Update on Catholic Action

Updating our Link Roundup from yesterday, we note that, at The Josias today, “Petrus Hispanus” responds to Gabriel Sanchez. Notably, “Petrus Hispanus” argues,

Leo XIII and St. Pius X favored the strategy of Catholic Action because they came to believe, as a matter of strategy, that still-dominant Catholic majorities in many countries could be rallied under a single party in order to use democracy as a weapon against liberalism. The faithful majorities, it was hoped, would vote liberalism out of existence under the leadership of Catholic Action parties. From this miscalculation, possibly brought on by the success of German Catholics against Bismarck, would ultimately come that spectacle of progressive alignment of Catholic politicians with liberalism that was “Christian democracy.”

All of this, of course, is not to impugn on the many excellent things done by Catholic Action in many countries, or to judge the motives these saintly and venerable Popes had in favoring it. Indeed, under the circumstances they faced, it is difficult to imagine what alternative they had in most cases, seeing as the political links with the ancien régime had almost entirely vanished and a new way of “doing Catholic politics” needed to be implemented seriously, one to which the example of Germany and others gave true practical plausibility.  

(Emphasis supplied.) This is a fascinating debate, which we shall continue to follow with great interest.