11 May 2008


I was listening to Father Corapi last night on EWTN. He was talking about the difference between tolerance and permissiveness. This is a huge topic in my family, and probably in most.

One of the things I've learned from my aunt is to be more tolerant, more charitable and less judgmental. When I was younger, I confused her kind heartedness with being permissive, but then again, I was exposed to my father's family that disowned members for not marrying their own kind. I don't mean of another religion, I mean a Scottish Catholic marrying a German Catholic. Das ist verboten, at least it was strictly verboten several generations ago and the sentiment is still found blooming in various branches of the family.

My aunt never married and always found a way to ease burdens in the family, whether it was a crisis brought about by divorce, death, illness, or even financial hardships, she was there full of compassion and without judgment. That isn't to say she tolerated bad behavior, because in her own understated way, she always let those she helped know where she stood on the issue at hand. Tough love, but always leading with the love.

Now that I've had to deal with several of these situations and have followed my aunt's advice each time, even though it was so hard to bite my tongue and be the one to offer the olive branch -- sometimes repeatedly -- I see that this is why my mother's side of the family is so close and cohesive. On the other side, my father's family is splintered and quick to ostracize. I have nearly 30 cousins on this side and am probably the only one who has a good relationship with all my aunts and uncles. This is not to say I am necessarily close with all of them, but at least we aren't sending hate mail to each other.

Then we get to my husband's family. We disagree strongly on so many issues: abortion, birth control, living together, etc. To them, my position is intolerant, but hold on a second. Like Father Corapi said, he's for 100% tolerance. We are all God's children. That doesn't mean I'm going to tolerate immoral behavior...that's not being tolerant, that's being permissive. Big difference.

Like Father Corapi said, I don't want to stand before God and explain to Him why one of my children is in hell because of my permissiveness. I don't think I'm permissive, God help me, but I know I'm growing in tolerance. Tolerance abides all that is good, but permissiveness condones actions that are evil, immoral and against natural law.

There are those today who want to cloud a multitude of issues with claims that to disagree with them is to be intolerant. I'm not intolerant, just not permissive and there is a huge difference between the two.


gemoftheocean said...

So true. Even if you vigorously disagree with someone, always leave the door open!

Tara said...

"That doesn't mean I'm going to tolerate immoral behavior...that's not being tolerant, that's being permissive. Big difference."

Tolerance is putting up with the small nuisances of others not their sin--good post!

Kit Brookside said...

A-MEN!!! I've watched that one, too.

It's quite theme in my family...I have the dubious distinction of being "too conservative" [read: intolerant] for my family, and "too liberal" [read: permissive] for my husband's.

Fortunately, we are 100% in synch here in our own little home, and that's all that matters. :)

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Very nice post, it inspired me to take a spin at the subject in light of somethings that I've found out.