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Fr. Chenu: Vatican II Lifted the Anathema Against
the French Revolution

Fr. Chenu is known as being one of the main inspirers of opening the Church to the Modern World. He was the principal writer of the message Vatican II sent to the world when it opened, which set the tone for the entire Council.

Here we bring to our readers a text in which Chenu clearly affirms that it was an "obscurantist" mistake for the Church to condemn the French Revolution, as well as Communism, and praises the Council for having lifted those anathemas.

At right, the frontpiece of the second volume of The Church and the World of her Time. Below, we present our translation of the highlighted French text.

The story of a long-standing obscurantism, in which Christians floundered for more than a century before discerning the values of liberty tumultously proclaimed by the French Revolution, is a sinister one. Only now has the Council succeeded in moving the Church away from a summary anathema ... Today will we be able to discern the communitarian values that the new [Communist] Revolution raises up against bourgeois individualism and a distorted capistalist greed?"

(Marie-Dominique Chenu, "Les signes des temps - Réflexion théologique," in L'Eglise dans le monde de ce temps, Paris: Cerf, 1966. p. 217)

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Posted on July 5, 2008

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