Georges de Nantes.
The Mystical Doctor of the Catholic Faith.
ON January 21, 1949, Georges de Nantes wrote to Charles Maurras to offer him his services in order “ to defend the country, in my lowly place, and to repair somewhat the injustice that Action Française suffered starting from 1926 on account of an insufficiently enlightened French clergy, led astray from its grand tradition of the defence of the nation and of true peace. ”
Maurras did not reply, but Father was solicited by Pierre Boutang, who at the time was editor of ASPECT DE LA FRANCE, to write the religious column ofthis periodical. The aim was to show that the most sacred patriotism is not in any way linked to ‘ religious integrism, ’ while at the same time it fights revolutionary progressivism, demolisher of the Church, of Christian civilisation and of the fatherland. Sixty years later, this series of articles that constitute a prelude to the encyclopaedic work of the ‘ Catholic Counter-Reformation ’ is must reading. How can we fail to recognise, with no fear of being contradicted, that in the end it is our Father, already at work under the pseudonym of AMICUS, who was carrying out the programme that Maurras had fixed for Boutang ? Maurras had charged him with building “ a new classical, hierarchical and human arc in which ideas would no longer be idle words, nor institutions insubstantial illusions, nor laws brigandage nor administrations waste and pillage. It would be an arc in which all that merits to be revived will be revived, ” in short, “ a Franco-Catholic arc… to provide against all floods. ”
The magnificent album that we published proves it. 1 In it we discover the secret of his priestly heart that made him write on Maundy Thursday 1949 :
“ Am I not the friend whom his Friend sends to His beloved ones in order to give them life and sanctify them ? ”
THE REVELATION OF A MASTER.
What a surprise to discover Fr. de Nantes signing his first articles : ‘ Claude Seyssel, ’ taking the name of a jurist from Nimes, a defender of the monarchic law during the Renaissance. One after the other, Claudel and Mauriac are consummately pulled to pieces.
Claudel was certainly not well appreciated at Action française, because of the ignoble role that he played in Maurras’ trial in Lyon in 1945. It so happened, however, that he wanted to make a personal commentary on the Canticle of Canticles. That was a subject in which the student of Fr. Robert was well versed ! Alas, instead of “ the dim light of a Palestinian springtime and the first love of the Chosen People for their God, ” we have to endure, wrote Amicus, “ the obscure meditation of the old poet, ” which “ has no mystical life for ten pages. ” 2
Mauriac, an officially recognised light of the Liberation, seized the occasion of the publication of Graham Greene’s novel, ‘ The Power and the Glory, ’ to flaunt his “ pseudo-mystical low-church Lutheranism, ” demanding the revolution he wished for by unsavoury mockery of the Church and traditional Catholic society :
“ Here is the theology of the Resistance and Marxist Christians, the theology of laymen, the theology of all out revolution and of the purification of the Church. The theology of personalism and the primacy of the spiritual… the theology, I maintain, that Graham Greene’s book forbids to profess. ”
Greene would side with Amicus in 1965 : “ My conception of Catholicism has always remained very different from that of François Mauriac. ” Here, however, is what is important for Amicus :
“ Tomorrow the Revolution will get the better of our individual weakness, ” he warns us, “ we who are not saints – and we will never all be saints – , if we should happen to lack what so many men already lack, the protective bulwark of the country and the continual assistance of Christian society, of the parish priest’s preaching and of the sacraments of the parish… Even in persecution God is the strongest, not we. ” 3
This proves the need for good institutions.
The first article signed AMICUS is entitled “ The Catholic Renewal and ‘ Liberating ’ Democracy. ” 4 Four years of war, of sufferings, of fervour also, aroused in the people of France a surprising resurgence of charity, that they were able to find “ in themselves, in their past, thanks to the suspension of political and anticlerical fights, in the atmosphere of effort and general renewal ” that had been created by the Marshal’s government.
Christian Democracy claimed all the merit for itself and, hand in glove with the Communists, it diverted this fine fervour towards pipe dreams by instilling in the soul of this people its myth of the Resistance and its revolutionary ideology. The time had come to denounce the imposture and to liberate charity by turning it instead towards concern for the national common good and the quest for a protective politics, which is precisely what motivated the nationalists of Action française.
The clearly expounded, convincing programme, calling for devotion towards the nation, reveals, on the part of Amicus, a surprising understanding of the relationship between religion and politics, between Church and State. From reading what he wrote, one would imagine a statesman weighed down by years and experience, but such was not the case. The reader in 1949 would have been surprised to learn that the author was a young twenty-five-year-old priest !
The fourth article, under the title “ About Our Unburied Dead, ” is so remarkable that, for the All Soul’s Day, November 2, 1949, the editorial staff of Aspects had it featured on the front page :
“ I will withdraw from the large funeral procession in order to follow in my mind the sorrowful paths, marked out like ways of the cross without glory, by the hastily dug graves of my army friends of yesterday. ”
Amicus relates the dereliction of the French Task Force’s soldiers in Indochina, battling with an elusive enemy waging a merciless, subversive war, but above all betrayed in Paris by dirty republican politics and by the progressive Christians of Témoignage chrétien. He then holds up as an example one of his officer friends, killed in action like a hero and a saint, who left a bereaved spouse and their small children. Addressing himself to them, he explains that in spite of “ abominable words from the powerful men of the day, ” the fight of their father was just !
“ Far from the fanfare of a corrupt world, I will extol for you, little children, the glory of the soldiers of the Empire ; of those who bore the peace, order and blessings of France and its evangelical truth. I will tell you that you are the heirs of Father de Foucauld if you swear, beside the paternal tombs, to serve these peoples where we have planted the flag of France, not for money, but for honour and to give of our own riches. You will then know that this is true : you will not be ashamed of your country and of the people from which you come ; still today, it gives to the world a wisdom, a truth that others are too quickly forgetting. You, however, will know that those who fall betrayed and abandoned by all, in a badly defended land, are in distant out-posts the advanced sentries, the elite troops of the true France. ” 5
It is signed : “ a priest of France. ” If the French today were not the slaves of the Anti-France party, this article would deserve to appear in an anthology of contemporary Catholic writers !
How can we summarise the one hundred and ten articles that follow ? The author, with the political wisdom, the priestly zeal and the genius of a Doctor of the Church, was already elaborating the themes on which he would found the League of the COUNTER-REFORMATION, twenty years later.
All the evil that occurs in society and in the Church comes from a few false principles, sonorous and murderous slogans, a veritable poison for the entire organism.
1. PACIFISM. At the height of the Vietnam War, the Christian Democratic newspapers of metropolitan France were waging a campaign in favour of the recognition of the status of conscientious objector, with the backing of the Dominican Fr. Congar or the Jesuit Fr. de Soras as their “ evangelical ” guarantor. Amicus, who was the student of the latter at the Institut catholique de Paris, cries “ Fire ! ” and begs the French clergy to react against this dangerous prophetism : “ A Catholic cannot accept this falsely biblical anarchism. ” 6
He counters it with the lesson of Joan of Arc : “ God did not consider it beneath Himself to create the instrument of salvation and to sanctify it even in political and military action. ” 7 He also refutes it with the wisdom of St. Pius X : “ Peace is the difficult conquest of the best, when they become stronger than the worst and know how to make themselves feared. ” 8
Only the restoration of a “ Christian society, ” of which Christ inspires the laws and legitimises the authorities, can guarantee an authentic and lasting peace, since war is “ a fact, a fact endured, felt in the flesh of our brethren and that we must curb and limit by the political and human means of force and diplomacy, out of concern for a higher charity. ” 9
Amicus never ceases to denounce the sirens of Soviet or Masonic-inspired international pacifism, “ these cranks who take pleasure in prophesising peace when war is near at hand, and war when everything indicates the necessity of avoiding it ; the people, whom ecclesiastical authority and the government no longer protect from fortune-tellers and messianic preachers, is doomed to all sorts of contradictions and misfortunes… ” 10
This prophetism, which appeared in the Church of France after the Liberation, is quite precisely the illuminism that laid hold of the entire Church during the Second Vatican Council.
“ The Son of God, becoming Son in this world, thought by everyone to be the ‘ son of Joseph the carpenter ’ from the village of Nazareth, a man like us, taught us to love all earthly filiation, to consider our original state as a vocation to eternal bliss… Everyone, in his state, in his natural condition, in his providential place, is a brother of the Infant of Bethlehem, the Son of God, if he is able to find his peace and his joy in the little that has been allotted to him, in which the light of Christmas shines. ”
( Amicus, Dec. 22 1950 )
2. ANTICOLONIALISM, in the name of the right of peoples to self-determination. In a first article entitled ‘ Outcome of Mad Conquests, ’ written a few days after the proclamation of the United States of Indonesia (December 27, 1949,) Amicus announces : “ Indonesian blood is going to flow and these countries are going to disband in interminable civil wars. ” The future would prove him tragically right. Against this scourge that would not cease to bathe the archipelago in blood, Amicus recalls the evangelical foundation of the colonising work of Christian countries :
“ May young Frenchmen know the profound distress of the peoples who do not have a thousand years of Christian tradition and who are expecting the blessings of it from us alone. They will learn that civilisation has never known democratic equality but it has known paternal tradition. ”
This is what he taught us in class ! My missionary vocation dates from that moment. “ Our old peoples have a paternity to exercise towards these new peoples, and this duty is sacred. It comes from God, Who founds and develops His Church through chosen peoples. ” 11
These lines express Fr. de Foucauld’s missionary doctrine as well as that of all the missionaries before the Second Vatican Council.
Amicus would come back to it in another article, the title of which is deliberately provocative : ‘ Subjection, an Eminently Christian Virtue. ’ Its aim was to debunk a premise of the modern world :
“ The primacy of independence and liberty over all other principles […]. This is professed by everyone, which dispenses everyone from proving it : these views are imposed on us, they are presented to us as the ABCs of the Christian religion. Everything flows from the undisputed principle according to which there is perfection and progress only in emancipation from all subjection and in personalising liberty. Advancement of workers and the emancipation of peoples, such will be the programme of the modern Church. ” 12
In another article, Amicus criticises the scandalous praising of Vietnamese nationalism by Bishop Chappoulie. This text, however, was refused by the editorial staff for the motive that, in the columns of Aspects, a bishop must not be criticised ! Amicus’s conclusion is prophetic, however :
“ It seems that it would have been better to look ahead, and to teach the clear warnings of the Syllabus to the native priests rather than the principles of 1789. One day we will have to go back on such a blind liberalism and remind men of the harsh laws of submission. If no one dares to do it promptly, it is to be feared that the West will soon disappear under the flow of a barbarian Communism. More than our death, we fear the slavery in which these young Christians will be oppressed. ” 13
Four years later the Vietminh triumphed, and there followed fifty years of slavery for Vietnam.
3. EUROPE. While the dismantlement of colonial empires was being carried out, European construction was being promoted.
“ On the one hand our European countries are credited with sufficient political maturity for them to renounce their particular sovereignty and blend into a community based on pure love, on the other hand, these unhappy, oppressed peoples ought to have their turn at enjoying political autonomy and rushing into the most total nationalism imaginable. ” 14
Is this contradictory ? Not at all ! It was a diabolic plan for subverting Christian order when the European Coal and Steel Community (E.C.S.C.,) supported by Schumann, Adenauer and Gasperi, was established.
Amicus is astonished that these good Christian Democrats reduced Europe to “ an economic reality, while disregarding its twofold spiritual destiny, ” and recalls that “ There is no Europe, but only two civilisations with poorly defined borders, two enemy traditions, that of Latin and Christian Rome and that of Germany and Protestantism. ” 15
Then he draws up a fascinating picture of fifth-century Europe in order to show how it was saved by St. Genevieve in Paris, St. Aignan in Orleans and Pope St. Leo in Rome :
“ It is salutary, after fifteen centuries of Gallo-Roman civilisation, to seek the lesson of these founding times, just for the sake of discrediting the hare-brained errors of the apolitical spiritualism that paralyses the ecclesiastical body ; just for the sake of proving that holiness inspires much of religious politics, such as the fierce resistance of Paris, the military agreements and the diplomacy in which Aignan excelled, the feigned collaboration and the armistice that Leo the Great himself honoured with his patronage. ” 16
There followed a thousand years of Christendom. In the fifties, Franco’s Spain offered an emblematic resurgence of it. Reporting on the Eucharistic Congress of Barcelona, Amicus writes :
“ It is obvious that this unity, beyond politics, is a result of the heroic Crusade of the great Spanish people against the international revolution. May he who appreciates Spain’s peace understand the Caudillo’s gesture of consecrating his country to Christ, and may he acknowledge the parade of the troops before the altars of the God for Whom they fought !
“ Barcelona gives the spectacle of a Catholic country that is reviving : the ordination of a thousand deacons is a fine presage. It pays homage to God and places a new generation in His service. Even more moving was the distribution of the Eucharist to the ill throughout the whole silent city, heedful of honouring, of greeting its Saviour entering into the houses, visiting the most abandoned. What a great event, what a great blessing is this liberty of God, which is recognised by an entire people ! It is beyond politics, without politics hindering it, but rather favouring and serving this ‘ total, vigorous profound and apostolic Catholicism, ’ which the Sovereign Pontiff praised Sunday.
“ Every Catholic craves for such harmony between faith and public life ; in Italy as in France, we feel deceived by the democrats who do not want such harmony and, by dint of declaring it impossible, they end up doing all that they can to prevent it from coming about. ” 17
4. THE RALLYING TO THE FRENCH REPUBLIC. “ If there is a doctrine that must be held in abhorrence and crossed out of our manuals of political morality, – we are astonished that it was put into them –, it is that of the Rallying, the Ralliement. ” 18
Why ? Because rallying is a desertion. A just and legitimate cause [to be specific : the consecrated, most Christian monarchy], thus sacred, which allegedly has no chance of succeeding, remains no less sacred. This is timely !
Yet should a priest be involved in politics ? A brilliant article settles the question : ‘ The Clergy and Politics. ’
First, the deceptive syllogism is demolished :
“ A priest must not take advantage of his ministry or his authority to impose his opinions and his preferences ; HOWEVER, politics is a matter of feelings, bias, free opinions ; THEREFORE priests must not be involved in politics. This is clear but false. I criticise the minor and give it an honest formulation : Politics based on the social contract, democratic and revolutionary politics is, in essence, a matter of opinion and individual interests ; THEREFORE the priest must not be involved in republican, partisan and quarrelsome politics. ”
Now here is the luminous line of reasoning and its true conclusion :
“ The clergy must defend justice and truth, safeguard the Faith and protect Christian peoples ; revolutionary politics compromise these goods by the domination of opinions and individual interests ; THEREFORE the Church must intervene in politics in order to impose the respect for justice, truth and concern for the common good. It is high time that the faithful resume this necessary combat. In the injustice and tyranny that weigh down on our country, their thirst for justice and their passion for truth must free them from the grip of the Sillon. The Christian appearance of the Sillonist intellectual forum conceals the worst form of clericalism, the oppression of political thought by allegedly evangelical individual opinions. ” 19
In one of his finest articles, ‘ In the Service of the Legitimate Prince, ’ Amicus recalls the eternal lesson of St. Joan of Arc :
“ Legitimacy is a reality that religion guarantees and strengthens without being a substitute for it. In the dark hours of revolution and foreign occupation, Joan taught us that it is beautiful for a maid from the Marches of Lorraine, to stand up, to leave everything and put her life to the service of her King. It is not insurrection that is the most sacred of duties, as the theoreticians of anarchy used to repeat to us, it is real submission, it is the service of the true leader who personifies the nation. This reconquest of the country for its King, an action that transcends daily duty, that surpasses individual interest and personal fears, is in the interest of God Himself ; this is the supreme lesson of the miracle of St. Joan of Arc. ” 20
5. CHRISTIAN DEMOCRACY. This fifth error is a heresy. In June 1950, the Republic held a state funeral for the founder of Christian Democracy at Notre-Dame in Paris. It was ‘ Marc Sangnier’s Apotheosis ’ :
“ Sangnier’s message is one of a generosity, an idealism, a love and an admiration for the people that liberates itself from order and reason, from the Church’s tradition and from the national patrimony, a message that overlooks truth in order to reconcile everyone, the good and the bad. One cannot disregard truth and order without dragging the people whom one was claiming to pacify and save into error, schism and ruin. ” 21
Amicus would often come back to the Sillon’s erroneous principle :
“ For want of reflection, Sangnier imagined a society of people emancipated from all law, each possessing in himself his law and sovereignty. As he mused upon it, he wandered from Catholicism […]. The man whom God calls to perfection and who, in order to acquire it, asks for the assistance of the society in which divine Providence has placed him, does not need liberty or equality, but a family, a job and a country. ” 22
6. PROGRESSIVISM. Ten years before his study on The Mystery of the Church and the Antichrist, Amicus analysed this heresy of the last times :
“ Four years of its divergences and hypocrisies ought to suffice to enlighten us about it. Its intrinsic evil, however, must be denounced, all the more because its members all come openly under Catholic authority […]. Its vocabulary itself is a continual transcription of Hegelian and Marxist jargon into evangelical terms… This is the worst deception !
“ The history of Protestantism enlightens us about the future of such a movement : adapting Scripture, rites, customs while it perverted Christianity at its source, it prevailed wherever eminent theologians were not found along its way to unmask it. It also prevailed wherever, in political revolution, evil was so deep-seated that it aspired to its theological justification. Thus, Christian Democracy, which was unmasked by the Letter to the French Bishops on the Sillon, must once again be denounced for its disgraceful transcription of theological principles into revolutionary doctrine. It transfers the heavenly progress of the Reign of God to an earth on which a fraternal city is necessarily built as democracy spreads. It identifies the universal reign of the proletariat on the ruins of all civilisation with the catholicity of the Church capable of assuming all of these ruins. Democracy is the enemy within the Church and, cloaked in an evangelical gown, it must be the first to be attacked. ” 23
It was indeed “ a new religion ” that the progressivist movement was attempting to inoculate into the veins of the Church, as Amicus remarked on the occasion of a meeting of priests of the Mission of France. 24 In his next article, Amicus points out : “ We are at the delicate moment in which the total subversion of the Church is taking place, ” under this pretext of ‘ Catholic intellectuals ’ : “ Rome must not let itself be alarmed by men of the past. The cost would be an immense and irreparable schism, compared to which the few clear-cut apostasies of these years would be of negligible importance. Do not spare the horses ! Towards the abyss, whip… ” 25
Of course, it is not yet the end of the world, but we will be chastised by the very hand of our iniquities :
“ Read your history books : it is heresy that summons the centuries of famine and the great fires, not the true Faith. Talk about the 16th century, or of the 10th, of the Waldensian and Hussite Wars, and the Wars of Religion. What the Church had recovered from savagery, Heresy handed back to barbarism, torture and death. It is Heresy alone that attacks life and urges its legions to commit suicide. No, it is not the Last Judgement, it is punishment for two hundred years of Democracy, dreamed of and accepted ! ” 26
A SPIRITUAL FAMILY.
Amicus, as his name indicates, did not content himself with fighting against enemy citadels with a pen, he also built up friendships with those who shared his convictions. A whole spiritual family gathered around him, to whom he would soon address his ‘ Letters to My Friends ’ in order to fight the spirit of division, the partisan spirit which, by dint of denigrating the traditional past, had infected Catholics themselves. Some of them had abandoned the fight, others were tempted to rally to the new democratic ideas. It was high time to rekindle love for dear, holy France, to restore the national communion on its true Catholic and communitarian principles. We are Catholics because our belonging to the French nation is more than a simple natural reality : it is the result of a benevolent will of our heavenly Father. I am French : it is God Who willed it. What can I say, France counts for God, it enters into His plan !
This love of neighbour, encountered by chance in the course of exercising his priestly ministry, is diametrically opposed to revolutionary universalism ; it is “ Catholic. ” It is an extension of the friendship of Action française that filled him with admiration and that he always held up as a model for us.
The example of the saints was the wellspring of his political charity. He had a gift for making us love them as assistants in the defence of Church and State.
At the time of the canonisation of Saint Joan of France 27, he recalled her sublime lesson to Christian politicians : “ Too many Christians, taken in by party politics, have attached themselves to power at the expense of honour and justice. Let us all learn together that we can save our country by resigning. ” 28
Maria Goretti, whose limpid holiness was authenticated by the Church, cures us of the miasma of the new kind of holiness invented by Mauriac, “ that of the incorrigible lecher whose prodigious humility is the proof of some superior virtue. One can end up believing that it is possible to reconcile an authentic religious life with every kind of disorder, due to some cleverly described psychological state… When, however, the limpid face of Maria Goretti appears in Bernini’s Gloria [this is the place of honour above the main altar of St. Peter’s basilica where a painting of a new saint was unveiled during the canonisation ceremony], these fables reveal their crudeness. The most wretched person, [her murderer!], likes to think that he is still the brother of such a saint ; he acknowledges his guilt, but feels free to imitate and reach such perfection. ” 29
Saint Pius X. Beatified by Pius XII on June 3, 1951, ‘ The Saint of the Twentieth Century, Will Guide our Catholic Renaissance ’ : “ An admirable contempt for the Revolution, disdain for the gullible fools who keep their illusions concerning it, the supernatural passion that pits the Pope against the work of the destroyers joins the efforts of the counter-revolutionaries from which the salvation of society will necessarily emerge. He discerns the point on which agreement can be reached with all men : in submission to the tradition of peoples and in devotion to the common good. Here once again, the saint restores the conditions of progress. Through him, politics is freed from sentimental and idealist encumbrance. ” 30
Amicus proclaims his adherence to St. Pius X’s integral Catholicism as much as to Charles Maurras’ integral nationalism. “ It is not because we are disciples of Maurras that we are Christians, ” he writes, “ but the perfection of our Faith is in keeping with this politics : the Catholicity of our charity recognises and adopts the Catholicity of its reasons. ” 31
Here is St. Joan of Arc, once again, yet again : “ ‘ I am neither a heretic nor a schismatic. My voices did not deceive me. All that I did was done on God’s command. ’ The voice that clearly rose in the flames of the stake at Rouen expresses eternal truths ; what was sacred in the past is still sacred today, and one cannot fail in his duty by devoting himself to the same cause that at one point in history seemed divine. ” 32
That year, our Father participated in the procession in honour of Joan of Arc that the government wanted to ban. He related to us how the policemen, who were charging into the procession, dodged round this cassock…
A WORK OF PROGRESS.
Once the false prophets have been dismissed along with the proud reformers, the disgruntled and those disaffected with the past, who, after having usurped power in France, have accumulated nothing but ruins, the natural and supernatural vitality of our people will add new marvels to the ancient ones. Amicus lays the foundations of it by defining, with infectious enthusiasm, the conditions of true progress.
The first condition for progress is respect for order, for tradition. This is nothing other than submission of the creature to divine Providence :
“ God is the author and protector of what we want to defend, to preserve. This beautiful God, Who was crucified for us, is our infallible hope, but He is present in our homes, our villages, our cities to such an extent that in saving this nation, it is God Himself Whom we want to save. ” 33
This is the role of the Church that is necessary for the world. Amicus shows this magnificently on the occasion of 1950 Jubilee year 34, which was “ a demonstration of the unity of the civilisations that have emerged from the Roman trunk or have been vitalised by it. The branches do not want to be cut from it ; if they were, they would promptly dry out, and could only serve to fuel the Muscovite inferno and disappear into it. ” 35
At that time, however, Rome was still Rome, exerting its Magisterium. The encyclical Humani Generis, published on August 12, 1950 is proof of this : ‘ A great encyclical, ’ Amicus wrote, devoting four articles to it with the obvious concern for manifesting “ the Church’s positive doctrine, in the light of the new exegetical, historic, biologic or archaeological certainties. On the debatable points, the Sovereign Pontiff offers, in a few decisive words, the faith of the Church perfectly adapted to the modern spirit. Upon reading the document, we can easily see the poverty of the condemned errors and the richness of the ever vivid Catholic thought that has been able to preserve the treasures of Revelation and join to them the best acquisitions of the wisdom of men. ” 36
Conclusion : “ The time has come to wage with the Church the battle of intelligence and science, of wisdom in full possession of the truth, against vile and presumptuous stupidity : we have to recover this fine name of progressivist, usurped by a few presumptuous ignoramuses. In the Catholic religion, all progress is in keeping with the living and continuous line of the 261 Roman pontiffs [Pius XII, pope from 1939 to 1958], the saviours of human intelligence. ” 37
Amicus would come back to this theme a few months later : ‘ We Must Be Progressives in the Sciences and Traditionalists in Politics. ’ This was the advice of a great theologian, Fr. Rousselot : “ He was scarcely heeded. Nevertheless, when we think of the storms that have rocked the Church in our times, we see that our greatest ills came from a sort of contempt that the adherents of dogmatics felt towards political matters, in which it would have been necessary to study, adapt reasons to events and finally take a stand on the issues, and also the incredible thoughtlessness with which scholars of this same time treated the social body, dissociating and injuring it by dint of theories and practices. ” 38
Amicus’ thought is as progressive as it is traditionalist, because he stands “ in the middle, ” in medio Ecclesiæ, as is said of the Doctors of the Church. In dogmatics it is thanks to his thesis on the Person that he is in the middle ; in exegesis, it is thanks to his careful study of scientific discoveries.
He truly has the spirit of the Church. Giving an account of the works of the Week Catholic Intellectuals’ Week : ‘ The Church and Liberty, ’ Amicus reports the discussions, then defines what true liberty is :
“ Thus it is necessary to submit everything to the Church in order to radiate the serenity of a free intelligence by one’s faith. By reaching the intrinsic perfection of life in God, the Catholic lives from the liberty of the Church and gives it to the world. How can an ‘ intellectual ’ weigh up such great blessings against this individual liberty that he is demanding in order to carry out studies of which the fruitfulness, the truth and the felicity are scarcely apparent ? ” 39
EXILE, ALREADY !
Fr. de Nantes’ contribution to Aspects de la France was brought to a sudden end. After having given a public lecture on April 1, 1952, in Nantes, the stronghold of Christian democracy, on The M. P. R. 40 (Mouvement républicain populaire) Conveyor of Marxism, our Father was denounced, then summoned to appear before the ecclesiastical judge of Paris, Canon Potevin, who gave him notice of his expulsion from the Diocese of Paris, by decision of Cardinal Feltin. This also resulted in the interruption of all the work on his theses.
He wrote to Maurras, on June 25, 1952 :
“ I submit. I have acted according to my conscience as a son and brother of true Frenchmen ; however much it grieves me, I regret nothing. Perhaps I worked very poorly. I did all that I could in difficult conditions […]. It is not necessary to hold forth at length ; we are living in difficult times […]. The main thing is to remain faithful. I will strive to do this wherever Providence and ecclesiastical authority will send me. There is good to be done everywhere, and all good deeds come together […]. You have suffered so many misfortune that I have taken the liberty of announcing this one, first to you, Master, and of assuring you of my unfailing attachment, ”
“ Georges de Nantes – Amicus. ”
Providence really does things properly. Fr. de Nantes was ‘ exiled ’ to Pontoise, where Brother Gérard and myself were to have him as professor, for the rest of our lives.
(1) Amicus, A Priest of France, Articles of Religious Politics, 1949-1952, ed. CRC 2008.
(2) Op. cit., pp. 11-12, ‘ Claudel Examines the Canticle of Canticles. ’
(3) Ibid., pp. 13-16, ‘ The Power, Mauriac and the Glory. ’
(4) Ibid., pp. 23-24.
(5) Ibid., pp. 25-26.
(6) ‘ Conscientious Objection, Pacifism’s Last Refuge, ’ November 10, 1949, pp. 27-28; cf. also ‘ Pacifist Rhetoric in the Church, ’ April 27, 1951, pp. 181-182.
(7) ‘ In the Service of the Legitimate Prince, ’ May 11, 1951, pp. 183-184.
(8) ‘ Conscientious Objection, ’ p. 27.
(9) ‘ Christian Society, ’ November 17, 1949, pp. 29-30.
(10) ‘ Beware of False Prophets ! ’ November 24, 1949, pp. 31-32.
(11) ‘ An Assessment of the Insane Conquests, ’ January 4, 1950, pp. 45-46.
(12) ‘ Subjection, an Eminently Christian Virtue, ’ July 7, 1950, pp. 107-108.
(13) ‘ French Nationalism Alone Is Condemned ’, pp. 63-64; cf. also‘ Liberation of the People ! ’ December 1, 1950, pp. 139-140.
(14) ‘ Subjection, an Eminently Christian Virtue, ’ July 7, 1950, p. 107.
(15) ‘ Happy New Year, New Europe ’, January 5, 1951, pp. 151-152.
(16) ‘ How Europe Was Saved, ’ January 12, 1951, pp. 153-154.
(17) ‘ At Barcelona, the Renaissance of Christendom, ’ June 6, 1952, p. 251-252.
(18) ‘ Enough of Rallying ! ’ August 10, 1951, pp. 207-208.
(19) January 26, 1950, pp. 51-52
(20) May 11, 1951, pp. 183-184.
(21) June 8, 1950, pp. 97-98.
(22) ‘ The Origin of Religious Disorder, ’ August 18, 1950, pp. 115-116.
(23) ‘ Exhortation to Collective Suicide, ’ September 1950, pp. 121-122; cf. also‘ Maritain, Revolutionary Scoliast, ’ July 13, 1951, pp. 195-196.
(24) ‘ Much-touted Apostles, ’ April 18, 1952, pp. 241-242.
(25) ‘ Aberrations of Catholic Intellectuals, ’ April 25, 1952, pp. 243-244.
(26) ‘ It Is not the End of the World ”, December 8, 1950, pp. 141-142.
(27) Joan of Valois (1464-1505), canonised by Pie XII, on May 28, 1950. Louis XI’s abandoned daughter, repudiated spouse of her cousin, Louis of Orleans, become Louis XII.
(28) ‘ Joan of France’s Lesson to Christian Politicians, ’ June 2,1950, pp. 95-96.
(29) ‘ A Virgin Martyr against the Immoralists, ’ July 14, 1950, pp. 109-110.
(30) July 6, 1951, pp. 193-194.
(31) ‘ Politics and Religious Realities ”, December 8, 1949, pp. 35-36.
(32) ‘ In the Service of the Legitimate Prince, ’ May 11, 1951, pp. 183-184.
(33) ‘ Each to his Own Hope, ’ August 4, 1950, pp. 113-114.
(34) Cf. ‘ Roman peace and Christian Universalism, ’ December 22, 1949, pp. 39-42.
(35) “ Assessment of a Jubilee Year, ’ December 29, 1950, pp. 149-150.
(36) September 8, 1950, pp. 117-118.
(37) ‘ Progress in Order, ’ October 6, 1950, pp. 125-126.
(38) May 23, 1952, pp. 249-250.
(39) ‘ The Church and Liberty, ’ May 9, 1952, pp. 245-246.
(40) The M. R. P. (Mouvement républicain populaire). This was the Christian Democrat Party that governed France after World War II in conjunction with the Socialist and Communist Parties.