Why liberals should listen to the pope

I am always amazed at how nearly universal is the poor reception the Pope gets from liberal elites. The man is one of the greatest living intellects in the world. He is careful, patient and charitable. He holds various positions (political and cultural) that liberals typically embrace. To boot, he is from the haunts (academia) of so many of his most outspoken critics. But none of this seems to cut through the latent anti-Catholic biases of secularists, nor override the absolute status of their sexual ideologies.
But I hope that, as the Pope comes to England (which is arguably not only the most post-Christian state in Europe but also the most openly hostile to Christianity), liberals will manage to listen to one of the central messages of his papacy – the dangers of the “dictatorship of relativism”.
This article makes the point.
“Moral relativism has become a kind of intellectual disease, weakening the vitality and self-confidence of Europe and the west. Left unchecked, it will destroy us, because it removes our power to resist the distortion of our values, erosion of our liberty and, ultimately, threats to our democratic way of life.
To Britons, schooled in scepticism, this can seem alien, obscure, even threatening. Yet, as an intellectual, Pope Benedict believes that ideas have consequences and that bad ideas can lead to the crushing of the individual. These themes are central to his papacy and will, without question, inform what he says during his visit.
Speaking on the weekend when we officially celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain will be deeply symbolic. He knows that the triumph of British freedom assisted his liberation as a German. His message will be clear: the conscience of the individual is the foundation of democracy. Even those who are not Catholic should welcome the Pope’s state visit to Britain and leave any unexamined anti-Catholic prejudice where it belongs – in the decayed ghettos of Glasgow or the dreary backstreet murals of Ulster.”

About Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.
This entry was posted in Catholic thought/religion/culture, Polis (politics, culture). Bookmark the permalink.

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