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Did You See What Father Z Did There Again?

Earlier today, I wrote: Did You See What Father Z Did There?

I’m glad I’m paying attention because he’s done it again, in one day! In his article here, Father Z links to this article by Anthony Esolen, which I now, very selectively, quote:

It follows too that if the public parading of a wrong is an offense against tolerance, so is the public declaration of a propensity to engage in the wrong. Every person alive is beset by temptations. We may utter them to our confessors, or, less often, to our best friends on condition of secrecy, or to our spouses, when it would not cause needless pain. Beyond that, we assist the tolerance of our neighbors by keeping our serpents to ourselves.


There are things we are better off not knowing about. But there’s more. The man who parades his temptation may be seeking approval. “Look at me! I am tempted to do things with another man that God and nature never intended. But I’m not going to do them. Aren’t I to be congratulated?” No, not a bit. If a man said, “Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to open fire upon a bus full of professionals. Oh, I’ll never do it, but just imagine the blood,” we’d rightly consider reporting him to the police. And then it is a small step from approving the brave fellow who makes his temptation conspicuous and conspicuously averts the sin, to suggesting that perhaps the sin isn’t really so bad after all, if such a conspicuously virtuous fellow is tempted by it.

That too is an offense against tolerance. It is to make one’s neighbor always aware of his tolerance: to weary him with it, to pester him little by little into giving in, because it is so much easier to condone than to tolerate. So it is that the most intolerant among us frequently preach about tolerance—to nag their opponents into submission, and to get their way.


I have referred to this so-called “tolerant” behavior, looking the other way while people parade their temptations as if they are something to glory in, as consoling people in sin and ignorance.

Let’s say the person doing the “tolerating” is a teacher doing this in front of a classroom, or a catechist, or a Catholic blogger? What might the effect of this be on other people who are busying themselves with consoling Christ in His sufferings?

And what if the person who is busying himself consoling Christ in His sufferings is a sick person dealing with incredible pain?

And what if that sickness happens to be a mental illness that brings with it an organically-caused risk for suicide that is exacerbated by witnessing the sufferings of Christ?

Would it not then make sense to believe that the teacher, catechist or blogger who is consoling people in their sins and ignorance might unintentionally cause that mentally ill, faithful Catholic to lose his touch with reality and commit suicide?

No? Well, what if the person doing the consoling was a spiritual director of the mentally ill Catholic busying himself with consoling Christ in His sufferings?

I know a lot of “what ifs” are listed there, but see, it happened to me, hence my question. And when I took issue with this because it was a public matter, I was accused of parading my illness. Correct me if I am wrong in believing that it is genuinely intolerant to tell a sick person to shut up about the Cross and our identity in Christ.

“Parading the serpent” is not tolerance, and objecting to it as a suffering person who knows better is not “parading.”

The kind of “tolerance” that parades the serpent is the kind that carries people to hell on feather pillows.




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