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Holy See diplomat criticizes secularist notion of ‘tolerance’

Catholic World News - October 16, 2009

Citing Pope Benedict, George Weigel, and Jürgen Habermas, a Holy See diplomat has offered strong criticism of the secularist misuse of the word “tolerance.” The remarks, made October 5 at an OSCE/ODIHIR (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe / Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) meeting, were released yesterday by the Holy See.

“Incidents of hate, discrimination, violence and intolerance against Christians and members of other religions continue to occur all too frequently in the OSCE region, and are symptomatic of the lack of peace in the world,” said Msgr. Anthony R. Frontiero, a priest of the Diocese of Manchester (New Hampshire) who began to work in the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 2006. “[N]eutrality toward world views cannot be truly tolerant and respectful. Likewise, an absence of convictions does not define tolerance; and in the absence of some compelling notion of the truth that requires us to be tolerant of those who have a different understanding of the truth of things, there is only skepticism and relativism.”

He continued:

An authentic notion of tolerance in pluralistic societies demands that in their dealings with unbelievers and those of different faiths, believers should grasp that they must reasonably expect that the dissent they encounter will go on existing. At the same time, however, secular political cultures must encourage unbelievers to grasp the same point in their dealings with believers. When secularized citizens act in their role as citizens, they must [not] deny in principle that religious images of the world have the potential to express truth. Nor must they refuse their believing fellow citizens the right to make contributions in a religions language to public debates.

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  • Posted by: rpp - Oct. 16, 2009 7:50 PM ET USA

    Those who demand "tolerance" often seem to be the ones least willing to offer it.

  • Posted by: New Sister - Oct. 16, 2009 4:32 PM ET USA

    "Tolerance" in the West has come to mean secularism and deliberate destruction of Christian morals and identity in all public domains, yet hypocritically - as in the current US administration and in France - the very same secular state gets into the business of leading a dialogue with Islam!

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