To Combat for the Rights of God

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“With our eyes always focused upon the defense of the higher rights of God” (Pope St. Pius X, Une Fois Encore, 1907)

Robert Hugh Benson, the author of Lord of the World, in Paradoxes of Catholicism, wrote about the astonishing paradox of Catholicism’s intransigence about truth when confronted with the falsehoods of heresy and yet simultaneously almost maternal kindness towards individual people, heretics:

“The Catholic Church then is, and always will be, violent and intransigent when the rights of God are in question.

“She will be absolutely ruthless, for example, towards heresy, for heresy affects not personal matters on which Charity may yield, but a Divine right on which there must be no yielding.

“Yet, simultaneously, she will be infinitely kind towards the heretic, since a thousand human motives and circumstances may come in and modify his responsibility.

“At a word of repentance she will readmit his person into her treasury of souls, but not his heresy into her treasury of wisdom; she will strike his name eagerly and freely from her black list of the rebellious, but not his book from the pages of her Index.

“She exhibits meekness towards him and violence towards his error; since he is human, but her Truth is Divine.”

This is the quintessentially Catholic attitude: love for all that is true, hatred for all that is evil, including errors and falsehoods.