Juan Donoso Cortés
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Essays on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism (1879)
- There is no man, let him be aware of it or not, who is not a combatant in this hot contest; no one who does not take an active part in the responsibility of the defeat or victory. The prisoner in his chains and the king on his throne, the poor and the rich, the healthy and the infirm, the wise and the ignorant, the captive and the free, the old man and the child, the civilized and the savage, share equally in the combat. Every word that is pronounced, is either inspired by God or by the world, and necessarily proclaims, implicitly or explicitly, but always clearly, the glory of the one or the triumph of the other. In this singular warfare we all fight through forced enlistment; here the system of substitutes or volunteers finds no place. In it is unknown the exception of sex or age; here no attention is paid to him who says, I am the son of a poor widow; nor to the mother of the paralytic, nor to the wife of the cripple. In this warfare all men born of woman are soldiers.
And don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting; nor that you don’t know which side to join, for while you are saying that, you have already joined a side; nor that you wish to remain neutral; for while you are thinking to be so, you are so no longer; nor that you want to be indifferent; for I will laugh at you, because on pronouncing that word you have chosen your party. Don’t tire yourself in seeking a place of security against the chances of war, for you tire yourself in vain; that war is extended as far as space, and prolonged through all time. In eternity alone, the country of the just, can you find rest, because there alone there is no combat. But do not imagine, however, that the gates of eternity shall be opened for you, unless you first show the wounds you bear; those gates are only opened for those who gloriously fought here the battles of the Lord, and were, like the Lord, crucified.
- We have shown that socialism is an incoherent combination of thesis and antithesis, which contradict and destroy one another. Catholicism, on the contrary forms a great synthesis which includes all things in its unity, and infuses them in its sovereign harmony. It may be affirmed of Catholic dogmas, that, although they are diverse, they are one. Only an absolute negation can be opposed to this wonderful synthesis. The Catholic word is then invincible and eternal. Nothing can diminish its sovereign virtue.
- Catholicity seized on man... and the mystics, transcending all, taught him to ascend on high with the wings of contemplation the Ladder of Jacob composed of brilliant stones, by which God descends to Earth and man ascends to Heaven, till Earth and Heaven, and God and man, burning together in a conflagration of infinite charity, are transmuted into one."
- The Socialistic schools, prescinding from the barbarous multitudes which follow them, and considered in their doctors and masters, are far superior to the Liberal school, just because they go straight to all the great problems and questions, and because they always propose a peremptory and decisive solution. Socialism is strong, only because it is a theology; and it is destructive, only because it is a satanic theology. The Socialistic schools, in as much as they are theological, will prevail over the Liberal school, in as much as it is anti-theological and sceptical; and inasmuch as they are satanic, they will succumb before the Catholic school, which is at once theological and divine. Their instincts must be in accord with our assertions, if we consider that they treasure up their hatred for Catholicism, while they have only contempt for Liberalism.