Saturday, July 13, 2013

"At the present time, more than in any preceding age, Roman Catholics are seen to be lapse into infidelity, and Protestants to be converted to Roman Catholicism."

"there have ever been and will ever be men who, after having submitted some portion of their religious belief to the principle of authority, will seek to exempt several other parts of their faith from it and to keep their minds floating at random between liberty and obedience.  But I am inclined to believe that the number of these thinkers will be less in a democratic than in other ages, and that our posterity will tend more and more to a division into only two parts, some relinquishing Christianity entirely and others returning to the Church of Rome."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America II (1840) ("The progress of Roman Catholicism in the United States"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 2, pp. 6 & 7); in Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 540.  Note on p. 1096 of the latter speaks to the originality of this thesis by comparison with that of (say) Michel Chevalier (Lettres sur l'Amérique du Nord), for whom "Catholicism is the religion naturally associated with the monarchy".

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