Digging in the Conscience/January


Have I exerted authority without accepting responsibility?

Have I given a reasonable freedom of action to subordinates with delegated authority?

Have I confused authority with personal infallibility and divine inspiration, and so made authority an excuse for a autocracy?

Have I deliberately surrounded myself with mediocrity, toadies and lick spittles, and done my
best to repress the talented and keep them in their place?

Have I shown abnormal care to safeguard the humility of brilliant subjects who might put me in the shade?

Have I resented humble, honest, face-to-face criticism and been vindictive towards those whose good advice I was too weak to follow?

Have I realized that no-one can undermine authority as effectively as a superior who abuses it?

Have I posed as personally superior to my subjects and expected them to bow to me, not to the divine authority in me?
And by so doing, have I dote my best to destroy their virility and spirit?

Have I mistaken obstinacy for firmness and fatuous narrow-mindedness for love of law?

Have I been fatuous enough to-imagine that a multiplication of rules and petty restrictions will make people holy, and paid little or no attention to the cultivation of the interior spirit?

Instead of leading, have I tried to lead people to God?

Have I been a coward in my exercise of authority?

Have I been exigent and possibly harsh and unjust, with the weak and obedient; and falsely condescending to the froward, obstreperous and bitter tongued?

Have I bullied the weak and fawned on the strong?

Have I realized that my own authority is limited and to be exercised according to law?

Have I forgotten that with the Christian there is “no distinction of the Jew and the Greek”?
Blinded by national prejudice, have I given preferment to compatriots irrespective of merits?

Have I reflected that for every abuse of authority I shall have to give a very strict account on the day of judgement?



Is my obedience natural. or supernatural?

Do I play up to, blarney or try to engineer my superiors?



Have you spoiled your child by selfishly considering your own feelings not the child’s good?

Have you nagged? Have you got a “bass-complex”?

Have you attempted to keep your child’s confidence and form its mind? Have you considered your duty done when you have clothed and fed your child and seen that it goes to church?

Have you stunted your child’s growth to maturity by making it too dependant or by selfishly trying to keep it a child when it was no longer a child?

Are your hot-house methods responsible for your child’s shyness and awkwardness?
By not allowing your child to mix sufficiently with other suitable Catholics, have you made yourself in part responsible for a mixed marriage?

Have you driven you child into lanes and back-alley, by not allowing them to bring their friends home?
Have you treated a possible fiat as a rival for you child’s affection and been unsympathetic and possibly unjust?

Have you abused your authority and exasperated your children by a gestapo regime?
Have you made an unreasonable fuss when your children came in at night at a time generally considered reasonable for persons of their years?

Have you made your children deceitful by excessive inquisitiveness or meanness, by wanting to know everything they have done, everywhere they have been and every penny they have spent?

Have you scandalized your children by gossiping in their presence?

Has the amount of money you spent on cigarettes made you neglect your children’s comfort and welfare?

Have you put pleasure before duty? Have you allowed your children to go without meals or to roam the streets whilst you went off to the cinema?

In setting up your children in life, i.e. in your choice of a school, in your approval or disapproval of their friends or boy/girlfriends, have you been guided by absolutely practical considerations, i.e. by merely materialistic ones?

Have you been jealous of the piety of your children and done your best to repress it, inspired partly by the fear that they might give themselves to God?