Building the culture of life

Column: How do we break the grip of moral relativism?

Ron Kelsey is the archdiocesan consultant for the pro-life office. You can email him at: or call him at (913) 647-0350.

Ron Kelsey is the archdiocesan consultant for the pro-life office. You can email him at: or call him at (913) 647-0350.

by Ron Kelsey

Have you noticed that many times we make poor decisions when we do not think them through thoroughly?

We are even more at risk of a poor decision if we make it when being unduly influenced by our emotions. And yet making a poor decision is a very predictable common outcome given our society’s acceptance of moral relativism, whereby everyone’s decisions tend to be based upon a set of values that depends only upon one’s individual opinions and feelings.

There are no absolute rights and wrongs and therefore little need for objective thinking . . . or even God. One is tempted to think that one cannot make a mistake, since all values are personal and relative. Such thinking leads to disastrous decisions. Perhaps the evil of moral relativism could be simply summed up as: my will, not God’s will.

Moral relativism has certainly been a significant contributor to our current culture of death and darkness, leading to such evils as pervasive legalized killing of innocent unborn babies. Thus our embrace of this flawed value system is truly a fatal embrace that leads to death and which continues to expand into other areas of our lives, such as embryonic stem-cell research, in-vitro fertilization, assisted suicide and euthanasia, etc.

So how do we break the grip of this fatal embrace? One of our first steps should be to embrace humility, whereby we acknowledge our dependence upon God.

Unfortunately, we are not a humble people and we often foolishly rely exclusively on our own abilities. I am reminded about God telling Moses that the Jews were a “stiff-necked” people (donkeys are also stiff-necked and stubborn) and stiff-necked surely applies to us today as it did to our forefathers. We must embrace humility in order to loosen our stiff necks, reduce our stubbornness and become more disposed to follow Jesus and align our will with God’s will.

So how do we embrace humility? The first stirrings of our heart, our inmost being, must be toward God. And God has placed a hunger for him in our hearts so that we need only to earnestly seek him and he will give us the graces, including humility, that we need to find him and follow him.

With humility as a foundational virtue, we will be able to exercise the gifts of reason and faith. Reason and faith, exercised with a properly formed conscience, will never arrive at decisions leading to death but, rather, will lead us to choose to life and love.

So let us ask our Blessed Mother to intercede for us and follow her perfect example of humility and then heed her words: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).

About the author

Ron Kelsey

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