There is an important section in this book, which outlines the little known story of Nicholas Bergier who was an 18th century French priest and critic of ‘The Enlightenment’. His importance is that he lays out the rational case for Catholicism, its morality, practicality, inventiveness and rationality. He carries on the work of St. Thomas Acquinas who also answered critics of the Church and its mysteries of faith, with evidence of reasonable rationality and natural applicability of Church doctrines, rituals and beliefs.
As a parish priest he wrote a best-selling book, ‘Deism Refuted’ in 1765 which destroyed the main themes of ‘Enlightened’ Deism. Freed from pastoral duties after this success he wrote full time and produced a long array of volumes defending the Church against its ‘Rationalist’ enemies including the insufferably inane Jean Jacques Rousseau.
Rousseau and the ‘Romantic Rationalists’ offered that if God existed, he can best be experienced within the purity of nature. Man must return to nature to recover God. Societal institutions which stand between man and God must therefore be dismantled including the entire hierarchy of the Church. Bergier recognised that this argument was more powerful, if however deluded, than the ‘rationalisations’ offered by Deists, or Atheists who denied the existence of created order and a creating intelligence and spirit. Bergier argued that Christianity was never a private revelation but instead a revelation of humankind through witnesses, saints and prophets. One cannot be a Christian without accepting their testimony and doctrines. This demanded an institution to codify the arguments, revelations, dogma, rites and rituals in order to understand the true nature of Christianity and God. Rituals such as baptism, the sacraments and communal masses were fundamental to exploring and comprehending God and his covenant. Without such rituals no religion long survives.
Bergier also attacked d’Holbach the foremost Atheist of the era, who attempted to show that Christianity led to barbarism, because it perverted man’s nature. Bergier destroyed this fallacy through an enormous display of facts and erudition, contending that Christianity and especially its morality, led to creativity, energy, invention and happiness. Importantly Bergier rejected the ‘planned grace’ of God, as maintained by St. Augustine and picked up by Protestants who believe in pre-destination as incorrect. Grace, said Bergier, was open to all who accepted Christ and God, and who showed through good works their faith and belief. This could include even the salvation of those who unknowingly (such as in the Americas or Orient), were outside the formal Church.
In today’s Catholic Church, a voice such as Bergier’s would be censored and shut down. He would be decried by the Vatican Curia and Pope as a ‘traditionalist’, someone who was not ‘progressive’ and who stubbornly refused ‘new facts’ and ‘science’ that the Church must adapt to. He would be thought too doctrinaire and ‘divisive’. But this is how religions end. When the beliefs, the mysteries, the saints, the immaterial, the deeply contemplative and philosophical is abandoned, so too is reason and practicality, along with purpose and truth. When a Church simply becomes another outlet for mainstream views, propaganda and globalist pablum, it will cease to exist, either imploding from its own irrelevance, or taken over by its global masters and reduced to nothing.