Ambiences and Tendencies

donate Books CDs HOME updates search contact

Simplicity vs. Vulgarity

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Contemporary man, child of the modern “massification,” which transforms a people into an immense, inorganic, proletarian and anonymous mass, considers dignity and distinction to be attributes exclusively of the higher classes. Vulgarity, lack of taste, and glum, sterile ambiences are associated with the masses. And, since the higher classes seem destined to disappear, drawing in their wake dignity and distinction, it seems that the world will be increasingly immersed in proletarian vulgarity.

It is enough to consider a photograph of Nikita Khrushchev or Fidel Castro, persons who are symbols of communist nations, to understand to what extreme vulgarity can go.

St. Bernadette Soubirous home and convent

In contrast, our pictures show how much dignity, as well as temperate and pleasing composure, can imbue an ambience belonging to the poor – poor in money, but rich in soul.

In the first photograph, we have the poverty of an obscure but immortal family – the family of St. Bernadette Soubirous, the seer of Lourdes. The room serves as both bedroom and kitchen.

The large bed, with its curtain, is poor, but it gives an impression of repose, stability and unquestionable dignity. This impression is communicated by the whole room, accentuated by the pious pictures common among the people, and the spacious hearth around which the family members gather to warm themselves on winter evenings.

The Soubirous moved into this house in 1863. St. Bernadette, who entered a boarding school in 1860, never lived in it.


After domestic poverty, we turn to the noble voluntary poverty of religious life. The second photograph shows part of the infirmary of Saint Gildard Convent, with the chair upon which St. Bernadette died.

Naturally, the ambience is different. But the poverty is indisputable.

Nonetheless, the draped beds, the spacious room, the statue, in short, everything expresses composure, dignity and recollection. Briefly, this ambience is a thousand times more restful and attractive than that of many luxurious cubicles in today’s modern “palaces.”


Such is poverty when illuminated by the light of Christ and the smile of Mary Most Holy. It is calm, dignified, recollected, pleasant and discretely happy.


Blason de Charlemagne
Follow us

Catolicismo n. 160 - April 1964

Posted October 1, 2012

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes

Related Topics of Interest

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes   Egalitarianism & Vulgarity

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes   The Value of Distinction

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes   Vulgarity: The Style of Our Days

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes   Aristocratic Tone in Everyday Life

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes   Heroism, Grace & Beauty

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes   The Elegance of the Alexander III Bridge

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes   Catholic Ambience in Lima’s Public Square

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes

Related Works of Interest

A_civility.gif - 33439 Bytes

A_family.gif - 22354 Bytes

C_Formation_B.gif - 5946 Bytes
C_Clothing_R.gif - 5828 Bytes

C_4Temp_B.gif - 5500 Bytes

C_CatWay_R.gif - 6561 Bytes
C_RCRTen_B.gif - 6810 Bytes

C_Myth_R.gif - 6892 Bytes

Ambiences  |  Cultural  |  Home  |  Books  |  CDs  |  Search  |  Contact Us  |  Donate

Tradition in Action
© 2002-   Tradition in Action, Inc.    All Rights Reserved