"There is a limit to human charity," said Lady Outram, trembling all over.Thank God for priests, the Church, and confession!!
"There is," said Father Brown dryly, "and that is the real difference between human charity and Christian charity. . . For it seems to me that you only pardon the sins that you don't really think sinful. You only forgive criminals when they commit what you don't regard as crimes, but rather as conventions. So you tolerate a conventional duel, just as you tolerate a conventional divorce. You forgive because there isn't anything to be forgiven."
"But hang it all," cried Mallow, "you don't expect us to be able to pardon a vile thing like this?"
"No," said the priest, "but we have to be able to pardon it."
He stood up abruptly and looked round at them.
"We have to touch such men, not with a barge pole, but with a benediction," he said. "We have to say the word that will save them from hell. We alone are left to deliver them from despair when your human charity deserts them. Go on your own prim-rose path pardoning all your favorite vices and being generous to your fashionable crimes; and leave us in the darkness, vampires of the night, to console those who really need consolation; who do things really indefensible, things that neither the world nor they themselves can defend; and none but a priest will pardon. Leave us with the men who commit the mean and revolting and real crimes; mean as St. Peter when the cock crew, and yet the dawn came."
-The Secret of Father Brown, "The Chief Mourner of Marne"
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Quote of the ___________
More of an excerpt than a quote: