There is a universal crisis inside society today that seeks to overturn all things Christian. Catholic thinker Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira called this universal crisis the Revolution (with a capital R). He held that the two driving forces of this Revolution are the vices of pride and sensuality. The following commentaries show how Saint John the Baptists is a model for all those who wish to oppose this Revolution today, especially in fighting its two central vices.
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Leveling the mountains of pride and filling the valleys of impurity, Saint John the Baptist is a model of those who say no to the present Revolution against Christianity.1
Saint John the Baptist said to Herod back then that which no one today dares to say to the Revolution now: It is not lawful for you to do what you are doing. You cannot do it.
He told Herod to his face: it is not lawful for you to take your brother’s wife as a wife. Thus, Herod lived in adultery with this woman. By denouncing him, Saint John the Baptist paid with his head.
The saint was also a model of penance. Fr. Louis-Claude Fillion comments that Saint John was called to prepare souls to receive Our Lord by leveling the hills, which symbolized the breaking down of pride. He further filled the valleys, which signified the elimination of impurity. Thus, his role was to eliminate the two main defects that are the causes of the Revolution against Christianity.
He who trampled upon pride and impurity was also a magnificent model of fearlessness. He feared not even the death of beheading that he eventually suffered.
Some might say that by ending up dead, he failed in his mission.
Saint Augustine answers this question by imagining the magnificent scene in which the head of Saint John the Baptist is brought to Herod. The tyrant looks into those closed eyes. Saint Augustine observes that never had a human gaze penetrated so deeply into Herod’s eyes as the gaze of those closed and dead eyes.
This man brought down impurity and fought against pride. He tells truths to the wicked and cuts off the path of their iniquity. This prophet-saint was truly worthy of being the precursor of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us pray to Saint John the Baptist, asking him for a hatred of the two vices of pride and impurity that are the two main vices of the Revolution. Let us ask for his courage to tell the whole truth to anyone regardless of the circumstances.
The preceding article is taken from an informal lecture Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira gave on June 24, 1965. It has been translated and adapted for publication without his revision. –Ed.