After the invasion of Italy, Guy Crouchback rejoiced at what looked like an immediate fall of the Savoy monarchy. "What a mistake the Lateran Treaty was. It seemed masterly at the time-how long? Fifteen years ago? How much better if the Popes had sat it out and then emerged saying: 'What was all that? Risorgimento? Garibaldi? Cavour? The House of Savoy? Mussolini? ... That's what the Pope ought to be saying today.'"
His father reproves him, of course, and writes him a letter the next day.
"Of course in the 1870s and 80s every decent Roman disliked the Piedmontese, just as the decent French now hate the Germans.. They had been invaded. And, of course, most of the Romans we know kept it up, sulking. But that isn't the Church. The Mystical Body doesn't strike attitudes or stand and its dignity. It accepts suffering and injustice. It is ready to forgive at the first hint of compunction.
When you spoke of the Lateran Treaty did you consider how many souls may have been reconciled and have died at peace as a result of it? How many children may have been brought up in the faith who might have lived in ignorance? Quantitative judgements don't apply. If only one soul was saved that is full compensation for any loss of 'face'."
While we remember that the Pope cannot change a word or phrase of Christian belief, he can, of course-in fact he should-make the Church attractive enough for sinners to find a place of welcome. He cannot proclaim that remarried divorcees can remarry, but he can make it clear, as he has, that their children should be welcome to Baptism and the other sacraments. He cannot tolerate "same sex relationships", but he equally cannot banish from the Church those whose temptation such relationships might be.
We are right to fight for the enduring truths taught by the Church, but we sinners have no right to judge other sinners: we simply have the right to pray that the conditions for sinners to repent should be available in a form that might actually encourage the sinner's repentance, rather than his contumacy.