Volume > Issue > Physician, Heal Thyself

Physician, Heal Thyself

CHRIST & NEIGHBOR

By John C. Cort | July-August 1985

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypo­crites!”

I have been rereading Reinhold Niebuhr, and I commend unto you a great little book of his en­titled Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cyn­ic. As I get ready to lay a bit of “guilt” on certain Catholic institutions for anti-unionism, it seems ap­propriate to ward off self-righteousness with a cou­ple of quotes from Niebuhr:

“Conscience, Goethe has observed, belongs to the observer rather than the doer, and it would be well for every preacher [and columnist] to realize that he is morally sensitive partly because he is ob­serving and not acting.” Or this:

“It is not a good thing to convict sin only by implication. Sometimes the cruel word of censure must be uttered. ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Phari­sees, hypocrites!’ was spoken by one who incarnat­ed tenderness. The language of aspiration is always in danger of becoming soft; but it is possible to avoid that pitfall and yet not sink into a habit of cheap scolding.”

The National Conference of Catholic Charities has avoided both the pitfall and the habit by print­ing in the Spring 1984 issue of its periodical, So­cial Thought, an article entitled “Ethical Guide­lines for a Religious Institution Confronted by a Union” by Ed Marciniak. The National Center for the Laity has now reprinted this article in handy pamphlet for­mat and I commend it to all administrators of reli­gious institutions, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish, but especially those who are Catholic. Union members, actual or potential, should also read it.

Enjoyed reading this?

READ MORE! REGISTER TODAY

SUBSCRIBE

You May Also Enjoy

The Arrogance of the Columnist

There’s something about writing a column that leads to arrogance. The temptation is strong and few resist it.

The Enemy Within

Why are wealthy bankers being handed golden government parachutes while our neighbors who are being foreclosed are kicked to the curb?

Billy Graham to the Rescue?

I fantasize that some contemporary Nathan the Prophet might chat with the President, not about sins like adultery and murder but about social sins. I’m afraid a Catholic bishop would not be right for the part.