Questionable Motives

October 17, 2009

A mangled critique of what secularized tolerance means from a ‘diplomat’ of the Vatican

popeFrom Catholic  Culture, and the wisdom of a certain Msgr. Anthony R. Frontiero:

“[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.”

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.

The Church of Mulberry Bush fame strikes again.

Msgr. Anthony R. Frontiero,  a priest of the Diocese of Manchester (New Hampshire) who works for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, thinks that it is intolerant to deny a public forum for truth claims that have not one whit of evidence to back them up. Real tolerance, we are assured, of the respectful kind should assume that any truth claim might express truth, especially allowing for those who wish to be included in any public debate using some kind of coded religious language. Dissent is allowable, of course.

What a load of rubbish. We must remind members of the College of Surgeons that it is only a matter of tolerance to allow completely unsubstantiated medical claims to be allowed into any medical debates if the language used is religious… because it might be right!  To reject out of hand someone’s medical contribution on the mere basis of inadequate, unrelated, or undefined medical knowledge is secular intolerance of the worst kind, apparently.

Good grief.

Isn’t every citizen secularized in the sense that citizenship itself is based solely on some form of recognition of membership by secular law? Or does the Church suggest that real tolerance should be shown to certain pedophiles… I mean people…  because the so-called sexual abuse… I mean their certain contributions… occurred using religious language?

Yes, it’s really a secular shortcoming – a form of intolerance, really – to not emphasize enough respect for the the language of public debates rather than the reasons that inform the language used. After all, truth of the One True Church and its self-approved language stands in stark contrast to everything else, so we are told, so everything else must be skepticism and relativism. That must be bad. Like medicine. And we can’t have that bad secular nonsense ruining a perfect good uninformed but absolute religious truth claim, now can we?  I mean, tolerance can only go so far, as long as it is in the direction of allowing the Church more secular power – like a seat in any public debate on the merit of its religious language – which only with its absolute truth claims can the Church combat.

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