The Third Revolution – “Russia will spread her errors throughout the world…”

Having abolished ecclesiastical and aristocratic inequalities, the revolutionary process aimed, in its third phase, to overthrow what remained in the social and economic field. And the consequences are still being felt throughout the world.

The dawn of the 19th century found humanity paralysed by the morbid breath of the French Revolution, immersed in the fear-sympathy binomial: fear owing to the terror imposed by the virulence of the revolutionaries against any obstacle that stood in their way, and sympathy with the breath of liberty, proclaimed as an absolute principle “to justify the free course of the worst passions and the most pernicious errors.”1

Its toxic breeze continues to blow. Now, however, under the guise of the fresh air of progress brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the forerunner of a future that will put an end to suffering, in which “man will have overcome evil with science and will have made the earth a technologically pleasurable ‘heaven,”2 seeing the fulfilment of his heart’s desires, more and more removed from eternity.

The revolutionary hydra advances under the banner of progress

The craving for the enjoyment of life and pleasures, characteristic of the bourgeois spirit that permeated society, especially with the brilliant rise of countless parvenus and every other sort of opportunist, had seriously wounded the “surface” of souls, allowing the Revolution to move swiftly towards their core. Dazzled by technical development, intoxicated by the innovations of the machine and industrial production that gave “man possibilities that he once desired and could not achieve, because they were more or less considered a miracle,”3 the masses were deluded by the utopia forged under the banner of progress.

As Dr. Plinio observes, there are still theorists who maintain that “utopias are necessary and man cannot live without them, even if he knows they are utopias; hence, for example, the conception of Heaven, they say. Utopia, however, is engendered by a morbid tendency: because it does not accept religious truth, it then engenders the idea that Heaven is the paradise of a set of tendencies it seeks to realize in this life. And the world that the Industrial Revolution aimed for is a utopia that it sought to bring about.”4

However, modernity did not wish to recognize that an immense theatre was being set up for the Revolution’s new offensive in its third great thrust: “Pride, the enemy of all superiority, had now to attack the last inequality, that of wealth.”5 It was communism that was being fashioned as the demagogic defender of the working classes – themselves an artificial product of industrial development, which had torn veritable multitudes from the preservation of their generally rural origins and thrown them into factory neighbourhoods in the big cities.

For this step, the spirit of egalitarianism and revolt, of liberalism and atheism, would be fostered in the working class, transposing into the social and economic sphere the maxims of false justice and freedom proclaimed in the previous Revolutions. In this way, the revolutionary hydra advanced, rearing its sinister heads into all areas of society and swallowing up what was left of Christian Civilization.

Dr. Plinio, prolific in formulating metaphors, compares the revolutionary action to a fire spreading in a forest. It is not “a thousand autonomous and parallel fires of a thousand trees close to one another,” he says, but a single fact, totally encompassing the “thousand partial fires, however different they may be from one another in their accidents.”6 This is what happened at the outbreak of the pre-communist episodes that emerged from the post-French Revolution world, which was in the process of moral disintegration.

Preparatory breeding ground

These accidental episodes constituted nothing other than the phenomenon of the “burning forest”, establishing the preparatory breeding ground for the communist explosion. This is how Dr. Plinio describes them: “From of the French Revolution was born the communist movement of Babeuf. Later, from the increasingly dynamic spirit of the Revolution burst forth the nineteenth-century schools of utopian communism and the so-called scientific communism of Marx.”7

As mentioned in the previous article, François Noël Babeuf, a French atheist journalist, figured in the French Revolution as a Jacobin and defended ideas of radical egalitarianism. In 1795 he founded the Conspiracy of the Equals, aimed at upholding revolutionary ideals and ensuring the collectivization of land and property. The terms anarchism or communism, not yet in vogue, were later used to define the nature of his movement, considered the first “communist party” in history and a precursor to the proletarian uprisings that would break out less than a century later.

His ideas inspired so-called utopian socialism, whose most prominent thinkers were Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier and Robert Owen. Friedrich Engels rejected this concept because it did not point to the political and rebellious struggle of the proletariat. However, he recognized its importance, as it presented communist alternatives to industrial society, while criticizing the situation of the workers and fuelling the aforementioned utopian desire.

Accordingly, the aim of the Revolution was to “set fire to the whole forest”: “The utopia towards which the Revolution is leading us is a world where countries, united in a universal republic, are nothing but geographic designations, a world with neither social nor economic inequalities, ruled by science and technology, by propaganda and psychology, in order to attain, without the supernatural, man’s definitive happiness.”8

Communism shows its face

It was Karl Marx’s so-called scientific communism, with the collaboration of Engels himself, however, that proposed concrete practices for class struggle, establishing the bourgeoisie – once the revolutionary vanguard! – as the new class oppressing the workers. Alas… This is how the Revolution rewards and phagocytizes its own mentors. Such was the tone of the Communist Manifesto of 1848, representative of the programme and aims of the Communist League: it made the proletariat aware of the need to rise up against private ownership of the means of production and urged this class to fight for a new social organization.

The first socialist takeover of the labour force in modern times was the Paris Commune in 1871, following the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. This proletarian and atheist government, which lasted only seventy-two days and was strongly repressed by Adolphe Thiers, president of the Gallic republic, outlined the paradigm for future revolutionary experiments, such as the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Chinese Revolution of 1949.

“A world where countries, united in a universal republic, are nothing but geographic designations, a world with neither social nor economic inequalities, ruled by science and technology, by propaganda and psychology,” such is the Revolution’s objective
Vladimir Lenin during a speech in 1920

However, at that historic juncture, the influence of these ideas reached only the theoreticians of communism with any depth, because in reality, “the so-called scientific communism is unknown to the multitudes, and it is not the doctrine of Marx that attracts the masses,” Dr. Plinio affirmed.

In a historical analysis of public opinion, he shows that the Revolution had changed mentalities to such an extent that even those who opposed communist ideas did so with a certain shame, allowing them to advance. This state of mind came “from the more or less conscious idea that all inequality is an injustice and that not only great but also middle-sized fortunes must be done away with, for if there were no rich there would be no poor.”9 Such was the revolutionary ideal.

Two sides: of a coin and a medal

This whole process reveals a two-track march: on the one hand, industrial progress, which generated a working class exploited by a savage capitalism, unscrupulous with regard to human dignity and opposed to Catholic teaching; on the other, the defenders of the oppressed proletariat, with class struggle. They were two sides of the same coin: the advance of the Revolution.

The Church was not passive and indifferent to these radical transformations in society. Zealous for the faithful, her concern, full of Christian charity, made itself felt in the countless documents that make up what we know as the Church’s Social Doctrine. In fact, it is not misplaced to point out that the great legislative advances in terms of true social justice have often come from Catholic political initiatives.

The Popes of the time also issued teachings on two fronts: one in defence of the workers; the other condemning the errors of communist doctrines that presented themselves as a way out of what they called “social injustice”, a refrain used by revolutionaries to attract sympathy even from Catholic circles.

Examples include the encyclicals Rerum novarum and Quod apostolici muneris by Leo XIII, the encyclical Nostis et nobiscum by Blessed Pius IX, the motu proprio Fin dalla prima nostra by St. Pius X and the encyclical Ad beatissimi apostolorum by Benedict XV. They were two sides of the same medal: the desire for the salvation of souls, through the protection of good or the repression of evil.

“Such pontifical acts were aimed in part at preventing the drifting of Catholics into communist ranks, but also at stopping communists from infiltrating Catholic circles under the pretext of joint collaboration for the solution of certain socioeconomic problems.”10

Opposition to Catholic doctrine

In 1917, shortly before the outbreak of the Communist Revolution that overthrew Tsarism in Russia, Our Lady warned in Fatima that this nation would spread “her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.”11

In fact, Russian Bolshevism was a milestone and gave further strength to the movement, which conquered a large part of the world’s nations, precisely through wars and persecutions of Catholics.

“Communism is intrinsically wrong. In the regions where it successfully penetrates, so much more devastating is the hatred displayed there by the godless’”
Leftist militants take aim at the monument of the Sacred Heart of Jesus during the Spanish Civil War – Cerro de los Ángeles, Madrid

These errors to which the Mother of the Saviour referred were vigorously condemned by the Sacred Magisterium:

“Bolshevistic and atheistic communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization […] is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. […] in the regions where communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless.”;12 “communism is materialistic and anti-Christian; and the leaders of the communists, even though they sometimes verbally profess that they are not attacking religion, in fact nevertheless by doctrine and action show themselves to be enemies of God and of the true religion and the Church of Christ.”13

Communist principles violate the Commandments of God’s Law regarding religious duties, the constitution of the family and the right to private property, and are therefore contrary to Catholic doctrine, regardless of any supposed collaboration with the Catholic Hierarchy according to the convenience of time and place, as Dr. Plinio denounced with prophetic zeal in his highly commented-upon work The Freedom of the Church in the Communist State.

The words of the Popes regarding communists and their supporters are stern: “They are preparing them for plundering, stealing, and usurping first the Church’s and then everyone’s property. After this they will profane all law, human and divine, to destroy divine worship and to subvert the entire ordering of civil societies. […] But if the faithful scorn both the fatherly warnings of their pastors and the commandments of the Christian Law recalled here, and if they let themselves be deceived by the present-day promoters of plots, deciding to work with them in their perverted theories of socialism and communism, let them know and earnestly consider what they are laying up for themselves. The Divine Judge will seek vengeance on the day of wrath. Until then no temporal benefit for the people will result from their conspiracy, but rather new increases of misery and disaster.”14

Disguised as lambs, communist wolves often presented themselves as Christian socialists and were uncompromisingly denounced: “For, indeed, although the socialists, stealing the very Gospel itself with a view to deceive more easily the unwary, have been accustomed to distort it so as to suit their own purposes, nevertheless so great is the difference between their depraved teachings and the most pure doctrine of Christ that none greater could exist.”15 This is because “All who glory in the name of Christian, either individually or collectively, if they wish to remain true to their vocation, may not foster enmities and dissensions between the classes of civil society. On the contrary, they must promote mutual concord and charity.”16

In summary, “Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement, socialism, if it remains truly socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth. […] If socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.17

Tragic consequences

Nefarious were the consequences of the huge transformation that the civilized world underwent as a result of communism, which the then Cardinal Ratzinger described as the “shame of our time”:

“Millions of our own contemporaries legitimately yearn to recover those basic freedoms of which they were deprived by totalitarian and atheistic regimes which came to power by violent and revolutionary means, precisely in the name of the liberation of the people. This shame of our time cannot be ignored: while claiming to bring them freedom, these regimes keep whole nations in conditions of servitude which are unworthy of mankind.”18

Just as denounced by Dr. Plinio, communism opened the way for a new phase of the Revolution
Dr. Plinio in a conference in Rio de Janeiro, in 1961

With the overthrow of the last of society’s inequalities, communism opened the way for a new phase of the Revolution, which, more than ever, was in a hurry to reach its final goals, generating a human type different from the former Christian Western one, as Dr. Plinio describes so well in his masterpiece:

Drunk with dreams of a one-world republic, of the suppression of all ecclesiastical or civil authority, of the abolition of any Church, and of the abolition of the State itself after a transitional dictatorship of the workers, the revolutionary process now brings us the twentieth-century neobarbarian, its most recent and extreme product.”19 



1 RCR, P.I, c.7, 3, B.

2 Idem, c.11, 3.

3 CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Talk. São Paulo, 5/1/1986.

4 CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Talk. São Paulo, 22/8/1986.

5 RCR, P.I, c.3, 5, D.

6 Idem, c.3, 2.

7 Idem, 5, D.

8 Idem, c.11, 3.

9 Idem, P.II, c.11, 1, B.

10 CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Comunismo e anticomunismo na orla da última década deste milênio [Communism and Anti-communism on the Threshold of the Millennium’s Last Decade]. In: Catolicismo. São Paulo. Year XL. N.471 (Mar., 1990); p.12.

11 SISTER LUCIA. Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, Prologue. Fatima: Postulation Centre, 1976, p. 162.

12 PIUS XI. Divini Redemptoris, n.3; 58.

13 SACRED CONGREGATION OF THE HOLY OFFICE. Decree Against Communism: AAS 41 (1949), 334.

14 BLESSED PIUS IX. Nostis et nobiscum.

15 LEO XIII. Quod apostolici muneris.

16 ST. PIUS X. Singulari quadam.

17 PIUS XI. Quadragesimo anno.

18 SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH. Instruction on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation”, c.XI, n.10.

19 RCR, P.I, c.3, 5, D.



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