Latest newsletter #154 Click to read online

Natural Law versus Cultural Relativism

While Christians and those living in democratic countries should always be willing to dialogue with those holding different political or religious views, a major problem for "realists" as Endeavour Forum supporters are (as distinct from feminists) is that our opponents, whether they be "progressives" or Islamists, is that neither shares our belief that there is such a thing as "Natural Law". Progressives and Islamists may have nothing else in common, but they are united in rejection of any notion of Natural Law.

If one points out to a progressive - translate "progressive" to include left-wingers, atheists, socialists, marxists, feminists, small-L liberals etc - that murder, like stabbing a stranger in the heart with a sharp knife, is objectively wrong, they will reluctantly concede that yes, that is wrong, but that is an extreme exception. The Islamist will only say it might be wrong because Allah forbids it and if the stranger is an infidel then all bets are off.... Progressives, who subscribe to the culture of relativism, would qualify all other crimes, such as theft, by pontificating on the status of the thief - was he disadvantaged, discriminated against, member of a victimminority group etc, etc.

In contrast, orthodox Christians and realists know that "Natural Law" is embedded in the souls and minds of human beings in the form of a conscience. That is why lie detector machines work by identifying physiological responses when the individual being tested gives an untruthful response. The individual knows he/she is lying and that this is wrong; their physical responses give them away - unless they have practised how to beat the machine.

We are most fortunate that His Eminence, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Vatican's Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, will be visiting Australia and that he has chosen as the topic of his talk for the Melbourne Regional Event of the World Congress of Families on 30th August "Natural Law and Conscience: Key to Freedom and to the Integrity of Marriage and the Family".

While he was Archbishop of St. Louis in the USA and since, Cardinal Burke has been an outstanding defender both of Natural Law principles and of Catholic doctrine. While other bishops have been timid, Cardinal Burke has not been afraid to say that Catholic politicians who enthusiastically promote abortion rights should not present themselves to receive Holy Communion. This is not being "judgmental" - if you want to belong to a club, you obey the rules of the club or lose your membership.

In June 2013 Cardinal Burke warned that the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn a key provision of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA - which barred "married" homosexuals from receiving federal benefits) is another step down a path that leads to the destruction of American culture. He said that the ruling's lack of respect for the good order which God has placed in nature, especially human nature, will eventually destroy our culture. He urged US citizens to "reawaken and insist on respect for human life and also for the integrity of the marital union".

On January 11, 2014 there was a public demonstration in the Piazza Santi Apostoli led by “Manif pour Tous—Italia”, in defense of the natural family and against the approval of a law concerning homophobia, now in discussion in the Parliament. The purpose of the demonstration was to safeguard freedom of thought and opinion (Article 21 in the Italian Constitution), and to safeguard the natural family, of which the Constitution speaks in Articles 29, 30 and 32, based on marriage between a man and a woman. Manif pour tous- Italia is the fledgling Italian version of the French Manif pour tous, that filled French streets with millions of profamily demonstrators in 2013. Journalist, Marco Tosatte, commented on his blog on “La Stampa”, of all the Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals that fill the city of Rome, there was only one who was present at the demonstration: the American Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke.

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