Recently, it has become common to hear affirmations regarding the right to religious liberty, that ends up confusing diverse concepts to such an extent, that it seems to indicate an almost obligatory religious pluralism that intends to put all religions, Christian or non-Christian, on the same level. For some Catholics this tendency brings up real doubts, and for others, a just indignation. How could this be possible? If God has chosen only one Church, do all religions deserve the same consideration? Is the worship within other religions, clearly different than that which Christ founded, acceptable? Since Christ founded his Church with the characteristics of unity and sanctity, would he permit his Mystical Spouse to be disfigured, appearing in the eyes of the world as an adulteress, promiscuously mingling with different beliefs and forms of worship, far removed from those received from her Mystical Spouse? What are the evils and dangers that the so-called ‘healthy pluralism’ may expose the Holy Church to? Is it licit for a Catholic to frequent synagogues and non–Catholic places of worship without compromising his Christian dignity? From the resulting confusion, these and so many other disquieting questions are brought up by those who honestly search for the Truth.
Let us take a look at what the Fathers of the Church and former Popes had to say about this matter.
A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism. The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions. In the long run, this would feed resentment rather than tolerance and peace. (Apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, no. 255, November 24, 2013)
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