Good hypocrites and bad hypocrites

A certain Scottish Cardinal is being accused of hypocrisy. Samuel Johnson reminded us that hypocrites preach what they do not believe in; not necessarily what they do not practise.

"Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage, or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others, those attempts which he neglects himself." (Johnson. Source: wikipedia)

Is the alcoholic who counsels against the dangers of drinking a hypocrite? Is the man who tells his wife he loves her a hypocrite because he has sometimes been unfaithful? (Should he tell his wife even if he thinks it would destroy her? Well, no, not if he loves her ...) And what about the Labour politican who drones on about racial equality and homophobia but has no black, asian or homosexual friends, because he actually dislikes such people? Or the outspoken egalitarian who secretly send his kids to private school?

There seems to be a lot of hypocrisy about hypocrisy ...

I don't deny, of course, that recent news from Scotland will make enemies of the Church even more angry and will be a great source of discouragement and scandal for the faithful.


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