[continued from yesterday]
...it is far easier, when one has done an evil deed, to deny that the deed is evil, than to repent of the evil that is done; and there are very many cowards who hide themselves beneath that sham...
To say: "It is not wrong," when one knows very well that it is, is characteristic of a coward; such a man, with all his show of daring, is really afraid, afraid of himself, afraid of others, afraid of the consequences of repentance.
Morally such a man is of the type of those sham gentlemen of paper collars, and paste diamonds, and empty pockets, whose one object in life is to make people believe they are what they are not.
Such men are very common, more common than they like to think themselves; by being at once so common and so shallow they are easily known by the discerning; if they only knew how easily they were known perhaps they would strut a little less in their garb of sham morality.
The second class is more common still, but is yet more difficult to discern; it is the class of those who, with the situation before them, make up their minds that they will live two lives.
A man has done evil; the evil has entered into his life; it has become part of himself in so far as he has told himself that he can no longer do without it. He is at least braver than the first type of person, who is unwilling to acknowledge the evil he has done; at least he owns in his own heart what duty dictates, even though he tells himself that he cannot obey.
The fascination holds him; to make a clean breast of it and begin again is more than he can endure; he must carry his burden in secret, and put on without as bold a face as he is able.
So the double life begins; outside "whited sepulchres, but within rottenness and dead men's bones"; and how many there are who go to their graves smiling and esteemed, honoured by men for their uprightness and courage; yet have been to themselves things of utter contempt, and have dragged a weary burden behind them all their lives!...
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918