26 May 2018

A Review of Two Books

I've just finished two books, reading one for the first time, and re-reading the other after 30 years. One is by a Frenchman, one by a Spaniard. One was written in the reign of His Holiness Blessed Pope Pis IX, the other in the reign of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII. They both deal with liberalism.

The fascinating thing is that despite the stark differences between what passes for liberalism in the two periods (infra), their denunciations are as true as when they were written.

The 'liberalism' that they were writing about was quite different from the liberalism of today, except for the anti-Catholicism of both. The 'liberalism' of the 19th century was laissez-faire capitalist in ideology. It opposed the Church for Her teachings on economic morality.

In fact, the strictures on the 'liberalism' of their time are still relevant today, but must be applied to the 'free market capitalism' or 'anarcho-capitalism' espoused by many poor souls who think these heretical ideologies are compatible with the Faith of the Church, despite their condemnation by the Social Magisterium.

The 'liberalism' of the late 20th, early 21st century, on the other hand, is anything but laissez-faire capitalist, being a statist ideology, with affinities to socialist and communist dictatorships. However, like its 19th century precursor, it is the deadly enemy of the Church, but this time because of Her teachings on life and sexual morality.

Louis Veuillot
The first is The Liberal Illusion, by M. Louis Veuillot (1813-1883), written in 1866, and translated by His Lordship, Bishop Richard Williamson (Angelus Press, Kansas City, MO, 2005). The second is Liberalism is a Sin, by Don Felix Sarda y Salvany, written in 1884, and translated and adapted by Conde B. Pallen in 1889. The edition linked has minor edits to bring things like population figures into the current time.
Don Felix Sarda y

Needless to say, both are denunciations of the ideology of liberalism from a solid Catholic point of view. 

Veuillot was an integrist journalist and author, and editor of L'Univers, a major integrist Catholic journal. Don Felix was a Spanish Priest and also a journalist. He edited La Revista Popular, an integrist weekly, for over forty years. 

Don Sarda y Salvany uses the word 'ultramontane' frequently, and both he and M. Veuillot gloried in the name, so it is important to understand what it means. When they were writing, it was the name of a 'party' in the Church that stood for absolute loyalty to the Pope and to the Magisterium of the Church. To be an ultramontane in Church 'politics' implied integrism in secular politics, the idea that the the Teachings of Christ's Church should be the directive principles of governmental policy.

Of course, at the time they were composing their works, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the Pope and the Roman Church were the staunchest enemies of liberalism that existed. It was Blessed Pope Pius IX who, in the 79th article of the Syllabus  had anathematised the idea that,
Moreover, it is false that the civil liberty of every form of worship, and the full power, given to all, of overtly and publicly manifesting any opinions whatsoever and thoughts, conduce more easily to corrupt the morals and minds of the people, and to propagate the pest of indifferentism. — Allocution “Nunquam fore,” Dec. 15, 1856.
And, in the 80th article of the same document, he condemned the proposition that, 
The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization. — Allocution “Jamdudum cernimus,” March 18, 1861.
And he had said,
 Liberal Catholics are the worst enemies of the Church.
There was absolutely no doubt that the Church was an enemy of liberalism. Then, however, came the Second Vatican Council, and the floodgates of liberalism, modernism, and heresy in general were opened. Rome can no longer be seen as the enemy of liberalism. Indeed, it increasingly seems to be, not only the friend, but an active proponent of man-centred, laic liberalism.

So, realising that their commitment to the Catholic Faith would preclude ultramontanism as understood when they were writing, where would Don Felix and M. Veuillot stand today?

I'm sure that, if they were writing today, in the chaos introduced by the Council, they would agree with Monseigneur Marcel Lefebvre, who wrote in 1974 to his seminarians at Écône,
We hold fast, with all our heart and with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary to preserve this faith, to Eternal Rome, Mistress of wisdom and truth.
And what can we, the readers, take away from these books? A renewed sense of commitment to the Catholic Faith once delivered to the Saints, a resolution to fight the forces of heresy, modernism, and liberalism, whatever their source, the world or the Vatican, and the realisation that, if we are truly Catholic, we must be Crusaders for the Social Teachings of the authentic Magisterium!

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