After the French Revolution Count Joseph de Maistre, probably the greatest of counter-revolutionary thinkers, uttered this warning: "Know how to be a monarchist: in the past it was instinct, today it is a science." He was fully aware that traditional loyalties and institutions had been questioned by the revolutionary turmoil; in particular rationalism and illuminism attacked the Throne and the Altar and pursued a strategy of laicisation of State and unchristianising of society. They fought sacred monarchies because they denied that authority is derived from God and rejected the idea that society is a natural development of families, is founded on traditions, is an organic entity; to this they proposed the notion of a hypothetical contract. De Maistre knew very well that political battles must first be won in the field of ideas, a teaching which was to be stressed by another great French monarchist, Charles Maurras, and that the Revolution, even if defeated on the battlefield, still lay in wait (Massimo de Leonardis, "Monarchism in Italy," Royal Stuart Review, vol. 8, no. 1, 1990, p. 5).
Up until 1848, Catholic social theorists and politicians alike had to a great degree simply ignored the industrial proletariat. While they continued to fight for Catholic Monarchy, local liberties and traditions, and the countryside over the town, they had ignored the growth of the proletariat and what was called the "social question"---the reduction of the industrial workers to semi-permanent misery; the result was the loss of the Faith among such masses, and the rise correspondingly of socialism and communism. The revolutions of 1848 and the following few years made such aware of two important facts: the Church had to face the industrial age, and just as they had been forced by the Revolution to turn what had been before an instinctual acceptance of the natural order of things into a conscious ideology, so too must they now find a way to apply that ideology---developed initially in defense of traditional and rural institutions---to modern life.
Just as in the first part of the 19th Century, men like De Maistre, De Bonald, von Baader, and Müller arose to elaborate and popularize the Church's social teachings, so too did they in the second half. As early as 1869, German bishop Wilhelm von Ketteler declared that the working classes required six things:
* 1) increase of wages corresponding to the true value of labor;The fact that these proposals seemed radical then says much about conditions at the time. Soon men like him all over Europe would be attempting to unite the older strand of Catholic social thought with the new conditions. Always, however, they would be hampered by the fact that by this time the reins of power in most of Europe were in liberal hands.
* 2) shorter hours of labor;
* 3) days of rest;
* 4) abolition of child-labor in factories;
* 5) prohibition of women, particularly mothers, from working in factories; and
* 6) young girls should not be employed in factories (lest the latter two seem horribly sexist, it should be remembered that then as now, family life was disrupted when mothers had to work, and young girls could be employed at a fraction of even the pittance paid men).
Already, though, the world had seen one government at least in integrally Catholic hands, showing what the Church's teachings could give the nation and the ruler who dared to apply them. The country so blessed was Ecuador, and the ruler, Gabriel Garcia Moreno.
The coming of independence to Latin America saw the formation in every country there of two parties: Liberal and Conservative. The latter looked to Spain in particular and Europe in general for social and political inspiration. They wished to retain the Catholic Church in the position which she had had from the first settlement; further, they wanted the great estates to remain like those of Europe---self-contained communities which, while they may not have made their owners a great deal of money did build social stability. The Liberals looked to the United States as a guide, wanted separation of Church and State, and wished to turn the great estates into money-making concerns, like factories. These two groups had clashed since independence. The Conservatives had indeed produced some great leaders, like Mexico's Agust’n I and Guatemala's Rafael Carrera. But these were inevitably opposed by powerful U.S.-backed forces. In any case, as the 19th Century progressed, both parties were faced with the impact such inventions as the railroad must make on their countries.
Born in 1821 to an aristocratic family of Ecuador's capital, Quito, Garcia Moreno studied theology in the university there. Thinking he had a vocation to the priesthood, he received minor orders and the tonsure; but his closest friends and his own interests convinced him to pursue a more worldly career. Graduating in 1844, he was admitted to the bar. Starting his career as both lawyer and journalist (opposed to the Liberal government in power) he made little headway. In 1849 he embarked on a two year visit to Europe to see first hand the effects of the 1848 revolution. He made a second trip in 1854-56. Louis Veulliot (himself a great champion of the Faith in the press) described what these trips did for Garcia Moreno:
In a foreign land, solitary and unknown, Garcia Moreno made himself fit to rule. He learned all that was necessary for him to know in order to govern a nation, formerly Christian but now falling fast into an almost savage condition...Paris, which is at once a Christian and a heathen city, is the very place where the lesson he needed vould best be acquired, since the two opposing elements may there be seen engaged in perpetual conflict. Paris is a training school for priests and martyrs, it is also a manufactory of anti-Christs and assassins. The future president of Ecuador gazed upon the good and the evil, and when he set out for his home afar, his choice was made.He returned home in 1856 to find his country in the grip of strident anti-clericals; he was elected a senator and joined the opposition. Although himself a Monarchist (he would have liked to have seen a Spanish prince on the throne) he bowed to circumstances and allowed himself to be madepresident after a civil war the year after his return---so great had his stint in the country's Senate made his reputation. In 1861 this was confirmed in a popular election for a four year term. Unhappily, his successor was deposed by the Liberals in 1867. But two years later he was reelected, and then again in 1875. During his period in office, he propelled his nation forward, all the while uniting her more closely to the Faith.
Personally pious (he attended Mass, daily, as well as visiting the Blessed Sacrament; he received every Sunday---a rare practice before St. Pius X---and belonged to the Workingmen's section of the Sodality, in which he was quite active), he believed that the first duty of the State was to promote and support Catholicism. Church and State were united, but by the terms of the new concordat, the State's power over appointments of bishops inherited from Spain was done away with---at Garcia Moreno's insistence. The 1869 constitution made Catholicism the religion of the State and required that both candidates and voters for office be Catholic. He was the only ruler in the world to protest the Pope's loss of the Papal States, and two years later had the legislature consecrate Ecuador to the Sacred Heart.
In more worldly things, he came to office with an empty treasury and an enormous debt. To overcome this, he placed the government on stringent economy and abolished useless positions, as well as cutting out the corruption which siphoned off tax dollars. As a result he was able to provide Ecuadoreans with more for less. Slavery was abolished, but there was full compensationfor the owners; (thus neither former slaves nor masters suffered economically). The army was reformed, with officers being sent to Prussia to study, and illiterate recruits taught basic skills. Houses of prostitution were closed, and hospitals opened in all the major towns. Railroads and national highways were built, telegraph extended, and the postal and water systems improved. City streets were paved, and local bandits suppressed. Garcia Moreno further reformed the universities, established two polytechnic and agricultural colleges and a miltary school, and increased the number of primary schools to 500 from 200. The number of students in them grew from 8000 to 32,000. To staff the enormously expanded health-care and educational facilities, foreign religious were brought in. All of this was done while expanding the franchise and guaranteeing equal rights under the law to every Ecuadorean.
But the Liberals (not without contacts and support in the American Embassy) hated Garcia Moreno; when he was elected a third time in 1875, it was considered to be his death warrant. He wrote immediately to Pius IX asking for his blessing before inauguration day on August 30:
I wish to obtain your blessing before that day, so that I may have the strength and light which I need so much in order to be unto the end a faithful son of our Redeemer, and a loyal and obedient servant of His Infallible Vicar. Now that the Masonic Lodges of the neighboring countries, instigated by Germany, are vomiting against me all sorts of atrocious insults and horrible calumnies, now that the Lodges are secretly arranging for my assasination, I have more need than ever of the divine protection so that I may live and die in defense of our holy religion and the beloved republic which I am called once more to rule.Garcia Moreno's prediction was correct; he was assasinated coming out of the Cathedral in Quto, struck down with knives and revolvers. So passed from the scene one of the greatest Catholic statesmen the world has ever seen. He showed that making Catholicism the basis of public policy will not doom a country to poverty, but quite the opposite; all Catholic Latin American politicians who have followed since owe him a great debt.
In Europe, there were few truly Catholic governments. Even in Austria-Hungary, Liberals often had the upper hand. If they were not quite able to destroy what Catholicism remained in public life, they were able to prevent it from spreading to real solutions of the social question.
Yet following the leads of Bishop von Ketteler and Garcia Moreno, Catholic social theorists continued to work. In France, one such was Charles, Marquis de La Tour du Pin (1834-1924). A nobleman, he owned and ran a large estate which his old and distinguished family had successfully preserved through the Revolution. His first taste of practical social Catholicism was his father's admonition: "Never forget that you will be only the administrator of these lands for their inhabitants." After a decorated military career (which ended in 1882), he threw himself into the fight to build out of France's Third Republic a just nation. Horrified both by the poverty of Parisian workingmen and by their profound alienation from Church and nation, he collaborated with Albert, Count de Mun in forming workingmen's circles. These would provide centers where industrial laborers could find entertainment, fellowship, education and mutual assistance---under Catholic auspices---and so be both uplifted and made immune to Communist propaganda. This was a valuable experience for La Tour du Pin; together with his convictions that Catholicism must regain its rightful place in the life of France, and that France must once again have a King, it was the origin of his unique social and political vision. Because of the influence of La Tour du Pin's teachings on future events, we will quote a detailed description of them:
Men must have certain personal rights, and also certain common rights, due to the social organization, which it is the duty of government to recognize. These rights are a part of the national constitution. Whether codified or not, the real constitution of a country is what is traditional, permanent, and essential to the principles of its political institutions. It is an historic product; the sum total of solutions given to the eternal problem of reconciling authority with the desire for liberty. In the past, this problem was less acute, for men had a different conception of liberty. To us today liberty is individualistic and means the absence of restraints; to them, because they were more truly Christian, it was social, and meant the free play of the institutions which ensure social justice, that is to say, an equitable distribution of the burdens and advantages of society. The true basis of such institutions is the association of men acording to their functions. Thus only is the sense of social solidarity developed. To be genuine, a representative system must make room for all social collectivities. Both the feudal and the corporative regimes were just such organizations of men, not according to classes, but according to functions. A political body should represent, not individuals, but social bodies, organic elements, such as bishoprics, fiefs, cities, communes, corporations. When laws are to be elaborated, it is only from such organized bodies that one can expect competence, independence, and prudence. When classes and interests are represented there is a constant current, and no violent movements occur, but when the parliament is based on an unorganized universal suffrage, only opinion is represented, and all is ephemeral---it is a mere demagogy. La Tour du Pin was favorable to the creation of an aristocracy. There have never been closed castes in Christian countries, he pointed out, but only classes. These will always exist, for a society necessarily develops an aristocracy, which is the mainspring of its civilization. If society is not to be a chaos, a natural selection of families by heredity must be allowed to take place. The hereditary possession of the land is the truest source of distinction and authority; it alone can create a genuine nobility. When a parliament represents permanent forces, as it does in countries like England [or did until the change of constitution in 1911---CAC] (where the absolutism of the ancien regime did not penetrate), when a peerage is a real House of Lords, that is to say, of those possessing great fiefs, and representing the families which have always shared in the sovereignty, the result is good. But in France the nobility had ceased during the ancien regime to be a political order, and had become a mere social class. This was one of the reasons why at the Restoration it was so hard to reconstruct a representative system. In addition to the peerage, which already represents the class of landowners and the profession of soldiers, there are three types of interests which should be represented. They are (1) the taxpayers, (2) constituted bodies in the State, and (3) professional organizations. As to the first category, the family is the primordial unit of representation, as it is of society. Each head of a family has a right to select mandataries who will consent to taxation. Widows and unmarried women should here have in this respect equal rights with fathers, for they represent a family. Electoral colleges may be formed of these heads of families. They should be divided into three classes, according to the amount of taxes which they pay, and the burden should be distributed equally among these three groups. As to the second category, churches, universities, and legal bodies, as well as the professional corporations, must have representation. It cannot be regulated, however, as in the case of the taxpayers; it must be based on the hierarchical principle which is the very structure of these bodies. Most important of all is professional representation. The corporative regime must be introduced into all occupations, and become the basis of economic, social, and political life. All occupations create common rights and interests, and the associations which arise from these should be organized, and erected into political as well as economic units. The representatives of the taxpayers would constitute the administrative organs, which would be autonomous in the communes, and in the State would exercise a control over the use of public monies, through a chamber of deputies, which would vote the budget. The budget, however, should normally be voted for a number of years ahead, unless there is some unusual expense to be provided for. Another chamber should exist, formed by the representatives of the social bodies, which would have the right to be consulted on all technical and economic matters. This would secure a balance between the opinion of the moment, represented by the taxpayers' delegates, and the permanent interests of the country, represented by delegates of the organized bodies. The consent of both chambers would be necessary for measures which concerned all. The chambers are not, however, to have a supreme authority, either in legislation or administration. It is the king in his council who governs, and the States [legislatures], Provincial or General, have merely rights of consent and control. They are not to sit in permanence, or be convoked regularly, for this would lead to a divided sovereignty, and perpetual struggle. This political structure as conceived by La Tour du Pin was founded on the corporative organization of industry, professions, and the land. His ideas with regard to this corporative regime are precise. What should the contract of labor provide for the worker, for the owner, and for society? he asked. This contract is an exchange of services. Both capitalist and laborer must procure a living from it, each according to his condition, and living implies a home and the means of rearing a family. The corporative regime is not socialistic; it admits that inequalities of social condition must be respected. Its basis is the fact that labor and capital are mutually dependent. Its principle is the admission of a right and a duty for each member of the association, and of reciprocal duties between the association and the State. The corporation is, like the commune, a state within the State, a social institution, with a fixed place in the community, and obligations to it. In the Middle Ages the land was for the peasant, and the tool for the worker. Today the laborer has no real rights, no guaranty of fixed work, no safe tomorrow. Socialism, on the contrary, gives no rights to capital. The corporative regime gives rights to both. A corporation should include all who are engaged in a given industry, in whatever capacity, for they are all interdependent, and the salary or profit of each, according to his place will depend alike on the profit of the industry. The fundamental functions of a corporation are: first, the formation of a corporate patrimony, i.e., an insurance fund, to be levied partly on the profits of capital, and partly on the wages of labor, and to serve both as a protection for the workers, in old age and illness, and as a reserve for the industry itself, to enable it to survive times of stress; and second, the verification of professional capacity, both of workers and directors, and the supervision of the quality of production. This will limit, but will not do away with competition, and access to trades and professions. It will protect the public and safeguard the skill which is the laborers' capital. A third function would be the representation of each element in a corporative government. This will allow disputes as to wages and the conditions of labor to be settled by those who are actually interested in the industry in question, either as workers or owners. The land, like the tools of industry, must yield the means of subsistence to those who cultivate it. It belongs to the poor as well as to the rich. Society has rights in it, and the individual only a tenancy. In every case the duties, not the rights of property owners should be stressed. Property is the basis of society only if it is reasonably accessible to all. The masses to become conservative must be given a stake in the community. Liberalism destroyed the old corporations, in which everyone had some interest, and free competition lowered the standard of living, and did not respect the needs of family life. The State exists only to protect society, and if misery becomes so great that a large number of members do not want society to be preserved, the State will not be able to act. La Tour du Pin saw the need of decentralization. He thought that it could best be realized by means of indirect professional representation. All professional associations should send delegates to a local syndical chamber, in which owners and workers would be equally represented. These local chambers would send delegates to a body which would have its place of meeting in the chief town of the arrondissement . These in turn would send delegates to provincial chambers. Thus agriculture and industry, producers and retailers, as well as the liberal professions, would each possess a provincial chamber, and these chambers could unite, when necessary, to discuss their common interests. They would then form a body much like the old Provincial Estates. These chambers should be presided over by a permanent official, emissary of the central power, and there should also be a central office in each province to permit the government to keep in touch with the local corporations. La Tour du Pin was hostile to the liberal conception of a free Church in a free State. In practice, he said, this had proved unfavorable to religion. The Church once had the right of ministry, that of teaching, and that of administering justice when its interests or its members were concerned. Today only the first of these is left, for the Church's judicial power had disappeared, and her right to teach is strongly contested. Both the idea that religion is a private matter, and the belief that the Church should be submitted to the control of the State are errors. "Man," he said, "is a religious being, and the social order always corresponds more or less closely to a religious idea." Religious society is the best society, and its precepts must be practiced. No attack upon it must be allowed. All that is not Christian in the spirit and habits of society must be banished. Dissidents may be tolerated, but they should be treated, not as members of the community, but as strangers.
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