Today, more and more people in America like to say they are socialists. But do most of us understand what this means?
During the Reign of Terror in 1793, French Catholics – who lived in a country that was predominantly Catholic – found out. You can too when EWTN airs “The Hidden Rebellion,” an original docu-drama which describes one of history’s most chilling instances of genocide – a genocide in which 70% of those slaughtered by revolutionary mobs and soldiers were not nobility, as is commonly supposed, but fellow commoners. (Airs 10 p.m. ET, Saturday, Nov. 5 on EWTN, www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.)
Writer/Director/Producer Daniel Rabourdin believed in the importance of this project so much that he gave four years of his life to film this docu-drama in his native France. You’ll learn about the overthrow of King Louis XVI, a strong Catholic who forgave his persecutors before he was beheaded, his wife killed, and his children disappeared. But most of the program follows the farmers in the Vendee who rebelled against the revolutionaries who tried to send their sons into war in Prussia (now Germany); who began jailing priests and bishops and substituting lay people to say the Mass; and who began raising taxes to support an army which grew ever more massive as they appointed political officers to shadow the real soldiers and to report on them.
Most importantly, you’ll come to understand the ideology that led the revolutionaries to slaughter so many of their own countrymen.
“The French Revolution is considered a shift from the monarchy to democracy, but the new ‘democratic’ government became more and more radical, eventually becoming what we would today call ‘socialist,’” says Rabourdin, who was born in France and became a U.S. citizen six years ago because he wished to live in a freer society. “It was also a shift from a Catholic civilization to, at best, a deist civilization; at worst, an anti-Christian civilization.”
During the program, viewers will get a clear understanding of the difference between a free market society and socialism.
Says Rabourdin: “In the free market, in a free republic, we say to citizens, ‘Feel free to create and to prosper. We will, as a government, only stop you if you commit a crime. We’re not the ones who reward you either. We are only here to do justice.’”
But he says the French Revolution Ideologue – and today’s Socialist – is there to educate citizens about the “correct” way to work, the “correct” way to contract work relationships with others, the “correct” way to decide of salaries, etc.
“So they had, and still have today, a plan for micromanaging human life,” Rabourdin continues. “It is in the DNA of their ideology. It’s why they want to take charge of the education of children. It’s why they try to outlaw home schooling. It’s why today we feel the oppression of political correctness. It’s oppressive because they attempt to reach into the smallest actions of our lives: actions such as what words we must use when we address a woman or a man.”
As viewers will see “the mob in the French Revolution had power in the streets almost as strong as the army had.” Similarly today, Rabourdin says, the media and educators have some people so converted to a socialist ideology that “their violence is barely veiled. They enforce intolerance against people of good will and Christians. Forgiveness is not a Socialist principle, but it is a Christian principle, which includes true tolerance.”
Despite all the above, Rabourdin isn’t pessimistic. He says that today’s Catholics face a battle for hearts and minds, maybe even their own hearts and minds – just as they did during the French Revolution — and it won’t be won by “a sad version of Christianity.”
Instead, he says: “This is a healthy alert for us to stop being lazy culturally and to invest in education, with a lot more good colleges than we have now. Also, to produce a lot more writers, movie producers and even musicians. Because the Reign of Terror in 1793 did not start at the beginning of that year. It started culturally with people like Descartes a century earlier. They were novelists, very good writers. They could seduce the hearts and minds – and that took time.”
He also believes this is a time when Catholics need to do a better job of re-learning the social teachings of the Church; teachings such as subsidiarity. “By this we mean that if a ‘lower’ level of society, like the family, can do a job well, such as educating children, the higher level of society, like the city, must not do the job of the family. What the city or the government can do is to help the family to do its job well with such things as tax breaks and allowing families to make their own decisions about how they want to educate their children. This is the alternative to the micro-management of top-down socialism.”
In 1801, after seven years of terror, Napoleon would eventually sign an agreement with the Pope admitting that Catholicism was the religion of most of the French people and declaring that they were again free to publicly practice their religion. Nevertheless, to this day, church buildings in France remain property of the state. Rabourdin said the school system also remains “extremely anti-clerical so the young have been indoctrinated against the Faith and many other things for 200 hundred years now. It’s not surprising then that only 4% of the population still practice the faith.”
Says Rabourdin: “I came to America because there is more freedom here for a man of good will; double that for a man who is Christian. But I can see the signs that America is becoming like France now. And I speak of the France affected by the excesses of the French Revolution. It’s still up to us to have a better society. We should never give up the fight. We should do it in peace,” he says, “but do it!”
NOTE: To purchase a DVD, stream the full-length version of this program or bring it to your church, please visit www.hiddenrebellion.com.