Wisdom on Wednesdays—Lodgings in the stable


Nativity, woodblock print, c. 1920.

“Peace may only be made when each Catholic withdraws from the class-struggle and finds what lodgings he can in the stable.  He must see the world from without, among peasants and kings.”  (May 22, 1932)


Wisdom on Wednesdays—Beauty instead of money

“I have always been bewildered and frightened before the world.  I could never understand that nothing was wanted of me by the world but money—or why it was that I must ask nothing of the world but money.  I soon found, however, that if I did not submit I would be crushed.  I tried beauty instead of money and I was threatened with starvation.  I tried raising a decent-sized family, and I was starved.  I have temporarily escaped with nothing left but many of my paintings, my family and pride – the latter vice created in me, as it were, by those who would starve me.”  (written shortly after Schmitt’s return to America from Europe in late 1939)


Self-Portrait, oil on hardboard, 12 x 10 in.

Wisdom on Wednesdays—Now is the nadir of the world

“Now is the nadir of the world:
To be poor in spirit, but not too poor
To be chaste, but not too chaste
To be honest, but not too honest.
Thus Christianity is an enemy:
‘Be ye perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect’
is the counsel of fanaticism.
The politician must compromise in a ‘possible world.’”

Coronation of the Virgin, oil on canvas, c. 1924, 42 x 35 in.

Wisdom on Wednesdays—Compromise with the world is no longer possible

“The inordinate desire for wealth is destroying wealth.  The time is finally here when compromise with the world is no longer possible for decent men in the world.  When this point arrives, however, it is already too late.  That is the great tragedy of this evil.  And it is the only tragedy which meets with almost unanimous approval.”  (March 6, 1943)


Black Bottles oil on canvas, c. 1931, 20 x 32 in.

Wisdom on Wednesdays—“the world cannot be saved by more worldliness”

“I read a great deal about the rightness of this or that form of government or political program, or of this or that social program, or of the morality of one kind of economic scheme and the evils of another.  All this sort of thing is necessary provided we understand that the world cannot be saved by more worldliness.  Neither Protestantism nor Catholicism nor socialism nor greater humanity alone will do anything because all these things are abstractions.  We want not abstraction but a concrete thing: a good man.  In a word, personal sanctity.”  (1942)


Nursing the Baby, pen and ink on paper