The profound action of humanism and the Renaissance among Catholics spread unceasingly throughout France in a growing chain of consequences.
Favored by the weakening of piety in the faithful caused by Jansenism and the other leavens sixteenth-century Protestantism had unfortunately left in the most Christian kingdom, this action gave rise in the eighteenth century to a nearly universal dissolution of customs, a frivolous and superficial way of considering things and a deification of earthly life that paved the way for the gradual victory of irreligion.
Doubts about the Church, the denial of the divinity of Christ, deism and incipient atheism marked the stages of this apostasy.
The French Revolution was the heir of Renaissance neopaganism and of Protestantism, with which it had a profound affinity. It carried out a work in every respect symmetrical to that of the Pseudo-Reformation. The Constitutional Church it attempted to set up before sinking into deism and atheism was an adaptation of the Church of France to the spirit of Protestantism. The political work of the French Revolution was but the transposition to the sphere of the State of the “reform” the more radical Protestant sects had adopted in the matter of ecclesiastical organization:
• The revolt against the King corresponding to the revolt against the Pope.
• The revolt of the common people against the nobles, to the revolt of the ecclesiastical “common people,” the faithful, against the “aristocracy” of the Church, the clergy.
Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution (York, PA: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), pp. 16-17.