Today Pope Francis addressed diplomats from around the world accredited to the Holy See. Touching on what can already be considered a main theme of his pontificate—the need to care for the poor and suffering among us—he also discussed a topic that was among the defining points of his predecessor’s pontificate: the hazards of a “dictatorship of relativism,” which Francis described as the “spiritual poverty of our time.”
“But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the ‘dictatorship of relativism,’ which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples.
And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace is everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.”
The full text of Francis’ remarks to the diplomatic corps can be read here.