Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

lishment of a universal Church which shall have neither dogmas nor hierarchy, neither rule for the mind nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of liberty and human dignity, would bring back to the world . . . the legal reign of cunning and of force, of the oppression of the weak -- of those who suffer and toil.

[Moreover, since society should be organized to "enable every one of good will to gain a legitimate share of temporal happiness," the bishops are urged to take an active role.] And to this end, . . . you will choose some [priests] . . . who possess doctors' degrees in philosophy and theology and who are thoroughly acquainted with the history of ancient and modern civilization, and you will set them to the study . . . of social science, so that you can place them at the proper time in charge of your Catholic social movement. But let not those priests allow themselves to be led astray. . . . Let them be convinced that . . . the Church . . . has not to free herself from the past, and that it is enough for her to take up again . . . the organisms broken by the Revolution and to adapt them . . . to the new situation created by the material evolution of contemporary society: for the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries nor innovators, but traditionalists.

We desire that the Sillonist youth, freed from their errors, far from offering any obstacle to this work, . . . should bring to it a loyal and efficacious assistance . . . and with befitting submission.

. . . As to the members of the Sillon, we desire that they should be divided according to the dioceses, in order to work, under the direction of their respective bishops, for the Christian and Catholic regeneration of the people. . . . These diocesan groups will for the moment be independent of one another; and in order to show clearly that they have broken with the errors of the past, they will take the name of Catholic Sillons. . . . It is needless to say that every Catholic Sillonist will remain free to entertain his political preferences, provided they are purified of everything that is not . . . entirely conformable to the doctrine of the Church. . . .

Source: The American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. XXXV ( 1910), pp. 693-711. Latin text in Acta Apostolicae Sedis ( Rome, 1910), II, 607-633.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

E. Barbier, Histoire du catholicisme libéral et du catholicisme social en France du concile du Vatican à l'avènement de S. S. Benoit XV (1870-1914) ( Bordeaux, 1924), IV, 371- 592.

C. Breunig, "Condemnation of the Sillon: An Episode in the History of Christian-Democracy in France", Church History, Vol. XXVI, No. 3 ( September 1957), pp. 227-244.

J. Brugerette, Le prêtre français et la société contemporaine ( Paris, 1933- 1938), III, 217- 235.

A. Dansette, Religious History of Modern France ( Freiburg, Germany, 1961), II, 112-137, 265-290.

A. Hoog, Histoire du catholicisme social en France 1871- 1931 ( Paris, 1946), pp. 1-190.

E. Lecanuet, La vie de l'église sous Léon XIII ( Paris, 1930), pp. 603-702.

J. McManners, Church and State in France, 1870- 1914 ( New York, 1972), pp. 94-103, 170-173.

A. Vidler, A Century of Social Catholicism, 1820- 1920 ( London, 1964), pp. 112-140.

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