Truth and Tolerance: Why the Church Can’t Change Her Teaching
“The Catholic Church is intolerant.” That simple thought, like a yellow-fever sign, is supposed to be the one solid reason which should frighten away any one who might be contemplating knocking at the portals of the Church for entrance, or for a crumb of the Bread of Life. When proof for this statement is asked, it is retorted that the Church is intolerant because of its self-complacency and smug satisfaction as the unique interpreter of the thoughts of Christ. Its narrow-mindedness is supposed to be revealed in its unwillingness to cooperate effectively with other Christian bodies that are working for the union of churches. Within the last ten years, two great world conferences on religion have been held, in which every great religion except the Catholic participated. The Catholic Church was invited to attend and discuss the two important subjects of doctrine and ministry, but she refused the invitation.
That is not all. Even in our own country she has refused to lend a helping hand in the federating of those churches which decided it was better to throw dogmatic differences into the background, in order to serve better the religious needs of America. The other churches would give her a royal welcome, but she will not come. She will not cooperate! She will not conform! And she will not conform because she is too narrow-minded and intolerant! Christ would not have acted that way!
Such is, practically every one will admit, a fair statement of the attitude the modern world bears to the Church. The charge of intolerance is not new. It was once directed against Our Blessed Lord Himself.
Immediately after His betrayal, Our Blessed Lord was summoned before a religious body for the first Church Conference of Christian times, held not in the city of Lausanne or Stockholm, but in