Many a modern preacher is far less concerned with preaching Christ and Him crucified than he is with his popularity with his congregation. A want of intellectual backbone makes him straddle the ox of truth and the ass of nonsense..
“Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil … a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.”
Over the Christmas holidays, several of my friends across the Western world, in many places and cultures, having great pain over the Christmas holidays dealing with parents, children, nieces, nephews and siblings who are not practicing Catholics, and worse, many living in sin.
The problems facing these families include having two families; the one which goes to Church and obeys the Lord through Church teaching; the second, the rebels.
There is great confusion about how to deal with such divisions. Many years ago, I and my husband at the time made it clear to relatives that no one fornicating or committing adultery, or in a same-sex relationship would share the same guest room.
Simple rule of the house…and some family members became angry and said we were imposing our morality on them. I pointed out that they were imposing their immorality on us.
Divisions must happen over truth. One can has visitors, but there cannot be a misunderstanding that a “partner” has the same legal or sacramental status of a wife or husband.
People are pretending to be making house, not abiding by even natural law. Those who are faced with hard truth may convent. But, if they are never challenged, at least once, or when they insist on their own activities under the guest roof, one must discuss reality.
I am literally a minority Catholic where I am staying. Most of the guests in this particular hotel are Muslim. These guests are not tolerant. They demanded halal meat in the restaurant and got it. They unplugged the Christmas tree daily,and even smashed into it on purpose.
But, people are afraid. One woman screamed at the concierge and told her that the boats which brought her and her family from Africa will send all the Catholic Maltese away.
Today I visited the great Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Neither the Knights of Malta nor their great patron St. John had tolerance for falsehood.
Yet, people of the West are surrounded by the intolerant, who will get their way by bullying and by numbers. The Catholics need to decide not to be afraid, not to be false regarding truth.
In one hotel here, the traditional Nativity Scene was banned by the new Muslim manager. The staff felt like they could not do anything. But, one woman, who had worked at this place for years, brought out the Baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary, a donkey and a cow. The large stable and lights, the shepherds, the three kings, the sheep were kept in a box.
But, she refused to give in on the minimum.
The other members of the staff backed her up, all women–the manager backed down. One small victory for Catholic Malta.
The Knights would have dealt with this differently.
When do we stand up? Always, as being firm in our faith takes practice.
With our family members, we cannot let sin occur in the house, but we do not have to talk about sin all the time.
Too many parents are allowing their teens in the home not to attend Mass, not to go to Confession. This is not only false tolerance, but the giving up of parental rights in the home. As long as the parents pay for the child, they have a right to expect obedience.
One of my dearest friends asked me if she will have to fight this fight in her family all the time. I said do not allow sin in the house, do not pretend that someone is a real husband or real wife, but do not harp on the problem either.
But, how many souls will go to hell for false tolerance? What if no one has ever challenged those in sin to repent, like St. John did?
Today is the feast of St. Stephen. His words are anything but tolerant. Perhaps we should read these prayerfully in order to understand what God is calling Catholic to in these times. From Acts 7:
51 You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you also.
52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them who foretold of the coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers:
53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
54 Now hearing these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed with their teeth at him.
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And he said: Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
56 And they crying out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and with one accord ran violently upon him.
57 And casting him forth without the city, they stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man, whose name was Saul.
58 And they stoned Stephen, invoking, and saying: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
59 And falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord. And Saul was consenting to his death.
These were not strangers Stephen was addressing. These were people he knew well. These were not ordinary pagans, but those who had studied the Scriptures all their lives and awaited the Messiah. These were those who rejected Christ for their own safety, own status, own reasons.
One of those who agreed to his death heard Stephen’s words and collaborated with his murder. This was Saul, to become the great Apostle to the Gentiles. Perhaps Stephen’s prayer for God to forgive these men caused the grace of Paul’s conversion. But, without the martyrdom, there would have been no prayer.
We shed blood for each other. We shed tears and suffering for those in our families who have fallen away. We try to think of ways to spread the Good News to those who have chosen the Bad News, the news of the world, the flesh and the devil.
Sometimes, only great suffering will bring back these souls. I would guess, not must sometimes, but all the time, and if we are willing to join our sufferings with that of Christ, like Stephen, some will choose Life over Everlasting Death.
We cannot pretend. If we begin to accept pretense, compromise as reality, rather than falsehood, we lose discernment, we can no longer see what is good and what is bad—like someone here said, “Oh, the times have changed. Things are different now.”
No, things are not different. Tolerance for sin will lead to a sinful world, a lost Catholic culture, even here in Malta.
But, Christ never lied to sinners, He spoke the Truth, as He IS Truth. Those who want to come to love, to God, to heaven by some other way, other than Christ, will not make it. Let us be courageous, and remember that the truth sets people free.
6 Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.