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By Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine, August 5, 2019
We are an extraordinarily intolerant people. We take pride in our intolerance, though we don’t call it by that name.
The tolerant person sees something bad and, for reasons of prudence or clemency, he bears with it. He sees his cousin drinking too much at a party; he ascertains that the cousin will not be driving home, and then he says no more. He sees somebody wearing shorts to Mass on a hot summer day; he says, “It’s very hot, and maybe he’s going somewhere right after Mass.” He’s at work in a slate quarry and some of the men use salty language; he reminds himself that the work is hard and bruising and filthy, and that men among men are often rough.
Even serious sins can admit of tolerance. Your neighbor’s daughter, still in high school, is pregnant. She is rightly ashamed, and she will bear the child. There will be a quiet wedding and a small reception at the house. You ask your neighbor if there’s anything you can do in preparation. Your neighbor’s son has been arrested for speeding and has lost his license. You offer to drive him to work. You say to yourself, “I was no saint either when I was young, and I’m no saint now.” ….