At Judgment, the joking knight’s rendering of accounts will be more severe than a prostitute’s

June 9, 2016

By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Painting by Gustav Reinhold

Painting by Gustav Reinhold

See for example the story of the Orders of Chivalry. From one standpoint it was a synthesis of the history of the Middle Ages. Imagine a heroic knight eventually wounded in the Crusades, who returns to the monastery in a handicapped condition and is thus prevented from repeating his deeds. Suppose he returns and gives himself over to the regular life in the monastery, as for him there will be no more war or anything at all, he is now disabled. So he becomes comical and playful, says funny things and spreads a mentality of softness and relativism. In the monastery, he becomes famous for his jokes, and in the intermission after meals everyone rushes to listen to the latest joke of knight Galleon, who conquered Antioch and is now the monastery’s jester. This man can do more harm to the monastery than all the good he ever did in the Crusade; because he destroys a whole institution.


When for some reason the knights of his monastery stay overnight in some other monastery of that or some other Military Order, the question always is, “What’s Friar Galleon’s latest joke?” So they will tell them one, two, five… And everyone cracks up! Given the overall ambience, the Commander orders wine to serve around as everyone listens to Friar Galleons’ jokes. Friar Galleon is thus ready to inaugurate the Renaissance….

Knight, Death, and the Devil by Albrecht Durer.

Knight, Death, and the Devil by Albrecht Durer.

He has spent his whole life in a monastery as he might have spent it having a good time. At the hour of rendering accounts, his will be more severe than a prostitute’s. That’s the way it is, there’s no point dismissing it.


(Excerpt from a Jantar, Monday, March 5, 1990 – translation)



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