Thursday, August 11, 2016

“Va-t’en, Satan!”

From Crisis:
The slaying of Father Jacques Hamel at the altar of the church of Saint Etienne-de Rouvray in Normandy should be the envy of every priest: to die at Mass, the holiest hour of the world. The president of France was heartfelt in his mourning, but Monsieur Hollande was also historically remiss when he said: “To attack a church, to kill a priest, is to profane the republic.” He spoke from the comfortable remove of the Fifth Republic, which would not exist were it not for the First Republic whose tone had been set by Denis Diderot (1713-84): “Et ses mains ourdiraient les entrailles du prêtre, Au défaut d’un cordon pour étrangler les rois.” Variously translated, it expressed the desire to strangle kings with the entrails of priests. Thomas Jefferson, a defender of the Reign of Terror, to the chagrin of Washington and Hamilton, called Diderot “among the most virtuous of men.” This was consistent with his note to Baron Alexander von Humboldt in 1813: “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.” A year later he wrote to Horatio Spofford: “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty…”

There are those who trace a paradox in the way the self-styled Age of Reason exploded in a Reign of Terror. But if a paradox is a coherent contradiction, one should not be dismayed if a decimalized society ruled only by brains should end up decimating populations and splattering brains on the pavement. Granted, anyone familiar with some of the bewildering things that bishops’ conferences have said about politics and economics could be wary of clerics on the public platform, if not the scaffold. But the fever that makes priests targets for irrational frustration never seems to abate. For the patron saint of parish priests, John Vianney, the priesthood is purely and simply “the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” That love incarnated in a consecrated man is why those who hate that love hate priests. Nietzsche set in motion the infernal wheels of modern neo-pagan cruelty when he said, “priests are the most evil enemies.” (Read more.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

I think it is interesting that throughout history there are men who have always set up some group to be the 'enemy'. It seems they get bored if there is not someone to attack. Woman, Eve, Pandora, etc., was blamed for introducing evil, but Men needed no help to introduce Terror.