We see kids on the street with guns and stacks of $100 bills. There’s no rule of law, no belief in anyone’s laws -- not man’s, not God’s.
One youth says, “I look at those teachers and their books, and I say: man, you’re out in space, and I’m where I am, and there’s nothing between us.”
How else to think of drug use — by anyone, living anywhere — as but the most obvious evidence of nihilism, of despair?
Girls in the ghetto are hungry for love, and desperately afraid of not going along with the social, cultural, and sexual pressures of the street.
Why don’t the “underclass” want to leave it? Is there, perhaps, some failure not of psychology or school experience but of the moral imagination?
William D. Miller
Review of Harvard Diary by Robert Coles
I know a successful businessman who is a victim of spiritual poverty, and some materially impoverished people I’ve met are spiritually affluent.
An enormous irony shadows us throughout life: our capacity, our willingness even, to talk one line and live another — like the policeman caught stealing, the lawyer who breaks the law.
In the heyday of psychoanalytic reductionism, we were entranced with our ability to use psychiatric labels, to explain everything as the result of certain somethings.
A poor woman once told me that the Church “belongs” to her kind of people, not to them, the rich, the quite comfortable — appearances notwithstanding.
When Thomas Hardy’s "Jude the Obscure" was published, Victorian England was hardly ready to accept that novel’s story of a love affair between cousins.
Williams knew how bored, self-centered, and self-indulgent the rich can be, and how desperately confused, vulnerable, and self-lacerating the poor often are.
Niebuhr was the most extraordinary of preachers — a powerfully compelling delivery, all extemporaneous. As a teacher he called upon history and politics with great ease.
Elderly folks I once knew were proud of their indifference to the urban American world and its culture, its values and habits, of which they occasionally heard from their children.
To be a father is to love the children enough to give them boosts, examples, and assistance but also to stumble with them, before them, on their account.
In my field-work I found people of stoic dignity, often enough making do rather shrewdly, patiently, and thoughtfully against great odds.
The spiritual life of children is well worth comprehending on its own merits, with its own dignity and significance, rather than as an expression of something else.
The mother of a child I was studying said, 'You ask our daughter about everything except God.' I was at a loss for words.
Today it is the biological side of psychiatry that entrances, and so the old emphasis on talking and listening seems old-fashioned and unpromising.
The man who told us that religion is an “illusion” ended up, ironically, supplying a faith of sorts to many thousands.
In every Percy novel there is a complex, religiously sensitive yet also modern and scientific sensibility at work.
A poor woman I knew regarded herself, when pregnant, as the recipient of a gift from God. For me, the matter was at once abstract and circumstantial.
The world is wolfish, devouring, full of evil, Silone knew — yet, good will and love are also constantly in evidence: God’s gift to us.
Merton was a constantly changing person, and years in the monastery did nothing to stop that process, for all the enclosing, demanding steadiness of the monastic routine.
The usual categories we summon to describe people, to explain their motives and purposes, can be rendered utterly inadequate by particular moments of crisis.
Being clever, brilliant, even what gets called “well-educated” is not to be equated, necessarily, with being considerate, kind, tactful, even plain polite or civil.
Young women also are spiritually hungry for a sense of purpose and meaning in life, for something or someone to believe in, for moral direction.
I am tired of watching ministers or priests mouth psychiatric pieties, when “hard praying” is what the particular human being may want, and yes, urgently require.
In the well-to-do sections of Managua, the Pope’s picture may be seen displayed proudly on the doors of houses, in any number of windows.
Recently I went with two of my sons to Nicaragua, where we spent time visiting schools, hospitals, clinics, a number of Managua’s barrio homes, and those of other cities.
We owe each other tact, discretion, the right of individuality — and a consideration of what kind of public values, what kind of larger social and cultural scene, we want.
The significance of the biological distinctions between men and women, amplified by centuries of religiously and culturally encouraged differences, are not to be altogether scorned.
- Karl Keating