Quotes from The Devil's Advocate

Morris West ·  448 pages

Rating: (1.4K votes)


“Each of us can walk only the path he sees at his own feet. Each of us is subject to the consequences of his own belief.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“I don't believe in miracles, only unexplained facts.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“I was lost a long time, without knowing it. Without the Faith, one is free, and that is a pleasant feeling at first. There are no questions of conscience, no constraints, except the constraints of custom, convention and the law, and these are flexible enough for most purposes. It is only later that terror comes. One is free - but free in chaos, in an unexplained and unexplainable world. One is free in a desert, from which there is no retreat but inward, toward the hollow core of oneself. There is nothing to build on but the small rock of one's own pride, and this is a nothing, based on nothing... I think, therefore I am. But what am I? An accident of disorder, going no place.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“He had fallen into the error of all liberals: the belief that men are prepared to reform themselves, that good will attracts good will, that truth has leavening virtue of its own.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“If prayer fails I am in a greater darkness yet, not knowing whether I have presumed too much or believed too little.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate



“I feel the life slipping out of me. When the pain comes, I cry out, but there is no prayer in it, only fear. I kneel and recite my office and the Rosary but the words are empty - dry gourds rattling in the silence. The dark is terrible and I feel so alone. I see no signs but the symbols of contradiction. I try to dispose myself to faith, hope and charity, but my will is a blown reed in the winds of despair.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“Even in sin, the act of love -done with love- is shadowed with divinity. Its conformity may be at fault, but its nature is not altered, and its nature is creative, communicative, splendid in surrender. It was in the splendor of my surrender to Nina and she to me, that I first understood how a man might surrender himself to God -if a God existed. The moment of love is a moment of union -of body and spirit- and the act of faith is mutual and implicit.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“The man who does good in doubt must have so much more merit than one who does it in the bright certainty of belief. "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold..." A warning against the smugness of inherited faith.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“I believe in saints as I believe in sanctity. I believe in miracles as I believe in God, who can suspend the laws of His own making. But I believe, too, that the hand of God writes plainly and simply, for all men of good will to read. I am doubtful of His presence in confusion and conflicting voices.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“One solved nothing by waving the commandments like a bludgeon at people's heads. There was no point in shouting damnation at a man who was already walking himself to hell on his own two feet. One had to pray for the Grace of God and then go probing like a good psychologist for the fear that might condition him to repentance or the love that might draw him toward it.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate



“Look at yourself! You're a priest. You know damn well that if I were setting out to make a girl at this moment instead of young Paolo, you'd take an entirely different view. You'd disapprove, sure! You'd read me a lecture on fornication and all the rest. But you wouldn't be too unhappy. I'd be normal... according to nature! But I am not made like that. God didn't make me like that. But do I need love the less? Do I need satisfaction less? Have I less right to live in contentment because somewhere along the line the Almighty slipped a cog in creation?... What's your answer to that Meredith? What's your answer for me? Tie a knot in myself and take up badminton and wait till they make me an angel in heaven, where they don't need this sort of thing any more? I'm lonely! I need love like the next man! My sort of love!”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“Other priests, he knew, found an intense pleasure in the raw, salty dialect of peasant conversation. They picked up pearls of wisdom and experience over a farmhouse table or a cup of wine in a workingman's kitchen. They talked with equal familiarity to the rough-tongued whores of Trastevere and the polished signori of Parioli. They enjoyed the ribald humor of the fish market as much as the wit of a Cardinal's dinner table. They were good priests too, and they did much good for their people, with a singular satisfaction to themselves.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“I can't tell you why God made you the way you are any more than I can tell you why he's planted a carcinoma in my stomach to make me die painfully while other men die peacefully in their sleep. The cogs of creation seem to slip all the time. Babies are born with two heads, mothers of families run crazy with carving knives, men die in plague, famine and thunderstorms. Why? Only God knows.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“What the Court will decide is another matter - a legality, based on the canonical rules of evidence, and irrelevant, it seems to me, to the fundamental facts, that the finger of God is here and tat the heaven of goodness in this man is still working in the lives of his people.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate


“Christ had made bishops and a Pope - but never a cardinal. Even the name held more than a hint of illusion - cardo, a hinge - as if they were the hinges on which he gates of Heaven were hung. Hinges they might be, but the hinges were useless metal, unless anchored firmly into the living fabric of the Church, whose stones were the poor, the humble, the ignorant, the sinning and the loving, the forgotten of the princes, but never the forgotten f God.”
― Morris West, quote from The Devil's Advocate



About the author

Morris West
Born place: in St. Kilda, Australia
Born date April 26, 1916
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