Expectations of perfection begin with ourselves
So often we concern ourselves with moral or ethical judgements
relating to the behaviour of others. It is a regrettable feature of many
institutions and a clear motivator for the popularity of ‘soap and virtual reality tv’
Well it has been said by many religious leaders, Jesus Christ, Gandhi, (amongst others)
that we should beware of such judgements. The case for ‘moral absolutism’ versus
‘moral relativism’,currently scheduled to be the ‘cause celebre’ in the new papal era,
is a case in point.
We have interesting contradictions, in this last week, even within the words of just one
powerful vatican representative: “The head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council on the
Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, denounced the legislation as profoundly
iniquitous. Interviewed in the Italian newspaper, Corriere de la Serra, Cardinal Lopez
Trujillo said the Church was making an urgent call for freedom of conscience for Roman
Catholics and appealing to them to resist the law”. On the one hand was the defence of
moral absolutism in condemning the recent laws passed in Spain concerning the rights
of ‘sexual minorities’ yet, in the same breath, comes a plea for relativism in resisting
these laws (shown in bold type).
Clearly all arguments can be used to defend any scenario, huh?
This is also shown in the emerging information concerning Cardinal Ratzinger’s (now Pope
Benedict XVI) handling, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,( the
Vatican body which has the power to investigate and excommunicate priests guilty of sexual
abuse) of the charges against Fr Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ and
a close friend to the last Pope.. His male accusers include three professors, a teacher, a
lawyer and an engineer (at least one ‘witness’, a priest, of this ‘abuse’ made a death bed
‘declaration’ denouncing Maciel). Another Priest, himself sexually abused by Maciel,
forwarded the list of charges to a New York Bishop who forwarded the data and evidence
to the the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1997!
It would appear that freedom of conscience (moral relativism) rules in the Vatican. But is only
for those chosen to receive it, not for the rest of humanity.
It would also appear that secular society has more grasp of the caring aspects of this subject,
in terms of morality and ethics, than does an institution claiming greater historical authority in
When religion mixes with the ‘politics of expediency’, or the ‘politics of secular power’, we can
be relatively sure of the absolute corruption of both at the expense of moral standards,
human dignity and even life..