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Dechristianisation during the French Revolution
Some lessons from history
Europe has always been the place where new and “revolutionary” ideas sparked and spread throughout the world. Reason and our modern scientific methods, all originated from there.
This heavy focus on reason, forced people to abandon the focus on old myth, but what came in place? In this essay, I will shortly focus on the architectural destruction happening after the French Revolution. What happened then, is quite comparable to what is happening now, albeit slower. The protestant, the French revolution and even the communist revolution were all iterations of the same idea, the attack on myth, on sacredness, spirituality and beauty. With each iteration, these ideas and became more aggressive. Each of these attacks was on the essence of Catholicism.
What was destroyed?
The destruction of the French Revolution aimed itself at monarchs and the Clergy. Liberté, égalité, fraternité became the new motto. With égalité (egality) and liberté (liberty) already hinting at some later ideas. Egality (feminism) and liberty (freedom from hierarchy). These philosophies maybe sound good in idea, but bring nothing but destruction. Who wants everything to be the same? If you free yourself from certain ideas, others will replace them. What will they be?
The French Revolution was a time of great destruction. Many churches and abbeys, the places of ‘oppresion’ were destroyed. Notice the theme returning? To make what is necessary an enemy and attack it, and so attack your own. An example is the St. Donatian’s Cathedral of Bruges. The cathedral, standing in the middle of the city, was destroyed, and never replaced. The religious heart of Bruges, attacked without reason. An example of the interior below.
Not was there an attack on this Cathedral, but many others were. An example is the Notre-Dame. Many art pieces destroyed. Many years, no Mass could be celebrated. Notre-Dame was called the Temple of Reason.
Do you want to know what is there now? It is very ‘thoughtful’ architecture, but absolutely no replacement. Desecrating the place where the mighty Cathedral stood, a modernist pavillion was placed. I will not show it, you can look for yourself.
The second big destruction, was the attack on the abbeys. Places of pure spirituality were under attack. The example here is the destroyed abbey of Aulne, also in Belgium. As can be seen, the attacks of the French Revolution are not limited to Paris, but had far-reaching consequences. This French Revolution mindset spread further and further. And even returned in the spirit of Vatican II.
Aulne, a beautiful Cistercian abbey, was brutally attacked by french revolutionaries. The beautiful ruins, still left, are hidden remains of the beauty spirituality that was before. Imagine the monks singing, while a mob of angry revolutionaries entered. The buildings speak for themselves for the consequences. The library, containing 40,000 boos and 5,000 manuscripts was also destroyed.
The French Revolution, commonly seen, through the lens of a modern mind, is unanimously good. But if you see what actually happened, at which the individuals aimed at, you cannot but be saddened. In the Western World, the consequences of the destruction of the French Revolution and Reason are still ravaging. One of the most successful attacks on the Christian God. Western society never fully recovered. They succeeded in removing us further away from our own human essence.
While the reach of the French Revolution was quite limited, the ideas spread far and wide, seeping into the populations mind, returning on Vatican II. The iconoclastic thoughts, the anti-spirituality, the lack of reverence for God, it is an endless cycle. But we have hope.
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