While addressing graduates from the University of the Incarnate Word, Most Rev. José H. Gomez, Archbishop of San Antonio, noted how education isn’t just about professional knowledge, but the knowledge that upholds truth. He also discussed the importance of maintaining the truth in a society filled with relativistic ideals and policies.
Explaining that education does not mean enlightenment, the archbishop drew a comparison of today’s society with the attitude of Pontius Pilate when he questioned Jesus Christ.
"Pilate was not uneducated. But he was educated in such a way that he could not recognize the truth—even when the truth was standing right in front of him." He continued, "Our society today is a lot like Pontius Pilate—it doesn’t recognize the truth. …Our culture believes instead that there are many truths—as many different truths as there are individuals, and that it’s wrong to try to decide or judge among these."
He also alluded to the concept of the "dictatorship of relativism," and how as a result the society "not only allows evils such as abortion, it also protects them under law."
"[Believing that truth is relative] sounds like a very fair and reasonable way to live in a free society where there are many different religions, lifestyles, and points of view. But in practice: when nothing is true, everything is permitted."
After this, Archbishop Gomez spoke about the graduates’ role in restoring society’s values:
"My friends, part of what God is calling you to do with your higher education is to restore the sense of truth to our society—especially the truth about the sanctity and dignity of human life." He continued, "You have to help our society see that truths and moral absolutes do exist. That the truth is always true, no matter whether any one believes it or not. That we need to conform our lives—and our laws—to these truths."
Furthermore, he mentioned the world’s need for "great scientists who are also true believers. Who can help us to understand and appreciate the beauty of creation. Who can help us to discover new treatments for illness and disease. But who remain humble enough to know that there are many things we can’t know by reason and the scientific method alone."
He concluded his speech highlighting the importance of each individual in the struggle to serve society, and also the necessity of not basing one’s life in his or her career, but on the path to true enlightenment.
"Our world needs you, and God has things that he wants you to do. I pray that you will always remember that your life is far more than a career track. It is a journey with Jesus to see God."