PRIEST AND REVOLUTIONARY by Peter N. Stearns

PRIEST AND REVOLUTIONARY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The subject of this study is one of the most tragic figures of modern Church history: Hugues-Felicite Robert de La Mennais (usually known as Lamennais). Lamennais' tragedy was quite accidental: he was born a century before his time. France, by the Revolution of 1830, had once again--and this time finally--turned its back on the ancien regime to which the Church remained ideologically bound; Lamennais made the mistake of attempting to wed the latter bastion of conservatism to the principles of revolution which are the basis of modern France, and of the modern world. If he had succeeded, his accomplishment would probably have obviated the necessity for the trauma of a Vatican II's attempt to cope with a world born of many such revolutions. But Lamennais failed; neither the Church nor the revolution would attend the wedding. He was left with the choice of alternatives which confronts prophets today--and he chose the road away from Rome. This admirable study is an essay rather than a biography, and it focuses particularly on the critical period of 1830-1834, which years mark the terminal points of Lamennais' struggle. It is a smoothly readable and instructive excursion into the background--or perhaps into the rehearsal--of the dilemma in which the Church finds herself today.

Pub Date: April 12th, 1967
Publisher: Harper & Row