PIETY AND PIETISM
IT is sometimes said, perhaps more often it is felt, that pious people are a dreadful bore. They were "all right" until they became pious; now they are utterly unbearable. Once we could talk to them, could join them in work or in play; now they will not talk, or if they do, the talk turns into piety that makes us stamp with rage; they will not play, or if they do, they make us feel that it is all "out of charity" to us; we cannot even work alongside of them any more than we can work alongside of an iceberg, or while rolling on a bed of thistles.
Nay more, and this troubles us most of all, nothing seems to make us ourselves so impious as contact with these pious people. In their absence we were "all right" and are "all right"; the moment they come into the room, our bristles instantly rise, our tongues become sharpened, our hearts are bitter as gall, our thoughts become unconquerable, so great is the storm that stirs them. When they are gone, it is well if we do not pursue them, or blacken the room they have left, with a torrent of abuse and contradiction that will give us endless remorse, and yet will be defended by us as just, and necessary, and deserved....
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918