The erosion of “absolute truth” in American society is a growing problem. For the past few weeks, I have been reflecting upon this in the wake of a bold statement made by President Obama during his second inauguration address. He said that we must not “mistake absolutism for principle.” On the surface, this might seem like a benign or even acceptable statement to Americans. It’s not. Those four words from our president suggest that we should reject absolutes. Furthermore, he is alluding that the principles (beliefs that beckon action) by which you choose to live your life should not affect that of others. It’s like you deciding to call the color “red” by a new name “green” just because that is the “personal principle” by which you’d like to live your life. Moreover, it is beyond ridiculous to think that it is not going to affect your relationship with others. An example: We are walking through a garden on a spring day and I mention to you how nice the green leaves look. In response, you say to me, “where I don’t see any ‘green’ leaves?” This is because you are really looking for red (absolute). To make any semblance of sense you must explain that you are now calling the color “red” by a new name “green” and give me some bogus explanation as to why you are rejecting the absolute (red). Still think this doesn’t affect your relationship with others? Absolutes are necessary for society to function properly.
The scariest part, however, about the masses and masses of people rejecting the truth in society today is that it makes the truth harder to find. There are many people of all ages searching for the truth and not finding it, but rather stumbling upon and sifting through people and organizations driven by “personal principles” and being led further astray. You don’t have to look very far to see it; check out our coffee shops, advertising agencies, doctors’ offices, department stores, and homes. We as Catholics know with certainty that the Magisterium of the Church faithfully protects this “sacred deposit” of faith and truth. Even though this clear and distinct voice will not be muted by worldly pressures, souls are still adrift and hearts are still yearning to know the truth. It is us then, the faithful, that must unwaveringly rise, stand on the authority of the Church and proclaim with all the saints and powers in heaven the eternal truths that direct the heart to God.