The Germ of the Revolution

May 30, 2019

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1. Fallen Nature, Grace, and Free Will

By the mere powers of his nature, man can know many truths and practice various virtues. However, without the aid of grace, it is impossible for him to perdure in the knowledge and practice of all the Commandments.1

This means that in every fallen man there is always a weakness of the intelligence and a first tendency, prior to any reasoning, that incites him to rebel against the Law.2

2. The Germ of the Revolution

This fundamental tendency to rebel can, at a certain moment, receive the consent of the free will. Fallen man sins thus, violating one or more of the Commandments. But his rebellion can go further and reach the point of a more or less unconfessed hatred for the very moral order as a whole. This hatred, which is essentially revolutionary, can generate doctrinal errors and even lead to the conscious and explicit profession of principles contrary to Moral Law and revealed doctrine as such, which constitutes a sin against the Holy Ghost.

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni

When this hatred began to direct the deepest tendencies of Western history, the Revolution began. Its process unfolds today, and its doctrinal errors bear the vigorous imprint of this hatred, which is the most active cause of the great apostasy of our days. By its nature, this hatred cannot be reduced simply to a doctrinal system: It is disorderly passion exacerbated to an extremely high degree.

Cardinal Josef Mindszenty, Archbishop-Prince of Esztergom and Primate-Regent of Hungary, Servant of God, pictured here at his 1949 "show trial", 1892 – 1975. Cardinal Mindszenty was imprisoned by the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party. After the war, he opposed Communism and it’s persecution in Hungary. As a result, Cardinal Mindszenty was tortured and given a life sentence in a 1949 show trial that generated worldwide condemnation. After eight years in prison, he was freed in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and granted political asylum by the United States embassy in Budapest, where Cardinal Mindszenty lived for the next fifteen years. He was finally allowed to leave the country in 1971. He died in exile in 1975 in Vienna, Austria.

Cardinal Josef Mindszenty, Archbishop-Prince of Esztergom and Primate-Regent of Hungary, Servant of God, pictured here at his 1949 “show trial”, 1892 – 1975. Cardinal Mindszenty opposed Communism and it’s persecution in Hungary, & s a result, he was tortured and given a life sentence.

Such an affirmation, which applies to this particular Revolution, does not imply that there is always a disordered passion at the root of every error. Nor does it deny that frequently it was an error that unleashed in a given soul, or even in a given social group, the disorder of the passions. We merely affirm that the revolutionary process, considered as a whole and also in its principal episodes, had as its most active and profound germ the unruliness of the passions.

1 See Part I, Chapter 7,2, D.

2 Donoso Cortes’s important development on this truth is very pertinent to the present work. See his “Ensayo sobre el Catolicismo, el Liberalismo y el Socialism,” in Obras Completas (Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1946), vol. 2, p. 377.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Part I, Chap VIII, p. 56-57.

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