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The Principle of Attraction among Evil Boys

Our American optimistic mentality often prevents us from seeing reality as it is. We always believe everyone is good. It is a practical way to deny Original Sin. To help correct this defect, here is St. John Bosco with an observation he made from his long experience in dealing with boys. He teaches us that evil persons are naturally attracted to other evil persons and tend to unite.

This can be useful for parents in watching their children, but also to counter-revolutionaries to discern the revolutionaries as they meet one another and naturally start to conspire against the good. St. John Bosco alerts us how quickly ‘bad attracts bad.’ His advice on vigilance regarding the natural attraction of evil can be applied to girls as well as boys:

St. John Bosco

I will only say one thing about the bad boys, which may seem unlikely but which happens exactly the way I am going to describe it.

Let us say that among the 500 students of a school, there is one who lives a depraved life. One day, a new student arrives who is also vitiated. They both come from different regions and provinces, and even have different nationalities. They are in different classes and different places; they have never seen each other and do not know one another.

Well, regardless of everything said, on the second day or maybe within a few hours after his arrival, you will see them both together during recess. It seems that a malefic spirit enables one to discover the other who is affected by the same vice, as if a diabolic magnet had attracted them in order to form an intimate friendship. The saying `birds of a feather flock together’ is an easy way of detecting mangy sheep before they become rapacious wolves.


Blason de Charlemagne
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(Biografia y escritos de San Juan Bosco,
Madrid, Editorial Catolica, 1967, pp. 457-458)
Posted January 17, 2014