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Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Revolution and Counter-Revolution

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  • Part II The Counter Revolution
    • CHAPTER VII: Obstacles to the Counter-Revolution
        • C. "The Counter-Revolutionary Is Argumentative"
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C. "The Counter-Revolutionary Is Argumentative"

            A third catch phrase criticizes the intellectual works of counter-revolutionaries for their negativistic and polemical character, whereby they overemphasize the refutation of error instead of simply explaining the truth in a clear manner indifferent to the correction of error. These works are deemed counterproductive, for they irritate the adversary and drive him away. Save for possible excesses, this seemingly negativistic approach is profoundly justified. As previously stated, the doctrine of the Revolution was contained in the denials of Luther and the early revolutionaries, but it was only made explicit very gradually over centuries. Accordingly, counter-revolutionary authors sensed from the very beginning-and legitimately so-that in all revolutionary formulations there was something which transcended the formulations themselves. Within each stage of the revolutionary process it is much more important to consider the mentality of the Revolution than simply the ideology enunciated in that particular stage. If such work is to be profound, efficient, and entirely objective, the progress of the Revolution's march must be followed step by step in a painstaking effort to make explicit what is implicit in the revolutionary process. Only in this way is it possible to attack the Revolution as it should be attacked. All this has obliged counter-revolutionaries to keep their eyes fixed on the Revolution, while elaborating and affirming their theses in terms of its errors. In this arduous intellectual labor, the doctrines of truth and order that exist in the sacred deposit of the Magisterium of the Church constitute the treasury from which the counter-revolutionary draws things new and old44 to refute the Revolution as he sees deeper and deeper into its tenebrous abysses.

            Thus, in several of its most important aspects, counter-revolutionary work is wholesomely negativistic and polemical. For analogous reasons, the ecclesiastical Magisterium more often than not defines truths in relation to the heresies arising in the course of history, and it formulates these truths as a condemnation of the opposing errors. The Church has never feared that she would harm souls by acting in this way.


44. Cf. Matt. 13:52. 45. See Part II. Chapter 8, 3, B.

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