Cardinal Pie: Doctrinal Intolerance
The Angelus - June 2002

Doctrinal Intolerance
by Louis-Edouard-Désiré Cardinal Pie

A sermon of the great Cardinal Pie, appearing here for the first time in English, which he preached twice at the Cathedral of Chartres in 1841 and 1847.
Unus Dominus, una fides, unam baptisma–There is only one Lord, only one Faith, only one baptism (Eph. 4:5).

A sage has said that the actions of man are the children of his thought, and we have established ourselves that all good things as well as all bad things in a society are the fruit of the good or bad maxims that it professes. Truth in the mind and virtue in the heart are things that correspond nearly inseparably; when the mind is delivered to the demonic lie, the heart, if by chance the obsession has not seized it first, is close to delivering itself to demonic vice. Intellect and Will are two sisters between which seduction is contagious; if you see that the first has given itself up to error, throw a veil on the honor of the second.

This is because it is so, my brethren, it is because there is no harm, no wrong in the intellectual order which would not have fatal consequences in the moral order and as well as in the material order, that we apply ourselves to fight the evil in its principle, to stop it at its source, that is to say, in the ideas. A thousand prejudices are spread amongst us: Sophism, astonished to hear its own voice attacked, invokes prescription; paradox flatters itself to have acquired citizenship and the freedom of the city. Christians themselves, living amidst this impure atmosphere, do not avoid all its contagion; they too easily accept many of the errors. Tired of resisting on the essential points, often for the sake of peace and quiet, they give way on other points which seem to them less important, and they do not always perceive, and sometimes they do not want to perceive how far they could be led by their imprudent weakness. Among this confusion of ideas and false opinions, it is up to us priests of the incorruptible truth to intervene and to protest with action and with our voice; fortunate we are if the rigid inflexibility of our teaching can stop the flood of error, dethrone erroneous principles which are reigning superbly in minds, correct deadly axioms which already assume authority with the sanction of time, finally enlighten and purify a society which threatens to sink, in growing old, into a chaos of darkness and of disorders where it would no longer be possible to distinguish the nature, and even less the remedy, of its ills.

Our century cries: Tolerance! Tolerance! It is acknowledged that a priest must be tolerant, that religion must be tolerant. My brethren, in all things nothing equals frankness; and I am here to tell you frankly that there only exists in the world one society which possesses the truth, and that this society necessarily has to be intolerant. But, before broaching the subject, for us to better understand, let's make distinction between things, let's agree on the meaning of the words, and let's not confuse anything.

Tolerance can be either civil or theological; the first does not fall within our province, I permit myself only a word in this respect. If the law wants to say that it permits all religions because in its eyes they are all equally good, or furthermore because public power is incompetent to come to a decision on this matter, the law is irreligious and atheistic. It no longer professes civil tolerance such as we are going to define it, but dogmatic tolerance, and, by a criminal neutrality it justifies in individuals the most absolute religious indifference. On the contrary, if recognizing that only one religion is good, it supports and permits only the peaceful exercise of the others, the law, in this, as it has been observed before me, can be wise and necessary according to the circumstances. If there are times when it is necessary to say with the famous high constable: One faith, one law; there are other times when it is necessary to say as Fenelon said to the son of James II: Grant civil tolerance to everyone, not by approving everything as indifferent, but by suffering with patience what God suffers."

But I abandon this rough field of difficulties, and adhering to the properly religious and theological question, I will set forth these two principles:

1) The religion which comes from heaven is truth, and it is intolerant toward doctrines;
2) The religion which comes from heaven is charity, and it is full of tolerance toward people....

It is of the essence of every truth not to tolerate the contradictory principle. The affirmation of one thing excludes the negation of this very same thing, as light excludes darkness. Where nothing is certain, where nothing is defined, the sentiments can be divided, opinions can vary. I understand and I ask liberty in doubtful things. But since the truth appears with positive traits which characterize it, for that very reason that it is truth, it is positive, it is necessary, and consequently, it is one and intolerant. To condemn truth to tolerance is to force it to suicide. Affirmation kills itself if it doubts of itself; and it doubts of itself if it leaves indifferently the negation to pose itself beside it. For truth, intolerance is the care for preservation, it is the legitimate exercise of the right of property. When one possesses, it is necessary to defend, under pain of being soon entirely despoiled.

Therefore, by the very necessity of things, intolerance is everywhere, because everywhere there is good and evil, true and false, order and disorder. Everywhere the true does not endure the false, the good excludes the bad, order combats disorder. What is more intolerant, for instance, than this proposition: 2 and 2 are 4? If you come to me to say that 2 and 2 are 3, or that 2 and 2 are 5, I reply to you that 2 and 2 are 4. And if you said to me that you do not contest my manner of counting, but that you maintain yours, and that you request me to be as indulgent toward you as you are toward me; while I remain convinced that I am right and that you are wrong, if absolutely necessary I might remain silent, because after all it concerns me little enough that there may be on earth a man for whom 2 and 2 are 3 or 5.

On a certain number of questions, where the truth would be less absolute, where the consequences would be less grave, I could, up to a certain point, compromise with you. I will be conciliatory, if you speak to me of literature, of politics, of art, of agreeable sciences, because in all these things there is not a unique and determined type. There, beauty and the true are more or less conventions....But if it concerns religious truth taught or revealed by God Himself; if it is a matter of your eternal future and of the salvation of your soul, then there is no more compromise possible. You will find me immovable, and I must be. It is the condition of every truth to be intolerant; but religious truth being the most absolute and the most important of all the truths, is consequently also the most intolerant and the most exclusive.

My brethren, nothing is as exclusive as unity. But listen to the word of Saint Paul: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." There is in Heaven only one Lord. This God, of which unity is the great attribute, has given to the earth only one creed, one doctrine, one faith. And this faith, this creed, He has confided only to a single visible society, to one Church of which all children are marked by the same seal and regenerated by the same Grace: one baptism. Thus, divine unity, which resides for all eternity in the splendors of the glory, has occurred on earth by the unity of the Evangelical dogma, of which the deposit has been committed by Jesus Christ to the hierarchical unity of the priesthood for keeping: One God, one faith, one Church.

An English clergyman has had the courage to do a book on the tolerance of Jesus Christ, and the philosopher of Geneva1 has said in speaking of the Savior of men: "I do not see that my divine Master may have subtilized on dogma." Nothing is more true. Jesus Christ has not subtilized on dogma. He has brought the truth to men, and He has said: "If anyone is not baptized in the water and in the Holy Spirit; if anyone refuses to eat my Flesh and drink my Blood, he will not have part in my Kingdom." I acknowledge it, there is not subtlety there; it is intolerance, the most positive exclusion, the most frank. And further, Jesus Christ has sent His Apostles to preach to all nations, this is to say, to destroy all existing religions, to establish the single Christian religion throughout the world and to substitute the unity of Catholic dogma for all the beliefs received from the different peoples. And foreseeing the movements and divisions that this doctrine is going to excite on earth, He is not stopped, and He declares that He has come to bring not peace but the sword, to incite war not only between peoples, but in the bosom of the same family, and to separate, with regard to convictions at least, the believing spouse from the unbelieving spouse, the Christian son-in-law from the idolatrous father-in-law. The thing is true, and the philosopher is right: Jesus Christ has not subtilized on dogma.

[Jean-Jacques Rousseau] says elsewhere to his Emile: "I do as St. Paul, and I place charity well above faith. I think that the essential of religion consists in practice that not only is it necessary to be an upright man, humane and charitable, but that whoever is truly such, believes enough of it to be saved, whatever religion he professes." There is indeed, my brethren, a beautiful commentary of St. Paul which says, for instance, that without faith it is impossible to please God; of St. Paul who declares that Jesus Christ is not divided, that in Him there is not the yes and the no, but only the yes; of St. Paul who affirms that, when against all probability an angel would come to preach another doctrine than the apostolic doctrine, it would be necessary to say to him anathema. St. Paul, apostle of tolerance!? St. Paul, who marches throwing down all arrogant science which rises against Jesus Christ, converting all minds to the servitude of Jesus Christ.

People have spoken of the tolerance of the first centuries, of the tolerance of the Apostles. My brethren, we do not reflect on this; but the establishment of the Christian religion has been on the contrary, above all, a work of religious intolerance. At the time of the preaching of the Apostles, the entire universe possessed almost completely this so-praised dogmatic tolerance. As all religions were as false and unreasonable as the other, they were not waging war against each other; as all the gods were equal to each other, there were as many demons, they were not exclusive, they tolerated each other: Satan is not divided against himself. Rome, in multiplying its conquests, multiplied its divinities; and the study of its mythology became complicated in the same proportion as the one of its geography. The victor who was ascending to the Capitol had the conquered gods marched before him with more pride even than in the conquered kings he was dragging along in his retinue. Most often, by virtue of a decree of the Senate, the idols of the barbarians were henceforth identified with the domain of the country, and the national Olympus became greater as the empire did.

Christianity, its first appearance, was not pushed aside all at once. Paganism wondered if, instead of fighting this new religion, it should not give it access into its midst. Judaea had become a Roman province. Rome, accustomed to receiving and to reconciling all religions, at first welcomed, without too much fright, the religion corning out of Judaea....But it did not take long for the word of the prophet to prove correct. The multitudes of idols, who usually saw without jealousy new and strange gods come to take their place near them, suddenly sent forth a cry of fright at the arrival of the God of the Christians, and...tottered on their threatened altars. Rome was attentive to this spectacle. And soon, when it noticed that this new God was the irreconcilable enemy of the other gods; when it saw that the Christians. whose religion they had accepted, did not want to admit the religion of the nation; in a word, when it had undeniably established the intolerant spirit of the Christian faith, it was then that the persecution began.

Listen to how the historians of the time justify the tortures of the Christians: they do not speak ill of their religion, of their God, of their Christ, of their practices; it was only later that they invented calumnies. They reproach them only for not being able to tolerate any other religion than theirs.

"I did not doubt," said Pliny the Younger, "whatever their dogma may be, it might be necessary to punish their stubbornness and their inflexible obstinacy."

These are not criminals, said Tacitus, but they are intolerant, misanthropes, enemies of mankind. There is in them a headstrong faith in their principles, and an exclusive faith which condemns the beliefs of all other peoples. The pagans were saying rather generally of the Christians what Celsus has said of the Jews, whom people confused with the Christians for a long time because the Christian doctrine had taken birth in Judaea:
Quote:"That these men adhered inviolably to their laws," this sophist said, "I do not blame them; I blame only those who abandon the religion of their fathers to embrace a different one! But if the Jews or the Christians want to give themselves the appearances of a wisdom more sublime than the one of the rest of the world, I will say that we do not have to believe that they are more agreeable to God than the others."

The principal grievance against the Christians was the too absolute rigidity of their creed, and, as people said, the unsociable disposition of their theology. If their God had been only one of many, there would not have been complaints: but it was an incompatible God who was driving away all the others. This is why the persecution. Thus, the establishment of the Church was a work of dogmatic intolerance, the whole history of the Church is likewise only the history of this intolerance. What are the martyrs? People intolerant in matters of the faith who preferred torture rather than to profess error. What is the Creed? Formulas of intolerance that regulate what it is necessary to believe and that impose on the reason necessary mysteries. What is the Papacy? An institution of doctrinal intolerance, which through hierarchal unity maintains the unity of the faith. Why the Councils? To stop deviations of thought, to condemn false interpretations of dogma, to anathematize propositions contrary to the Faith.

We are therefore intolerant, exclusive in matters of doctrine: we profess it; we are proud of it. If we were not, it would be because we do not have the truth, since truth is one, and consequently intolerant. Daughter of Heaven, the Catholic religion in descending onto the earth has produced titles of its origin; it has offered to the examination of reason incontestable facts that prove irrefragably its divinity. Now, if it comes from God; if Jesus Christ, its Author, has said: "I am the truth," it is certainly necessary by an inevitable consequence that the Catholic Church maintain incorruptibly this truth such as it has received it from Heaven itself. It is very necessary that it reject, that it exclude everything that is contrary to this truth, all that would destroy it. To reproach the Catholic Church its dogmatic intolerance, its absolute affirmation in matters of doctrine, is to address to it a very honorable reproach. It is to reproach the sentinel for being too faithful and too vigilant; it is to reproach the spouse for being too scrupulous and too exclusive.

"Since we tolerate you," the sects sometimes say to the Church, "why do you not therefore tolerate us?" My brethren, it is as if concubines said to the legitimate spouse, "Since we tolerate you, why be more intolerant than we?" The concubines tolerate the spouse, what a great favor (!), truly, and the spouse is very unreasonable to base her claim on rights and privileges solely belonging to her, of which the concubines reluctantly accept to leave her a share, at least until they may succeed in banishing her entirely!

Imagine this intolerance of the Catholics! People often say about us, "They can tolerate no other Church than theirs. The Protestants certainly tolerate them!" My brethren, you were in the peaceful possession of your home and your estate. Armed men hurl themselves at it. They seize your bed, your table, your money, in a word, they establish themselves in your home, but they do not drive you out of it. They carry condescension to the point of allowing you your share. What do you have to complain of? You are quite unreasonable not to be satisfied with the common law!

"Since the Protestants say that one can be saved in your Church," it is said, "why do you pretend that one cannot be saved in theirs?" My brethren, let's put ourselves in one of the public squares of this city. A traveler asks me the route which leads to the capital. I direct him to it. Then one of my fellow-citizens approaches, and says to me, "I acknowledge that that route leads to Paris, I grant you that. But you owe me the same consideration, and you will not dispute with me that this other route–the route to Bordeaux, for instance–leads also to Paris.

Indeed, this route to Paris would be very intolerant and very exclusive not to admit that a route which is directly opposite it would lead to the very same end. It does not have a conciliatory spirit. How far does encroachment and fanaticism creep? My brethren, truly I could give way again, because the most opposite routes would eventually meet each other perhaps, after having gone around the world, whereas one would eternally follow the road of error without ever arriving at heaven. Therefore, no longer ask us why, when the Protestants acknowledge that one can save himself in our religion, we object to recognizing that, generally speaking, and outside the case of good faith and of invincible ignorance, one can save himself in theirs. The thorns can acknowledge that the vine gives grapes without the vine having to acknowledge to the thorns the same properties.

My brethren, we are moreover often confused from what we hear said on all these questions from sensible people. The logic in them is entirely missing when religion is in question. Is it passion, is it prejudice which blinds them? It is both. In the main, the passions well know what they want when they seek to disturb the foundations of the faith, to place religion among the things without consistency. They are not ignorant that by demolishing dogma they prepare a facile morality. Someone has said with perfect accuracy: "It is rather the Ten Commandments than the Creed that makes unbelievers." If all religions can be placed on the very same rank, it is that they are all equal. If all are true, it is that all are false. If all the gods tolerate each other, it is that there is no God. And when we arrive at that conclusion, there no longer remains constraining morality. How many consciences would be at ease the day the Catholic Church would give the fraternal kiss to all the sects, its rivals!

Religious indifference is therefore a system which has its root in the passions of the human heart. But it is also necessary to say that, as regards a great many men of our century, it holds to the prejudices of education. Either it concerns these men...and who have imbibed the milk of the preceding generation, or better, it concerns those who belong to the new generation. The former have sought the philosophical and religious spirit in Jean-Jacques's Emile; the others, in the eclectic or progressive school of these half-protestant and half-rationalists who today hold sway over education.

Jean-Jacques has been among us the apologist and propagandist of this system of religious tolerance. The invention of it does not belong to him, although he has audaciously surpassed paganism, which never extended indifference as far. Here are, with a short commentary, the principal points of the Genevese Catechism, which unfortunately became popular: 
Quote:All religions are good; this is to say, otherwise for the French, all religions are bad. It is necessary to practice the religion of one's country; this is to say that truth in religious matters depends on the degree of longitude and of latitude: truth on this side of the mountains, untruth beyond the mountains. Consequently, what is still more serious, it is necessary either to have no sincere religion and to be the hypocrite everywhere, or if one has a religion in his heart, to become apostate and turncoat when the circumstances desire it. The wife has to profess the same religion as her husband, and the children the same religion as their father; this is to say what was false and bad before the marriage contract has to be true and good after, and that it would be bad for the children of the cannibals to turn aside from the estimable practices of their parents!

But I hear you tell me that the century of the Encyclopedia is past, that a longer refutation would be an anachronism. Very well, let's close the book on Education. Let's open in its place the learned Essays which are almost the common source from where the philosophy of the 19th century is poured out by a thousand faithful channels on the whole surface of our country. This philosophy is called eclectic, syncretic, and, with a small modification, it is also called progressive. This smart system consists in saying that there is nothing false, that all opinion and all religions can be reconciled, that error is not possible to man unless he despoils humanity, that every error of men consists in believing to possess exclusively all the truth, when each of them hold only a link of it and that from the union of all these links must form the entire chain of truth. Thus, according to this incredible theory, there are no false religions, but they are all incomplete without each other. The true religion would be the religion of the syncretic and progressive eclecticism, which would gather together all the others, past, present, and future. All the others, this is to say, the natural religion, which recognizes one God; Atheism, which does not recognize any; Pantheism, which recognizes God in everything and everywhere; Spiritualism, which believes in the soul, and Materialism, which believes only in the flesh, in the blood and in the temperament; evangelical societies which acknowledge a revelation, and rationalistic Deism, which spurns it; Christianity, which believes the Messiah came, and Judaism, which still waits for Him; Catholicism, which obeys the Pope, and Protestantism, which regards the Pope as the Antichrist. All this is reconcilable. These are different aspects of the truth. Combining these creeds will result in a larger, more vast religion, the great, truly catholic religion, this is to say universal, since it will include all the others in its midst!

My brethren, this doctrine, which you have all qualified absurd, is not my creation. It fills thousands of recent volumes and publications....Every day it takes new forms under the pen and on the lips of men... At what point of folly have we therefore arrived? We have arrived, My Brethren, where anyone must logically arrive whosoever does not admit this incontestable principle that we have established, namely, that truth is one and consequently intolerant, exclusive of all doctrine which is not its own. And to bring together again in a few words all the substance of this first part of my discourse, I will say to you: If you seek the truth on earth, seek the intolerant Church. All errors can make concessions to each other. They are close relations since they have a common father: "You are of your father, the devil." The Truth, daughter of heaven, is the only one which does not capitulate.

Therefore, you who want to judge this great cause, appropriate to yourself in this the wisdom of Solomon. Among these different societies between which the truth is an object of strife, as was that child between the two mothers, you want to know how to judge it. Ask for a sword, feign to slice, and examine the face that the claimants will make. There will be several of them who will be resigned, who will be contented with the part that is going to be handed over to them. Say immediately, "These are not the mothers." There is one of them on the contrary, who will deny herself every settlement, who will say, "The truth belongs to me and I have to preserve it in its entirety. I will never allow that it be diminished or parceled out." Say to this one, "This is the true mother."

Yes, Holy Catholic Church, you have the truth, because you have unity, and you are intolerant to allow this unity to decompose. There is our first principle: the religion which descends from heaven is true, and consequently it is intolerant with regard to doctrines. I will add: the religion which descends from heaven is charity, and consequently it is full of tolerance with regard to individuals...

It is the characteristic of the Catholic Church to be firm and immovable on principles and to prove itself to be kindly and indulgent in their application. What is so surprising? Is she not the spouse of Jesus Christ, and like Him, does she not possess both the intrepid courage of the lion and the gentleness of the lamb? Does she not represent on earth supreme Wisdom, which takes to its purpose strongly and which disposes everything benevolently? It is especially by this sign that the religion which descended from heaven has to make itself recognized. It is by the condescensions of its charity, by the inspirations of its love. Consider the Church of Jesus Christ, and see with what infinite regards, with what respectful attentions it acts with its children, either in the manner with which it presents its teachings to their comprehension, or in the application that it makes to their behavior and to their actions. Soon you will recognize that the Church is a mother who invariably teaches truth and virtue, who can never consent to error or to evil, but who busies herself to render her teaching amiable, and who treats with indulgence the errors of weakness.

...From the first steps that it has been given to me to make in the domain of sacred theology, what has caused in me the most admiration, what has spoken the most eloquently to my soul, what would have inspired in me the Faith if I had not had the good fortune to possess it already, is on the one hand, the tranquil majesty with which the Catholic Church affirms what is certain, and on the other hand the moderation and reserve with which it abandons to free opinions everything that is not defined. No, this is not as men teaching doctrines of which they are the inventors, this is not the way they express the thoughts that are the fruit of their genius.

When a man has created a system, he supports it with an absolute tenacity. He yields neither on one point nor on another. When he is enamored with a doctrine born from his brain, he seeks to make it prevail with authority. Do not contest a single one of his ideas with him. The one that you allow yourself to discuss is precisely the most important and the most necessary to him. Almost all the books issued from the hand of men are marked with this exaggeration and this tyranny... [T]he holy Catholic theology offers an entirely different character. Since the Church has not invented the truth, but is only the depository of it, we do not find passion nor excess in its teachings. It has pleased the Son of God, in whom resided the plenitude of truth, clearly reveal certain appearances, certain aspects of the truth and to show only a glimpse of the others. The Church does not extend her ministry further, and is content to have taught, maintained, avenged certain and necessary principles. It allows its children to discuss, to conjecture, to reason freely on the dubious points.

Catholic teaching has been calumniated so much...that you will perhaps hardly believe what I am going to tell you. There is not a single science in the world which is less despotic than the sacred science. The deposit of teaching has been confided to the Church, but do you know what the Church teaches? A creed in 12 articles which do not form 12 lines, a creed composed by the Apostles and that the first two General Councils have explained and developed by the addition of a few words which became necessary.

We proclaim, we Catholics, that the authentic interpretation of the Holy Scriptures belongs to the Church; but do you know, my brethren, in regards to how many of the verses of the Bible the Church has used this supreme right? The Bible includes about 30,000, and the Church has perhaps not defined the meaning of 80 of these verses. The remainder are left to the commentators, and I can say, to the free examination of the Catholic reader, so that, according to the word of St. Jerome, the Scriptures are a vast field in which the intellect can play and delight, and where it will meet only a few barriers here and there around precipices, and also a few fortified places where it will be able to retrench and to find an assured assistance.

The Councils are the principal organ for Catholic teaching. Now, the Council of Trent, wanting to include in a single and same declaration all the obligatory doctrine, had not needed two pages to contain the most complete profession of Faith. And if we study the history of this Council, we recognize with admiration that it was equally jealous to maintain dogmas and to respect opinions....

Finally, the incomparable Bossuet having opposed to the calumnies of the Protestants his well-known Exposition of the Catholic Faith, proved that this same Church, which was accused of tyrannizing intellects, could reduce its defined and necessary truths into a body of doctrine a great deal less voluminous than were the confessions, synods, and declarations of the sects that had rejected the principle of authority and were professing free examination.

But I repeat, my brethren, this remarkable phenomenon, which exists only in the Catholic Church, this tranquil majesty in its assertion, this moderation and reserve concerning all questions not defined, here is, in my opinion, the adorable sign by which I have to recognize the truth which came from heaven. When I contemplate this serene conviction and this kind indulgence on the face of the Church, I throw myself into its arms, and I say to it, "You are my mother." This is as a mother teaches–without passion nor exaggeration, but with calm authority and wise measure.

You recognize this character in the teaching of the Church, in its most eminent doctors, in those of whom it adopts and authorizes the writings nearly without restriction. Augustine undertakes his immortal work The City of God, which will be until the end of the ages one of the richest monuments of the Church. He goes about avenging the holy truths of the Catholic Faith against the calumnies of dying paganism. He feels the ardors of zeal boiling within him. But if he has read in the Scriptures that God is truth, he has also read that God is charity. He understands that excess of truth can become absence of charity. He places himself on his knees and he sends toward heaven this admirable prayer: "Send, Lord, send into my heart the consolation, the temperament of your spirit, so that carried away by the love of the truth I do not lose the truth of love."

And at the other extremity of the chain of holy doctors, listen to these beautiful words of the blessed Bishop of Geneva:2 "Truth which is not charitable ceases to be the truth because in God, Who is the supreme source of the true, charity is inseparable from the truth."

Read Augustine and Francis de Sales. You will find in their writings the truth in all its purity and, on account of this very thing, all imprinted with charity and love.

Oh, priest of Carthage,3 I admire the nerve of your energetic language, the irresistible power of your sarcasm, but...will I say it? under the surface of your most orthodox writings, I seek the unction of charity. Your incisive syllables do not have the humble and sweet expression of love. I fear that you were defending the truth as one defends a system to himself, and that one day your pride abandoned the cause that your bitter zeal had sustained. Why, having consecrated his immense talent to the service of the Gospel, has Tertullian not prayed to the Lord as Augustine did, to send into his heart the consolations, the temperaments of His spirit? Love would have maintained it in the doctrine. But because he was not in charity, he lost the truth....With more love in your heart, your intelligence would not have made such a deplorable defection; charity would have maintained you in truth.

If the Catholic Church presents to our minds the teaching of the truth with so much discretion and sweetness, it is with still more condescension and goodness that it applies its principles to our conduct and our actions. Incapable of ever supporting bad doctrines, the Church is tolerant without limit for people. It never mixes error with the one who teaches it, nor the sin with the one who commits it. The Church condemns error but continues to love the man. The Church brands sin but pursues the sinner with tenderness. It earnestly desires to make him better, to reconcile him with God, to call peace and truth into his heart.

The Church makes no preference of persons. There is for the Church neither Jew, nor Greek, nor barbarian. It is not interested in your opinions. It does not ask you if you live in a monarchy or in a republic. You have one soul to save; here is all that is necessary to save it. Call on the Church. It comes to you with hands full of graces and pardon. You have committed more sins than you have hairs on your head. That does not frighten it. It expunges everything in the blood of Jesus Christ. Some of its laws are too onerous for you, it consents to accommodate them to your weakness; their rigor yields before your failings. St. Thomas Aquinas poses in principle that if no one can dispense with the divine law, condescension to the laws of the Church on the other hand does not have to be too difficult, for the sake of the sweetness which makes the foundation of its government. When the civil law is rigid and inflexible, so much more is the law of the Church yielding and supple. What other authority over the earth governs or administers as the Church?

May the world which preaches tolerance to us be as tolerant as we. We reject only principles; the world rejects persons. How many times we forgive and the world continues to condemn! How many times, in the name of God, we have pulled the veil of oblivion over the past, and the world always remembers! The very same mouths which reproach us with intolerance, blame us for our too credulous and too easy benevolence. Our inexhaustible patience towards people is almost as impugned as our inflexibility against doctrines!

...[N]o longer ask us for tolerance with regard to doctrine. Encourage, on the contrary, our solicitude to maintain the unity of dogma, which is the only bond of peace on earth. The Roman orator has said, "The union of minds is the first condition for the union of hearts." And this great man showed even in the definition of friendship the unanimity of thought with regard to divine and human things.

Our society is prey to a thousand divisions. We complain of them everyday. Where does this weakening of affections come from, this coldness of hearts? My brethren, how should hearts be brought together where minds are so far apart? Because each of us lives alone in his own thought, each of us also confines himself to the love of himself. Do we want to put an end to these countless differences of opinion which threaten to soon destroy all the spirit of family, city, and country? Do we no longer want to be strangers to each other, adversaries and almost enemies? Let's come back again to one creed, and we will soon return to harmony and love.

Every creed concerning the things of here below is very far from us. A thousand opinions divide us and for a long time there has no longer been any human dogma. I do not know if it will ever reconstitute itself among us. Fortunately, the religious creed, the divine dogma, has always maintained itself in its purity in the hands of the Church, and that way a precious germ of salvation is preserved for us. The day when all men will say: "I believe in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the Church," all hearts will not delay to draw near, and we will find again the only truly solid and lasting peace, the one that the Apostle calls peace in truth. Amen.

Translated exclusively for Angelus Press by Mr. & Mrs. William Platz from OEuvres Sacerdotales du Cardinal Pie, Choix de Sermons et d'Instructions de 1839 a 1849. The couple responded to an invitation in The Angelus for translators to make the work of Cardinal Pie, a mentor for Pope Pius X and Archbishop Lefebvre, available in English, for most of it is only known in French.

Louis-Edouard-Desire Cardinal Pie [say: "pea"] (1815-1880), renowned Bishop of Poitiers, France, was a major-league player in the fight against the anti-Catholic movement of the 19th century. "...He is best known for his opposition to modern errors, and his championship of the rights of the Church. Regarding as futile the compromises accepted by other Catholic leaders, he fought alike all philosophical theories and political arrangements that did not come up to the full traditional Christian standard...." His distinguished service to the Church was recognized by Leo XIII, who made him cardinal in 1879. (From the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 ed., Vol. XII, p. 76.)

1. Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

2. St. Francis de Sales.

3. Tertullian.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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