Jesus said, “Whoever is not against us is for us.”
That was not exactly the Catholic Church’s stand before Vatican II. We older people remember a time when the church forbade us taking part in weddings performed in Protestant churches.
For my Theology studies between 1950 and 1954 the priest teaching us those five classes a week was tough. He had us memorizing everything any of the councils of the church said about us being the one true church.
But one evening in that fourth year, I knocked on his door, needing to return a book to him; and I found him to be not his usual tough self. He surprised me by repeating those same words of Jesus, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Then, in a straightforward way, he asked, “What do those words mean to you, Tom?”
I was afraid of coming out with with what I thought, so, after I just stood there, Father said, “Fine, Tom, you can go back to your studies.”
It seemed that I was seeing the real man that night. And, it struck me that he was really open to all good hearted people, and he had to overdo his toughness because it went against his true nature to keep holding to our church’s tough line.