The Crisis of Truth I


Let me begin the discussion of Truth by disclosing three examples of individuals who have trouble with the truth.

[1] Some time ago, a [traditional] bishop came calling unexpectedly. We eventually went out to breakfast and began discussing various Church related matters. When it came to the question of who can or cannot receive Holy Communion, he stated: “I give Communion to anyone in church because if they think that they’re Catholic, then they are.”

[2] I was visiting the home of some of our parishioners when in a discussion with an older lady, who is 90 years old, told me that she held a grudge toward me because I told her “that the truth is not dependent upon her feelings.” “What else is there but feelings?” she asked.

[3] Years ago, a women asked to speak to me after Sunday Mass. She was very upset that from the pulpit I said that the Catholic Faith is the one true Faith. She said that she had never heard this before, and accused me of fostering a “cult of self.” “It’s all about you,” she declared. She was just a few years younger than myself.

Over the years it has become increasingly clear to me that the problem in the world, the Church, and in American society is not really one of faith exactly, but a problem of REASON—its a crisis of philosophical first principles. Put another way, it’s a crisis of a breakdown of the logic of correct thinking that leads to Truth.

Where did this begin? Well, with Original Sin humanity became estranged from God, and therefore from the Truth, so it really began in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command, which is a violation of the Truth, is it not? They put fig leaves on themselves so as to keep their sin hidden from themselves as well as God, but God knew the truth and found them out anyway. Of course!
This problem accentuated massively beginning with the period of the Enlightenment, [c.1685-1815] the hallmark of which was characterized by “the turn to the subject.”

The three scenarios depicted above, in relatively small ways, manifest this phenomenon of turning to the subject in form that is typical of the world presently. It brought us the Protestant Revolt, and the general revolt against God, creation, and reason that we see all around us today.

And so, once again, issues of social justice are not at the forefront of the problems we confront.
It is, rather, for want of truth that the world suffers. For without truth, there can be no justice.
Truth, simply understood, is conformity to what is real, not woke imposition of the unreal…
Nor does one need to have read Thomas Aquinas to know this. Anyone with half a brain can
intuit the principle laid down by the Common Doctor seven centuries ago: “Truth is the correspondence of the mind and reality…” There can be no advantage therefore, in anyone having the right to be wrong. To insist that two plus two equals five is not a right exercise, of which any sentient human being ought to defend. To believe otherwise amounts to a deliberate stupidity, which is how the late Bernard Lonergan, SJ once described sin.

From an essay by Regis Martin in Crisis Magazine, January 5, 2022

To be continued next week.