A Veritable Handbook for Sanctification

Although considered by many to be a mere historical essay or a socio-political work, an accurate reading of “Revolution and Counter-Revolution” reveals its markedly spiritual character.

Anyone who peruses the abundant content concerning Dr. Plinio published on the internet – including academic papers, opinion articles, biographical reviews or videos on any subject – immediately notices a complicated problem of limited vision.

Even ignoring the abundant falsehoods – be they shameless lies, malicious half-truths or simply gross defamations – what is most surprising about the articles that are favourable or at least impartial towards him is the frequent presentation of the figure of Dr. Plinio from only one aspect, which, even if a true one, does not constitute the full reality, much in the same way that seeing a large room through the small keyhole can never give us a complete idea as to its interior.

A man of unrivalled political acuity, a brilliant diplomat, a distinguished aristocrat from São Paulo, and a meticulous strategist in his fight against the revolutionary wave of the moment… How many titles could be given to him! But they are only parts of a whole, and by themselves do not define his personality or even his most important characteristic. In fact, in the case of someone of such stature and wealth of qualities, one wonders if the only concept that entirely defines him isn’t simply… Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira!

A treatise on love for God

Something similar happens with the masterful essay Revolution and Counter-Revolution, which is the subject of special tribute in this issue of Heralds of the Gospel magazine. Perhaps impressed by the accuracy of his historical, socio-political, psychological and even diplomatic analyses, many of his admirers mistakenly consider that any of these aspects constitute his essence.

“Revolution and Counter-Revolution” is a writing of a chiefly moral and religious character, a treatise on love for God

In reality, the main attribute of Dr. Plinio’s writing is its moral and religious character. He rightly told his disciples that this work “is, in its own way, a treatise on love for God”1 and, “if taken seriously, a manual for the spiritual life.”2

Do these statements surprise you, dear reader? Well, you only have to browse through some of the teachings contained in its pages to confirm them for yourself.

The Revolution has its origins in moral evil

First of all, we need to take into account the origin of the enemy that the masterly text analyses: the Revolution in its five-centuries-old process of undermining Christian Civilization. It comes from sin, of which it is the offspring,3 and we could say… the favourite. Thus, it could not be more evident that “its root is moral and therefore religious.”4

When man gives in to the disordered tendencies harboured in his soul as the fruit of original sin, he ends up sinning… We can see this by looking at the world around us. But if, going beyond the realm of mere human weakness, his insurrection against the Commandments leads him to deny their goodness, his “rebellion can go beyond this and arrive at a more or less unconfessed hatred for the moral order itself as a whole. This hatred, revolutionary in its essence, can generate doctrinal errors and even lead to the conscious and explicit profession of principles contrary to moral Law and revealed doctrine as such, which constitutes a sin against the Holy Spirit.”5

Let us recall that the driving force of the Revolution is to be found in disordered tendencies,6 and the “metaphysical values” that adequately express its spirit and therefore characterize its goals are “absolute equality, complete liberty.”7 In order to achieve its goal, “there are two passions that most serve it: pride and sensuality,8 which Dr. Plinio used to call “mainsprings”, considering that there is nothing in the Revolution that is not driven by them. It was the fomenting and exacerbation of these vices that generated the chain explosion of the revolutionary process and all its consequences.

The primacy of virtue and grace in the counter-revolutionary struggle

In view of this very brief outline of the moral aspect of the Revolution, it is easy to understand why Dr. Plinio in Part II of his work, dedicated to the Counter-Revolution, insistently emphasizes the militant practice of the opposite virtues as an indispensable distinguishing mark of those who wish to fight against this universal evil. They must therefore promote “a love for the inequality seen on the metaphysical plane and for the principle of authority, as well as for moral Law and purity.”9

Through a well-led spiritual life, the virtues that should shine in a counter-revolutionary are those the Revolution most strives to destroy

However, given the opposition of the aforementioned disordered tendencies inherent in fallen human nature due to original sin, this is not possible without painstaking effort, which aims to obtain the “vigour of soul that man has when it is God who governs his reason, his reason that dominates his will, and his will that dominates his sensibility,”10 by means of a solid supernatural life. Then God’s grace, perseveringly cultivated, will play its indispensable role, which consists of “enlightening the intelligence, strengthening the will, and tempering the sensibility in such a way that they turn towards the good.”11

For this reason, Dr. Plinio highlighted as one of the main tasks of the Counter-Revolution, “to reestablish or revive the distinction between good and evil, the notion of sin in theory, of original sin, and of actual sin,”12 using as means to this end, among others:

Celebration of the Holy Mass in the Church of Our Lady of Fatima – Tocancipá (Colombia)

“To point out at opportune moments that God has the right to be obeyed and that, therefore, His Commandments are true laws […] To underscore that the Law of God is intrinsically good and in accordance with the order of the universe, in which is mirrored the Creator’s perfection. Hence it should be not only obeyed, but loved; and evil should be not only avoided, but hated. To spread the notion of a post mortem reward and punishment. […] To favour customs and laws that tend to impede proximate occasions of sin […]. To insist on […] the need for grace, prayer, and vigilance for man’s perseverance.”13

Endued with the most efficacious graces obtained by the Blessed Virgin, souls must “shine particularly in all the virtues that the Revolution specifically wanted to destroy,”14 so as to correspond with the prophecy of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort: “When will souls breathe Mary as the body breathes air? When that time comes, wonderful things will happen on earth. The Holy Spirit, finding His dear Spouse present again in souls, will come down into them with great power. He will fill them with His gifts, especially wisdom, by which they will produce wonders of grace.”15

The Counter-Revolution, faithful daughter at the service of the Church

As a natural consequence of the forgoing statements, the Counter-Revolution must cultivate a fervent spirit of service to the Church, the divinely instituted source from which flow the treasures of grace that will allow it to fulfil this sublime mission by “a profound influence on hearts.”16

For this reason, Dr. Plinio17 dedicated a detailed chapter of his work to underlining the essentially subsidiary character of the Counter-Revolution in relation to the Church, which it seeks to exalt as being the Mystical Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ and therefore the necessary soul of all its aims. Outside of the Church, there can be no true Counter-Revolution, especially as in recent decades, given the evolution of the revolutionary process, “the most sensitive and truly decisive point in the fight […] has shifted from temporal to spiritual society, and is now the Holy Church.”18

If these truths are taken seriously, the Counter-Revolution has every necessary condition to win the great battle of our time, because wonders can be expected from human nature when it is willing to co-operate with divine grace. Countless historical examples attest to this.

The human soul, the decisive battlefield

After all, it is in the very existence of human free will that we find one of the Counter-Revolution’s greatest assets and, in a certain sense, also one of its greatest weaknesses. In fact, every human being is a battlefield where God and the devil fight, so that the real contender is the soul itself, which at any moment can choose to co-operate with grace or give in to its disordered passions.

Dr. Plinio in 1991

It is not surprising that Dr. Plinio often said that the great and true Counter-Revolution is the salvation of souls because, “as long as man wants to, he can change and destroy the most spectacularly solid structures. It depends on grace wanting it, it depends on grace having someone to corresponds to it, it depends on the coming of the hour appointed by God; it depends, in short, on a series of natural and supernatural circumstances.”19 It all comes down to accepting the divine call or rejecting it.

A true counter-revolutionary is one who, despite his weakness, embraces the ideal of holiness and does not negotiate with the Revolution

Thus, it is not difficult to arrive at the following conclusion: “The revolutionary phenomenon, as described in RCR, is first and foremost a spiritual problem; the rest, however important, is secondary and subordinate. The most important aspect is the attitude of the faithful towards Our Lord Jesus Christ and, more especially, towards His Sacred Heart, which is the quintessence of all that is perfect and loving in Him.”20

In conclusion, the authentic counter-revolutionary is defined as one who, even with his weaknesses, has embraced the ideal of holiness in the face of a revolutionary world with which he does not wish to compromise. The revolutionary, for his part, will have decisively embraced the ways of sin.

Finally, we must ask whether it is lawful for a true Catholic to ignore this immense evil pervading everything in our time.

We leave the answer up to the reader, with the reminder that it will be at this juncture, in key souls in the struggle between good and evil, that the great clash will take place, resulting in the definitive triumph of the Wise and Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Counter-Revolutionary “Strategy”

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

In the Gospel we find two examples of attempts to form a counter-revolutionary, one successful and the other unsuccessful. The first is that of the prodigal son, and the second that of the rich young man. The latter is characteristically the pragmatist. He was good, but he wanted an easy and happy life. He met Our Lord, and the Divine Master presented him with an anti-pragmatic programme. He refused it and went on his way.

The prodigal son was also eminently pragmatic. He found his father’s house boring, thirsted for adventure and wanted to see the city. The father, seeing the proportions that these bad desires had reached, took the only feasible action in this dire situation: he gave his son the portion due to him and allowed him to leave.

Two men began to coexist in the prodigal son. On the one hand, he had a remnant of love for his father’s house, but on the other, a great deal of love for a life of indulgence and dissipation. He lost himself completely in the city, but with this an old memory arose within him; the remnant of love he still had for his father’s house came to the surface and the bad son remembered his father’s home. That ideal was revived inside him and he returned to his father’s house, where he was welcomed with open arms.

Every man, as much as he may have become corrupted, carries in his soul a complete picture of the ideals of good and truth for which he was created. However, as he decays in virtue, his conscience becomes so dull that this picture tends to disappear; it is gradually buried, but not destroyed, just like in the Breton legend of the submerged cathedral: from time to time it rises from the sea, and memories of goodness, of morality, of virtue and faith come to the surface of the sinner’s soul and suddenly begin to toll their bells. Then comes the possibility of conversion. The old ideal is illuminated and man sees it shine again.

It follows from the above that conversion to the Counter-Revolution only takes place when it reaches the depths of the personality in an intense, complete and radical way. Conversion must be based on a fundamental principle of that soul, which dominates all the others, and must then restore it to all its purity.

Capital vice, which is the great spring of perversion and the root of the Revolution, is easy to feed and is extraordinarily inflamed by even the slightest nourishment; when it receives anything, it grows, regardless of how tiny the portion.

However, to lead someone to the Counter-Revolution we have to use the opposite method. It is a matter of resurrecting in the person what we call the cathedral engloutie, and this can only be brought about by means of a very big shock. The tactic of the Counter-Revolution consists in these great shocks and appeals to conscience.

Taken, with adaptations, from:
Dr. Plinio. São Paulo. Year XXIV.
N.277 (Apr., 2021); p.19-21




1 CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Conference. São Paulo, 31/3/1966.

2 CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Conversation. São Paulo, 6/3/1993.

3 Cf. RCR, P.I, c.11, 1.

4 Idem, P.II, c.11, 1, A, b.

5 Idem, P.I, c.8, 2.

6 Cf. Idem, c.6, 1, A.

7 Idem, c.7, 3.

8 Idem, ibidem.

9 Idem, P.II, c.8, 3, F.

10 Idem, c.9, 1.

11 Idem, 2.

12 Idem, c.10, 1.

13 Idem, 2.

14 CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Talk. São Paulo, 14/7/1990.

15 ST. LOUIS-MARIE GRIGNION DE MONTFORT. True Devotion to Mary, n.217. In: God Alone. Bay Shore, NY: Montfort Publications, 1987, p.360.

16 RCR, P.II, c.12, 5.

17 Cf. Idem, c.12.

18 Idem, P.III, c.2, 4, B.

19 CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Talk. São Paulo, 26/2/1966.

20 CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Talk. São Paulo, 24/4/1994.



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