Bishop Relates “Dictatorship of Relativism” at U.S. National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Mass media fingered as "accomplices to those who govern the Dictatorship of Relativism"
Thu Apr 13, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST

by Hilary White

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2006 ( – Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin defined the parameters of the “dictatorship of relativism” at the third annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, April 7. The annual event is an initiative of some faithful US lay Catholics after the model of the Protestant version that has been a feature of US presidential life for fifty years.

Bishop Morlino elaborated on the phrase made famous by then-Cardinal Ratzinger on the eve of his election as Pope Benedict XVI, “the dictatorship of relativism.”

Morlino refrained from naming any political names as the “junta who govern this dictatorship” but did point the finger squarely at the mass media, who, he said, are “generally accomplices to those who govern the Dictatorship of Relativism.”

Responding to his own question, “what weapons are contained in the arsenal of these Dictators,” Morlino said, “inconsistency in civil law,” that rules that “human life is precious when someone thinks it is…and when that life is deemed not to have value, then it is expendable.”

“This kind of gross inconsistency is not questioned in our society, but is taken for granted with serenity.”

Morlino pointed to the same kind of inconsistency in language with the prevalence in media of the use of euphemisms, which he said, is perhaps “best captured by the use of the term ‘late term abortion.’ This term covers up the fact that a partially born human being is brutally murdered in the process of being born.”

As for the term “pro-choice,” Morlino said, “I’ve never heard anyone defend a pro-choice position with regard to bank robbery…Pro-choice is a euphemism that causes us to forget the baby.”

“We are at the point where, because of in vitro fertilization, surrogate motherhood and what flows from that, we are no longer sure what the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ mean. In some cases there is the genetic mother, the gestational mother, and the mother who actually raises the child to adulthood.”

“The dictatorship of relativism gains strength from the outrageous manipulation of language, and if we are to overcome this dictatorship with true democracy, we’re going to have to regain control of the use of language so as to point to objective truth.”

The bishop offered a solution: “to seek the embodiment of natural law in the civil law.”

Read the full text of Morlino’s speech:

Read related coverage:
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