Flattery

St. Charles Borromeo never flattered people with fine words, such as are used in courts, but, when asked for an opinion, for advice, or for any favor, simply stated his thoughts and intentions, and never made a promise which he did not consider it advisable to fulfil. On the contrary, he refused frankly, but at the same time gave his reasons for the satisfaction of the person he was obliged to disappoint. In this manner, he treated people of all ranks, so that his word was trusted more than most men’s bond, and the greatest personages came to ask his advice in grave and difficult affairs.

When a certain book, written by Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray, was condemned in Rome by Pope Innocent XII, no sooner did the good prelate receive the condemnatory brief, than, by an act of singular submission to the Supreme Pontiff, he not only read it publicly from his own archiepiscopal pulpit, but himself condemned and renounced his own propositions, and forbade his people, (who tenderly loved him, and who were weeping profusely) to read the book in the future, or to keep it in their houses.

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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