Lacordaire, part 2

In his first essay, Lacordaire identifies the triumph of the Church with chastity, the celibacy of the priest and the sanctity of marriage. In his second essays, “Rationalism and Chastity,” he shows that the great alternatives to Catholicism, the efforts of foundation, reform, and transformation identified with Mohammed, Luther and Voltaire all overturned chastity. Catholicism cannot hope to provide its message with its sacred zeal without maintaining chastity. “Whoso touches Catholic doctrine, touches the sacred arch of virtue.” Lose the sacred arch of virtue and . . .

“His heart was not pure enough, nor was his arm strong enough, to impose holiness and chastity upon the people he aspired to govern.”

“Luther has unpeopled the solitudes where prayer watched under the guard of mortification.”

“Rationalism will but excuse and flatter the passions.”

And if one aspires to a purer day?

“Turn you eyes to the tabernacles, of which you have tender reminiscences . . . to its confessional, to its holy table, its pious mysteries, the efficacy of which you have experienced.”

What of its efficacy? Do we believe in the efficacy of the sacraments, in the efficacy of grace? No. The present crisis stems from a crisis of faith.


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