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Pope Leo XIII: “those who dissent from us in matters of Christian faith”

7 August 2017

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“Our thoughts now turn to those who dissent from us in matters of Christian faith; and who shall deny that, with not a few of them, dissent is a matter rather of inheritance that of will? How solicitous we are for their salvation, with what ardour of soul we wish that they should be at length restored to the embrace of the Church, the common mother of all, our Apostolic Epistle Praeclara has in very recent times declared. Nor are we destitute of all hope, for He is present and hath a care Whom all things obey and Who laid down His life that He might ‘gather together in one the children of God who were dispersed’ (John xi. 52). Surely we ought not to desert them nor leave them to their fancies; but with mildness and charity draw them to us, using every means of persuasion to induce them to examine closely every part of the Catholic doctrine, and to free themselves from preconceived notions. In this matter, if the first place belongs to the Bishops and the clergy, the second belongs to the laity; who have it in their power to aid the apostolic efforts of the clergy by the probity of their morals and the integrity of their lives. Great is the force of example, particularly with those who are earnestly seeking the truth, and who, from a certain inborn virtuous disposition, are striving to live an honourable and upright life.”

Pope Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Letter “Longinque Oceani”

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