On Integrity

“If one has integrity, nothing else matters. If one does not have integrity, nothing else matters” —Alan Simpson

What’s important, the big over which you have at best a trivial say, or the small, over which you have much power ? Is it our obligation to  protest the enslavement of Christians in Nigeria or their persecution in Iraq or that there are some innocent people imprisoned in  Gitmo ?  Or is it more of an obligation to shovel our neighbor’s walk or write letters to folks in local jails or help our kids study or tell them about Servant of God Fr. Vincent Capodono, MM . Members of protest clubs must acknowledge that, if freedom of conscience means anything at all, it means that others may well be called to ignore  the protests.

One good fellow and wonderful economist , Art, who came to St. Thomas had been illicitly permitted to preach. When Fr. Simon thought it best to end that practice, Art’s objection was this: he felt seriously called to preach. The argument was advanced that Fr. Simon was equally or perhaps more strongly called to prevent it.  Art’s objection to that response was it could not be so; it is a waste of energy ( was it said dhe was a good economist ?) . But the end was: God can waste energy;  it comes with omnipotence, a quality theologians are more suited to deal with than economists.

One day a few years ago, Cardinal George dropped by the soup kitchen on very short notice. He came with his driver and sat down at one of the tables. When Jim brought him some of the chili, the cardinal asked what it was  and Jim told him. The cardinal said that it’s Lent and it’s Friday . And Jim told him that what appeared to be meat was soy protein. The cardinal asked “Do they ( the guest) know that ?” Jim started to answer and he was interrupted and everyone went on with the meal . The cardinal  talk to some folks at the table and went on his way like all the other guests.