You should learn how to talk a lot without saying much of anything. Never adopt a position that you will be remembered for. Move in the correct social circles, attend all the necessary social events, learn how to dress appropriately for each occasion. Be neat and formal without being extravagant or dandyish. Cultivate contacts in high places without alienating those on the lower rungs of the ladder. Avoid controversial company and don’t get involved in arguments. Keep your ear to the ground, your finger in the air, your nose to the grindstone and never burn any bridges. Don’t fall prey to the temptation of making a theologian or philosopher out of yourself. Acquire an air of moderate (not excessive) piety. Attend to your duties with diligence, but don’t make yourself indispensable in any one post.
Follow these simple rules, my son, and poco a poco (by and by) you will rise to the top like scum in a pond.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Some advice from Fr. d'Alton
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about Fr. d’Alton. I came across the following anecdote about him in the unpublished memoirs of a priest-friend who recounts the advice given by Fr. d’Alton to a young cleric who sought his advice regarding how he should advance his career in the Curia: