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Must We Respect All Religions?

Nicolas Poussin. The adoration of the golden calf.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for
themselves a molten calf and worshiping it, sacrificing to it [Ex 32:8].
(Nicolas Poussin. The adoration of the golden calf. Source)

1) Introduction

Does the Catholic Church teach that "we must respect all religions"? Let's scrutinize that a bit. But keep in mind it's a touchy subject; the line of the golden mean is thin, and it's surrounded by heresies. So, as usual, if the Pope disagrees with me, he's right.

2) What is a "religion"?

If a "religion" is a group of people who religiously believe that there is a divinity, and that this divinity transmits to us a message which we must hear and obey to be saved, then the following things are religions:

2.1) The Order of the Solar Temple: You remember the three month old baby stabbed to death with a wooden stake, supposedly because he was the Anti-Christ, then the tens of murders and suicides a few days later, supposedly to travel to planet Sirius? All this in Morin Heights, Quebec, without counting the massacres in Switzerland. What a cute religion!

2.2) Roch "Moses" Thériault: This charming character is responsible for the mutilation of several persons, some while he was drunk. Once, he tried to resuscitate a woman he had killed, by cutting off the top of her skull, and by pouring his body fluids into the cranial cavity. Most of the women in that group bore his children, some following conjugal visits long after he was thrown in jail for all his crimes.

2.3) David Koresh: A cheerful lad, who had gathered for himself quite a harem of minor girls whom he sexually abused. The children of the members of that group had to call their parents "dogs", and Koresh in exchange had himself called "Father". Of course, this nice story ended in a beautiful sound and light show (53 adults, of which 2 pregnant women, and 21 children died in their ranch's fire).

2.4) Jim Jones: A real live wire of religious beliefs, that one! Do you remember the little party with the flavored juice (seasoned with cyanide)? 914 inhabitants of Jonestown, among them 276 children, had their fill of it.

2.5) The cult of Molek (or Moloch): What about the tribes who went so far as to "burn in the fire their sons and daughters for their gods"? [Dt 12:31]

Etc., etc...

If you feel like telling me that "Those are religious sects, whereas we are talking about religions", I throw down a challenge. Explain to me clearly the difference between a religious sect, and a religion, without starting to classify religions into "true ones" and "false ones". A few years ago, I translated an international conference of sociologists. They had gathered here at Laval University to study religious beliefs, and at some point of time the distinction between religous sects and religions came up. All of them explicitely refused to touch that hot potato.

3) Religious freedom has limits

The Church knows that man wounded by Original Sin is capable of inventing for himself all kinds of totally crazy and dangerous beliefs. That's why the Catholic Church never talks about freedom of religion, without also mentioning limits to that freedom:

the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.
[Dignitatis humanae, #2]

the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.
[Dignitatis humanae, #2]

4) There is only one true religion

Not only is religious freedom not an absolute right, but on top of that there is only one true religion:

Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only.
[Unitatis redintegratio, #1, §1]

We believe that this one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church
[Dignitatis humanae, #1]

5) Respect is only due to men, and to the partial truths that there can be in other religions

The Catholic Church doesn't teach that have to "respect all religions", indiscriminately. She teaches first of all that we have to respect all men, even those who are bogged down in false religious beliefs:

A man who has fallen into error does not cease to be a man. He never forfeits his personal dignity; and that is something that must always be taken into account. Besides, there exists in man's very nature an undying capacity to break through the barriers of error and seek the road to truth. God, in His great providence, is ever present with His aid.
[Pacem in terris, #158]

The Church teaches that we must respect what is good in the other religions:

The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions.
[Nostra aetate, #2]

(By the way, CCC, #2104, seems to say we must have "sincere respect for the various religions" (in the French translation). But that passage is supposed to be a quote of the aforementioned Vatican II document, Nostra aetate, #2. If you read it carefully, the Vatican II document talks about sincere respect for the true and holy part of those religions, not respect for all religions. After all, Moses didn't kiss the Golden Calf to promote inter-religious dialogue! [Ex 32:20])

On the other hand, the Church clearly says that all the fragments of truth that can be found in the other religions, are already present, and in a supereminent degree, in the Catholic Church:

In her subsists the fullness of Christ's body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him "the fullness of the means of salvation" which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession.
[CCC, #830]

6) All men must become members of the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church, despite the howls of heretics, has always taught and will always teach that "Outside the Church, no salvation":

for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.
[Mortalium animos, #10]

[Jesus] himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.
[CCC, #846]

This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church
[CCC, #847]

7) Conclusion

People who believe that the Catholic Church teaches "respect for all religions", indiscriminately, are simply prisoners of a false belief. They have made for themselves a golden calf shaped like political correctness, and they adore this modern idol.

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