From the springs of salvation

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jul 15, 2003

After reading this Shirley MacLaine-ish proposal for a new ecumenical council to be called Earth One, I was put in mind of a quite different calibre of Catholic sensibility -- this in an essay by Georges Bernanos:

One reforms the visible Church only by suffering for the invisible Church. One reforms the vices of the Church only by being prodigal of the example of her most heroic virtues. It is possible that St. Francis of Assisi was not less revolted than Luther by the debauchery and by the simony of prelates. It is even certain that he suffered more cruelly because of them, for his nature was very different than that of the monk of Weimar. But he did not challenge the iniquity, he did not try to confront it with himself. He hurled himself into poverty, plunged into it as deeply as he could, along with his followers, as into the source of purity. Instead of trying to snatch from the Church her ill-gotten goods, he overwhelmed her with invisible treasures, and under the gentle hand of this mendicant the heap of gold and of luxury began to blossom like like an April hedge. Oh, I know well enough that in these matters comparisons are not of much worth, especially when they are not free from a touch of humor. May I be permitted to say, nevertheless, in order to be better understood by some readers, that the Church has need not of critics, but of artists? ... In the great crises of poetry what matters is not to denounce bad poets, nor worse still to hang them, but to write beautiful verses, to reopen the sacred sources. The Church has need not of reformers but of saints.

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