Catholic Virtues
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The Crusader Spirit - III

The Crusader’s Defense of Orthodoxy

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Softness and sentimentalism constitute the opposite of the Crusader spirit. There are persons who have a thousand blunders in their head, as, for example, the notion that perhaps it is not good to be combative, but rather one should be amiable and kind.

I respond: "This is not so. To be combative does not excuse anyone from being amiable and kind! When the time calls for it, be amiable and kind. You should do so to fulfill your duty. But when a man must fight, he should enter the combat. His reason should govern his will and the latter should guide his actions. And, above all, the Faith should govern his reason.

It is the Faith that shows him he should combat continuously. This is the life of the true Crusader. This is what is in the depths of the Catholic soul.

Anyone who follows the Catholic path and is not like this is not in true conscience following the path of militancy that a counter-revolutionary must take.

Avoiding frustration


The Catholic must fight when it is the time to battle

Let me say a few words about frustration.

At times I come across places where there are large groups of people. I look and see many physiognomies that give me happiness. But, I also see others – their arms hanging, a languid expression, a gaze lost in the horizon, an indifferent air.

I would like to go up to them and say: "Look around you. Don't you see anything further than your self-centered sentimentalism? Don't you understand that you are engaged in a fight where you are a warrior? Do you know why you are so frustrated? It is because you are not fighting."

The life of a Catholic who is not fighting is one of frustration. We are here on earth to fight. And if we do not fight, we become frustrated. It is not pleasure or rest that prevents frustration.

I will say more: Prayer without the spirit of combat also leads to frustration. The frustrated man is one who perceives that he should be something that he is not and who does not really know who he is. He should be a fighter, a man disposed to do everything, including smile and take blows if it be necessary for the Catholic Cause. This is the perfect Crusader.

The Crusader spirit & orthodoxy

The Crusader spirit transposed to the field of doctrine results in orthodoxy. Because if a man dedicates himself to the study of doctrine with the Crusader spirit, he ends by making a Crusade against the errors opposed to the truths that he is studying.

An individual with the Crusader spirit who studies doctrine can find it interesting and even exclaim: "How beautiful truth is! How delightful it is!" But, then, he says: "It is not only delightful because I understand what I read and love what I understand, but I will look for the error that opposes it now and later. I will seek out the doctrine that opposes and contradicts the truth in order to destroy it. For the error is on my heels, and if I do not run after it, it runs after me." This position results in a keen orthodoxy.

Legitimate defense & aggressiveness

Before ending, I would like to touch on a strongly related topic. Someone could raise the following objection: "What you say seems to promote aggressiveness, when we are supposed only to fight for our legitimate defense. How does you harmonize legitimate defense with aggressiveness?

I respond that the concepts of legitimate defense and aggressiveness are correlated concepts. Defense is legitimate only when it is against an aggressor.

medieval knight

Even in death the knight wanted to bet battle-ready

The typical legitimate defense is the defense of one’s body or of one’s right against a physical violence. It is often impossible to defend oneself adequately from physical violence except with counter-physical violence. And, in this case, when the counter-violence is proportional to the violence, it is indispensable for a person to save or defend himself. So, this is obviously a legitimate violence. This is what the moralists with good sense and the penal laws of all civilized countries say.

Thus, we cannot conceive of an affirmation of the right of legitimate self-defense not being due to an act of aggression.

There can also be a legitimate moral defense. What would this be?

It is when the person, attacked on the moral front, defends himself by a proportioned means. That is to say, physical aggression is not the means to defend oneself against a moral aggression. One responds with moral arms to a moral aggression, just as one responds with physical arms to a physical aggression. This is obvious.

As for the adversary, it is clear that the ideal would be to win his conversion. However, we should not fight against an adversary on the ideological terrain with the first aim to convert him, but we should fight above all so that he will not pervert others who are innocent. We should love the innocent more than the guilty. But, we also owe to the guilty this form of love, which is to desire that he will abandon his error.

And it was for this reason, for example, that we buit an oratory and offer our prayers also for the terrorists who placed a bomb against us. In the very place where they planned to kill us, we pray for our country but we also pray for them.


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted October 10, 2016