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The Yes oJ [esus Christ

80
person's

conscience

justification
the loss

and

calls into

question

Hope and Love

81

the self-

in which such a person has taken refuge after

Varieties oj Seif-Satisfaction:

Eaith. The

and tbe Pelagianism oj tbe Pious

oE

downtrodden

conscience

speaks

Bourgeois Pelagianism

again from outside, and now everything that gives it voice


must be crushed underEoot along with it. More generally

In order not to draw this meditation

we can say that the person who refuses his or her meta-

skip

physical greatness is an apostate with regard to the divine

des pair: the common

foundation

vocation of being human. The monstrous

the error of thinking

that one does not need God for the

hatred that seethes in many terrorist


cannot indeed be understood
sion to crush ones conscience

and enormous

organizations

at all without
underfoot

today

this cornpul-

arid along with

Thomas

(malitia)

Aquinas

in the strict

in deliberate

realization

of

few comments

against God, in

The first variation of presumption

be comes

considerations

inertia,

the

existence.

fearfully demanding

clear that

slothfulness

or

in which this

that we need to talk


that rests on

such as these: "If God really does exist and

if he does in fact bother

it becomes

forms

liberal Pelagianism

rejection of God's love, has become the core of someone's


Here

lies in

and which from a purely superficial

point of view can appear harrnless."

metaphysical

of

of one's own being. Following

on two widespread

about is the bourgeois

only when

twin-sister

Josef Pieper closely, I would like merely to try to offer a

hatred of God: a stance that is actually absurd and that


possible

that

of both attitudes

for

sense consists

rebellion

presumption,

and fulfillment

vice finds expression

it everything that recalls its message?


Spitefulness

an analysis

out too long I will

about people he cannot be so

as is described

by the faith of the

are inter-

Church. Moreover I'm no worse than the others: I do my

locked. Today we are discovering how this kind of out-

duty, and the minor human weaknesses cannot really be as

come spreads and casts its spell over people who in the

dangerous

captivity of their rejection are driven to a hatred that can

we find the human self-belittlement

only be satisfied by the destruction

described

inertia (false humility)

and pride of rejection

of man. This kind of

despair can also wear the mask of optimism.


ideological

optimism

we have described

mentally always a mask hiding despair.

Indeed, the

earlier is funda-

as all that,' In this widespread

attitude

to life

that we have already

in the case of accidie and the self-sufficiency

with regard to infinite love that people think they do not


need in their bourgeois self-satisfaction.

Perhaps in times

of peace one can live for quite a long time in this frame of

The Yes

82
mind. But at the moment

0/ Jesus

Christ

83

Hope and Love

of crisis people will either be

Fear, Hope, Love

converted from it or fall victim to despair.


The other face of this same vice is the Pelagianism

of

the pious. They do not want any forgiveness from God,

If we talk of the connection

nor indeed any gift at all from him, They want to be okay

subject of fear must finally also be touched on. The Pela-

thernselves, wanting not forgiveness but their just reward.

gianism of the pious is a child of fear, of a damaged hope

They want security, not hope. By means of a tough and

that cannot

rigorous

of

pellable gift of love. So from hope arises anxiety, and that

prayers and actions, they want to create for themselves a

in its turn gives birth to the striving for security in which

right to blessedness. What they lack is the humility essen-

no uncertainty

tial to any love-the

fear because the egoistic person does not want to entrust

system

of

religious

humility

practices,

by means

to be able to receive wh at

between hope and love the

endure the tension

of awaiting the uncom-

can remain. Love does not now overcome

we are given over and above what we have deserved and

hirnself or herself to its kind of certainty that can always

achieved. The denial of hope in favor of security that we

only be a certainty

are faced with here rests on the inability to bear the ten-

fear must

sion of waiting for what is to come and to abandon

through what is at my own disposal-through

self to God's goodness. This kind of Pelagianism

oneis thus

an apostasy from love and from hope but also at the profoundest
against

level from
himself,

faith too. Man

against

others

and

hardens

his heart

ultirnately

against

of dialogue. From this point of view

be exorcized

myself, through

independently

of

the

others

what I do

my own work.

This kind of striving for security rests on the total selfassertion

of the ego, which refuses to take the risk of

emerging from its shell and entrusting

itself to the other,

God: man needs God's divinity but no longer his love. He

This is in fact the test for the absence of true love. On

puts himself

the other hand we need to ding firmly to a kind of fear

operate

in the right, and a God that does not co-

becomes

Testament
deformation

his enemy. The Pharisees

are an eternally

of the New

valid representation

of this

of religion. The core of this Pelagianism

a religion withour love that in this way degenerates


sad and miserable caricature of religion.

is

into a

that is not only compatible

with love but necessarily fol-

lows from it: the fear of hurting


ing the foundations

of love by one's own fault. Liberalism

and the Enlightenment


world without

the beloved, of destroy-

want to talk us into accepting

fear: they promise

the complete

elimina-