Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | May 12, 2008

What is Tolerance?

As all of you know there are 2 types of Law: The Natural Law, that is to say the Law that one can understand based on reason alone, and the Revealed Law, that which comes to us in Divine Revelation.

An Objective fact is one that does not contradict Natural Law and the Revealed Law. (more on this shortly).
A subjective opinion is an opinion on something that is outside the realms of the Natural Law and the Revealed Law.

As I mentioned earlier, the Natural Law is something that can be understood based on reason alone (similar to common sense). There are some things which you just know that are wrong. I’ll list some examples here.

Eg 1: Natural Law.
a. Murder (abortion, euthanasia)
b. Stealing (identity theft, material theft, burning music for a profit)
c. Adultery
d, Homosexuality
e. Life beginning at conception
f. Helping the poor or less fortunate.

A-d are what the Church calls intrinsically evil. (In otherwords, the acts are evil within themselves and NOTHING justifies them). E is an intrinsically good act, which means it must always be defended and is justified to take precedence. F. is a good act and should be done, but not at the expense of everyone else (i.e. subsidiarity), and should be done out of the goodness of one’s heart.

The Revealed Law is something that has come to be understood through Divine Revelation and reflection upon the Word of God.

Eg 2: Revealed Law
a. In-Vitro Fertilization
b. Cloning

The reasons that these go under the revealed law is because such technology did not exist back then and has now come to be understood to be apart of the intrinsic evils of Abortion and artificial contraception (and conception for that manner)

Why do I bring this up for a discussion in this lecture this morning? I’ve been reading over the past couple of days a few peoples’ blogs (CMR and St. Monica’s Kneeler) which have made think about understanding the topic of the day: Tolerance, what does it mean?

Tolerance means the accepting of subjective opinions, protecting the change of the objective fact to subjective opinion.

Eg 3: It is exercising tolerance to let a person wear blue instead of pink as this is outside of the realms of Natural Law.

Eg 4: It is not exercising tolerance to let homosexual people have marriage as this is a contradiction against an objective fact.

This brings up the next question, how do we treat people who are committing acts against the Natural and Divine Law, whether they are heretics or homosexuals acting out their feelings?

Should we kill them all? Of course not, that is just as much a wrong as homosexuality being a sin in itself.
Should we leave them alone and tell them everything’s okay? Of course not again, I don’t want to answer to God (and I hope that you don’t either) about not instructing people in the Truth.

You can not force a change upon anyone, the Holy Spirit is the agent of Conversion, but the person HAS to be open to Him and be willing to accept this. It has been like this throughout Church history. In lands that were predominately Catholic were the heretics treated with disrespect? No, (The burning of heretics was by the STATE, and not by the Church). What was it that happened? Did the Church fail to do what Jesus commanded (Matt 28, 19) to the heretics? No. She taught the Truth, and many converted to the one True Faith. Not all were open to being converted. And for those that didn’t convert, there were people praying for their conversion. (If people don’t want to accept the message, you move on).

Now, because we respect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death, and because we have charity for our neighbor, we can not allow those that are committing these wrongs to continue in their ways, we want to help them convert by ridding them of the temptation to fall into sin. Thus we can not support “homosexual marriage, adoption, co-habitation” It would be an act of intolerance otherwise. To let them have these things wouldn’t be an act of tolerance, it would be an act of ignorance to the Truth, or as some people will use permissive. To allow error is to participate in it, I’ll say that again, to allow an error is to participate in it.

What we should be doing with those that are homosexual is helping them get over this disorder by praying for them, teaching them about the life of chastity and how it provides freedom from the addictions that come with the lifestyle. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be able to get a job or have special tax exemptions just because they’re homosexual. To simplify my idea, teach them the Truth, and help them live in the world.

True tolerance is not the watering down of what we believe to accept subjective opinions, or heretical doctrines. Too often this idea of ecumenism means water down doctrine, not accept the Truth, live as Protestants and you’ll be okay. This is not true ecumenism. Ecumenism is the keeping of our own identity and teaching the Truth so that others may come to us to be one as Christ intended.

Tolerance and I’ll say it again, to teach the Truth, and to help live in the world. To tolerate a person is to take away the sin and to love them as a human being. May we always remember to allow error is to participate in it.

Oremus: Almighty Father, teach us to be loving to our neighbor. Teach us to be tolerant. Teach us to never compromise the Truth for that of the world. We ask this through Jesus Christ your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God forever and ever. Amen!


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