Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Fulton Sheen, fully Archbishop Fulton John Sheen

American Roman Catholic Archbishop, Canonization for Sainthood began in 2002

"The truth on this subject is that communism and atheism are intrinsically related and that one cannot be a good Communist without being an atheist and every atheist is a potential Communist. . . The intrinsic relation between the two he noted as follows: 'Communism begins where atheism begins.'"

"The very freedom which the sinner supposedly exercises in his self-indulgence is only another proof that he is ruled by the tyrant."

"The wicked fear the good, because the good are a constant reproach to their consciences. The ungodly like religion in the same way that they like lions, either dead or behind bars; they fear religion when it breaks loose and begins to challenge their consciences."

"The world may disagree with the Church, but the world knows very definitely with what it is disagreeing. In the future as in the past, the Church will be intolerant about the sanctity of marriage, for what God has joined together no man shall put asunder; she will be intolerant about her creed, and be ready to die for it, for she fears not those who kill the body, but rather those who have the power to cast body and soul into hell."

"The world would hate His followers, not because of evil in their lives, but precisely because of the absence of evil or rather their goodness. Goodness does not cause hatred, but it gives occasion for hatred to manifest itself. The holier and purer a life, the more it would attract malignity and hate. Mediocrity alone survives."

"There are 200 million poor in the world who would gladly take the vow of poverty if they could eat, dress and have a home like I do"

"There are fads ion science, just as there are fads in clothes"

"There are ultimately only two possible adjustments to life; one is to suit our lives to principles; the other is to suit principles to our lives. If we do not live as we think, we soon begin to think as we live. The method of adjusting moral principles to the way men live is just a perversion of the order of things."

"There has been no single influence which has done more to prevent man from finding God and rebuilding his character, has done more to lower the moral tone of society than the denial of personal guilt. This repudiation of man’s personal responsibility for his action is falsely justified in two ways: by assuming that man is only an animal and by giving a sense of guilt the tag morbid."

"There is a moment in every good meditation when the God-life enters our life, and another moment when our life enters the God-life."

"There remains the one standard that has not yet been universally used, namely, the choosing of candidates on moral grounds. A nation always gets the kind of politicians it deserves. When our moral standards are different, our legislation will be different. As long as the decent people refuse to believe that morality must manifest itself in every sphere of human activity, including the political, they will not meet the challenge of Marxism. Contemporary history proves that modern political leaders, devoid of a moral inspiration and relying solely on a mass basis (might makes right), proves ineffectual in time of crisis."

"These are but a few specimens of philosophy which is no longer conscious of its own intrinsic worth, and which sees no higher mission in life for itself than applying the categories of the material to the spiritual, of the physical to the mental, and the spatio-temporal to the eternal."

"This is a very imperfect analogy, because the nature of a thing is not a core but a principle."

"This is what Aristotle meant when he said that the object of science is the necessary and the universal; man and not this man."

"Those who hate Truth and fear Goodness are not far from the kingdom of God. They are fighting against it, and yet they know theirs is a losing battle. The more violently men hate truth, the more they think about it; the more they fear the goodness that demands perfection, the more they know it is what they really seek."

"Those who think they are healthy but have a hidden moral cancer are incurable; the sick who want to be healed have a chance. All denial of guilt keeps people out of the area of love and, by inducing self-righteousness, prevents a cure. The two facts of healing in the physical order are these: A physician cannot heal us unless we put ourselves into his hands, and we will not put ourselves into his hands unless we know that we are sick. In like manner, a sinner’s awareness of sin is one requisite for his recovery; the other is his longing for God. When we long for God, we do so not as sinners, but as lovers."

"Though time is too precious to waste, it must never be thought that what was lost is irretrievable. Once the Divine is introduced, the come the opportunity to make up for losses. God is the God of the second chance"

"To deny the necessity or value of metaphysics is to assert a metaphysical principle, just as to say a religion must be without dogmas is to assert a dogma."

"To gain something, you have to lose something."

"To tell a woman who is forty, 'You look like sixteen,' is boloney. The blarney way of saying it is 'Tell me how old you are, I should like to know at what age women are the most beautiful."

"To those who rejected Him, righteousness would one day appear as a terrible justice; to the sinful men who accepted Him and allied themselves to His life, righteousness would show itself as mercy."

"To use a man for what he is naturally best fitted is to keep him, if one can, from apostasy and dissatisfaction. At the same time, life's temptations come most often from that for which one has the greatest aptitude."

"To value only what can be sold is to defile what is truly precious. The innocent joy of childhood, the devotedness of a wife, the self-sacrificing service of a daughter--none of these have an earthly market. To reduce everything to the dirty scales of economic values is to forget that some gifts, like Mary's, are so precious that the heart that offers them will be praised as long as time endures."

"Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil … a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability."

"Totalitarianism in all its forms, believes the person exists for the State. From the moral point of view, the position of democracy is right because the person is prior in origin to the State, the person is nobler in nature than the State, and the person, having an immortal soul, is the subject of rights."

"Truth must be sought at all costs, but separate isolated truths will not do. Truth is like life; it has to be taken on its entirety or not at all. . . . We must welcome truth even if it reproaches and inconveniences us -- even if it appears in the place where we thought it could not be found."

"Two classes of people make up the world: those who have found God, and those who are looking for Him - thirsting, hungering, seeking! And the great sinners came closer to Him than the proud intellectuals! Pride swells and inflates the ego; gross sinners are depressed, deflated and empty. They, therefore, have room for God. God prefers a loving sinner to a loveless 'saint'. Love can be trained; pride cannot. The man who thinks that he knows will rarely find truth; the man who knows he is a miserable, unhappy sinner, like the woman at the well, is closer to peace, joy and salvation than he knows."

"Two psychoanalysts were walking past each other in the streets. One says 'hello!' The other says 'I wonder what he meant by that.'"

"Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved; there can be no world peace unless there is soul peace. World wars are only projections of the conflicts waged inside the souls of men and women, for nothing happens in the external world that has not first happened within a soul."

"Upon men of good will now falls the burden of preserving the moral law in the political order. If the moral law is rejected the nation falls: for unless the electorate votes from an informed conscience, rather than from propaganda, a democracy can vote itself right out of democracy -- as Germany did."

"Very few people believe in the devil these days, which suits the devil very well. He is always helping to circulate the news of his own death. The essence of God is existence, and He defines Himself as: 'I am Who am.' The essence of the devil is the lie, and he defines himself as: 'I am who am not.' Satan has very little trouble with those who do not believe in him; they are already on his side."

"Very harmful effects can follow accepting the philosophy which denies personal guilt or sin and thereby makes everyone nice. By denying sin, the nice people make a cure impossible. Sin is most serious, and the tragedy is deepened by the denial that we are sinners…The really unforgiveable sin is the denial of sin, because, by its nature, there is now nothing to be forgiven. By refusing to admit to personal guilt, the nice people are made into scandalmongers, gossips, talebearers, and super-critics, for they must project their real if unrecognized guilt to others. This, again, gives them a new illusion of goodness: the increase of faultfinding is in direct ratio and proportion to the denial of sin."

"Wars come from egotism and selfishness. Every macrocosmic or world war has its origin in microcosmic wars going on inside millions and millions of individuals."

"We are all agreed that the external threat to our freedom and the freedom of the world comes from the totalitarian states. There is no need to develop this thesis. They are Satan’s vicegerents of tyranny, the anti-Christ’s advance agents of adversity. But our point is that the gravest threat to freedom comes from within; I do not mean within America alone, I mean within the hearts and souls of men throughout the world. While the world is attempting to preserve freedom in the political order, it is surrendering it in those deeper realms upon which the political reposes."

"We are all born with the power of speech, but we need grammar. Conscience, too, needs Revelation."

"We are living in perilous times when the hearts and souls of men are sorely tried. Never before has the future been so utterly unpredictable; we are not so much in a period of transition with belief in progress to push us on, rather we seem to be entering the realm of the unknown, joylessly, disillusioned, and without hope. The whole world seems to be in a state of spiritual widowhood, possessed of the harrowing devastation of one who set out on life’s course joyously in intimate comradeship with another, and then is bereft of that companion forever."

"We become like that which we love. If we love what is base, we become base; but if we love what is noble, we become noble."

"We become like that which we love: If one loves the material, one becomes like the material; if one loves the spiritual, one is converted into it in his outlook, his ideals, and his aspirations. Given this relationship between love and prayer, it is easy to understand why some souls say: I have no time to pray."

"We must go out to Pure Life, Pure Truth, Pure Love, and that is the definition of God. He is the ultimate goal of life; from Him we came, and in Him alone do we find our peace."

"We need a modification of the wage system, so that the worker may share in profits, ownership or management of his industry. When labor leaders and capitalists thus agree together to give labor some capital to defend, there will no longer be two rival groups in industry: labor and management will become two co-operating members working together, as the two legs of a man co-operate to help him walk."

"We simply cannot put a man into a crucible to see if he will give off unmistakable green fumes of envy."

"What can I Give? There is only one thing in the world that is really our own--and that is our will...Our will is ours for all eternity. That is why the most precious gift that one can give is another in his will."

"What is discovered may be abused, but that does not mean the discovery was evil."

"What is Peace? Peace is the tranquility of order...body to sour and of man to God."

"What is prayer? The best definition of prayer is that it is a lifting of the mind and the heart to God. Prayer is a dialogue. Man breaks silence in two ways: a dialogue with his fellow man and a dialogue with God."

"What men do not see is that the fracturing of the spiritual community means the loss of inclusive and unifying moral sanctions over the whole of man's activities. The modern world has no cement to bind together personal morals and the morals of political and economic life. If a time ever comes when the religious Jews, Protestants and Catholics have to suffer under a totalitarian state denying them the right to worship God according to the light of their conscience, it will be because for years they thought it made no difference what kind of people represented them in Congress, and because they never opposed the spiritual truth to the materialist lie."

"When a child is given to his parents, a crown is made for that child in Heaven, and woe to the parents who raise a child without consciousness of that eternal crown!"

"When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women."

"When a soul in sin, under the impetus of grace, turns to God, there is penance; but when a soul in sin refuses to change, God sends chastisement. This chastisement need not be external, and certainly it is never arbitrary; it comes as an inevitable result of breaking God’s moral law. But the entrenched forces of the modern world are irrational, men nowadays do not always interpret disasters as the moral events they are. When calamity strikes the flint of human hearts, sparks of sacred fire are kindled and men will normally begin to make an estimate of their true worth. In previous ages this was usual: a disordered individual could find his way back to peace because he lived in an objective world inspired by order. But the frustrated man of today, having lost his faith in God, living as he does, in a disordered chaotic world, has no beacon to guide him. In times of trouble he sometimes turns in upon himself, like a serpent devouring its own tail. Given such a man, who worships the false trinity of (1) his own pride, which acknowledges no law; (2) his own sensuality, which makes earthly comfort it goal; (3) his license, which interprets liberty as the absences of all restraint and law—then a cancer is created which is impossible to cure except through an operation or calamity unmistakable as God’s action in history. It is always through sweat and blood and tears that the soul is purged of its animal egotism and laid open to the Spirit… Catastrophe can be to a world that has forgotten God what a sickness can be to a sinner; in the midst of it millions might be brought not to a voluntary, but to an enforced crisis. Such a calamity would put an end to Godlessness and make vast numbers of men, who might otherwise lose their souls, turn to God."

"When experimental psychology limits itself to rats and kittens, squabs and eyelids, philosophy of nature has little opportunity for formation. But when experimental psychology delivers over its findings concerning phenomenal manifestations of the mind, then the philosophy of nature may apply his philosophical principles."