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Three Faces of the Revolution

Plinio Corrêa de Oliiveira

At various times we have shown how the Protestant explosion of the 16th century, the French Revolution of the 18th century and the Communist Revolution of the 20th century constitute three phases of an immense movement, one in spirit, objectives and even methods: the Revolution.

Today, I will try to point out some of the features of soul of this movement, that is, something of the spirit of the Revolution in the persons of three of its leaders.

An overwhelming sensuality

Martin Luther's death portrait
In the death mask of Martin Luther, a first analysis reveals the rudeness of his features and confirms his characteristic note of self-importance. It also shows him as an unruly demagogue, who preached so many errors and spread revolt everywhere, causing so much blood to be spilled.

But the impression that jumps out immediately and becomes definitive in the mind of the observer is one of sensuality, an exaggerated love for delights of all order. To look at this picture raises a feeling of disgust.

An egalitarian hatred

Robespierre's death mask
The features of Robespierre, whose death mask is in Madame Tussaud Museum in London, principally express hatred. A hatred so profound, so overwhelming, that while not completely eradicating the sensuality, it constitutes the dominant note of the physiognomy.

Those lips, closed forever, nonetheless still seem to convey something of his commands of violence and death from the era of the Terror. Those eyes, which no longer see, appear to preserve an expression of viperous hatred. The rounded forehead gives the sensation that it is still ruminating on incendiary oratory pieces and plans of subversion.

Everything about him speaks of egalitarian hatred, in the speculative as well as the militant planes, an immense desire to destroy everything, under any title, that is superior to him.

The smiling Communist

Che Guevara
The third picture presents Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, the Argentine guerilla transplanted to Cuba, who so authentically expresses the Marxist stamp of the Cuban revolution.

The hair, which seems to have never been cut or washed, a meager frayed mustache whose extremities meet a ragged beard of uncertain contours, form the frame for a face that expresses slovenliness and disorder. It causes an instinctive repulsion, even though it aims to arouse an impression of naturalness and unpretentiousness, taken to the extreme.

His gaze of an uncommon luminosity and smile seems to give a certain idea of a somewhat mystical geniality and affability.

This saccharine man is one of the supporters of the regime of El Paredon (the large death wall) where so many innocent victims have been cruelly assassinated. A regime that moved against the Church with a persecution that perfectly followed the style of Robespierre or Lenin.

If the physiognomy of Luther primarily expresses avidity for the pleasures of the body, and that of Robespierre above-all egalitarian hatred, the face of ‘Che’ Guevara represents a more recent mask of the Revolution, that is, an insincere goodwill which veils the worst violence and crimes.

Published in Catolicismo, January 1961
Translated by TIA desk

Posted June 7, 2010

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