“Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”
Today’s First Reading from the prophet Ezekiel I always find a bit scary, because it’s about the grave obligation of fraternal correction. “If I say to a wicked man: Wicked wretch, you are to die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked man to renounce his ways, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death” (Ezek 33:8). Fraternal correction is an act of charity, but it can be very hard to do so in today’s climate of moral relativism when people say, “well that’s your truth but I have my truth.” This is particularly the case where religion is concerned, where we can be accused of being intolerant or bigoted if we voice a Catholic viewpoint. But if we love someone we want what is best for them, and that means to give them the truth. And that truth lies in the teaching and commandments of Jesus Christ, because He is God.
Relativism on the other hand proclaims that there is no objective right and wrong which everyone should live by. Moral judgements rest on how an individual ‘feels’ about such issues. For a relativist this is of paramount importance, hence there is no acceptance of sin. But to insist there is no objective morality is already an absolute statement and one might just as well say, “It is objectively true that there is no objective truth” which is clearly illogical. The inevitable outcome of relativism is ‘Might is Right’ – what Pope Benedict XVI called “the dictatorship of relativism.”
There is an objective right and wrong, but whenever we try to call a person back from a false path, it should never be done out of self-righteousness or anger, but always out of love and concern for their salvation.
Fr Paul Gillham