Some hypocrisy comes from self-deception

January 22, 2022 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 465
By Venerable Louis of Granada

Besides that gross hypocrisy which is the pretence of virtue made by those who know they are wicked, but who strive to conceal their vices, there is a more refined and more dangerous hypocrisy, which affects many who deceive themselves as well as others by a false show of justice.

Like the Pharisee, they imagine they are virtuous, but they are far from true holiness. Such hypocrisy is the result of that miserable piety which consists of external practices only.

Solomon condemned it when he said: “There is a way which seemeth just to a man, but the ends thereof lead to death.” [Prov. xiv. 12.]

Further on he includes this vice among the four evils which he says exist in the world: “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. A generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet are not washed from their filthiness. A generation whose eyes are lofty, and their eye-lids lifted up on high. A generation that for teeth hath swords, and grindeth with their jaw-teeth, to devour the needy from off the earth, and the poor from among men.” [Ib. xxx. 11, 12, 13, 14.]

You cannot fail to recognize among these the unhappy victims of self-deception, who, like the Pharisees, believe themselves pure when they are filled with corruption.

This false confidence is so dangerous that there is much more hope for a hardened sinner who recognizes his condition than for one who thus deceives himself. Acknowledging our failings is the first step towards amendment. But how can a sick man be cured who maintains that he is well, and therefore refuses all remedies?

For this reason our Saviour declares to the Pharisees that “publicans and sinners shall go before them into the kingdom of Heaven.” [St. Matt. xxi. 31.] And He utters the same truth still more forcibly in the Apocalypse: “would thou wert cold or hot. But because thou art luke-warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” [Apoc. iii. 15, 16.]

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