Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On (In)Tolerance (2)

Father Jenkins C.S.C., the president of Notre Dame, delivered a glowing introduction to President Obama. A portion of that introduction goes:

"Mr. President: This is a principle we share.

As the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council wrote in their pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes: 'Respect and love ought to be extended also to those who think or act differently than we do in social, political and even religious matters. In fact, the more deeply we come to understand their ways of thinking through such courtesy and love, the more easily will we be able to enter into dialogue with them.' "

Too bad Fr. Jenkins conveniently omitted the immediately succeeding portions from the text of Gaudium et Spes, which reveals the full context of the passage. It goes:

This love and good will, to be sure, must in no way render us indifferent to truth and goodness. Indeed love itself impels the disciples of Christ to speak the saving truth to all men. But it is necessary to distinguish between error, which always merits repudiation, and the person in error, who never loses the dignity of being a person even when he is flawed by false or inadequate religious notions. God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts, for that reason He forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone.

Truth and goodness... love speak the saving truth to all men. When two ideas are diametrically opposed to each other, both cannot be true at the same time. Only one is. Some ideas are simply superior than others. We don’t treat all ideas as if they have the same merit, else we run into self-contradiction. We can not judge internal guilt, but we can and must judge actions based on its moral goodness. We treat persons with egality, but we treat ideas with objectivity. As Gaudium et Spes asserts: error always merits repudiation.

This is what the particular passage in Gaudium et Spes sets forth. This is the true principle that we, as disciples of Christ, must share
The full text of Fr. Jenkin's introduction may be found here.
Thanks JME.


aeisiel said...

Dialogue is a means to a common end but when U.S. President Obama said that there was not going to be any change in his position on abortion and that he understood that there was not going to be any change in the Church’s position on abortion... whether Father Jenkins’ expressed desire for a dialogue, was well-founded or justified, at that point it got thrown back on his face.

WillyJ said...

Spot on aeisiel. Not only did Mr. Obama confirm his arrogance by his words, his past actions also proved it. It's somewhat like: I have done and will do whatever I want, but let's have a dialogue anyway.