Monarchy, Republic, and Religion

January 6, 2011

[previous]

To avoid any misunderstanding, it is necessary to emphasize that this exposition does not contain the assertion that the republic is necessarily a revolutionary regime. When speaking of the various forms of government, Leo XIII made it quite clear that “each of them is good, as long as it moves honestly toward its end, namely, the common good, for which social authority is constituted.”

 

We do label as revolutionary the hostility professed against monarchy and aristocracy on the principle that they are essentially incompatible with human dignity and the normal order of things. This error was condemned by Saint Pius X in the apostolic letter Notre charge apostolique, of August 25, 1910. In this letter, the great and holy Pontiff censures the thesis of Le Sillon, that “only democracy will inaugurate the reign of perfect justice,” and he says: “Is this not an injury to the other forms of government, which are thus reduced to the category of impotent governments, acceptable only for lack of something better?”

If one fails to consider this error, which is deeply rooted in the process under study, one cannot completely explain how it is that monarchy, classified by Pope Pius VI as the best form of government in thesis (“praestantioris monorchici regiminis forma), has been the object in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries of a hostile worldwide movement that has overthrown the most venerable thrones and dynasties. From our perspective, the mass production of republics all over the world is a typical fruit of the Revolution and a capital aspect of it.

 

A person cannot be termed a revolutionary for preferring, in view of concrete and local reasons, that his country be a democracy instead of an aristocracy or a monarchy, provided the rights of legitimate authority be respected. But, yes, he can be termed a revolutionary if, led by the Revolution’s egalitarian spirit, he hates monarchy or aristocracy in principle and classifies them as essentially unjust or inhuman.

“A person cannot be termed a revolutionary for preferring, in view of concrete and local reasons, that his country be a democracy instead of an aristocracy or a monarchy, provided the rights of legitimate authority be respected.”

From this antimonarchical and antiaristocratic hatred are born the demagogic democracies, which combat tradition, persecute the elites, degrade the general tone of life, and create an ambience of vulgarity that constitutes, as it were, the dominant note of the culture and civilization—supposing the concepts of civilization and culture can be realized in such conditions.

How different from this revolutionary democracy is the democracy described by Pius XII:

“History bears witness to the fact that, wherever true democracy reigns, the life of the people is as it were permeated with sound traditions, which it is illicit to destroy. The primary representatives of these traditions are first of all the leading classes, that is, the groups of men and women or the associations that set the tone, as we say, for the village or the city, for the region or the entire country. Whence the existence and influence, among all civilized peoples, of aristocratic institutions, aristocratic in the highest sense of the word, like certain academies of widespread and well-deserved fame. And the nobility is also in that number.” (Allocution to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility, Jan. 16, 1946, Discorsi e Radiomessagi di Sua Santità Pio XII, Vol. 7, p. 340.)

As can be seen, the spirit of revolutionary democracy is quite different from the spirit that must animate a democracy according to the doctrine of the Church.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Part I, Ch. 3-E, pp. 18-20.

[continued]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

Previous post:

Next post: