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Interest in Scandal vs. Interest in Sanctity

Paul nodded as they passed the Carmes: “I’m glad you showed me that, Randi.—For of course we’ve heard of the September massacres. but it was never pointed out to us that the revolution was a fight against all acknowledged authority—on the part of those who sought to make themselves authorities. And naturally their wildest hatred was directed against those who acknowledged a divine authority.”

Randi nodded:

“No, we are told about corruption within the Church and the scandal it aroused. But we never hear that this scandal was nothing compared with the hatred of the Church’s sanctity—and there was much sanctity at that time too. For of course all those who say, Our kingdom come, are likely to hate those who have the world’s power and honour in their hands. But that’s nothing compared with their hatred of those who pray, Thy kingdom come.—And it isn’t even any use being scandalized by the fact that those circles at home who believe themselves to be defending the remnants of Christianity in Norway are far more interested in a priest who breaks his vows than in two hundred who assert them in the face of a firing-party. The fact is simply this, that they believe in every story of traitors, because that is a thing they can understand. And the other thing doesn’t interest them, because they can no longer understand it.”

—from The Wild Orchid by Sigrid Undset, Book 2: Ch. 5



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