict said.

He stressed the importance of the “sensus fidelium,” the “sense of the faithful” through which Christians show universal agreement on faith and morals. This sense, with the help of the Holy Spirit, helps distinguish whether a truth is part of the apostolic tradition.

This sense must be distinguished from “counterfeits.” It is not “some kind of public opinion of the Church.”

Neither is it meant to challenge the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church, because “the ‘sensus fidei’ cannot grow authentically in the believer except to the extent in which he or she fully participates in the life of the Church, and this requires a responsible adherence to her Magisterium.”

The Pope closed his comments with a prayer that the theologians will have the grace always to “joyfully serve the knowledge of faith for the benefit of the whole Church.”

 

 

“Dictatorship of Relativism”

[T]he “measure of the fullness of Christ” that we are called to attain if we are to be true adults in the faith. We must not remain children in faith, in the condition of minors. And what does it mean to be children in faith? St Paul answers: it means being “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph 4: 14). This description is very timely!

How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism … Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true.

Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine”, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.

We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An “adult” faith is not a faith that follows the trends of fashion and the latest novelty; a mature adult faith is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ. It is this friendship that opens us up to all that is good and gives us a criterion by which to distinguish the true from the false, and deceipt from truth.

We must develop this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith - only faith - that creates unity and is fulfilled in love. …
[Homily of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the cardinals just before he became Pope,  April 18, 2005]