Truths You Can Use

Truths You Can Use


What the New Pope Can Learn From C.S. Lewis

The new pope, Francis, faces enormous challenges. As a rabbi, I can’t offer specific advice on doctrine or practice It would not only be audacious, but meaningless for me to suggest liturgical or clerical reforms that might help the church fulfill its mission. 

What I can do is reference a Christian writer from whom I have learned a great deal. He is a writer familiar to many because of his famous children’s book series, The Chronicles of Narnia. He was also a profound and influential religious thinker.

The book I have in mind for Pope Francis to read is The Abolition of Man. It is Lewis’s protest against moral relativism. Relativism is the belief that all moral claims are relative, and we can’t say that one system is better than any other. It is the default worldview for many in the West today.

How the Pope Can Transform the Conversation

As the paramount religious figure in the world, even though he only represents Catholics, the Pope can be a voice challenging moral relativism. He can challenge secular values not with a sectarian desire to convert the world to one particular religion.

Rather, he can speak about essential moral principles. Our survival may depend on it. Here is what he can learn from Lewis, who called these shared principles The Tao

1. Societies depend on basic communal laws: These include the prohibition of murder, of theft, and the love of neighbor. These values help prevent social deterioration. 

2. Societies depend on the basic family unit: We give greater love to certain individuals: our spouse, our children, our extended family. We owe them more than we owe others. The stability and maintenance of families is a broad moral concern on which the Pope can speak in non-divisive way.

3. Societies depend on basic personal virtues: We need to do a better job of teaching character formation. Honesty, generosity, and kindness are virtues religion can inculcate in children and adults. Without them, the world we inherited from our parents and grandparents will not last long.

May Pope Francis embrace the opportunity to not only be a voice for the Catholic Church, but a teacher and voice to all those who care about the presence of God in the world.

To see Rabbi Moffic’s new book, click here.



Previous Posts

Why We Still Love Fiddler on the Roof After 50 Years
As I child I could not sit through movies or meals. Sitting through a musical was out of the question. Yet, when I was seven, my parents decided to take me to see Fiddler on the Roof. Looking back now as parent of a seven-year-old, I would not have been so bold. Since that first experienc

posted 6:59:14pm Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

The Secret to Healing From Pain
I sat with the two children of a mother who had just passed away. They were recounting her life for me in preparation for the funeral. As we spoke, the mother’s long-time caretaker came into the room. She began to speak about their relationship. Though her English was not perfect, the three

posted 12:35:43pm Sep. 10, 2014 | read full post »

Do You Know What Hurts Me? A Story
  A great rabbi went into a bar. He overheard a conversation between patrons.   One said to the other, “Friend, do you love me?” “Of course I do,” the second man replied. “We’ve known each other our whole lives.”   “Then tell me, friend,” said the first man, “

posted 1:01:07pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Does Religion Cause War?
Deadly images on television tear at our heart. We wish for the violence in Israel to end. This land, sacred to three global religions, seems endlessly mired in conflict. Does religion just

posted 12:36:26pm Aug. 17, 2014 | read full post »

The Healing Power of Laughter: The Jewish Genius of Robin Williams
In Jewish tradition we have a special greeting for a genius. Upon meeting such a person, we say, Blessed are You, Eternal God, Source of Life, who has given from His wisdom to flesh and blood.  Had I ever met Robin Williams, I would surely have said it. Williams was a singular genius. He brought

posted 2:26:21pm Aug. 12, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.