On doctrinal


By Cardinal PIE


§   Status quaestionis =

§   Truth and virtue are inseparable.

§   Any wound to intellectual order has consequences in moral -and even material- order.

§   Evil therefore has to be fought in its source, in the ideas.

§   Today's problem =

§   Many Catholics are tired of battle - ready to yield in points that do not appear to them as very important - imprudent weakness!

§   Today everybody talks about tolerance - but nobody makes distinctions, or knows the truth.

§   Two kinds of tolerance:

§   Civil - not the subject of this conference, but about which a further distinction has to be made:

§   If 'tolerance" implies that the law recognizes all religions as equally good - or that the State is incompetent to decide in this matter ® law is impious and atheistic.

§   If "tolerance" only means that the law, while acknowledging only one religion as true, allows the peaceful exercise of other religions for reasons of political prudence ® law may be wise and necessary.

§   Theological - our subject, on which two principles will be exposed.

§   Amidst confusion of false ideas and opinions, we - "priests of the incorruptible Truth" - have to jump into the fray and protest with the inflexibility of our teaching.

§   Thesis:

§   True religion is intolerant regarding the doctrines.

§   True religion is tolerant regarding the persons.

First part

True religion is intolerant regarding doctrines

§   It is of the essence of Truth not to tolerate its contradiction = the affirmation of a proposition excludes the negation of the same proposition.

§   A principle to follow: in dubiis libertas - in necessariis unitas.

§   In doubtful things, where there is no certitude or definition, freedom of opinion is permissible.

§   But when truth is certainly known, it becomes necessary and intolerant.

§   Truth is intolerant ® tolerance is equivalent to suicide.

§   Intolerance is its preservation in existence - truth cannot coexist with its negation.

§   Religious truth, being the most absolute (= taught and revealed by God) and important (= involving the eternal salvation of soul) of all truths, is in consequence the most intolerant and exclusive.

§   The intolerance of unity =

§   Unus Dominus, una fides, unum baptisma (Eph 4:5).

§   One Lord in heaven ® unus Dominus,

§   God, whose greatest attribute is His unity, has given the world only one doctrine, only one faith ® una fides,

§   This faith has been entrusted to only one visible society, only one Church whose children are marked by the same character and regenerated by the same water ® unum baptisma.

§   "In this manner, the divine unity, residing from all eternity amidst the splendors of glory, has been produced on earth by the unity of the evangelical dogma, whose deposit has been given by Jesus Christ in guardianship to the hierarchical unity of the priesthood" ® one God, one faith, one Church.

§   The intolerance of Christ =

§   A positive exclusion = if someone is not baptized in water and Spirit, if someone refuses to eat my body and drink my blood - that one will not have part in my kingdom.

§   Apostles sent to teach all nations ® = to bring down all existing religions, to establish everywhere the unique Christian religion, to replace the inherited beliefs of the nations for the unity of Catholic dogma.

§   And foreseeing the opposition and divisions that this doctrine will excite, He declared that He has brought not peace, but the sword - war, not only among the nations, but also in the bosom of the same family, to separate believing wife from unbelieving husband, Christian son from pagan father.

§   The establishment of the Christian faith has been a model work of religious intolerance =

§   When the preaching of the Apostles started, the entire world possessed that dogmatic tolerance so much praised today:

§   All religions were equally false and equally irrational - so they didn't fight one another;

§   All gods were equally demons - so they weren't exclusive and tolerated one another = Satan is not divided against himself.

§   When Christianity appeared, it was not immediately opposed - but only later:

§   Rome, used to accept all religions, accepted this new faith without any inconvenience.

§   Persecution only started when it was clear that this new God was the irreconcilable foe of all other gods - that the Christians whose cult was so quietly accepted refused to accept quietly the cults of Rome ® in a word, only when the intolerance of the Christian faith was made clear!

§   The history of the Church is no more than the history of this intolerance:

§   Martyrs = men intolerant in matters of faith, who preferred torture to the profession of error,

§   Symbols (Creeds) = formulas of intolerance, which establish what has to be believed and which force reason to acquiesce to necessary mysteries,

§   Papacy = an institution of doctrinal intolerance, which maintains the unity of faith by means of the hierarchical unity,

§   Councils = more institutions of intolerance, convened to stop the spread of false thought, to condemn the false interpretations of dogma, to anathematize the propositions contrary to the faith.

§   We are intolerant, exclusive, in matters of doctrine - we make profession of intolerance and we are proud of it.

§   If we are not, it means that we do not possess the Truth - because Truth is one and therefore intolerant.

§   The Author of the Christian religion, descending from heaven, has said Ego sum Veritas ® the Catholic Church preserves this incorruptible Truth.

§   The Catholic Church is therefore, dogmatically intolerant = she has to reject, exclude anything contrary to the Truth, anything that could destroy it.

§   The sophism of the sects = other churches are tolerant of the Catholic Church, why can't she be a bit as tolerant? ® the lack of compromise, conciliation, tolerance of the Catholic Church arises from the fact hat only through her men can attain their end - and she knows it ® "The thorn bush may acknowledge that the vine produces grapes, but the vine cannot be obliged to acknowledge to the thorn bush the same property".

§   Causes of the errors on tolerance.

§   Passions:

§   Destruction of dogma prepares easy morals ® if all religions and gods are considered equally true, it means that all are false ® then, there is no religion, no God ® morality loses its foundation.

§   Education = prejudices transmitted by those in whose hands is today's education:

§   Rousseau = absolute religious tolerance.

§   Semi-Protestant, semi-rationalist syncretism = all opinions and religions can be reconciled, as all are different aspects of truth.

§   Present extension of error:

§   New forms appear every day - to the point of madness ® logical conclusion of rejection of the unity and intolerance of truth.

§   All errors can coexist and tolerate one another because they have a common father: Satan Vos ex patre diabolo estis (Jn 8:44).

Second part

True religion is tolerant regarding persons

§   It is characteristic of the Catholic Church to be firm, immovable in her principles - but gentle and indulgent in their application.

§   The Church is like a mother - invariably teaching truth and virtue, never consenting to error and evil - but taking pains to make her teaching lovable, treating with indulgence the wanderings provoked by weakness.

§   The Church affirms only what is certain and defined - giving latitude for the rest.

§   The Church affirms with quiet majesty what is certain - but with moderation and reserve, she leaves to free opinion what is not defined.

§   Different manner of acting:

§   Men, when they invent a system, uphold it with absolute obstinacy - without yielding on any point, without accepting arguments against any of their ideas ® almost all works proceeding from the hands of men are tainted with this exaggeration, this tyranny.

§   As the Church has not invented the truth, but only received it in deposit, there are no passion or excess in her teachings.

§   Christ, in whom resided the plenitude of Truth, has clearly revealed certain aspects of the truth, and has left others in shadows.

§   The Church does not push her ministry beyond what her Master has done = content with having upheld the principles which are certain and necessary, she leaves her children to reason freely on the doubtful points.


§   Some examples:

§   St. Augustine = Mitte, Domine, mitigationes in cor meum, ut charitate veritatis not amittam veritatem charitatis - "O Lord, send into my heart the sweetness, the softening of Thy spirit, so that while carried away by the love of truth, I will not come to lose the truth of love".

§   St. Francis of Sales = The truth that is not charitable ceases to be the truth, because in God, who is the supreme source of Truth, charity is inseparable from truth.

§   Tertullian = defended the truth as if it were his own system - and one day his wounded pride abandoned the cause that his bitter zeal had upheld.

§   Lamennais = his zeal looked like hatred, his adversary was treated as foe, his forceful words had neither the unction of charity nor the accents of love - charity would have maintained him in the truth…

§   The Church is tolerant regarding the persons.

§   The Church applies her principles to our behavior with condescension and goodness.

§   Incapable of enduring evil doctrines, the Church is nevertheless incommensurably tolerant with the persons.

§   The Church never confuses error with man in error, nor the sin with the sinner ® she condemns the error, but continues to love the erring man ®she fights sin, but pursues the sinner with her tenderness, she desires to make him whole, to reconcile him with God, to bring his heart back to peace and virtue.

§   If some of her laws are too hard for us, she accommodates them to our weakness - her rigor yields before our infirmity.

§   She cannot yield in the application of divine laws, but condescension is not difficult when it is question of ecclesiastical laws, because suavity is the basis of her government = propter suave regimen Ecclesiae  (St. Thomas Aquinas).

§   The world preaches us tolerance, but it is more intolerant than us = we reject only principles, the world rejects persons - we absolve, and the world keeps condemning - many times we have chosen to forget the past, but the world always remembers.





True peace is the fruit of doctrinal intolerance.

§   Unity of dogma is the only bond of peace on earth ® the union of spirits is the first condition for the union of hearts (Cicero).

§   According to Cicero, even friendship is to be defined by this unanimity of thought = eadem de rebus divinis et humanis cum summa charitate juncta concordia.

§   Present divisions and selfishness arise from our isolation in our own thought ® then, only one solution = return to the common profession of the Creed, and concord and charity will be restored.