Pope Benedict to Czechs: resist relativism

His Holiness is on an Apostolic journey to the Czech Republic.  CNA has a story:

Visit to the Czech Republic
Pope encourages Catholics to respond to increasing relativism

Prague, Czech Republic, Sep 26, 2009 / 02:55 pm (CNA).- Speaking late in afternoon on Saturday to priests, deacons, seminarians, men and women religious and representatives of ecclesial movements gathered at the Cathedral of St. Vito in Prague, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the Church in the Czech Republic to respond to the wave of relativism and agnosticism that have grown in the European nation despite the fall of Communism 20 years ago[This has been a huge problem in those nations that were under the heal of the Soviet bloc.  Once there was greater freedom, the people in their moral void for decades fell prey to many degenerate ideas.]

After recalling the long list of Czech saints and martyrs in the thousand-year-old cathedral, the Pope said that “the heroism of these witnesses to the faith reminds us that only through personal intimacy and a profound bond with Christ is it possible to draw the spiritual vitality needed to live the Christian vocation to the full.” [Pope Benedict has been deeply concerned about the trend in Europe to detach Christianity as an influence or part of European identity.  Europe is Christian.  Diminish Christianity and you destroy Europe.  In the future, will there be only pretty buildings left?  Some paintings?]

“Only the love of Christ –he added- can make the apostolate effective, especially in moments of difficulty and trial. Love for Christ and for one’s fellow men and women must be the hallmark of every Christian and every community.”

The Holy Father recalled that twenty years ago, “after the long winter of Communist dictatorship, your Christian communities began once more to express themselves freely, when, through the events triggered by the student demonstration of 17 November 1989, your people regained their freedom.”

“Yet you are well aware that even today it is not easy to live and bear witness to the Gospel. Society continues to suffer from the wounds caused by atheist ideology, and it is often seduced by the modern mentality of hedonistic consumerism amid a dangerous crisis of human and religious values and a growing drift towards ethical and cultural relativism,” he said.

Pope Benedict recalled then “the urgent need for renewed effort throughout the Church so as to strengthen spiritual and moral values in present-day society.”

“Your pastoral activity in the field of educating new generations should be undertaken with particular zeal. Catholic schools should foster respect for the human person; attention should also be given to the pastoral care of young people outside the school environment, without neglecting other groups of the faithful. Christ is for everyone!,” he said.

Addressing bishops and priests, the Pontiff highlighted that “it is your task to work tirelessly for the good of those entrusted to your care. Always draw inspiration from the Gospel image of the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep, calls them by name, leads them to safe pastures, and is prepared to give his life for them.”

To the consecrated persons, the Pope explained that “by your fidelity to this vocation, you will help the men and women of today to let themselves be captivated by God and by the Gospel of his Son.”
“And you, dear young people in seminaries or houses of formation, be sure to acquire a solid cultural, spiritual and pastoral preparation. In this Year of Priests, with which I chose to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of the Curé d’Ars, may you learn from the example of this pastor who was completely dedicated to God and to the care of souls; he was well aware that it was his ministry, nourished by prayer, that constituted his path to sanctification,” the Pope finally said.

I believe that one of the most powerful tools we have in this regard is proper worship.

When people have an experience of proper worship, they will start seeing the emptiness of the relativist position.


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  1. Supertradmom says:

    My mother’s entire side of the family is Czech. My great-grandfather was a friend of Benes and Masaryk, and one of the signers of the Czechoslovakian Declaration of Independence. He was counsel to the new republic, before and after unification. Our family lost members, cousins, etc. and land first to the Nazis and then to the Soviets. As strong Catholics, they migrated to America and set up a school, helped found St. Procopius Abbey, where one of my uncles was a monk, the college, now Benedictine College, and created two journals, Hlas and a woman’s magazine for Czech immigrants out of St. Louis. I was weeping watching the Pope say Vespers in the great Cathedral yesterday. I hope Americans appreciate the suffering of the Czech people in maintaining the Faith. Many Catholics lost jobs at universities, for example, because the Soviets would not let Catholics teach. Many families were disrupted and split apart, like our family earlier.

    The first person in our family to come to America was a missionary priest, who came to northern Iowa to minister to the Czech people there. He then brought over my great-grandfather to teach and help set-up the school. The family finally settled in St. Louis.

    Proper worship increases our Faith and fidelity to the Church. May God bless all the Czech people and make them strong. It was lovely to hear the Latin Vespers. The choir was particularly good. God bless Benedict XVI.

  2. albizzi says:

    Isn’t relativism the natural child of false ecumenism?
    And false ecumenism the child of the so called spirit of Vatican II?

  3. rwprof says:

    “When people have an experience of proper worship, they will start seeing the emptiness of the relativist position.”

    You may be onto something, father. Russia is at the beginning of a massive religious revival. Of course, polls show that many who identify themselves as Russian Orthodox now fall far short of praxis, but as you say, brick by brick. As more people go to All-night Vigil and Divine Liturgy, they will learn more about their faith, and praxis will deepen.

  4. wolskerj says:

    “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Matt 21:43

    That’s a frightening passage in this context. Perhaps in a few thousand years the See of Rome will look like the See of Antioch or Alexandria today. Maybe people will write about how important Christianity is to the Chinese or the African identity and the Pope will reside in Beijing.

    Europe is Christian, but Christianity is not [only] European.

  5. revueltos67 says:

    “The heal of the Soviet bloc”? You might want to fix that particular typo father…

  6. ssoldie says:

    “proper worship”?

  7. Brian Day says:

    Isn’t relativism the natural child of false ecumenism?
    No, relativism has its roots of the enlightenment period of the 18th & 19th centuries. St Pius X spent much of his pontificate fighting relativism.

  8. ncstevem says:


    I would suggest relativism goes back at least as far as Martin Luther. Luther’s error that the Bible could be read and interpreted on an individual basis is nothing more than theological relativism.

  9. Norah says:

    Fr Robert Barron at his Word On Fire website has a 5 minute Youtube about the Europeans who treat religion as a toy – something that can be taken out of the cupboard a couple of times a year and then forgotten.

    The Danger Of Turning Religion Into A Toy

  10. Supertradmom says:

    I just watched the Holy Mass on the Feast of St. Wenceslaus. Nice to see Communion on the tongue and young women in skirts and dresses. As to relativism, Europe will disappear as our present Pope and John Paul II noted unless Europe returns to the Faith. The Pope in his address to the young people noted that one of his themes is hope. We must pray and hope that Faith returns to Europe. I think that young people are beginning to realize the dead-end of relativism-that this position ends in cynicism and despair.

    That the Pope celebrated Holy Mass on the Feast of a great martyr heightens the awareness that true Faith is a commitment unto death, and not the type of non-commitment seen in relativists.

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