Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

E. E. Y. Hales, Revolution and Papacy 1769-1848 ( New York, 1960), pp. 290-295.

New Catholic Encyclopedia ( New York, 1967), Vol. X, "Bartolommeo Pacca".

J. Schmidlin, Papstgeschichte der neuesten Zeit ( Munich, 1933- 1936), 1, 556-567.

References for Document 54.


56
Singulari Nos (Extract) July 15, 1834

Though they formally submitted, Lamennais and his friends privately testified to their continued attachment to the principles of L'Avenir and assisted in the publication of a book sympathetic to the Polish revolution. When Rome required a simple and unqualified act of submission to the doctrines of Mirari Vos, Lamennais agreed in December 1833, but became increasingly embittered and despairing about the church. Distinguishing between Rome's legitimate ecclesiastical authority and the individual's freedom in temporal affairs and now seeking a Christian social transformation without ecclesiastical direction, Lamennais published his Words of a Believer in 1834. This poetic and apocalyptic work, "a bonnet rouge atop a cross," created a sensation and elicited the papal condemnation three months later. Subsequently, Lamennais parted from his associates of L'Avenir and drifted from the church. As a champion of republicanism and socialism, he won a seat in the National Assembly after the 1848 revolution, but quickly disillusioned, he abandoned politics after the Bonapartist coup of 1851.

It hardly seemed believable that he whom We welcomed with such good will and affection would so quickly forget, Our kindness and desert Our resolution. . . . However, We have learned of the pamphlet written in French under the title Paroles d'un croyant, for it has been printed by this man and disseminated everywhere. . . .

We were very much amazed . . . when at first We understood the blindness of this wretched author. . . .

The mind shrinks from reading through those things in which the author tries to break the bond of loyalty and submission toward leaders. Once the torch of treason is ignited everywhere, it ruins public order, fosters contempt of government, and stimulates lawlessness. It overthrows every element of sacred and civil power. From this, the writer transposes the power of princes, through a new and wicked idea, to the power of Satan. . . . , as if it were dangerous to divine law, even a work of sin. He brands the same marks of wickedness on the priests and rulers because of the conspiracy of crimes and labors in which he dreams they are joined against the rights of the people. Not content with such temerity, he thrusts forth every kind of

From The Papal Encyclicals, ed. Claudia Carlen, I.H.M., 5 vols. ( 1981; reprint, Ann Arbor, Mich.: Pierian Press, 1990), © Claudia Carlen, used with permission.

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