Friday, February 23, 2018


                                                             O BLESSED HOST

Reading the Diary of St. Faustina this morning was struck by this litany. A good prayer for this Holy Season of Lent.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the testament of God’s mercy for us, and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus as proof of infinite mercy for us, and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained life eternal and of infinite mercy, dispensed in abundance to us and especially to poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the mercy of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit toward us, and especially toward poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the infinite price of mercy which will compensate for all our debts, and especially those of poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the fountain of living water which springs from infinite mercy for us, and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the fire of purest love which blazes forth from the bosom of the Eternal Father, as from an abyss of infinite mercy for us, and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the medicine for all our infirmities, flowing from infinite mercy, as from a fount, for us and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the union between God and us through His infinite mercy for us, and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom are contained all the sentiments of the most sweet Heart of Jesus toward us, and especially poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in all the sufferings and adversities of life.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of darkness and of storms within and without.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in life and at the hour of our death.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of adversities and floods of despair.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of falsehood and treason.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of the darkness and godlessness which inundate the earth.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the longing and pain in which no one will understand us.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the toil and monotony of everyday life.

O Blessed Host, our only hope amid the ruin of our hopes and endeavors.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of the ravages of the enemy and the efforts of hell.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when the burdens are beyond my strength and I find my efforts are fruitless.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when storms toss my heart about and my fearful spirit tends to despair.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when my heart is about to tremble and mortal sweat moistens my brow.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when everything conspires against me and black despair creeps into my soul.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when my eyes will begin to grow dim to all temporal things and, for the first time, my spirit will behold the unknown worlds.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when my tasks will be beyond my strength and adversity will become my daily lot.

O Blessed Host I trust in You when the practice of virtue will appear difficult for me and my nature will grow rebellious.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when hostile blows will be aimed against me.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when my toils and efforts will be misjudged by others.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when Your judgments will resound over me; it is then that I will trust in the sea of Your mercy.

+Most Holy Trinity, I trust in Your infinite mercy. God is my Father and so I, His child, have every claim to His divine Heart; and the greater the darkness, the more complete our trust should be.

Monday, February 19, 2018



Once again, with the high school massacre in Florida, we see the vaunted American notion of exceptionalism has a very deep dark side to it.  Equally vaunted, the American right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", is overwhelmed by the “right to bear arms”.

Every country, my own included, has its own murderous history.

However, compare the Five Eyes countries [ Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States: so-called because their intelligence services cooperate closely] and we find, considering mass shootings as involving the killing of at least ten people, Australia tightened its strict gun laws after the last mass shooting there in 1996; there is no legal right to own a gun in Canada, which tightened its gun laws after the last mass shooting in 1989; likewise New Zealand – 1990 their last mass shooting and the United Kingdom, 1996 the last one there.

Each of those countries emphasizes strict background checks: criminal, domestic violence, mental health of applicants for gun licences.

So, what then, in the United States, makes the situation so different and perplexing for the rest of the world?

It is too easy to presume it is primarily because of the legal right to own guns in a country with virtually no restrictions on the type of weapons, including military type weapons, nor the number of weapons a person may own.

The Second Amendment to the US constitution in and of itself is not the problem.

The lack of restrictions regarding weapons designed for military use, and the lack of strict licencing requirements, such as the mandatory background checks among the other Five Eyes countries, exacerbates the problem of easy access to assault weapons which the deranged can use with such horrific effect as in Florida.

There is, however, a more fundamental issue not discussed in the US, nor in any of the Five Eyes when it comes to violence, to the murder of one human being by another, an issue which in Holy Lent we all should consider for while certainly efforts, real, courageous efforts, should be undertaken in the United States to begin to control the millions of weapons held, and sadly so often used, by the citizenry,  all of us must seriously undertake the work of resisting the deepening darkness of the culture of death within each of the Five Eyes, countries whose Christian tradition reaches back millennia, but also countries which have chosen to become post, even anti-Christian.

The Preface for Holy Mass of the First Sunday of Holy Lent reminds us that Jesus “…taught us to cast out the leaven of malice…..”

It is clear, from the details of the first recorded murder in human history, Cain’s murder of his brother Abel, Genesis 4: 1-8, malice is always present when one human being murders another.

Each of us has undoubtedly at some point allowed the emotions of jealously, malice, anger, perhaps even hatred to stir within us, but most human beings are able to, by grace, embrace and be faithful to the commands of Christ to love one another, do good to those who injure us, to pray for, to forgive our enemies. [cf. Jn. 13:34,35; Mt. 5:43-48 & 6:9-13]

We should focus this Holy Lent on the urgent need for each of us to disarm our own hearts, to embrace and live out the Gospel of Life, for as St. John Paul reminds us in his encyclical of the same name: The Gospel of God’s love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person, and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel. [Op.cit.2.4]

Of all the Five Eyes Canada alone is the most anti-life, having no abortion law whatsoever, hence babies may be murdered right up to the moment of breach, and Canada also allows assisted suicide. The other Five Eyes have varying degrees of abortion laws, none of them allow, yet, assisted suicide.

Quoting the Second Vatican Councils’ document, on the Church in the Modern World, St. John Paul stresses the passage remains relevant today [Op.cit.3.3]: …..whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonour to the Creator. [para.27].

A prayer response then to the mass shooting in Florida, to the culture of darkness and death engulfing the world, is to pray throughout this Lent for the conversion of the entire human family from all forms of hatred and violence, for the healing of the mentally ill and better health care for them, that men and women would choose, rather than murdering their pre-born child, to seek out adoptive parents, that individuals and families will choose hospice care, rather then enabling self-murder.

Meditating anew this Holy Lent, by choosing St. John Paul’s The Gospel of Life, for Lenten spiritual reading, will strengthen our resolve to live the Gospel with our lives without compromise, loving one another, including our enemies, and little by little, we will push back the darkness of the culture of death.

Here, as St. John Paul urges, we turn anew to Our Blessed Mother, for She helps us in the great struggle of life …between good and evil, between light and darkness…[Op.cit.104.3], quoting the Sequence for Easter Sunday the Pope reminds us anew “Death with life contended: combat strangely ended! Life’s own champion, slain, yet lives to reign.” The Lamb who was slain is alive….He alone is master of all the events of history: He opens its “seals” [cf. Rev. 5:1-10] and proclaims, in time and beyond, the power of life over death. [Op.cit.105.1,2]

Saturday, January 27, 2018



The embedding within my heart and memory of the SHOAH, the holocaust, was as a small child when newspapers and magazines produced photographs of the starved, wide eyed with terror survivors and of the ovens, the piles of bodies and newsreels when I was somewhat older, my heart pierced by the images of children rolling up their sleeves to show the tattooed numbers, which, bluntly ‘thinged’ them, reduced them and their elders from human persons to disposal units of slave labour and worse: disposal sub-humans.

The arrival in the city, sometimes on what in those days were called ‘tramp steamers’, meaning they were at the bottom of the shipping pile, sometimes in Third Class on less than luxurious liners, between the end of the war and as late as 1951, of so called ‘displaced persons’ from Europe was a steady flow of the traumatized, the survivors, the widowed, the orphaned, the frightened.

There being virtually no impediments for even young boys to wander around the docks we would, if one of those vessels of human sorrow was unloading the broken seeking hope, seeking life without terror, go and watch and be overwhelmed because both the reality of what caused these men, women, children to be arriving and the obvious hatred which was the core cause, our little brains could not fully comprehend.

Later in life, before becoming a priest and after, I was humbled to learn in conversation with survivors, not just Jewish Brothers and Sisters but a priest from Poland who had himself been stenciled and put in a camp, what evil truly is, what evil does and how otherwise apparently sane human beings, with power, factually ersatz power but bloody destructive nonetheless, can do to their brothers and sisters.

Elie Wiesel [tattooed as A-7713] who survived both Auschwitz and Buchenwald writes: “Never shall I forget that night, that first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night….Never shall I forget that smoke…..{from his book NIGHT}

St. Maxmillian Kolbe did not survive, offering his own life in exchange for that of a young husband and father, who did survive.

Love is stronger than hate and is the victory, rooted for believers in God who is Love, for those who do not know Him rooted in simple faith in the foundational reality we are all human beings, each a person.

But, but, have we learned anything since the SHOAH and its six million slaughtered, since the horrors of WWII with its fifty million dead and additional tens of millions wounded, widowed, orphaned, displaced?

We live when the new normal is the violent hatred of Islamists spreading terror and death among fellow Muslims and throughout the world, when a nation ostensibly faithful to its Buddhist tradition, a religion which like Islam claims to be a religion of peace, slaughters the Rohingya and casts them out of their homeland; the new normal of not knowing when some hateful nut will plunge the world into nuclear war; the new normal when otherwise normal people elect governments which slaughter the unborn, allow the sick and elderly to be euthanized.

Today, with solemn ceremonies we make a show of remembering and honouring the victims of the SHOAH.

Yet our memory is selectively simplistic.

To remember means to learn from the remembering.

To honour the victims means never to ourselves be victimizers.

Each needs to look deep into our heart, especially those corners in shadow where lurks evil spirits of harsh judgement, rejection, hatred, a hunger for vengeance.

We need to ask Christ to purify our hearts that we exercise only the power of love, that we stop electing politicians who are anti-life, for their hands are overflowing with the blood of our brothers and sisters, blood which splashes on us each time we cast a ballot unless we choose life and vote accordingly.

73 years since.

Are we finally willing to learn?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018



Decades ago my then spiritual director told me he had been praying for me and heard in his heart from the Lord to tell me the Lord wanted me to do: “Exceedingly little things for love of Me!”

I should note that at the time I was pastor of three parishes, frequently giving missions in other parishes, giving lectures, writing, teaching – sort of big stuff, at least for a priest.

Learning to do little things, things that mostly go unnoticed, was/is a tough lesson to learn, to do, to trust.

Examples of the power of little from Scripture are numerous, among them, these from Jesus Himself: St. John tells us how Jesus used a little of His own spit and some earth to make mud and heal a man’s blindness [Jn.9:6ff], St. Luke tells us how Jesus took a few little fish and loaves of bread to feed thousands [Lk.9:16ff], St. Mark reveals to us the power of a cup of water [Mk.9:41ff], and St. Matthew reveals to us how we shall be judged upon little things like giving someone attention in various ways [Mt.25:31ff] – all examples and more of Jesus simplifying life for us to do little things, for each  other, thus for Him.

Long before I was a priest, I was on staff in a soup kitchen [ bus fare in those days was only 25 cents].

One day I observed and overheard a conversation between an elderly man and a very young man.

It was a bitterly cold winter day and the older man was going to take the bus to the shelter while the young man wanted to take the bus across the river for, he said, a chance for a job.

The old man said that all he had was 25 cents.

The young man was crestfallen.

The old man gave him his quarter – a little coin really.

Not everyone will ask for help, no matter how little the help they need may be.

However, big need or small need, if we are always waiting to be asked we will miss vital clues about need.

Yesterday I was on one of the smaller buses used on routes with not a lot of demand. One woman had been waiting at the stop with me and we had been chatting about family. When we boarded the bus, there was only one other passenger, an elderly woman.

When there was a pause in our conversation about family the other passenger said: “I have no one.”

Almost in unison the other woman and myself said: “We’re here, you have us.”

Awareness is the key to the power of the little.

Awareness of other.

If we are other aware, rather then predominately self-aware, then we will hear clearly, see clearly, and love’s imagination will reveal to us the myriad of little things we can do – and their power will do what it did for that woman on the bus: she smiled for she had been recognized, embraced as a person, included.

Saturday, January 13, 2018



Many years ago, a wonderful priest who, from the founding of his community until his death was the general superior, told me of getting a long and excruciatingly detailed letter from the superior of one of the congregation’s mission houses and how he had sent the letter back with this comment under the end of the letter: “You want to be God, job already taken!”

The other day I chuckled when Pope Francis told this old bromide in an address, one I have heard from other priests over the years:  An elderly woman came to confession and spent a long time listing the sins of others until finally she stopped expecting absolution. The gentle priest said to her: “Wonderful. Now that you have listed the sins of our neighbours, how about confessing your own!”

Ever listed God’s sins?

There is throughout the human family a dangerously dark, angry, violent tendency, today perhaps more than ever in human history, to judge, condemn, blame and when we do so, when we give into xenophobia, racism, blaming, rejecting we are factually accusing God of sin.

Since everyone is made in His image and likeness to evaluate, judge another human being is to accuse God of the sin of creating a flawed, broken, less than worthy of existence someone.

To objectively state that Islamist terrorists are doing evil acts is not only appropriate but shining a necessary light into the darkness – however to name an individual, be they a terrorist or……[choose one] – as evil is to usurp what is God’s alone, judging, for He alone sees what is the actual state of our hearts.

When I was working in the inner city, long before ordination, in a soup kitchen, there was a woman who even among the homeless was rejected, abused, because she was not just a prostitute but one totally lacking in any degree of self-respect.

Yet one day when a huge, drunk man was attacking me she used the only talent she had to distract him, lead him away, and literally saved my life, for I was being attacked by the man using a broken beer bottle, trying to slit my throat.

A few days later the police found her body in a ravine.

Jesus said of another woman, and I say in His Name of that woman, much has been forgiven her because she loved much [Lk.7:36-50] and indeed she showed, for me, that greater love of which Jesus tells us [Jn.15:13].

Globally everyone in the 21st century is reading back into history to find reasons why everyone outside our own group is to blame for all our groups’ perceived wounds, frustrations, etc., etc.

While objectively in the past one group did do horrible things to another, to be in bondage to blame and unceasingly demanding some form of compensation/redress ultimately is wasted energy and simply prevents any form of healing or reconciliation – be it unfolding within groups, between nations, religions, within families etc.

Our time and energy, our love and creative energies are better spent discovering how we can heal internally, that is within the group, between nations, within marriage and family, etc., indeed be healed ourselves.

The way is found within the Person of Christ, within the Gospel, within the moral and social teachings of the Church.

No amount of changing of laws, no amount of money will heal one single wound.

Only love is strong enough, creative enough, generous enough to heal and renew.

Nations do it, religions do it, populations regarding government do it, management does it, workers do it, spouses, parents, children, siblings, neighbours, friends, even we against ourselves do it: judge, blame, reject, wallow in unrelenting stress and an ever growing disconnect from love, peace, unity, all because we fail to head Christ’s admonition and warning about the consequences of judging and judgement: Matthew 7:2 & Luke 6:37.

We need to rediscover the difference between objective observation, for example Islamic terrorism is evil and therefore must end, and judgement: naming so and so as an evil person.

Only when, with putting on the eyes of Christ, I see other as one like myself, beloved child of God who is love, will true healing and reconciliation be possible.

The objective observation [the polar opposite of judgement] is necessary if we are to identify and respond as needed to any threat to human beings/society – thus we all need to re-learn and live out, without compromise, both the entire Gospel and the teachings of the Church, such as in Bl. Pope Paul’s Humane Vitae and St. John Paul’s The Gospel of Life.

Failure to do so, and quickly, means we are persistently, all along the way poisonously, angrily judging and condemning, heading towards and off the proverbial cliff, only this time our whole civilization will crash and burn. [Lk. 13: 1-5]


Sunday, December 24, 2017



In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn….{Lk. 2: 1, 4-7} In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it……And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us….{Jn. 1:1-5 & 14}

St. Luke gives the name of the place, how it came to be, that Mary and Joseph found shelter in a cave where Jesus is born and laid in a manger.

St. John notes further that Jesus makes His dwelling among us.

St. John Chrysostom in a Christmas homily calls us to: Behold a new and wonderous mystery.

How then do we behold this new, wonderous mystery of where, why is Christ born?

By going into the depths, as swimming deep in the ocean, way below the surface, where rays of sunlight still penetrate and where, in a sense, we are both in the living waters and bathed in light.

His dwelling among us is more, much more, than ‘among us’ as we are among others on a crowded train, busy street.

Sunlight penetrates skin, air permeates our lungs and blood.

It is in this permeating, indwelling sense that Christ IS born among us.

Mary, Joseph, and the newborn Jesus, were homeless, forced from their home and town by government edit.

Jesus is born among, and within the manger-heart of every human person, be it during war, ethic cleansing, famine, or other disaster, who is forcibly uprooted and rendered homeless or in a refugee camp.

In His life among us He experiences hard work, poverty, calumny, rejection, betrayal, false accusation, hunger, thirst, such extreme mental anguish He sheds blood, experiences abuse, torture, execution, burial.

Therefore, He is born within the manger-heart of everyone who is bullied, lied about, rejected for whatever reason, of each person who is exhausted by hard work, including those in consecration and labour camps, forced as children to work as slaves or child soldiers; He is born within the manger-heart of every abused woman, man, child, within those hidden places of human suffering in isolation cells, mental health wards, ICU’s and hospices, prison cells, the deep loneliness of orphanages, old age homes, the dank, dark dangerous alleys where hearts painfully beat under cardboard boxes, in the cold, there, there He is excited to be born.

The manger-hearts of those suffering mental illness alone, perhaps in denial, addictions of all sorts or having to sell themselves to have food or the illusory comfort of some momentary connection; in the always at risk manger-hearts of the watchmen in the military, police forces, fire departments, ambulance services: here too He is passionate to be born.

There is no condition of any human heart, no place on earth, where He is not amongst us as surely as Our Lady places Him in the manger and St. Joseph watches over Him.

The human heart: this IS where Christ is born.

O ineffable grace. The Only Begotten, Who is before all ages…..has now put on my body…..that I may be capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares me for the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit, that He may save me. {St. John Chrysostom}

Thursday, December 07, 2017



I have been struggling to write this for some time.

Then when I awoke early this morning this northern city was blanketed by such a thick fog and ice crystals you could not see across the street and I understood we are indeed as a civilization around the world, the whole human family, desperately trying to find our way, yes to do battle, in a fog of ideological war thicker even than we understand and even more poisonous than the smog which has engulfed Delhi for weeks now.

Ask most people what are, the greatest threats to civilization and at least part of their answer will include Islamist terrorists, economic stress, overall anxiety.

The greatest threat, is relativism, the child of poisonous philosophies dating back to the so-called Age of Enlightenment.

Relativism has so permeated civilization, even to a certain extent infected Christianity, that the danger to our cultural, intellectual, political, economic and faith lives is a clear and present danger.

Unpack any aspect of what has so many millions and millions of people stressed, fearful, virtually hopeless and you will find the destructive virus, the poisoning bacteria of relativism in its many variations.

 Some terms:

Fog of war is that fearful confusion and uncertainty experienced in the chaos of battle.

The roots of the current fog of war and chaos throughout human society, of the fear, anger, shouting which disables hearing other, let alone listening dispassionately to their point of view, which may change nothing but at least is honest communication, those roots are sourced deep, and millennia ago, reaching their culmination in the age of so-called enlightenment.

Enlightenment stresses individualism and human reason rather than tradition. The Achilles heal of this approach is it uproots us from the acquired wisdom of the past, opens the door to destructive philosophies such as utilitarianism, fragments family and society and leads to the current climate where the “I” as my rights, or my group’s, trump everyone else’s.

Flowing from the so-called age of enlightenment, comes liberalism, whose prime tenet is tolerance, but is applied in ways which lead to the radicalism of intolerance.

A prime aspect of the liberalism society: humanism which attaches primary importance to the so-called autonomous self. Liberalism, without even listening to counter argument/objective truth, asserts there is no place for the divine, that is the existence of God and His Law, thus humanists’ base everything on the conviction that the rational and autonomous self is ultimately the arbiter of everything, hence mantras such as: “That may be true for you but not for me!”

In the Renaissance period there were some scholars who attempted a form of Christian humanism, but this is self-contradictory for one is either a Christian, thus one who believes in the Divine and follows His Law, or one is a humanist who refuses to be bound by God or the things of God.

Erasmus tried to bridge the divide with his notion of via media, thereby irritating both sides! Via media means moderation, leading ultimately to compromise, in all thoughts and actions. Via media, the so-called middle way, had a certain popularity among some Christians until around the turn from the 19th to the 20th century and had a brief revival in the 1960’s.

Can there be, however, for faithful Christians any form of via media, one that is a non-compromising center?

Yes, and it is to be right there with Christ on the Cross, centered in Him.

If we are centered on and in Christ, rooted in the Gospel of life, we will neither fail to defend the sacredness of life, for example, from the womb to the tomb, nor deny compassionate understanding for those on either extreme of the issues at hand.

Compassion means a willingness to understand the pain of other, to dispassionately dialogue with them, to walk with them, as Jesus with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, as long as is needed for conversion of heart to take place.

Then there is conservative/conservatism : the people who embrace conservative social, political, economic, religious ideals drive the liberal side absolutely nuts.

When the two groups encounter each other rarely is there a dispassionate conversation about ideas, in fact at its mildest the encounter results in each side trying to out scream the other, at its worst riots ensue.

An authentic conservative is a person with a deep understanding of the human person, of objective moral truth, compassion for the poor, understanding for those suffering any form of discrimination, is a person who exercises political and economic wisdom but who is portrayed by the liberal media and their fellow travelers as emotional Neanderthals, as the guilty party for every ill in human affairs since Adam was a little boy.

Conservatives understand history in its length, complexity, its unfolding. Liberals do too, unfortunately they are more likely to cherry pick and seek to re-write history, which is disingenuous at best, a type of ‘fake news’ at its worst, to sustain their so-called progressive agenda.

Both sides need to learn dispassionate communication/dialogue skills: the liberal mentality blames all human ills on Christianity, for example, and then goes apoplectic when a conservative wins an election; conservatives blame all absence of morals, societal ills, jobs losses on liberals and likewise go apoplectic when some liberal wins an election.

Blaming hurts, blaming angers, blaming closes the mind and heart to dialogue.

Both sides do it.

The chasm grows ever wider, ever deeper, the fog ever thicker.

There is also nihilism which at its core is the rejection of all principles, religious and moral, which leads to people living lives of not so quiet, but truly hopeless, materialist, hedonistic desperation.

Exhaustingly searching for meaning, a search flawed by its very nature, for the search is conducted within a maze of philosophical ideas, quick fix systems, wherein the individuals on this search are simultaneously bent towards themselves and split, as it were walking beside themselves, for unable to accept the splendid truth that they have neither self-created their beings, nor can self-sustain existence, they wander the maze of each day ever more distant from themselves and the splendour of truth, the fullness of life, existence, the inexhaustibility of experiencing the constancy of Love Himself who creates and sustains us, calls us to communion of love with Himself always seeking us, seeking leave to allow Him entry into our being as life itself, the way of life, as truth.

The very evil child spawned by all the others, a type of philosophical slurry permeating, poisoning, engulfing civilization, one human heart, one human soul, one human mind, one human will at a time until we find ourselves living in the darkness and death, the fearful confusion, the disintegrating of contemporary civilization, headed towards a catastrophe beyond imagining: Relativism: this notion/idea has morphed from mere philosophy into the dominate doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute!

Hence: cognitive, moral [ethical if you wish], situational, dogmatic relativism:

Cognitive relativism:   cognitive refers to relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (such as thinking, reasoning, or remembering): based on or capable of being reduced to empirical factual knowledge. It should be noted there is a serious weakness therein:  “Cognitive dissonance”, a psychological term describing the uncomfortable tension that may result from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time; engaging in behavior that conflicts with one's beliefs, and is prevalent among our contemporaries: for example, those who profess they are Catholic YET go along with things society accepts but which contradict revealed, objective truth such as direct abortion, the evil of murdering a defenceless, pre-born human being.

This dissonance is the natural offspring of cognitive relativism, which affirms that all truth is relative to the individual person.

As this prevails within the mindset of a society no ‘system’ of truth can possibly be more authentic than any other, nor have more influence than any other, so inevitably society/civilization finds itself without any universal standard of truth and so what follows is, name any field: religion, politics, economics, philosophy, etc., etc., is the predominance of having no understanding of consequences/responsibility/ because the entitled/self-centered-self “I” dominates, devoid of any ability to understand “other” as one like myself. Ultimately then comes the denial of God who is Himself absolute truth and within that denial of God and of objective truth comes the complete loss of any understanding of the true self and our place within the human family, on this earth, in this cosmos.

Moral relativism: this reduces moral choices/ethical choices, to those relative to the consensus of the group, such as political parties or extremists of one hue or another, in which these choices are formed and found, hence moral relativism does not, indeed cannot, admit of any moral/ethical code or behaviour which could be accepted as universal in its principles or choices.

Situational Relativism: The rather over simplified definition of situational relativism/ethics declares it is the situation which determines the morality, the rightness or wrongness, of the choice a person makes. Existentialists, like Kierkegaard, as well as others like Sartre and Heidegger pushed this situational type of ethics and, frankly unfortunately as with humanism, presuming the best of intentions, some Christian scholars, such as Bultmann, Niebuhr, Bonhoeffer, asserting the priority of ‘agape’ as the litmus test for choice, suggest therefore a Christian form of situational relativism/ethics.

It is true Jesus gives us the Great Commandment, the summation and fullness of all commandants, that we are to love God, love one another, as we love ourselves, which means to love self as God loves me.

All true love is visible in action.

Situational ethicists, who claim to be Christian, claim situational relativism is justified by their appeal to the ancient tradition of agape.

Agape, from the Greek and adopted early in the life of Christianity as that highest of all forms of charity must, as is the reality of true love, be other directed: God’s love for us, our love for God, our love for one another, for love is self-gift to other.

Therefore, there must be, of necessity, a clear and immutable code/law of love which trumps every situation.

This means asking for the gifts of prudence, discernment, truth-thinking, from the Holy Spirit.

Finally, and a false theory which facilitates among Christians in particular, relativism in all it forms, there is dogmatic relativism:  Those who espouse this theory assert that all the dogmas of the Christian faith are time- and circumstance-conditioned as if God’s self-revelation was not completed in the age of the Apostles but somehow is ongoing and thus this theory completely negates the teaching authority of the Church.

Yes, there are potentially many things which threaten individuals, societies, civilization and the human family, from plagues to terrorism and wars and a plethora of others.

What, truly, is the greatest threat to us as individuals and as the community of nations, to civilization itself?

External threats, albeit with immense suffering, death, trauma, we human beings have shown, do show, an extraordinary capacity to deal with them, to come to the rescue of one another.

It is rather the internal threat, that is what threatens our capacity for rational thought, for wisdom in choice, for peace of mind, heart, soul, which poses the most pernicious, and difficult to confront danger.

It is, like an ever-thickening fog, ever deepening darkness, ever spreading wave of death, revealing how millions of people, indeed entire societies are either not confronting the evil or apparently are unaware/ chose to ignore this reality, because of not being open to the wisdom of God, exemplified in the person and teachings of Christ and the constant reiterating of His Person and teachings by the Church.

This dangerous threat clearly is relativism in all its forms for fundamentally relativism, including situational and dogmatic relativism is foundationally atheistic, diametrically opposed to Christianity.

Take the matter of the blasphemous use of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, a stable utterance for decades in innumerable films, television series, novels.

While the left is obsessed with its rather fluid concept of so-called Islamophobia, it allows for no such assertion about those who attack Christianity.

Ever wonder, why those same people never utter the name of Mohamed in such a way?

No doubt they are smart enough to know if they did so, they would likely, and quite literally, loose their heads.

So, how to we find our way, safely, through the fog, out of the poisonous darkness of the culture of death?

As a boy growing up in one of the major seaports of this world I was used to the sound of foghorns, the circling lights of the lighthouses when the fog was thick or the seas rougher than usual.

These guides for ships to keep them safely away from being smashed against rocky shores, or stranded, immobile, on a sand bar, serve as a reminder we, in the fog of war and the darkness of the culture of death, have beacons and a voice to guide us: Christ our Light Himself and His words, and the beacon of the Church and Her teachings.

From the treasury of the Gospels and the Church:

Jesus says: “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” [Jn. 8:12]

Matthew 5: 1-16 is that part of the Sermon on the Mount which is the one side of the template for authentic agape, indeed St. Augustine says: “If any one will piously and soberly consider the sermon which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke on the mount, as we read it in the Gospel according to Matthew, I think that he will find in it, so far as regards the highest morals, a perfect standard of the Christian life: and this we do not rashly venture to promise, but gather it from the very words of the Lord Himself. For the sermon itself is brought to a close in such a way, that it is clear there are in it all the precepts which go to mould the life. For thus He speaks: Therefore, whosoever hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that hears these words of mine, and does them not, I will liken unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. Since, therefore, He has not simply said, Whosoever hears my words, but has made an addition, saying, Whosoever hears these words of mine, He has sufficiently indicated, as I think, that these sayings which He uttered on the mount so perfectly guide the life of those who may be willing to live according to them, that they may justly be compared to one building upon a rock. I have said this merely that it may be clear that the sermon before us is perfect in all the precepts by which the Christian life is moulded…..” {Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount}

The other side of the authentic agape template is found in Matthew 25:35-40, where Jesus tells us “I was hungry, etc. and you fed me….”

To appreciate what Jesus teaches us, to live it out, we also need to heed St. Paul, especially in our day and age: “See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ.” [Col.2:8]

“Called to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, "the true light that enlightens everyone" (Jn 1:9), people become "light in the Lord" and "children of light" (Eph 5:8), and are made holy by "obedience to the truth" (1 Pet 1:22). This obedience is not always easy. As a result of that mysterious original sin, committed at the prompting of Satan, the one who is "a liar and the father of lies" (Jn 8:44), man is constantly tempted to turn his gaze away from the living and true God in order to direct it towards idols (cf. 1 Thes 1:9), exchanging "the truth about God for a lie" (Rom 1:25). Man's capacity to know the truth is also darkened, and his will to submit to it is weakened. Thus, giving himself over to relativism and scepticism (cf. Jn 18:38), he goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself……. No one can escape from the fundamental questions: What must I do? How do I distinguish good from evil? The answer is only possible thanks to the splendour of the truth which shines forth deep within the human spirit, as the Psalmist bears witness: "There are many who say: 'O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord' " (Ps 4:6). The light of God's face shines in all its beauty on the countenance of Jesus Christ, "the image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15), the "reflection of God's glory" (Heb 1:3), "full of grace and truth" (Jn 1:14). Christ is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6). Consequently the decisive answer to every one of man's questions, his religious and moral questions in particular, is given by Jesus Christ, or rather is Jesus Christ himself…..” [from the encyclical of St. John Paul: The Splendour of Truth]

“A misguided anthropocentrism leads to a misguided lifestyle. In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I noted that the practical relativism typical of our age is “even more dangerous than doctrinal relativism”. When human beings place themselves at the centre, they give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative. Hence we should not be surprised to find, in conjunction with the omnipresent technocratic paradigm and the cult of unlimited human power, the rise of a relativism which sees everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests.” [excerpted from Laudatio Si by Pope Francis]

“How many winds of doctrine we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many fashions of thought? The small boat of thought of many Christians has often remained agitated by the waves, tossed from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, etc…..Every day new sects are born and we see realized what St. Paul says on the deception of men, on the cunning that tends to lead into error (cf. Ephesians 4:14). To have a clear faith, according to the creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of “doctrine,” seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the “I” and its whims as the ultimate measure.” [excerpted from then Cardinal Ratzinger’s homily at the opening of the conclave which elected him as pope, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI]