It is very true that an equitable historical judgment must include an attentive study of the cultural conditions of that time. Under their powerful influence, many, perhaps, considered in all good faith that a sincere witness to the truth required the simultaneous suppression, or at least the isolation, of contrary opinions (sinceram veritatis testificationem simul iubere alienas opiniones extingui vel saltem secludi42). Many causes often converged to sow the seeds of that intolerance and immoderate zeal from which only a relatively few great and truly free minds, deeply penetrated by God, were able to detach themselves. Nevertheless, recognizing these mitigating circumstances does not dispense the Church from the duty of profoundly lamenting the weakness of so many of her own sons who disfigured her countenance, preventing it from fully reflecting the image of the crucified Lord who was the supreme witness to patient love and humble meekness. From these painful episodes of the past a lesson for the future emerges, namely, that every Christian should be led to keep firmly in mind this golden principle enunciated by the Council: "Truth does not impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, which wins over the mind with both gentleness and power" (Dignitatis Humanae, #1).