Father Brown’s thought of the day

“There is,” said Father Brown dryly; “and that is the real difference between human charity and Christian charity. You must forgive me if I was not altogether crushed by your contempt for my uncharitableness today; or by the lectures you read me about pardon for every sinner. For it seems to me that you only pardon the sins that you don’t really think sinful. You only forgive criminals when they commit what you don’t regard as crimes, but rather as conventions. So you tolerate a conventional duel, just as you tolerate a conventional divorce. You forgive because there isn’t anything to be forgiven . . . Go on your own primrose path pardoning all your favorite vices and being generous to your fashionable crimes; and leave us in the darkness, vampires of the night, to console those who really need consolation”

8 thoughts on “Father Brown’s thought of the day

  1. I admit I had trouble making sense of the quoted section of the story until I followed Huston’s link and saw the initial phrase: “There is a limit to human Charity,” said lady Outram trembling all over.

  2. As Shelly said,
    “To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
    This is to be good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
    This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.”

  3. For me, the key part of the quote was ‘For it seems to me that you only pardon the sins that you don’t really think sinful.’

    I have noticed that quite a few of the more liberal Mormons I know tend to say things like “my daughter is living with her boyfriend, but I forgive her” or “a friend of mine is actively gay and the church should just forgive him rather than condemn him” (rarely in those exact words, or as concisely, but the sentiment is the same) – yet, those same people, when they find anything that reeks of bigotry/racism/homophobia, etc. they will cut off ties, defriend, badmouth, attack, insult, etc.

    The reason being is they don’t see violations of chastity as actually sinful, but the things they do consider sinful (bigotry/racism/homophobia, etc.) are basically unforgivable in their eyes.

    In contrast, the more conservative Mormons I know are much more willing to forgive anything, provided the person actually shows signs of remorse and repentance.

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