St. Vincent Pallotti: A Man for Our Time
The New Oxford Review is published under the patronage of St. Vincent Pallotti, and January 22nd is St. Vincent’s Feast Day. We deem it appropriate in this, our January-February 1985 issue, once again to contemplate the witness of St. Vincent (1795-1850) and its meaning for this Review.
As a serious journal of ideas, the NOR always runs the risk of taking ideas too seriously, of becoming too “intellectual,” of forgetting that godly ideas are but one means toward salvation and sanctification. St. Vincent offered a poignant corrective to this danger when he wrote in his private diary, “There are…many unlearned people, who if they were instructed, would be great saints,” and conversely, there are “many learned people, who, if they were only a little less learned, would be more humble and saintly.”
These words come from a man who earned doctorates in both theology and philosophy. Yet he never bothered to tell his relatives about his degrees, and never in his life did he sign his name “Dr. V. Pallotti.”
Upon completion of his education, he taught at the university level in Rome. But while he was entitled to wear the doctoral biretta, he never did. Nor did he ever assume an air of superiority toward his students.
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