THE PROPHETS knew how many ways human life can go wrong because they knew how many ways human life can go right.


GOODNESS IS, so to speak, itself; badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled.


HYPOCRISY is an homage that vice pays to virtue.


GUILT MATTERS. Guilt must always matter. Unless guilt matters the whole world is meaningless.


EVIL is one of the ways we learn that we ourselves are a mystery; for we are not in full control of ourselves and cannot find any method of gaining control.


SIN IS … the unwillingness of man to acknowledge his creatureliness and dependence upon God and his effort to make his own life independent and secure.


THE DEVIL requires from his followers neither fear nor love. Loyalty is all he demands.


THE TOTALITY of our depravity consists in the blindness: We do not even see that our virtues are as sinful as our vices.

EVIL PEOPLE are those who attack others for their own failings.

WE DO EVIL in the name of some overriding good—usually, paradoxically, the conquest of evil.


THE BEGINNING of a cure must be the recognition of the real disease.


EVIL IS NOT effectively resisted with hatred and with guns. The only response to evil that has ever worked is the response of Jesus … and that is to lead a life of love. That means what it has always meant: visiting the sick, giving to the poor, helping those who need help.

WHEN HE JUSTIFIES us, God does not interpret evil as good… . Nor does he call evil good when he forgives us; for he cannot lie. But in virtue of his omnipotent compassion … he makes that which is intrinsically evil good, that which is sick whole, that which is feeble glorious, that which is dead alive.

Related Elsewhere:

Past Reflections columns include:

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