Sunday, July 18, 2021

Pastoral Allocution of H.H.E. the Archfather on the Importance of Character


FIRENZE-NUOVA ROMA 18 July 2021 (NRom)

Pastoral Allocution of H.H.E.
on the Importance of Character

18 July A.D. 2021

Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis

      Carissimi! Character is what we believe, expressed in our behaviours. Character is the sum of how we behave when no one is looking; how we accomplish a task, face a challenge, treat other people. Good or bad character is evident in how we lead and how we follow. One or the other is often shaped in the face of implicit or direct opposition to our moral beliefs. 

(Video below. Transcript continues below the video.)

     Each of us have experienced ample examples in our daily lives. Enough to know that the better angels of our nature seem to appear less frequently than we wish. They are absent in a world where the mere expedient thing is too often chosen as “right” over the morally correct thing to do. While it is never wrong to do the right thing, making that determination can be difficult, even among those with impeccable character. It is true that sometimes the right thing may vary according to the circumstances, such as a particular group being in power. Yet, the underlying principle that should guide such discretion remains the same. There are absolutes and constants. What is right and wrong is not and cannot be determined by popular vote. Indeed, the universal and eternal nature of truth is such that it is possible for everyone to be wrong and no one to be right in a given course of action. We cannot merely determine morality by popular vote or by expediency of circumstances. A person of character will strive to resist the temptation within the limitations of human frailty. Such notions as “others will think ill of me if I do not go along” or “this path was easier” are not valid justifications for supporting, explicitly or implicitly, immoral courses of action. 

     Far too often people are given credit for being good people, upright citizens, and thoughtful friends when in reality they merely were “going along to get along” by not resisting the actions and intentions of others they knew were wrong. Indeed, it is not usually easy to be the voice of dissent, even if dissenting and refusal to cooperate is the correct thing to do. Strength of character defines what people will do in those situations. Moral courage is essential. 

     Far too often people are praised and honoured, but fail to honour their commitments. Excuses abound. Inaction becomes the path of least resistance. Lack of responsibility plus lack of accountability is the formula for lack of good character! Clearly, our character counts and impacts not only ourselves, but everyone around us. 

     Will you choose popularity over right? Will you seek to please man rather than God? Will your life be guided by the path of least resistance? Or, will you strive to do the right thing always and everywhere, even when it is not popular, profitable, or easy? 

     Will you honour your commitments that you make to others? Will you always seek to follow the precept of Charlemagne that right action is more important than knowledge, but in order to do right, we must first know what is right?