Here is one academic definition of the “themes” of postmodernism:
no unified postmodern social theory; conflicting notions of the postmodern; defined more by what is rejected; tendency toward relativism and nihilism.
Here is part of Cardinal Ratztinger’s homily, delivered yesterday in the Vatican:
How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking…The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and “swept along by every wind of teaching”, looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today’s standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.
However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an “Adult” means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today’s fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature.
Maturity, for an institution 2,000 years old, probably isn’t realized until the end of the first millenium or so. Whether one believes in it or not, agrees with it or not, the faith of ages gathered at the Vatican laughs at political labels, poll numbers, focus groups, and every transient thing. It aims at eternity.
To Pope Benedict XVI, a hearty welcome from us all, urbi et orbi. May he prove as great a friend of freedom as his predecessor.