“Those who have not lived before the Revolution do not know the sweetness of life.” So said, with great irony, Charles Maurice de Tallyrand, the renegade bishop who did as much as any individual to empower the French Revolution of 1789. He it was who largely wrote its foundational document, The Declaration of the Rights of Man. As former treasurer of the Church in France, it was also he who identified Church lands and oversaw their sale to finance the First Republic. This was before he went on to become Napoleon’s foreign minister, to help engineer Napoleon’s downfall and the restoration of the monarchy under King Louis XVIII, and then to die peacefully in his bed, insisting that he had never betrayed anyone. But this article is not about him. What I want to do here, as I said I would in the article’s first installment, is to identify the main reason why many young persons, especially in Europe, are at the heart of an unmistakable movement upward from the near bottom to which society has fallen after two centuries of the modernity that dawned with the Revolution and grew only more hellish as it continued to unfold unto now.
I’ll put the reason in a nutshell: They seek some sweetness to life.
Of what does this sweetness consist? Certainly there is an element of joy in it. Here we must distinguish between joy and happiness. The latter depends on circumstances. Give a man, or any animal, a full stomach, warmth and a place to rest he can be quite happy. Joy is known only to human beings. It arises from within us and can exist in circumstances that are far from happy. When Blessed Father Miguel Pro raised his arms as if nailed to a cross and cried “Viva Cristo Rey!” the firing squad taking aim at him beheld joy.
Leisure also contributes to making life sweet. Many today have no idea of what it really is. They think that lying next to a swimming pool with a cold drink or sitting in front of television four hours every evening is leisure. It is not. It’s really simply time off from their work or job.
Work is something we do in order to obtain something else, usually money. A leisure activity is something done for its own sake — reading poetry, for instance, or listening to music or playing it, visiting an art gallery to look at paintings or watching a sunset. Peasants in past Christian ages marking a religious feast with Mass and then joining together to dance, sing, drink and eat special foods instead of spending the day in the fields were engaged in leisure.
Above all, life — our own or that of society — will be as sweet as it ought only when it is lived in harmony with divinely-ordered natural law.
However it may be described, the sweetness of life is not to be tasted under the lash of modernity, which endeavors to whip peoples of former Christendom into an unthinking herd making its way along two parallel paths like two lanes of one roadway whose destination is supposed to be happiness for everyone in a world made perfect by freedom, equality and the application of advanced science and technology. The one roadway is secular liberal globalism, one of whose characteristics is that it is governed by positive law. That is law that men make up as they go along so that violations of natural law like killing preborn babies and same-sex marriage become legal though they can never be right. The roadway’s left lane is the welfarism provided by Social Democracy’s social leveling. The right lane is the false promise of a better life defined as getting a high-paying job that will provide the money to buy lots of things whose possession will be a source of happiness.
A growing number of persons evidently see that the choice between these two paths is really between the drab sameness of socialism on the left and a rat race on the right.
Where may they taste the sweetness of life? Tallyrand tells us: in life as it was before the Revolution and advent of modernity.
A people may find that life by learning their history and in the practice of their customs and traditions. Europeans who embrace their history, customs and traditions soon discover that these things are all rooted in the Faith. It is not surprising, therefore, that when they vote into power governments scorned by globalists as “extremist” those governments enact measures to defend the nation’s Christian heritage by strengthening borders against the incursion of Middle Eastern and African Muslim “migrants” and are sometimes explicitly Christian, as in Poland where Christ was officially declared King last year and Hungary, whose constitution proclaims: “We are proud that our King St. Stephen established the Hungarian state on firm foundations a thousand years ago and our country as part of Christian Europe…. We recognize the role of Christianity in preserving our nationhood.”
Inasmuch as the United States was established as a liberal republic, not a Christian one, it could seem to some that looking to the past as do European civilizationists as a source of inspiration for transforming our society would be futile. They do not look far enough into the past. Catholic schooling generally won’t help them. In most Catholic schools it may be mentioned in passing but never really taught that before the so-called Pilgrim Fathers arrived at Plymouth, in what is now Massachusetts, in 1621 there had been only one form of Christianity in North America, its One True Form, Catholicism, and thanks to the Spanish and French it had been present for more than a century. Nor is it taught with the emphasis it deserves that by the time thirteen English colonies hugging the eastern seaboard of North America declared independence as the original United States, Spanish and French Catholics had founded cities and settlements right across the continent from St. Augustine in Florida, to New Orleans and St. Louis on the Mississippi River, to San Antonio in Texas, Santa Fe in what is now New Mexico, and the chain of California missions established by Saint Junipero Serra. Most of the land of America that would eventually be incorporated into the United States remained Spanish and then Mexican, French and Catholic well into the nineteenth century.
What we are talking about is key to our land joining those of Europe already rejecting secular liberal globalism: Make America Catholic Again.
It can’t be done overnight, but don’t say it can’t be done period. Thirty years ago culture-destroying globalists never dreamt of hundreds of thousands of Poles marching through the streets of Warsaw full-throatedly singing their traditional hymn “We Want God” as happened on their Independence Day last month. Even a couple of years ago, when Socialists were still in control, who could imagine an Austrian government closing mosques and expelling Muslim imams from the country as the government headed by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz recently did?
How sweet life will be when America is Catholic again!