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Between Laxism and Rigorism


Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange once wrote, “Respect for all opinions, however false or perverse they may be, is only the proud denial of respect due to the Truth. Sincerely to love the true and the good, we must have no sympathy with error and evil."

Yet, in another place he writes, “The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes; she is tolerant in practice because she loves. The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe; they are intolerant in practice because they do not love.”

Here, the Sacred Monster of Thomism walks the fine line between two seemingly contradictory principles, charity and faithfulness.

My proposition for how this is done according to Catholic tradition is, 1. Normatively we ought to elimate evil, abstracted from consideration of the situation at hand (what Fr. Lagrange means by the first quote), 2. In consideration of the effects of eliminating evil, we ought to restrain our hand when a greater evil would come about, e.g., the Church did not excommunicate the English monarch for decades after its apostacy so that they would be given a chance to repent and not harden their hearts (what Fr. Lagrange means by the second quote).


Whether one ought to tolerate a lesser evil that a greater one may not come about?