This is a beautiful story from a book (Moscow Was My Parish) by an American priest stationed in Moscow in the 1950’s. He writes about the passing through Moscow of English, Irish, American and other priests and nuns who had been imprisoned by the Communists in North Korea but finally released. The Russian Communists arranged this release and had them come through Moscow on their way to their countries of origin. Here is how he describes an old priest who had been forbidden to say Mass for more than 2 years in the prison in North Korea but now could celebrate Mass at the author’s little chapel in Moscow:
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Dietrich Von Hildebrand wrote a fantastic book on this called Morality and Situation Ethics. He explains why self-righteousness is a sin of pride that cannot be excused just because the self-righteous one is correcting laxity. Both pride and sins of the flesh are evil. The Christian approach, instead, is to speak the truth with love, realizing always that “there but by the grace of God go I.” I have a summary of this book of some 7 pages that I use in class. If any reader is interested, I can e-mail it to you. Just write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.