Wisdom on Wednesdays—Justice and charity made respectable

Pencil sketch, Naples, 1915

Pencil sketch, Naples, 1915

“The individual virtues of justice and charity will always be corrupted by the world and socialized so that justice is turned into legality and charity is debased into philanthropy: justice and charity made respectable.”

from the essay “Culture Can Withstand Anything but Respectability” (1931)

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Wisdom on Wednesdays—The triumph of hopelessness

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St. Isaac Jogues, oil on canvas.

“Those who think entirely in terms of the world succeed at success.  They can never succeed at failure.  But Christianity is the Religion of Failure.  It is the triumph of hopelessness.”  (1928)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—We do not yet despair sufficiently

Woman and Guardian Angel - 2-5-2014

Woman and Guardian Angel, oil on canvas on board, 1925, 30 x 25 in.
A gift to the Foundation from the grandniece of John Kenneth Byard, one of Carl Schmitt’s early patrons.

“Hope can only be wanted when we despair sufficiently.  Today we do not yet despair sufficiently – it is a half-way affair, clinging to an old faith like a fairy-tale.  Only when we are honest enough to acknowledge our very patent loss of faith, can we recover it again through Hope and Love.”  (1939)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—The Hope

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Noli me tangere (Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection), woodblock print, 1920, 8¾ x 5 in.

“Christianity in the first 500 years of its existence was known as ‘The Love’ in much the same way as it is known in our day as ‘The Faith.’  It died as love and resurrected as faith as it is dying today as faith and is resurrected as a hope.”  (1941)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—No hope for mankind

Portrait of Santo Caserta - CSF11405 - CROPPED

Portrait of Santo Caserta, oil on canvas, c. 1932, 36 x 24 in.
Caserta (1910-2013), a friend of the Schmitts in Silvermine, studied the violin at Julliard School in New York, but had to abandon the instrument on account of a skin condition. He then taught himself to play the cello, and at the age of 46, auditioned for a position in the Philadelphia Orchestra under the legendary conductor Eugene Ormandy. When asked by Ormandy who his cello teacher was, Caserta had to admit that he had taught himself the instrument. Ormandy was so impressed that he gave him the job. which he held for the next twenty years.
Schmitt also painted a portrait of his friend playing the cello.

“There is no hope for mankind.
But there is every hope for an individual man.” (1930)