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Yet this “segmentation” was unquestioned by Leo XIII, who argued in Sapientiae Christianae that we owe special fidelity and love to the homeland into which we were born. Pius X did not hesitate to put it more bluntly: “If Catholicism were an enemy of the homeland, it would not be a divine religion.”

 this “segmentation” was unquestioned by Leo XIII, who argued in Sapientiae Christianae that we owe special fidelity and love to the homeland into which we were born. Pius X did not hesitate to put it more bluntly: “If Catholicism were an enemy of the homeland, it would not be a divine religion.” The globalist unity of the Tower of Babel, Dandrieu claims, should be countered by Catholicism's rooted universalism: the spiritual unity of nations anchored in their cultures.

Looking for the sources of this “contamination” of true Catholic universalism by globalism, Dandrieu points to personalism. This intellectual current has detached Catholicism from the notion of the common good, shifting the focus to the individual. While the ideas of Jacques Maritain and his disciples sought to criticize liberalism, they inadvertently led to its triumph within the church. In a personalist vein, John XXIII defined the common good as “safeguarding the rights and duties of the human person,” thus disregarding its inherently communal dimension, central to St. Thomas’s thought and to the whole classical Catholic tradition. Absent an anchor in the common good, personalism has degenerated into subjectivism, providing the intellectual and moral conditions for the utopian pipe dream of a united humanity. 

I remain of the view that after 1945, the Catholic Church began to drift into political romanticism. Carl Schmitt argued that the latter boils down to the abolition of the concrete world in the name of an imagined reality: “Their romantic function is the negation of here and now.” Pierre Lasserre, another critic of romanticism, maintained that what romantics seek in politics is primarily moral "intoxication.” Dandrieu, for his part, writes that Catholic globalism “turns its back on reality...breaks with the concrete world and natural communities, replacing the concrete relationship with the world with a purely ideological, abstract one.”

The Catholic Church's attitude toward immigration, especially under the pontificate of Francis, seems purely romantic. It takes into account neither any real limitations of states nor of national communities called to absorb all “the wretched of the Earth.” It provides moral "intoxication” to the faithful and hierarchy, denies the constraints of the “here and now,” and represents, in essence, a rupture within the tradition of Catholic doctrine, undermining one of the most crucial rights to which nations are entitled—the right to continuity.

The French essayist recommends a return to St. Thomas’s realism. While the great philosopher cannot tell us what political institutions we should build, explains Dandrieu, he allows us to see through the aberrations of contemporary political ideals. One has to agree that a sharp turn toward realism is an urgent task for the Catholic Church. It would serve as an antidote to what is most pernicious in its current romantic predicament: disdain for definite problems and reliance on emotions when dealing with matters of gravest importance.

It is about time to restore Catholicism to its authentic form: Roman, not Romantic. Rome ou Babel paves the way for this restoration.


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