“St Brian the Nice”

Here is a lesson in how to be nice from Brian Coyne, the Editor of Catholica Australia. He emailed me with the link that he has put on Catholica to my website, and the description, which is as follows:

Probably the most accessible of the conservative blogs in Australia for people who don’t share the views of the author. David Schütz is a former Lutheran Pastor and provides an interesting perspective on Catholicism from the perspective of a recent convert. A good reference point for finding the intelligent conservative perspective on issues currently in the news. David works for the Archdiocese of Melbourne as Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission.

Because of these highly respectful and indeed flattering comments, I am making Brian “St Brian the Nice”, and holding him up as an example to all of you of how to show respect to your brothers and sisters in Christ with whom you cross swords on the internet.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to ““St Brian the Nice”

  1. matthias

    St Brian the Nice from St David the Decent.
    By the way did anyone watch last night’s episode of PRIVATE PRACTICE. It dealt with people’s feelings around abortion,and issues of personal and religious belief and pro choice. In felt that it was a propaganda piece for pro-choice,howver at the end one doctor is shown staring into the procedure room where an abortion had taken place by another doctor and she says to her male colleague “A baby died today”

  2. That really is nice. Now if only all such discussions were like this; we might be able to effect real healing in this church and bring about a true renewal.

    Small but significant gestures like this give me great hope for the future of Holy Mother Church.

  3. Not all of us view ‘niceness’ as a virtue!

    It certainly isn’t on St Thomas’ list of 53 or so virtues. On the dangers of taking niceness too far, can I recommend Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere’s The Tyranny of Nice about the evils of the Canadian Human Rights Commission! I have to admit that I haven’t actually read it myself yet (though I feel I can safely recommend it as I have read other material by the authors, and while I don’t always agree, it is always plausible ), but from what I’ve read of it, it is a helpful corrective for the dangers of excessive tolerance when it comes to error and the secularist agenda.

    But then perhaps the irony is intended…

    • Tom

      Niceness is a virtue in-so-far as you call it politeness. It sits between the excess of obsequiousness and the deficiency of boorishness. At least I should think so. Also, St. Thomas’ list of Virtues isn’t comprehensive, unless you wish to give the Virtues a list of very broad categories.

      Virtues are acts that are directed to the completive ends of human that are a mean (determined by the First Principle of Practical Reason:FPPR, otherwise known as Phronesis or Wisdom) between excess and deficiency. The problem is the range of human action is virtually limitless, and for each action there is a sense of excess, mean and deficiency.

      So to talk about ‘niceness being taken too far’ is no longer niceness, but either obsequiousness when it is too excessive, or boorishness when it is deficient. In short, you shouldn’t be too nice, but you can’t be not-nice either.

      In the long version both obsequiousness and boorishness could potentially have their place, as determined by Practical Reason. e.g.: someone who wants to kill you, it is a good thing that you yell, kick them and run off. Thus, what would normally be called rudeness is in this case virtuous.

      Or…you know, i can’t really think when obsequiousness would be virtuous. It’s just un-attractive. Well, anyway, the FPPR makes life fun!

  4. PS Are you really happy to be described as a ‘conservative’ David? I guess compared to Catholica, but not I think by the standards of US conservatism.

    • Tony

      Terra,

      This just shows the folly of these easy categories IMO.

    • Personally, I prefer terms like “orthodox,” since “conservative” is fraught with political difficulties as you imply. Whereas orthodox is an objective standard, either one holds what the Church teaches or one does not.

  5. matthias

    Strewth ,how conserative is US Conservativism,and yes I agree with Terra the Canadian Human Rights Commission is another Star Chamber when it comes to Christians wanting to practice their faith.

  6. I define nice in my “How to be nice on this blog” post. You will note that in that post, I explicity say that we shouldn’t be pushovers.

    I could have said “How to be a gentleman on this blog”, but that would have its own difficulties…

  7. I’m teasing a little. Personally I prefer terms like respect, politness or civility, because the term nice is being twisted to push a false tolerance. But genuine niceness has its place provided we realize when there are actually times when it is legitimate to be angry or whatever else is required!

    I’m not sure, however, that I would be that pleased to be included in a blog list, however postive the writeup, that includes a group advocating the ordination of women, homosexual acceptance in the Church, and more of that ilk. Although I kind of enjoyed the ‘find a bride for the Pope’ blog!

    • Roy

      “A Bride for the Pope” thanks you for your kind endorsement. It’s very gratifying to be taken seriously.

  8. Herman

    Personally I don’t like labels like “conservative” or “liberal”. It does not tell you anything about the person who is labeled at all, it only tells you more about the person who does the labeling because it is all so subjective.

    I like to think more of my self as a believer. Just like the closing song in Shrek. Im a believer yea yea yea….

    Herman

  9. Dear David,

    Nothing to do with Mr. Coyne’s niceness per se, but wanted to with you and your readers a most blessed and joyous Holy Week as together we rejoice in the Paschal Mystery. “For behold, through the Cross joy has come into all the world!”

  10. Probably the most accessible of the conservative blogs in Australia for people who don’t share the views of the author.

    Accessible? Can’t he click on mine?!