Wisdom on Wednesdays—Concrete Christianity

“Neither such abstractions as Humanity alone nor Christianity exist: they must be made once more by something concrete: by Christians, by persons.”  (1942)


Wisdom on Wednesdays—A final court of justice

“Christians more or less vaguely, accordingly as they are in touch with tradition, instinctively feel that authority cannot be left absolutely in the hands of society.  For to Christians this would mean in effect that their consciences would be surrendered to society.  This would, to a Christian, be tyranny.  For to him an action is not morally right only because a majority approves.  There must be a final court of justice, namely, his own personal conscience.”
—from the essay “Socialism”  (1943)

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Peter, c. 1940, oil on canvas, 15 x 10 in.

Wisdom on Wednesdays—Christian hope and the artist’s sanity

“To come as near despair as possible without losing hope—that is the aim of a Christian.
“To come as near madness as possible without losing sanity—(that is, to be as fanatical as possible without losing idiocy) is the aim of an artist.”  (1932)


St. Paul the Hermit, oil on canvas, c. 1922, 30 x 25 in. (Private collection)
Schmitt’s depiction of St. Paul of Thebes (d. c. 341) being fed miraculously by a raven was probably inspired by a painting of the saint by the great seventeenth-century Spanish artist Velázquez.  The enigmatic figure on the foreground is Schmitt’s own contribution.
A version of this painting in brighter colors is part of the Carl Schmitt Foundation’s collection.