restricted access L’Action Française. To the Editor of The Church Times
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302 ] L’ Action Française To the Editor of The Church Times The Church Times, 98 (9 Dec 1927) 680 Sir, – Having just returned from abroad I saw only yesterday your issue of November 25, in which you kindly printed my letter.1 I should be greatly obliged if you would print a correction to one sentence which, as it stands, says exactly the opposite of what I meant. I wrote: “A generation which like the present has utterly repudiated Anatole France could hardly fail to be uncriticalinitsattitudetowardsMaurras.”WhatImeantofcourse,is:“could hardly fail to be critical,” etc. As for Mr. Boulter’s letter in your issue of December 2, I must assume that Mr. Boulter has read Maurras’s pamphlet of 1903, Le Dilemme de Marc Sangnier; but I would ask whether the “quixotic” attitude of Sangnier and his friends would in his opinion have been beneficial to France? And if Mr. Boulter expects us to believe that Le Sillon was suppressed by the influence of the French haute noblesse at the Vatican, is he not inciting us to believe that the attack upon l’Action Française may spring from some other “influence ,” no more noble?2 With Mr. Ward’s letter I have no fault to find, especially as I do not know how he arrives at his figures.3 As evidence of the complexity of which I spoke, I would point out that some of the most vociferous denouncers of l’Action Française issue their projectiles from the publishing house of Bloud and Gay, the firm which has always been associated with certain exponents of Modernism, including MM. Blondel and Le Roy.4 Two books giving interesting information are Cinquante ans de politique , by Tavernier, and Le Ralliement et l’Action Française, by Mermeix.5 24, Russell-square, London, W.C. 1. T. S. Eliot Notes 1. Written on 3 Dec, after a trip begun on 24 Nov to meet with Lady Rothermere in Switzerland about the financial and circulation status of the Criterion, followed by a journey to visit his wife in the Sanatorium de la Malmaison in Rueil, outside Paris. See TSE’s letter in the issue of 25 Nov (3.290). [ 303 L’Action Française 2. Benjamin C. Boulter (1876-1960), schoolmaster, writer on religious subjects, and avid follower of French Catholicism in reaction to social ideals, wrote of “the pain with which I heard of the suppression of that promising movement known as Le Sillon some quarter of a century ago.MarcSangnierandhisfriendshadattempted,somewhatquixoticallyatthattime,todissociate Catholicism from royalism, nationalism, and militarism, to which it was traditionally allied, and to give it an active social tendency. Unfortunately, the haute noblesse [high nobility] was strong enough at the Vatican to procure the suppression of the movement. A great opportunity was lost, and at a time when such action was urgently needed” (644-45). The Catholic thinker and politician Marc Sangnier (1873-1950) founded in 1894 the religious and political movement known as “Le Sillon” (“The Furrow”), with a journal of the same name, which championed “social Christianity” and opposed the “monarchic positivism” of the Action française, leading Maurras to rebut as false the dilemma of choice between the two in Le Dilemme de Marc Sangnier (1903), and to proclaim that the Action française movement, which included social Christians among its members, was superior to that of Le Sillon. Sangnier’s movement, which emphasized the authority of ordinary Christians within the Church, was condemned by Papal letter on 25 Aug 1910. 3. Father Leo Paul Ward (1896-1942), author of The Condemnation of the “Action française” (1928), wrote on 25 Nov in response to the editorial of 18 Nov sympathetic to the Pope’s condemnation: “The great majority of its Catholic supporters (about two-thirds it is estimated) have now abandoned the movement. But it required the fullest enforcement of ecclesiastical discipline to make the condemnation effective” (612). 4. The publishing house of Bloud et Gay, which specialized in Catholic publications, was founded in 1911 by Edmond Bloud (1876-1948) and Francisque Gay (1885-1963). Their recent publications of the modernist theologian Maurice Blondel included his Qu’est-ce que la mystique? (1925) and Saint Augustin (1930); those of Édouard Le Roy ranged from Dogma et critique (1907), before Bloud et cie joined with Gay, to Qu’est-ce que la science? (1926). 5. Eugène Tavernier (1854-1928), Cinquante ans de politique. L’Œuvre d’irréligion [Fifty Years of...


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