Schütz’s Pride Condemned!

By none other than St Francis de Sales [HT to Fraser Pearce]:

We call that vainglory which men take to themselves, either for what is not in them, or which being in them is not their own, or which being in them and their own yet is not worthy of their self-satisfaction. For instance, noble birth, favour of great men, popular applause, all these are things nowise belonging to ourselves, but coming from our forefathers, or the opinion of others. Some people are proud and conceited because they ride a fine horse, wear a feather in their hat, and are expensively dressed, but who can fail to see their folly, or that if any one has reason to be proud over such things, it would be the horse, the bird, and the tailor! Or what can be more contemptible than to found one’s credit on a horse, a plume, or a ruff? Others again pride themselves upon their dainty [Fraser’s translation: fine] moustaches, their well-trimmed beard or curled hair, their white hands, or their dancing, singing and the like: but is it not a petty vanity which can seek to be esteemed for any such trivial and frivolous matters? Then again, some look for the world’s respect and honour because they have acquired some smatterings of science, expecting all their neighbours to listen and yield to them, and such men we call pedants. Others make great capital of their personal beauty, and imagine that every one is lost in admiration of it; but all this is utterly vain, foolish and impertinent, and the glory men take to themselves for such matters must be called vain, childish and frivolous. Source

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Schütz’s Pride Condemned!

  1. Clara

    So will you be clean-shaven when I returne to work on Tuesday?

  2. Well, I like your manscaping, David – at least it suits you, but it would be truly ridiculous on my husband.

    Gotta love Frank de Sales, though – cuts through all the crap!

  3. matthias

    I wonder if St Franky was having a go at the Cavaliers or their continental counterparts who were around at that time.?

  4. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Don’t worry David, nobody reads that stuff any more anyway.

    The only effect the Introduction to the Devout Life had on me, which I did not read until the late 1970s, was to just further convince me that whatever church the author belonged to it wasn’t there now and certainly wasn’t the one now using the same name.

    He’s just a massive over-reaction to Calvinism anyway. They scared the hell out of him, or into him, as a kid, which became one neurotic lawyer (de Sales) trying to get over the effects of another neurotic lawyer (Calvin) — what we call now a lose-lose situation — which he did through the usual Catholic confusion of sanctification and justification.

    But it’s January, and if you must remain in your dalliance with this same confusion, do it right and celebrate his feast day on 29 January rather than the Brave New Church revisionist 24 January. (He died on 28 December, the feast of the Holy Innocents, so the date when it really ought to be is taken.)

    Or maybe your pen will fall from your desk, form a cross with one on the floor, and you’ll see in that a sign to really push back on the deacon thing.

    Now the real question, apart from Genevan and Roman competing neuroticism, is what is this stuff growing down the sides in the picture? Are you not cutting the corners of thy beard or something? If so, good for bloody you. God gave you a beard; is there any other part of the male anatomy males get up and cut off every morning, disfiguring themselves like some priest of Baal?

    • Insight from left field as always, PE!

      The “beard” is in fact a set of side-burns that reach to a point just either side of the chin, but not touching. I look a real dill (as opposed to a vainglorious dill) with a full beard, as the hair on my chin does not grow straight, but at an angle to one side. The “faux beard” and goatee are the solution.

      Re St FdS and Calvin, here’s gem. The argument will be familiar, but the prose is significantly upmarket:

      “If then the Church can err, O Calvin, O Luther, to whom shall i have recourse in my difficulties? To the Scripture, say they. But what shall I, poor man, do, for it is precisely about the Scripture that my difficulty lies. I am not in doubt whether I must believe the Scripture or not; for who knows not that it is the Word of Truth? What keeps me in anxiety is the understanding of this Scripture, is the conclusions to be drawn from it, which are innumberable and diverse and opposite on the same subject; and everybody takes his view, one this, another that, though out of all there is but one which is sound:- Ah! who will give me to know that good among so many bad? who will tell me the real verity through so many specious and masked vanities. Everybody would emback on the ship of the Holy Spirit; there is but one, and only that one shall reach the port, all the rest are on their way to shipwreck. Ah! what danger am I in of erring! All shout out their claims with equal assurance and thus deceive the greater part, for all boast that theirs is the ship. Who ever says that our Master has not left us guides in so dangerous and difficulty a way, says that he wishes us to perish. Whoever says that he has put us aboard at the mercy of wind and tide, without giving us a skillful pilot able to use properly his compass and chart, says that the Saviour is wanting in foresight.”
      From St Francis de Sales “The Catholic Controversy” http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/controversy1-12.htm

  5. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    The bleeding Oracle at Delphi argument. Wonderful.

    An omniscient God gives us his Word of Truth, which is unfortunately useless since nobody knows for sure what in hell it means unless an external authority settles it.

    Of course, who is that external authority, read church, has as many claims and counterclaims (and now, since Vatican II, even from the same source) as there are interpretations of Scripture, so who will settle that? Same problem, you’re right where you were before, only changes where you look for the authority.

    No wonder Nietzsche, the only philosopher worth reading (I threw that in for your nostalgia), said God obviously is not omnipotent, since he cannot speak clearly.

    Btw, Nietzsche himself thought Heraclitus was the only philosopher worth reading.

    Also btw, de Sales himself had a beard, so the whole thing is inapplicable to beards per se anyway. Or maybe we better shoot an email to Rome about it and find out for sure.

  6. matthias

    I feel sorry for Nietzsche , he looked for the Superman, believed that showing forgiveness is a sign of weakness.believed that God had died yet stopped a man from beating a horse in the street,finally succumbing to general paralysis of the insane-dementia caused by syphilis. But his philosophy

  7. matthias

    Sorry about that but She Who Must be obeyed required my utmost and immediate attention and i thought i had not pressed submit. But poor old Frederich’s philosophy is perhaps getting a second run with some of the new atheists and appealing to those who have had bad experiences with churches.

  8. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Nietzsche did not believe God had died. He believed there never was any god, and what is dead is the ancient superstition that there is, of which “God is dead” is a literary expression.

  9. But David, if you were to shave, how would I be able to pick you out of a crowd? 🙂

  10. My thoughts exactly, Jeff. (How did a discussion on my moustache become a discussion about Nietzsche anyway?)

  11. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Probably because I characterised the phenomenon de Sales’ description of which David quoted as an example of what Nietzsche called, as a literary device, God not being able to speak clearly, by which he meant there is no god at all but a lot of human chatter about some alleged being we invent to get comfortable with the cracks in our understanding.

    • matthias

      Iam gLAD PE that you didnot compare Schutz with Nietsche’s Fool who runs into the market place crying that God is dead. A modernist philosopher said “Yes God is dead and Man is not too well either”

  12. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    What in all free falling Judas would suggest such a comparison?

  13. matthias

    Just being obtuse .