Is the world awash in duplicity?
The age of disputed questions did not end with Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth-century. The chicaneries of seventeenth-century France prompted Saint Vincent de Paul to exclaim, “The world is awash in duplicity.” (CCD, 10:58) The saint encouraged his collaborators to “have a candid heart and candid spirit.” (Ibid.) He instructed them how to engage appropriately in public discourse and civic rhetoric. They were “never to say anything contrary” to what they thought or to their principles. (CCD, 10:286)
Now, as does a toxin, polemical disputation permeates our national psyche. We are left to ask, What must be done? Perhaps Vincentian personalism is our answer. It promotes unity in diversity and emphasizes the common good of everyone. The Vincentian way is honest, forthright, and employs the art of conversation to speak respectfully and listen attentively with a “spirit of straightforwardness and simplicity,” and ultimately, integrity. (CCD, 34a:41)
Betty Ann McNeil, D.C., Vincentian Scholar-in-Residence
Vincentian Studies Institute, Division of Mission and Ministry
Conference 66, Secretiveness, CCD, 10:58; Conference 86, Uniformity, CCD, 10:286; Conference 34a, Simplicity with Crafty Persons, CCD, 34a:41.