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Revolution and Counter-Revolution


Introduction To Original Edition

LETTER A- A+

Today, Catolicismo publishes its hundredth issue.1 To mark the event it wished to give this number a special note that might deepen the already profound communication of soul between it and its readers.

For this, nothing seemed more appropriate than the publication of an essay on the subject of Revolution and Counter-Revolution.

The selection of this subject is easy to explain. Catolicismo is a combative journal. As such, it must be judged principally in relation to the end toward which its combat strives. Now, whom, precisely, does it wish to combat? A reading of its pages may provide an insufficiently defined impression in this regard. One frequently finds therein refutations of communism, socialism, totalitarianism, liberalism, liturgicism, "Maritainism," and various other "isms." Nevertheless, one would not say that any one of these has been emphasized over the others to such an extent that Catolicismo could be defined by it alone. For example, it would be an exaggeration to affirm that Catolicismo is a specifically anti-Protestant or anti-socialist paper. One would say, then, that our journal has a plurality of ends. However, one perceives that, in the perspective in which it places itself, all of these aims have, as it were, a common denominator, and this is the objective our paper always has before it.

What is this common denominator? A doctrine? A force? A current of opinion? Clearly, an elucidation of this point would help explain the depths of the whole work of doctrinal formation that Catolicismo has been doing in the course of these one hundred months.

* * *

However, the benefit that can be derived from the study of Revolution and Counter-Revolution goes far beyond this limited objective.

To demonstrate this, we need but glance at the religious scene of our country. Statistically speaking, the situation of Catholics is excellent: According to the latest official data, we comprise 94 percent of the population. If all of us were the Catholics we should be, Brazil would now be one of the most admirable Catholic powers to have arisen in the course of the twenty centuries of the life of the Church.

Why, then, are we so far from this ideal? Can anyone truthfully say that the main cause of our present situation is spiritualism, Protestantism, atheism, or communism? No! It is something else, impalpable and subtle, and as penetrating as a powerful and fearful radiation. All feel its effects, but few know its name or nature.

As we write these words, our thoughts transcend the frontiers of Brazil, to our dear sister nations of Hispanic America, and thence to all Catholic nations. In each, this same evil exerts its undefined but overwhelming sway, producing symptoms of tragic grandeur. Consider this example among others. In a letter written in 1956 regarding the National Day of Thanksgiving, Msgr. Angelo Dell´Acqua, substitute for the Vatican secretary of state, said to Carlos Carmelo Cardinal de Vasconcellos Motta of Sao Paulo: "Because of the religious agnosticism of the states," there has been "a decline or almost loss of the sense of the Church in modern society." Now what enemy struck this terrible blow against the Bride of Christ? What is the common cause of this and so many other concomitant and like evils? What shall we call it? What are the means by which it acts? What is the secret of its victory? How can we combat it successfully?

Obviously, it would be difficult to find a more timely subject.

* * *

This terrible enemy has a name: It is called the Revolution.

Its profound cause is an explosion of pride and sensuality that has inspired, not one system, but, rather, a whole chain of ideological systems. Their wide acceptance gave rise to the three great revolutions in the history of the West: the Pseudo-Reformation, the French Revolution, and Communism.2

Pride leads to hatred of all superiority and, thus, to the affirmation that inequality is an evil in itself at all levels, principally at the metaphysical and religious ones. This is the egalitarian aspect of the Revolution.

Sensuality, per se, tends to sweep aside all barriers. It does not accept restraints and leads to revolt against all authority and law, divine or human, ecclesiastical or civil. This is the liberal aspect of the Revolution.

Both aspects, which in the final analysis have a metaphysical character, seem contradictory on many occasions. But they are reconciled in the Marxist utopia of an anarchic paradise where a highly evolved mankind, "emancipated" from religion, would live in utmost order without political authority in total freedom. This, however, would not give rise to any inequality.

The Pseudo-Reformation was a first revolution. It implanted, in varying degrees, the spirit of doubt, religious liberalism, and ecclesiastical egalitarianism in the different sects it produced.

The French Revolution came next. It was the triumph of egalitarianism in two fields: the religious field in the form of atheism, speciously labeled as secularism; and the political field through the false maxim that all inequality is an injustice, all authority a danger, and freedom the supreme good.

Communism is the transposition of these maxims to the socioeconomic field.

These three revolutions are episodes of one single Revolution, within which socialism, liturgicism, the politique de la main tendue (policy of the extended hand), and the like are only transitional stages or attenuated manifestations.

* * *

Naturally, a process so profound, vast, and prolonged cannot develop without encompassing every domain of human activity, such as culture, art, laws, customs, and institutions.

A detailed study of this process in all its areas of development is much beyond the scope of this essay.

Here - limiting ourselves to one vein of this vast matter - we attempt to sketch summarily the outlines of the immense avalanche that is the Revolution, to give it an adequate name, and to indicate very succinctly its profound causes, the agents promoting it, the essential elements of its doctrine, the respective importance of the various fields in which it acts, the vigor of its dynamism, and the mechanism of its expansion. In a similar way, we then treat analogous points pertaining to the Counter-Revolution, and study some of the conditions for its victory.

Even so, in each of these themes, we had to restrict ourselves to explaining what in our view are presently the most useful elements for enlightening our readers and assisting them in the fight against the Revolution. We had to leave out many points of capital importance but of less pressing urgency.

This work, as we have said, is a simple ensemble of theses by which one may better know the spirit and program of Catolicismo. It would go beyond its natural proportions if it included a complete demonstration of each affirmation. We have limited ourselves to developing the minimum argumentation necessary for showing the relationship between the various theses and giving a panoramic view of a whole side of our doctrinal positions.

* * *

This essay may serve as a survey. What exactly do the readers of Catolicismo in Brazil and elsewhere (who are certainly among those most opposed to the Revolution) think about the Revolution and the Counter-Revolution? Although our propositions encompass only part of the subject, we hope they will lead each of our readers to ask himself this question and to send us his answer, which we would welcome with great interest.


Introducing Historical Insight on the Contemporary Crisis

Revolution and Counter-Revolution
by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Originally published as Revolução e Contra-Revolução, in Catolicismo, April 1959 (Parts I and II) and January 1977 (Part III)

First Digital Edition
Copyright © 2000 The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property ~ TFP. All rights reserved.

American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property is a registered name of The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc.

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property - TFP

PO Box 341
Hanover, PA 17331
ISBN 1-877905-27-5
Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. 93-073496

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