Thursday, February 26, 2015

The auctoritas of the simple country priest (Parish priest more than prelate)

"These pastorsoverwhelmed by work and yet [(pourtant)] wretched, remote from all ambition and satisfaction, deprived of the honors and pleasures of society, strong only in the sense of their dutyedify, console the most useful part of society, the inhabitants of the countryside.  They are lacking in brilliant acquirements [(connaissances)], but have the good sense to give what they have away [(à revendre, to resell)].  They have not the varnish of virtue but rather the substance and guilessness of it.  With them Socrates would not be ashamed to converse, and Solon would seat himself voluntarily at their table.  Observe how [(comme)] they speak in their rustic temples, how [(comme)] the people hear them with avidity, how [(combien)] they are consulted in the most scabrous affairs, how [(comment)] their decisions are followed with respect."

     Melchiorre Gioja, in his Sul dipartimento del Lario (Milan, 1804), as quoted in Frenchy by Yves-Marie Bercé, in "Le clergé et la diffusion de la vaccination," Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France 69, no. 182 (1983):  100 (87-106).

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