Words That Men Live By
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen (1941)
WASHINGTON D. C., March 23, 1941 - A 46 year-old priest already famous for 15 years as a writer and speaker and now an outstanding “radio personality,” Mgr. Fulton J. Sheen, tonight urged a national audience to substitute thought for slogans in the present controversy over conservatism vs. radicalism in world movements.
The speaker broadcast on The Catholic Hour, under the sponsorship of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, but his audiences long since have extended far beyond the communications of his own church.
I plead with you to sweep away slogans that mean nothing and begin to be among the thinking elite who want to build a very different and happier world than the one we live in now. You have been told that the only choice possible is to be a reactionary or a liberal; that you must go either right or left.
That would be true if you lived in a two-dimensional plane and this world were all; but you have a soul as well as a body. You need therefore a three-dimensional universe, one which height where you can stretch not your necks but your hearts.
A mule can travel only in two directions: either right or left. He must be either a reactionary or a liberal. But because you have a soul there is another direction open to you, toward God for whom you were made.
Let the unthinking squabble about what a grandson ought to believe, or what a grandfather did believe, but concentrate on what a godson believes because born of the Spirit. If you are honest with yourself you will admit that you are weary of religions, politics and panaceas that flatter the way you live; you want something that will contradict the way you live and therefore be capable of redeeming you; you are sick of revolution that only changes booty and loot from one man’s pocket to another’s; you want a revolution that will change your hearts.
Leave it to the comedians to talk about “progress” when humanity is pressing you itself, for what they call progress is only a process – the fashion of the world passing away.
Put behind you the acceptance of nonsense because you dislike holding something with ethical consequences. Realize that you must be saved not for these days but from them; that a new order may begin whenever you can live as created in time but ordered in eternity. Do you not see that where Christ is persecuted in the world today, man is most defeated?
~ Postlogue ~Printable version
From what might have been considered the peak of a career, Mgr. Sheen progressed to the preaching and teaching field of television, and became a bishop in the Roman Catholic hierarchy.