Jacques Maritain Center : On the Church of Christ


A Look at History (Conclusion)


Brief Historical Account

1. Galileo was born in 1564. It is in 1610 that he publishes Sidereus Nuntius and that he begins to manifest his interest for the system of Copernicus and heliocentrism (an old revived Pythagorean idea). He is residing then in Florence, he is 46 years old, and is in full celebrity. Everybody admires him, especially Pope Paul V. But a few theologians are not slow to attack him, in the name of Holy Scripture (forgetting the principles laid down by St. Augustine: the Holy Spirit wished to teach men not the inmost constitution of the things of nature, but that which is useful for salvation, -- and by St. Thomas: the Bible speaks of nature according to sensible appearances).

Very naturally he becomes anxious, then reacts. "While the Bible," he writes to Castelli (December 21, 1613), "adapting itself to the intelligence of the common run of men, speaks, in many cases and rightly, according to appearances, and employs terms which are not destined to express absolute truth, nature conforms itself rigorously and invariably to the laws which have been given to it. . . ." Was not Baronius accustomed to say "that God had not wished to teach us how the heavens go, but how one goes to Heaven?" Father Caccini replies that the theory of Copernicus is "contrary to the common sentiment of all the theologians and of all the holy Fathers." Bellarmine advises Galileo not to engage himself in theological quarrels; all is well since Copernicus did not intend to prove that the earth turns about the sun, and gave his theory only as a mere mathematical hypothesis.{1} And Bishop Dini whispers in his ear (letter of May 2, 1615): "One can write as a mathematician, and under the form of hypothesis, as, it is said, Copernicus did; one can write freely, provided that one does not enter into the sacristy."

In February of 1616, on the order of Paul V, the theologians of the Holy Office are consulted on the two following propositions: "1) the sun is the center of the world and, consequently, motionless with local movement; 2) the earth is not the center of the world, nor motionless, but moves respecting itself completely by a diurnal movement." They reveal their answer on the 24th of February: "The first proposition is senseless and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical, insofar as it contradicts expressly numerous passages of Holy Scripture, according to the propriety of words, and according to the common interpretation and the sense of the holy Fathers and of the theologian doctors." As to the second proposition, "it merits the same censure in philosophy; and, with regard to theological truth, it is at least erroneous in faith."

Two days later, in the presence of Bellarmine, the commissary of the Holy Office notifies Galileo of the censure thus brought against the opinion which claims that the sun is the center of the world and motionless and that the earth moves. This opinion must be neither maintained nor defended, and Galileo is informed that if he refuses to obey he exposes himself to being judged and imprisoned.

Galileo was a man possessed at the same time by a profound virtue of faith and by an eminent virtue of science, -- this was his drama, in the presence of men constituted in authority who knew neither what science is nor what its relation with faith is. The precautions which he took against formidable sanctions did not at all exclude his respect toward an authority to which, even in fallible matter, submission was due in conscience. Did he not write, in a letter of the 16th of February, 1615, to Bishop Dini: "I am deeply resolved to tear out my eye in order not to be scandalized, rather than to resist my superiors and to injure my soul by maintaining against them that which at present seems evident to me and which I think I touch with my hand"? Let us add that he doubtless preferred mental reservation (current then) to martyrdom. In the presence of Bellarmine and of the commissary of the Inquisition he assented to what was declared to him and promised to obey.

On the 9th of March, 1616, the Congregation of the Index declared a general condemnation against the Copernican theory and against the works of Copernicus. It is this which one calls the first trial of Galileo, although it was more accurately a grave warning, for he himself was not named in the decree.

2. But the demon of science was in him. How would he have been able not to break more or less his promises? In answer to a book of Father Horace Grassi attacking Copernicus and him, he published in 1623 Il Saggiatore, in which his defense of heliocentrism was so well veiled that Cardinal Barberini, -- now Pope Urban VIII -- with whom he was on excellent terms, accepted the dedication of it; then, in 1632, he published the Dialogue Concerning The Two Chief World Systems in which under easy-to-penetrate clevernesses he definitely decides in favor of the theory of Copernicus. Behold the tempest is let loose, and Urban VIII is violently irritated (he thought that Galileo and his friends had tricked him). Galileo, although ill, is obliged to go to Rome, where he is interned, not in one of the cells of the Holy Office, as it was the case for all the other accused, but in the home of his friend Ambassador Niccolini, in the palace of Florence, later in the home of the fiscal of the Inquisition, where they take great care of him and where he receives freely his friends.

The Holy Office subjects him to four interrogatories, in which one reproaches him for having been unfaithful to his promises, and in which above all one inquires, under threat of torture, concerning his inmost personal thought (concerning his intentio): did he or did he not adhere willingly to the Copernican doctrine, duly condemned by the Inquisitors? He denies it, assures that he had wished to do only that which was permitted, to show the value of this doctrine as a mathematical hypothesis. The judges accept his denials, and the threat of torture remains in the state of intimidation. (In point of fact, Galileo was never tortured.)

On the 22nd of June, 1633, one reads to him the verdict of the Holy Office (to which a false official report, added in the dossier to the mention of the interview of the 26th of February, 1616, with the commissary of the Inquisition, and claiming the mere notification received then by Galileo to be a formal injunction of the Holy Office, had contributed). Galileo is declared "vehemently suspect of heresy," namely, "for having held and believed the false and contrary-to-the-Holy-Scriptures doctrine that the sun is the center of the world," as also "for having held and believed that a doctrine which has been declared and defined to be contrary to the Holy Scriptures can still be held and defended as provable." The verdict absolves him from the penalties incurred by this, on condition that with a sincere heart "he abjure, condemn and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies." But in order that his earlier disobedience not remain unpunished, one condemns him on the other hand to prison, for a time which the Holy Office will determine at its discretion, and one prescribes him to say three times a week, during three years, the seven penitential psalms. After which Galileo read and signed the formula of abjuration.

His penalty was commuted by the Pope on the very day of his condemnation. Instead of the prison of the Holy Office he was to reside in the Medici villa; a few days later he was permitted to go to Sienna, as guest of Archbishop Piccolimini, and finally to have his detention place in his own villa of Arcetri, near Florence. Become blind, he was authorized by Urban VIII to reside in Florence, where he died on the 8th of January, 1642, at the age of 77. When he was still at Arcetri, he had received a prohibition to leave his villa (in which he was still considered as detained) on the very day on which he learned that his daughter, a nun in a neighboring monastery, was dying.

The Roman Congregations

1. By way of preface: a controverted question. -- Before speaking of the Roman Congregations, and in order to be able to do so in a sufficiently clear manner, I am obliged to take a position, I who am not a theologian, on a question vigorously discussed among theologians, -- the question of that which, in rather unfortunate terms, one calls "ecclesiastical faith." I shall do so in all modesty, but as clearly as possible. Preliminary remark: this concept is hybrid, because, according as it is employed by such and such a person, it refers either to infallible assertions (then the word "faith" is correct; it is the word "ecclesiastical" which is not), or to noninfallible assertions which it is necessary however to hold as certain to some degree (then it is the word "faith" which is incorrect; it is a question of an assent given -- in a variable measure -- to authorities who merit confidence), or to the two kinds of assertions grouped together.

It is "ecclesiastical faith" considered in the first sense or in the first perspective (according as it has to deal with infallible assertions) which concerns us here.

There are things which it is necessary to hold as infallibly true, not on the word of God, or because the Church proposes them to us as revealed by God, but on the word of the Church herself, because it is she who assures us that they are infallibly true. For example: that which one calls "dogmatic facts"; when Innocent X had condemned five propositions taken from Jansen's Augustinus. the Jansenists replied that thus detached these propositions were indeed heretical, but that considered in the context of Jansen they were orthodox; then Alexander VII declared and defined infallibly that these five propositions were condemned in the very sense which they had in Jansen; such is a "dogmatic fact" which we believe on the word of the Pope speaking as voice of the Church, and which is not a part of the formally revealed datum.{2}

Unlike Cardinal Journet, I do not think that in such a case we have to do, with regard to the promulgation of the thing to be believed, with the declaratory power of the Church. The latter has for object to bring to our knowledge the truths revealed by God: and what is meant by this, if not the formally revealed truths in their dogmatic tenor itself? In spite of the dialectical ingenuity of great theologians, I do not succeed in seeing how statements such as the fact of the five propositions of Jansen could be held as revealed by God, be it in an implicit manner. It is therefore not with the declaratory power, but with the canonical power that in my opinion we have to do in the cases in question, with regard to the promulgation of the object to be believed.

But like Cardinal Journet and Father Marin-Sola, I think that with regard to our adhesion to this object, it is by our theological faith itself that we believe the truths in question: I say by our theological faith when, while it adheres to a revealed truth (the mystery of the Una Sancta), it applies itself at the same stroke to another object, itself not revealed by God, but which is in an immediately evident manner grasped by the intellect as a particular realization of this revealed datum; in other words, we believe in the truths in question by our theological faith in the Church as immediately applied.

I believe in the Church, on the word of God. And at the same stroke, ipso facto, I believe, on the word of the Church, that which she tells me when it is she herself (the person of the Church) who speaks as principal agent, with her infallibility. I believe in it beforehand, it suffices that she says it: because there is here absolutely no kind of reasoning, nor syllogism, nor reasoning with two terms, but immediate evidence for the intellect, which sees the point in question (for example that the five propositions exist in Jansen with their heretical sense) as a mere point of application of the infallibility of the Church when it manifests itself to me through the Pope speaking ex cathedra. It is my divine faith in the Church which passes then, in an immediate and intuitive manner, to another object than its proper object, and causes me to adhere to the truth in question, infallibly true although not revealed. The object -- not revealed -- to which it passes thus was, from the moment that I know that the Church holds it as true, immediately subsumed by the revealed object -- the Una, sancta, catholica et apostolica -- which is one of the proper and specifying objects of my theological faith.

There is therefore no need of having recourse to a new habitus, to a new supernatural intellectual or moral virtue of which neither the Fathers of the Church nor St. Thomas surmised the existence. I rather think that "ecclesiastical faith" was invented in the sixteenth century and baptized in the seventeenth by theologians who had lost the sense of the intuitivity of the intelligence, and who embarked theologians much better than they on a pseudoproblem, concerning which they could, while making a great expenditure of subtlety, only find themselves in disagreement. I have therefore decided to ignore the notion of ecclesiastical faith; and it is without referring, as one has often done, to this notion that I shall try here to clarify our ideas on the question of the assent to be given to religious authority when it expresses itself through organs which are not the ordinary magisterium or the extraordinary magisterium, but which are nevertheless necessary to the government of the Church, such as the Roman Congregations (considered only in themselves, cf. further on, page 207). The point which matters to me is to know when one has or has not to do with the person of the Church using or not using instrumentally her ministers.

2. What one calls canonical power (cf. Journet, L'Eglise du Verbe Incarné, I, 2nd ed., pp. 223 et seq.) has for its object to assist all through the centuries, in order to assure the concrete execution of it, the absolutely primary mission of the Church (to confer the Sacraments by the power of order, and to propose by the declaratory power the divinely revealed truths, the doctrine of the faith and of morals) by promulgating decisions required in order to maintain the faith and to govern the life of the people of God (which constitutes a societas perfecta, that is to say, perfectly master of itself).

Being given the positions which I have taken, I shall distinguish in the canonical power two different great zones:

on the one hand, the zone in which it prescribes to us to believe, on the word of the Church, -- and, if my positions are well founded, through our divine faith in the Church as immediately applied, by virtue of an intuitively perceived evidence, -- assertions of the speculative order infallibly true without being themselves divinely revealed (whether they concern for example "dogmatic facts," or canonizations, or decrees of the Roman Congregations, in the cases in which they must be held as irreformable); whereas likewise, in the practical order, the decisions of the canonical power participate instrumentally in the superior prudence of the Church;

on the other hand, a zone in which the same canonical power depends on the proper lights of those who exercise it, so that in doctrinal and speculative matters their decisions, while requiring on our part religious obedience, do not imply however infallibility, whereas in disciplinary or practical matters, while requiring also religious obedience, they can likewise escape the superior prudence of the Church.

In the first zone we have to do with the person of the Church acting through the instrumentality of her ministers. In the second zone we have to do with the proper causality of the latter.{3}

It is to this second zone that the decisions of the Roman Congregations belong, unless by virtue of some special guarantee or confirmation issuing from the Pope they depend on something higher.

3. The Roman Congregations and the Pope. -- It happens in fact that certain decisions of the Congregations must be held as engaging the Church herself and her person, -- this not by reason of the Congregation which enacts them but by reason of the Pope who sanctions them, especially by reason (this is the case which interests me here) of the formula employed by him in order to approve them.

The Roman Congregations are organs created by the Pope and which he uses in order to govern and to teach. But it is in two different manners that the Pope can approve the decision of a Congregation: either, simply, in forma communi, in this case this decision emanates directly from the Congregation itself and is issued in its name; or else in a special manner, in forma specifica, in this case "the Pope expressly adopts the decree and issues it in his own name, using for example the following formulas: 'By our own authority, of our certain knowledge, in the plenitude of our apostolic power.'"{4}

Well, in the case in which a doctrinal decree elaborated by a Roman Congregation is approved by the Pope in forma specifica (to use his full apostolic authority; this resembles singularly, does it not, to speak ex cathedra), I do not doubt that this doctrinal decree must be held as irreformable. And consequently it finds itself, by virtue of such an approbation, transferred into that which I called just now the first zone of canonical power.

But in all the cases (the most frequent ones) in which a doctrinal decree is approved only in forma communi and is therefore issued only by virtue of the proper authority of the Congregation itself, it belongs to the second zone of canonical power, in other words it remains fallibly issued.

The verdict of the Holy Office which condemned Galileo in 1633 was approved in forma communi.

Disciplinary by reason only of the penalties imposed on Galileo, it is very evident that it was in itself a doctrinal decree: it based itself upon what had been said by the theologians of the Holy Office in 1616 (let us recall this: to claim that the sun is the center of the world is "senseless and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical"{5}), and declared Galileo "vehemently suspect of heresy," namely for having believed "the false and contrary-to-the-Holy-Scriptures doctrine that the sun is the center of the world," and for having believed "that a doctrine which has been declared and defined to be contrary to the Holy Scriptures can still be held and defended as provable."{6}

But this decree could not at all claim infallibility, no more than a commission or congregation of experts in theology can hold that which it says on its own authority as the voice of the Church. "It was evident even to all contemporary opinion that this doctrinal condemnation was issued in revocable matter, and by a fallible authority."[7}

The Abjuration of Galileo

1. In the text of the abjuration read on his knees, his hand on the holy Gospels, and signed by Galileo before the Holy Office, he recalled in the first place having been "judged vehemently suspect of heresy, namely for having held and believed that the sun is the center of the world and motionless, and that the earth is not the center, and moves," then he added: "Wishing therefore to cause to disappear from the mind of your Eminences and of every Christian this vehement suspicion which has been justly formed against me, I abjure, I condemn and I detest the aforesaid errors and heresies. . . ."

What are we to think of this abjuration, with regard to Galileo himself? Fear undoubtedly played a role in it, but to think that Galileo signed this text falsely would be a serious mistake. I recalled above the sincerity of his respect for the hierarchy and of his religious obedience ("I am deeply resolved to tear out my eye in order not to be scandalized, rather than to resist my superiors"{8}). His abjuration was a violence done to his conscience, divided between his religious obedience and his scientific conviction ("that which seems evident to me and which I think I touch with my hand"{9}), since one obliged him now by the first to deny and to sacrifice the second, which remained there nevertheless. Contradiction in lived act, which put the mind itself on the rack.

Eppur si muove, the saying is perhaps legendary, it remains absolutely significant. It moves nevertheless. And I swear on the Gospel that it does not move.

2. With regard to the judges of the Holy Office, I do not see another term than that of abuse of power, and a singularly grave one, in order to designate that which they did in imposing this abjuration on Galileo by the most violent moral constraint. For (if it is true, -- and this is certainly true, -- that, as Cardinal Journet writes, all contemporaries held as evident "that this doctrinal condemnation was issued in revocable matter, by a fallible authority"), they were certainly the first to know that they could err.{10} It was their own personal conviction that heliocentrism is a heresy: this conviction was not infallible, nor was the decree by which it was expressed. They did not have the right to oblige Galileo, as if he was constrained to it by a truth of faith, imposing itself on the mind in an infallible manner, to an absolute interior denial of heliocentrism and to swear on the Gospel that he "abjured, condemned and detested" "the heresy" constituted by this doctrine. In the verdict of condemnation they declared that the opinion of Copernicus had been defined "contrary to the Holy Scriptures." Defined by whom? By the Church, by the Pope speaking ex cathedra? Not at all. Defined by them alone, fallible men. They could, by virtue of a prudential judgment, make Galileo swear not to propagate this opinion.{11} They could not make him swear that he held it to be heretical and contrary to the Holy Scriptures, and that he condemned and detested it in his heart.

Such an abuse of power shows us that in the seventeenth century the high personnel of the Church continued still to proceed (in another manner, no doubt, but only in another manner) in the path opened by the mediaeval Inquisition: prior use of the means of physical constraint and of violence (become now psychological violence); and confidence principally accorded to these means for the defense of the faith.

These things have a hardy life: a personnel which judges itself invested with the dignity of the person herself of the Church is scarcely ready to recognize openly that it has erred. It was only in 1822 that the Holy Office authorized the printing in Rome of works teaching the movement of the earth around the sun. But in 1734, just a hundred years after the condemnation, it had permitted the Grand Duke of Florence to have the ashes of Galileo transferred to a tomb erected in his honor in the Basilica of Santa-Croce, and of which the inscription praised in him "the great renovator of astronomy," nulli aetatis suae comparandus. And in 1744 Benedict XIV had authorized the publication of a revised and corrected (very little corrected) edition of the Dialogue. "Juridicism" did not entirely exclude good sense.

The Error of the Holy Office

1. The condemnation of Galileo was an exceptionally grave error of the high personnel of the Church (acting as proper cause): an error which for a long time bespattered the person of the Church, and put in jeopardy many souls who believed this condemnation an act of the Church herself, of the Una, sancta, catholica.

To declare that to think that the earth turns around the sun is senseless and absurd in philosophy,{12} and formally heretical, as the theologians of the Holy Office did in 1616; and to declare, as they did in 1633, that heliocentrism is a theory false and contrary to the Holy Scriptures, an error and a heresy which, if one wishes to wash himself of the suspicion of having believed in it, it is necessary to abjure, detest and condemn, -- this was to commit a "blunder" of the first magnitude, which was quickly to be recognized as such in the whole universe of culture.

And if the judges of the Holy Office erred so gravely, it was because, through an error of principle still more dangerous because of general bearing, they held the science of phenomena in its own development to be subject to theology, and to a literal interpretation of Scripture against which St. Augustine and St. Thomas had forewarned us. The great mistake, as Cardinal Journet writes,{13} was "to have lacked the courage needed to detach the question of Scripture at once from the dispute over the geocentric issue."

Finally, in order to say things such as they are in actual fact and in the concrete, they erred, no longer in their head and the judgments of their intellect, but in their profound psychology and the reflexes of their unconscious as well as in their practical behavior, by deluding themselves about themselves and about their position (just below the Pope, at the summit of the hierarchy), and by taking themselves practically for the Church. Hence the arrogance and the authoritarianism which men whose personal humility could be very profound displayed in their function, and the honorific splendors with which they wished it surrounded. A dream-like error, if I may say, and all the more tenacious, and into which not only the judges of Galileo fell.

If the Holy Office was so slow in recognizing its error, and if it did so furtively,{14} it was because it believed that its decree of condemnation (work of the personnel of the Church acting as proper cause) was an act of the Church herself (of the person of the Church).

2. That the condemnation of Galileo took place at the time when it did take place, and that the Holy Office fell then into so remarkable -- and so humiliating -- an error, did this not have a high historical significance, and the value of a singular warning?

The time had come for the personnel of the Church to take, for the defense of the faith, another path than that of the means of force opened by the medieval Inquisition. The patience of God is much longer than we think; it has however limits. The error into which the Holy Office fell in condemning Galileo marked the limit of an agelong patience.

But in order to understand the warning it took the personnel of the Church three good centuries still, -- until the person of the Church herself makes her voice heard through the second Council of the Vatican.


On, On, On, Daughter of God, On!

1. The story of Joan of Arc is the most extraordinary story of Christian times: the most dazzling and the most secret. Can one try to form for oneself an idea of it, accurate as far as possible; to understand it, with our poor ratiocinations? It is too exceptional and too lofty. Each one knows it roughly. It is good nevertheless to recall the facts, and to insist afterwards on certain points of particular importance.

At Domremy, the guarding of the common flock devolved upon each family, in rotation; and when the turn of her parents had come, Joan accompanied them no doubt. But it is not at all true that she was a sheperdess, in spite of Catherine of Pisa and the "joli mestier" which she attributed to her in her verses and caused to pass into the legend. "Did you in your youth learn any craft? -- Yes, I learned to sew and to spin. In sewing and spinning I fear no woman in Rouen. When I was at home with my father, I saw to the ordinary domestic tasks. I did not go to the fields to look after the sheep and other animals."{1}

She was born on the 6th of January, 1412. It was at the age of thirteen that she began to hear her Voices. The first time she was very frightened. "It was about the hour of noon, in the summertime, and it was in the garden of my father." There was a light on the side from which "the great Voice" came. It was St. Michael, she knew this{2} only at the time of one of the subsequent apparitions (the third one no doubt), in which she engaged her faith.{3} He announced to her that St. Catherine and St. Margaret{4} would come also in order "to help her to direct herself." At their first visit they told her their names; then they returned unceasingly to instruct her and to guide her. She undoubtedly consulted them before taking the vow of virginity.

"Never did I have need of them that they did not come." It was so as long as Joan lived, and wherever she was.

The three who composed her "counsel," -- she saw them "really and corporeally," they were like us physically in space. St. Michael appeared for the great directives concerning her mission, the two saints each day. She untiringly repeated "that her Voices came from God, that she heard them every day, several times a day, that she saw them with her eyes, heard them with her ears, 'just as I see you, judges, believe me if you will!'" She knelt down before St. Catherine and St. Margaret, "kissed them and embraced them, -- taking their knees between her arms; she smelt their good odor; felt their figure, which did not vanish at the touch."{5}

Their voice was "beautiful, gentle and humble": Daughter of God, Daughter of great heart, it was thus that they called Joan. They promised her Paradise.

In the inquiry preliminary to the trial of rehabilitation, Dunois will testify that one day the king, he and the Count of Harcourt asked Joan: "When you say that you have recourse to your counsel, what is it that takes place in you?" She replies: "It is very simple: I withdraw apart, I pray to God, and after having prayed to God, I hear a voice: Daughter of God, on, on, on, I will help you, on!" And when she would hear this, she used to wish that it would last forever.

2. At Domremy, the child is instructed by her voices concerning the conduct to be followed by a Christian servant-maid loving God above all. She grows up. And lo then the Archangel, on many occasions and with great insistence, begins to reveal to Joan at first very frightened her astonishing mission: to come, she, poor ignorant peasant girl, to the help of the great pity of the Kingdom of France, to become a leader of war, to cause the Dauphin to be anointed and crowned, to deliver Orleans, to expel the English.

In March of 1429 she is received at Chinon by the Dauphin, whom she recognizes among the lords of his court (he had disguised himself as one of them), -- just as she had recognized Baudricourt at Vaucouleurs, -- and whom she tells on behalf of God that he is the true heir and son of Charles VI. A commission presided over by Regnault of Chartres, Archbishop of Rheims, examines Joan. (It is then that to Master Seguin, asking her what tongue her voices speak, she replies: "A better French than yours." -- "It was true," he said, "I spoke Limousin.")

She does not wish any other sword than that of which her voices have revealed to her the existence, -- buried in the Church of St. Catherine of Fierbois. One makes for her a standard such as her Saints wished, and which she will carry always in the battles. (She herself never shed blood, "I have never killed anyone." Moreover, as she declared several times, there was in her heart no hatred toward the English. She wanted that they return to their own country; and she took care to ask them first to do this willingly. But they scoffed at her letters, and she took up battle against them.)

On the 8th of May, Orleans is delivered.

On the 17th of July, Charles VII is crowned at Rheims.

Joan was then in her seventeenth year.

Once anointed and crowned, the king hastens to turn to diplomatic means, neglecting Joan while, badly supported militarily, she continues the war. She fails before Paris. She goes to the defense of Compiègne; on the 24th of May, 1430, she is captured there by the Burgundians. Prisoner in the Castle of Beaurevoir, she tries to escape, "makes the leap" from the top of the tower in which she is confined, falls down in a faint on the ground; they lock her up again.

The King of England and the Duke of Bedford form their plan: it is necessary to have her condemned by an ecclesiastical tribunal, so as to dishonor at the same stroke Charles VII and the crown which he holds from a heretic and from a sorceress whom "the Church" has sent to the stake. Their man will be Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, and conservator of the privileges of the University of Paris, which is very devoted to the English. In November, through the agency of Cauchon, Joan is sold to the English by the Burgundians, at the price of ten thousand tournois francs, and taken to Rouen, where they refuse her an ecclesiastical prison and lock her up in an iron cage.

The Condemnation

1. The trial of Rouen, which began on the 9th of January, 1431, was completely irregular. It was a "trial of the Ordinary," not of the Inquisition; and Cauchon, who presided over it under the pretext that Joan had been captured on the territory of his jurisdiction, was by no right the Ordinary of Joan. He had been designated by the King of England, not by the Pope, whom they had not notified and whom they tried to keep in ignorance. He did not hesitate to use falsified or forged documents. The judges were all friends of England and enemies of Joan, who thought only of setting snares for her (but in order to reply she had her marvellous ingenuousness). She had asked that theologians of the French side be added to the assessors, -- which was naturally refused. Among the one hundred and thirteen assessors, -- jurists, canonists, etc., secular priests or regular priests, -- who answered Cauchon's summons, eighty were doctors sent by the University of Paris. At the six public interrogatories of Joan some fifty or some sixty of these assessors were present. She undergoes afterwards nine other interrogatories in prison.

This trial was an ostentatiously staged ecclesiastical trial, gotten up by the King of England and prompted by an implacable political hatred, but, however irregular and fraudulent it may have been, purely ecclesiastical in its whole procedure. All the leaders of accusation were purely religious.

In answer to the twelve articles summing up the accusation, the University of Paris called Joan a tool of the demons, a liar, a blasphemer, an apostate, etc. However, in order that she be condemned to death and burned, the safest course was that she be a relapse. It was important therefore above all to lead her first to an abjuration, after which one expected indeed that she would have a relapse. At the churchyard of Saint-Ouen, on the 24th of May, one made to her all sorts of promises, and one presented to her a memorandum of which she understood nothing. She certainly did not deny her voices and her mission, but, at the end of her physical energies, and through fear of the fire, as she will say, "I prefer to sign than to be burned," she consents to give up her men's clothes, disobeying thus her Saints,{6} and signed with a cross the memorandum while declaring that she revoked nothing except on condition that this pleased God. After this pseudoabjuration she was condemned to perpetual imprisonment.

Brought back to her prison, she put on therefore women's clothes; but during her sleep her guards stole them from her, so that obliged to get up from bed by necessity of nature she had to put on again for a moment men's clothes (testimony of Jean Massieu at the trial of rehabilitation). The next day or the day after an English lord tried to rape her. After which she decidedly resumed men's clothes (testimony of Isambart de la Pierre and of Martin Ladvenu). Lo! she is a relapse. The 29th of May, trial of relapse: condemnation to be burned on the following day.

After having declared that she had fallen into schism, idolatry, the invocation of demons, and many other crimes besides, and that after having abjured these misdeeds she fell again into the same errors, as the dog returns to his vomit, the verdict concluded: "You are a relapse and a heretic: Member of Satan, cut off from the Church, infected with the leprosy of heresy, we judge and decide that in order that you not infect others, you must be abandoned to the secular arm, and we abandon you to it."{7}

In the early hours of the morning of Wednesday, the 30th of May, Brother Martin Ladvenu, the confessor of Joan, came to her prison to announce to her that she was going to be burnt at the stake. She cried out and protested before God, tearing her hair. "My body which is pure, reduced to ashes!"

Then Cauchon arrived with seven assessors. "Bishop, I die because of you," Joan says to him. "If you had put me in a Church prison, this would not have happened; that is why I appeal against you before God."

After his departure, Joan went to Confession twice to Brother Ladvenu, and received the Eucharist.

2. It was not without purpose that Cauchon visited Joan before her execution. Had she not until the end hoped against all hope for the deliverance promised by her Voices?{8} The wretch wanted to triumph over her, tormenting until the end her soul now in agony. "Did not your Voices promise you that you would be delivered? And you are going to die. You see now how they deceived you," -- this is what he came to tell her.{9}

Did her two Saints come at this moment to comfort Joan? I think that if they came they kept silent. Joan knew well that she "would incur damnation if she said that God did not send her." It belonged to her, in full catastrophe, to enter entirely alone into the great night of God. All the assurances which her counsel had given to her, -- it was in a marvellous aurora of enthusiasm, of boldness and of exultant confidence that she had seen them accomplished during a full year of prodigious events, of predictions realized to the letter, of difficult victorious combats.{10} And when her Voices, as she declared on the 14th of March, had told her that she would be delivered "by great victory," and to not fret about her martyrdom, and that she would go finally to Paradise, what was this martyrdom? Without doubt "the pain and adversity which she would suffer in prison." Would it be necessary to suffer more? She did not know this and trusted thereupon in Our Lord.{11} And even when (as she says on the 8th of May, in the Great Tower, before the instruments of torture), she had asked her Voices if she would be "burnt," and when the reply had been: "Trust in Our Lord, He will help you," let us not imagine that she understood all that which this reply implied; she believed still that the fire would be spared her, she believed literally in that which she had heard, and that deliverance and "great victory" were for the life of here on earth, -- on, daughter of God, I will help you, on, -- earthly hope had not left her. Now all is done with; it is necessary to understand the deliverance and the great victory and the supreme favor of God, -- it is the pitiless flame, and "her body which is pure, reduced to ashes."

We are here in the presence of an ordinary method of God. His promises have a double meaning, their truth is too lofty, their splendor too sacrificial in order for us to be able to grasp right away the final and decisive meaning. God hides it in the shadows of this life. And He spares His friends while preparing them little by little. . . .

The Virgin Mary herself, on the day of the Visitation, when she said to Elizabeth: "He has upheld Israel his servant, ever mindful of his mercy," was it of Calvary that she was thinking then, and of the Church of her Crucified Son, and of the new people of God? No, but of the old Israel which perpetuated the seed of Abraham. And when the old man Simeon announced to her that the sword would pierce her, she kept this utterance in her heart, but it was only at the foot of the Cross that she understood it in all truth.

There is here a law which in one manner or another applies itself one day in the life of every Christian.

3. This morning of the 30th of May, before nine o'clock, Joan takes her seat with Brother Martin Ladvenu in the cart which takes her to the Vieux-Marché. The mitre which she has on her head bears the inscription: heretic, relapse, apostate, idolatress. Another sermon to be heard, delivered by Nicolas Midi, and during which she invokes her Voices. Then she ascends the stake, accompanied by Brother Ladvenu, to whom, when she sees the flame, she says: "Brother Martin, go down! The fire!" She had asked that one raise the Cross bearing the image of Jesus Crucified, in order that she could see it "until the threshold of death." Brother Isambart holds the Cross before her; she cries out "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus," invokes the Saints; she dies crying: "Jesus!"

She was nineteen years old.

4. "My body which is pure, reduced to ashes. . . ."

At the inquiry preliminary to the trial of rehabilitation, Brother Isambart will testify that after the execution the executioner came to him and to his companion Brother Martin Ladvenu, "struck and moved to a marvellous repentance and terrible contrition, all in despair, fearing never to obtain pardon and indulgence from God for what he had done to that saintly woman; and said and affirmed this executioner that despite the oil, the sulphur and the charcoal which he had applied against Joan's entrails and heart, nevertheless he had not by any means been able to consume nor reduce to ashes the entrails nor the heart, at which was he as greatly astonished as by a manifest miracle."{12}

The Rehabilitation

1. It was in 1451 that Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville, Legate of Pope Nicholas V to Charles VII, opened, -- doubtless at the request of the king, anxious to cleanse his crown of the dishonor which reflected upon it on account of the shame cast upon Joan, -- a canonical inquiry concerning the trial of condemnation. He was assisted by the Dominican Jean Bréhal, general Inquisitor of France, great and noble figure who was to be the soul of the trial of rehabilitation. The Pope hesitated however to intervene, and to take sides in a debate between England and France, two great Catholic powers. In order to help him out of his difficulty, Bréhal suggested having the opening of the new trial requested by the mother and the two brothers of Joan, who sent to the Holy See a petition to that end. Nicholas V died meanwhile, and it was his successor Calixtus III who, in a rescript of the 11th of June, 1455, had the new trial opened.{13}

This trial, -- the trial of rehabilitation, -- was a perfectly regular ecclesiastical trial, in which in multiple inquiries all the surviving witnesses testified, and to which we owe precious information concerning Joan, as also remarkable doctrinal elucidations. It was conducted by men no doubt fallible but honest, and who had certainly their political attachments, -- to France this time (now completely delivered as Joan had predicted), -- but first and above all the passion for justice and for truth, and the sense of their duties before God and before the Church.

The verdict was rendered on the 7th of July, 1456, in the Archiepiscopal Palace of Rouen. The decisions and the verdicts of the judges of 1431 were declared in it "tainted with deceit, with calumny, with iniquity, with contradiction, with manifest error in fact and in law," and therefore "null, without value, without effect, and dismissed."{14} This verdict of rehabilitation was promulgated the same day on the Square of Saint-Ouen, and on the morrow on the Square of Vieux-Marché, with a solemn sermon and the planting of an expiatory Cross.

2. The memory of Joan of Arc was thus avenged, and historical truth reestablished before men. Was this enough for Him Whom Joan had loved until death, and Whose name she cried out upon the stake?

Five centuries passed.

Leo XIII introduced the cause of beatification of Joan on the 29th of February, 1894.

She was beatified by Pius X on the 18th of April, 1909.

Joan was canonized by Benedict XV on the 16th of May, 1920. Here we have the term of the curve, the final point toward which the rehabilitation tended, the inscription on the standards of Heaven of the full accomplishment of the destiny of Joan and of the purposes of God concerning her.

Canonization is an infallible act of the Pope. The "heretic, relapse, apostate, idolatress" condemned to the fire by Cauchon and the judges of Rouen was, with infallible certitude, a saint, beloved by God, and whom the whole people of God invokes now. Her Voices had rightly told her that she would go straight to Paradise.

3. The condemnation of Galileo was the greatest error committed by the personnel of the Church acting regularly, but as proper cause, and therefore fallible.

The condemnation of Joan of Arc was the worst iniquity committed by a personnel of the Church acting irregularly and fraudulently, and as proper cause, and therefore fallible.

The canonization of Joan, her rehabilitation consummated in the glory of the saints, -- it is the universal Church herself, the Una, sancta, catholica, apostolica, the mystical Body of Christ and His Bride, it is the person herself of the Church and her infallibility who make themselves heard there, through the Pope acting instrumentally, and infallibly, as the voice of the person of the Church of the earth and of Heaven considered in her integrality.

On Private Revelations

1. When they treat of revelation in the most general sense of this word, theologians make two distinctions: they divide revelation into theological and nontheological according as the object which it makes known is or is not ordered ad fidem deitatis, to the truth of God itself as first object of belief; and they divide it into Catholic (or public) and private according as the organ which transmits it or "proposes" it to men is the public magisterium of the Church or only the private person who has received it.

St. Thomas teaches that since the coming of the only begotten Son no revelation henceforth can be theological, that is to say teach us anything new, anything which would not be contained in the deposit of Faith, concerning God or with reference to the truth of God as first object of faith.

Revelations newly produced in the Church relate not to what God is, but to what God wishes of us, they are of the practical order and for the direction of human acts, ad directionem actuum humanorum.

2. This is what the theologians tell us: private revelations concern the direction of human conduct. However do not the spiritual masters tell us the exact opposite? They warn their disciples that it is never necessary to act according to the private revelations which they themselves have been able to receive or which, received by others, have been able to come to their knowledge. St. Theresa and St. John of the Cross do not tire of insisting on this, with all the more vigor, it seems, as they themselves were not without being in many cases enlightened by such private revelations, which proved very useful in their practical behavior. But does one ever know with the saints? And with that measure of theirs which is not like our measures, and which serves them as a secret radar? St. Philip Neri was overwhelmed with extraordinary graces, and it sufficed that a soul be visited by such graces for him to display concerning it the most marked suspicion and the most marked severity.

As a matter of fact the apparent contradiction clears up easily. In general one would expose oneself to error and to illusion if one took a private revelation for an immediate rule of action. The rule of human acts is reason, superelevated by faith (and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit), and it is to this rule, not to visions and revelations, that we must submit our acts. But private revelations are as it were lights in the sky or flares which attract our attention and project a glimmer of light on such or such an aspect of the situation which would have been able to escape the weak and distracted human reason. Then, thus alerted, behold man is able to use his prudential judgment, work of reason and of faith, as a rule of action of a rare and surprising accuracy, in particularly difficult occasions. It is indeed in this manner that the great spiritual masters, in their own conduct, put into practice the doctrine of the theologians concerning private revelations, given ad directionem actuum humanorum.

3. There are however exceptional cases, of which the case of Joan of Arc is an eminent example. These exceptional cases are distinguishable by two particular characteristics: in the first place the private revelation of which it is a question then is "perfect" or interiorly "evident" revelation, and the soul thus instructed knows therefore with a complete certitude that it is indeed God Who instructs it; in the second place this revelation, while being in itself a private revelation, concerns (according to a distinction indicated by Cajetan and by Benedict XIV) not the private good of an individual but the common good of the social body, and above all of the Church or of Christendom.{15}

Private revelations which concern thus the common good of the social body, and above all of the Church or of Christendom, confer by themselves a mission, and a public mission. They constitute the one who receives them in a determined function which has its own exigencies; they make of him an ambassador of God, a messenger, an "angel." Consequently the latter finds himself, from the point of view of the subjective conditions in which he is placed, in a case similar to that of the prophets of the Old Law: the received revelation links him to a divine mandate. At the same stroke it becomes imperative rule, -- which certainly does not abolish the liberty of the practical judgment (Joan kept always this liberty of judgment, to the point even of disobeying twice her saints), but which the practical judgment has the duty to carry into effect.

4. Furthermore, the soul would lose faith if it refused or ceased to believe in the received revelation. This is a consequence of the other exceptional characteristic which we have noted in the private revelations in question: they are express or "perfect" revelations, accompanied by the certitude that it is God who instructs, in other words given with evidence, -- an evidence which bears upon the one who reveals (evidentia in attestante) and upon the very fact of the received revelation.

Consequently, and I believe that on this point all the theologians are in agreement, the things about which God instructs the soul in such a revelation give rise, for the one himself who receives it, to an act of faith not human but divine.

This act of faith, according to the teaching of the Thomists, does not proceed from the virtue of theological faith, because that alone which God reveals with respect to the mysteries of the Deity itself as first object of credence is the object of the theological faith; but private revelations under the New Law do not have for their object the truth of the things hidden in God, but the direction of human acts. The act of faith which bears upon a private revelation when the one who receives it knows, through an evident supernatural light, that it comes from God, proceeds therefore from another kind of faith than theological faith; it proceeds, the theologians of Salamanca tell us, from that "faith" which is counted by St. Paul among the gratis datae charisms or graces.

But, and this is the important point, the same theologians teach that if the soul which receives an evidently divine revelation refused or ceased to believe what God told it, it would lose not only the faith of the charismatic order which it received as to this private revelation, but also all supernatural faith, and therefore theological faith also. For the fact is that the genus being destroyed, all the species contained in this genus are also destroyed. But what constitutes the genus supernatural faith (whatever the object revealed may be) is the formal motive for which one believes, that is to say the veracity of God revealing, and this formal motive is absolutely indivisible. To refuse its adhesion to a private revelation which it knows to be divine would be therefore, for the soul which has received such a revelation, to call in question the infallible authority of God revealing, to destroy the formal motive of supernatural faith, and by this to lose also that kind of supernatural faith which is theological faith, the faith which saves.

This is why Joan knew that if she denied her Voices "she would incur damnation." "If I said that God did not send me, I would incur damnation. True it is that God has sent me."

"For that which is to be believed in my revelations, I do not consult bishop, priest or anyone else."

"She believes as firmly the sayings and the deeds of St. Michael, who appeared to her, as she believes that Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered death and agony for us."

God First Served

1. Joan, do you submit to the Church? It is with this question that the judges of Rouen most harassed her.

As I have just noted, she had evidence that her revelations came from God: evidentia in attestante, evidence so strong that Joan went as far as to declare that what she heard was from God without other means (sine alio modo), -- without intermediary.{16} Her Voices did not transmit to her a word which God had told them for her; it is the very word of God told to her directly that she heard in hearing them; her Voices were not intermediaries, media; they were the vibration in her ears, the expression in human language of the very word of God.

This is the principal motive of the clause which she does not fail to add to her replies: I am ready to obey the Church, God first served,{17} or if one does not command me anything impossible.{18}

2. If it is a question of the revealed deposit transmitted by the Church, and of the disciplinary authority of the hierarchy, here there is no problem: "If there are in her replies anything which is opposed to the Christian faith commanded by Our Lord, she would not wish to maintain it and she would be right eager to come to the contrary opinion."

"She believes that Our Holy Father the Pope of Rome, the Bishops and the other Churchmen have the duty to guard the Christian faith and to punish those who falter. . . ."

But if it is a question of her "sayings and deeds," as it was actually the case, in other words of the revelations received by her, -- here "she will not revoke for anything in the world, nor for man who lives, what she has said and done on behalf of God." No one in the world can make her deny that which she knows that God has told her. No one in the world, not even the Pope? She herself, on the 24th of May, 1431, asked: "of all the works I have accomplished, let them be sent to Rome to Our Holy Father the Sovereign Pontiff, in whom, and in God first, I trust."

Here still one notes however a certain reserve (indicated by the words in God first). What she wishes is to see herself the Pope and to be able to reply to him. "Asked if she wishes to submit herself to Our Holy Father the Pope, she replies: 'Take me to him and I shall reply to him.'" "I request to be taken to him, and then I shall answer before him all that which I shall have to answer." The fact is that Joan certainly did not fear that the Pope would judge her to be insane, or that he would order her not to believe in her revelations.{19} But who knows if he would not prefer that by reason of such or such circumstances she act differently? Better to be taken before him, to listen to him and to be able to reply to him (her Voices would have counselled her).

3. At the churchyard of Saint-Ouen she therefore appealed to the Pope. But one replied to her that the Pope was too far away; it is to the bishops who have charge of her that she must submit (to the Bishop of Beauvais, for example, to whom she had said: "As for you, I do not at all wish to submit to you, because you are my mortal enemy"?).{20} "It was said to her that to go such a long distance to fetch the Pope could not be done, that the Ordinaries were judges, each in his own diocese, and that it was necessary that she throw herself upon the Holy Church and that she abide by what the clerks and other learned men said and had determined on her sayings and deeds."{21}

In the sentence of death of the 30th of May, the clerks and other learned men will be called scientifici doctores to whom this obstinate, wretched girl refused to submit. "Licet debite et sufficienter tam per nos quam, pro parte nostra, per nonnullos scientificos et expertos doctores ac magistros salutem animae tuae zelantes saepe et saepius admonita . . . ."{22}

The judges of Joan had themselves a confused idea of the Church. And they rendered this confusion willingly worse still, absolutely insurmountable, by profiting from the humanly total ignorance of the girl of great heart in order to astound her with learned words which she did not understand, in their questions and so-called explanations concerning the Church militant and the Church triumphant. Joan felt that they were doing everything in order to confuse her. The irremediable ambiguity of the word 'Church' such as they employed it, in order to make of it a fief of experts and of scientific doctors who demanded obedience in judging and "determining" concerning the secret of hearts and concerning words received from God, -- this is the second motive of the clause God first served which Joan never failed to use.

4. As Bréhal says in his Recollectio,{23} apropos of the judges of Rouen, clarum est quid per Ecclesiam isti intenderunt, non quidem Ecclesiam romanam aut universalem, sed potius semetipsos. What they understood by "the Church" was themselves.

Consequently it is with full right, and with a perfectly pure orthodoxy, that Joan (concerning the simplicity of whom Bréhal and his friends, doctors like him, insist a little heavily, -- she understood nothing of the jargon of the experts of Rouen, but she was, in her own way, much better informed than they concerning the Church) did not hesitate to reply: "I do believe that the Church militant cannot be at fault or fail, but as for my sayings and deeds, I place them and refer them in all to God Who has made me do all that I have done."{24} "Replies that she believes indeed that Our Holy Father the Pope of Rome and the bishops and the other Churchmen have the duty to guard the Christian faith and to punish those who falter; but as for her, concerning her deeds, she will submit only to the Church of Heaven, that is to say to God, to the Virgin Mary, and to the saints of Paradise."{25}

It is surprising that on this subject an enormous misconception has been committed by many historians and critics, and still makes its way in the best minds.{26} One has thought that she made of the Church of Heaven another Church, a Church separate from that of the earth, and to whom she appealed against the Church of the earth, whereas in reality it was for her a single and same Church, but who there above saw God and here on earth did not see Him; so that she believed in the Church of the earth as well as in the Church of Heaven, and did not at all appeal to the Church of Heaven against the Church of the earth, but only with reference to a matter (her revelations) which, concerning exclusively what she herself had to do by order of God, and no point of doctrine, was not within the province of the Church of the earth or of anyone here on earth (except the Pope, and God first{27}).

She said everything on this point in a reply of inexhaustible meaning: "She replies: 'I abide by God who sent me by the Holy Virgin and all the saints in paradise. And I am of opinion that it is all one and the same thing, Our Lord and the Church [in other recensions: it is all one and the same thing, God and the Church], and that of that one should make no difficulty. Why do you make difficulty over that?' "{28}

God and the Church,
It Is All One and the Same Thing

1. In this dazzling reply and a flash of intuitivity, Joan, who could not explain herself with the words of the theologians, said all that which these words can and will ever be able to say that is most true concerning the mystery of the Church.

In saying: God and the Church -- it is all one and the same thing, Joan was saying that the Church is not God because she is created, but that she is the universe of created spirits living by the very life of God through grace (grace in via here on earth, consummated grace in Heaven). She was saying that the Church is composed of angels as well as of men. She was saying, after St. Paul, that the Church is the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ and the plenitude of Christ. She was saying that the Church of Heaven and that of the earth are not two different Churches, but essentially the single and same and unique Church of Christ under two different states.{29} She was saying, -- I dare to think it, that which a poor idiot philosopher tries to show in the present book, -- that this single and same and unique Church who is at one and the same time in Heaven and on earth, and who is but one with Christ as the Bride with the Bridegroom, is a created person as He is an uncreated person, and that her personality unique in its kind is a personality which embraces in its supernatural unity and supernatural individuality the numberless multitude of all the members of Christ, whether they see the divine essence or whether they tread their way in faith.

2. And in saying that God and the Church -- it is all one and the same thing, she was saying that in relying for her deeds and sayings upon the saints of Paradise she was not failing in anything in that which she owed to the Church of the earth. She was saying that the persons of the Church of Heaven knew in the light of Vision, as she herself knew with divine evidence, that the revelations received by her came from God, whereas the persons of the Church of the earth, who live by faith, could judge only of that which is consonant with or contrary to the faith common to all Christians, which she herself professed integrally with her whole heart. And that in relying for her deeds and sayings upon the Saints of Paradise, while relying upon the Church of the earth as to the truths revealed by Christ to all men, it was still and always upon the same person of the Church that she relied, and not without showing respect to the Church of the earth, since she was ready, and she asked, to submit -- God first served -- her deeds and sayings to the leader of the Church of the earth, and even to the Council, the sole ones, in such an unusual case, able to represent the Church in her universality, and to decide and to judge in her name.

Two Aberrations Concerning the Mission of Joan

1. The first has been a "pious" aberration. In the last century, Frenchmen, and above all so-called French Catholics "of the right," venerated in Joan of Arc a saint sent by God in order to attest that France is the chosen nation among nations. Joan, idol of national vanity: one could not better disfigure her memory. As if the sole chosen people was not the people of Israel,{30} and as if God did not take care in like manner of all the nations of the world! The young Frenchmen of today no longer reduce the mission of Joan to the glorification of their native country, but this is because, even if they are Christians, they no longer wish to hear about saints and about angels, and because on the other hand they do not feel very proud of their country.

It is indeed true however that the immediate visible mission of Joan was, -- and in what a miraculous manner!, -- to liberate France and to cause her to recover her political independence. But this was not at all with a view to showing that France is the first of the nations; it was only because, at that given moment of history, France, whose titles in medieval Christendom were so firmly established, suffered cruelly injustice, and because this injustice had to cease. "And the Angel told her the pity which was in the kingdom of France." It was a question there only of justice, and of compassion for the oppressed, -- "I have been sent to the poor and to the destitute," -- and of reestablishing a country in its rights and in its liberty.

2. The other aberration has been a "scholarly" aberration. One has seen some serious authors ask themselves what disastrous results would have occurred inevitably in the history of the world if Joan had not succeeded in driving out the English. They doubtless imagined God as an earthly leader of government drawing up plans for the future, and forgot that He holds all second causes in His hand, and causes them to vary as He pleases.

In itself, the canonization of Joan put an end to these two aberrations, by showing that the true mission of Joan, her great invisible mission, was a universal mission.

The True Mission of Joan

1. However rash this may be, it is necessary indeed to try to form, as best one can, an idea of the true mission of Joan, a mission which rises in tiers upon several different planes, and which one conjectures to be as vast as it is mysterious.

In the first place, it seems to me that, first and above all, Joan (it was in the fifteenth century that she lived, and underwent her martyrdom) was sent as a marvellous adieu of the Lord God to medieval Christendom on the point of ending.

In spite of the vestiges of barbarism which it still carried, this Christendom was the highest summit of Christian civilization in human history. Let one think of the admirable faith of the whole Christian common people of that time, and even of the great of this world (although they may have lost everything through the ambition and the moral weakness of the majority of them). Let one think of the immense work of reason, -- in the highest spheres of thought, and under the light of faith, -- accomplished by this time; of the intellectual and moral heritage which we owe to it, of its mystics, of its saints, of the builders of its cathedrals, of the idea of honor, of human dignity, of the service of the poor, which, however betrayed it may have been able to be in practice, it nevertheless bequeathed to us. Let one imagine to oneself St. Louis and St. Thomas Aquinas eating at the same table . . .

God loved this medieval Christendom, and rejoiced at all the goodness and holiness there was in it. In the moment when it was about to perish, He made to it in the person of Joan an altogether extraordinary gift, -- not as recompense (to whom would it have been directed?) but as sign, sign of love and of gratitude. It was as if Heaven had made a gift to the earth of an incomparable icon of blue and of gold, in a screen studded with flowers of Paradise moistened by the Precious Blood and by the tears of the Blessed Virgin.

But this blessed icon was that of an executed girl criminal, -- executed by priests of Christ: and the gift of Heaven brought also to earth a sign of the divine severity toward the blunders and the violences which so stained with blood medieval Christendom, -- especially toward that Inquisition of which the atrocious caricature exhibited by the trial of Rouen was signed with the wrath of God. Causae ad invicem sunt causae. The end of medieval Christendom entailed the end of the medieval Inquisition; and the medieval Inquisition was one of the irreparable historical mistakes by which medieval Christendom was to perish.

The adieu of the King of Heaven to medieval Christendom, -- the primordial aspect of the mission of Joan and of her passage upon earth, -- was at one and the same time an adieu of sublime gratitude and an adieu of inevitable chastisement.

2. In this mission of Joan, what strikes us first is the immediate visible mission, of which I have said a few words above: the liberation of France, and which fully succeeded (it reached completion very quickly after the death of Joan).

But there was also, still on the same plane of the temporal work to be accomplished, a secret mission, and one of greater bearing, of which, during the lifetime of Joan, something was manifested. I am thinking of the astonishing scene which took place at Chinon in 1429. "One day," the author of the Breviarium historiale relates, "the Maid asked the king to make her a present. The request was accepted. She asked then as a gift the kingdom of France itself. The astonished king gave it to her after some hesitation, and the young girl accepted it. She wished even that the deed of it be solemnly drawn up and read by the four secretaries of the king. After the charter had been written out and recited in a loud voice, the king remained a little stupefied, when the young girl pointed to him and said to those present: 'Behold the poorest knight of his kingdom.'

"And after a little time, in the presence of the same notaries, disposing, as mistress, of the kingdom of France, she returned it into the hands of Almighty God. Then, at the end of a few other moments, acting in the name of God, she invested King Charles with the kingdom of France; and of all this she wished that a solemn document be drawn up in writing."{31}

What took place there was for Joan of major importance. She was sent not only in order to liberate France. She was sent also in order to restore "the holy kingdom" to its true vocation: to serve the King of Heaven. It was according to the ideas of the time, and in the perspective of the sacral regime, and of a monarchy which by the Holy Ampulla was assigned in a quasi-sacramental manner to an essentially Christian temporal task, that Joan conceived the significance of what on that day she had Charles VII do, and the secret mission with which she herself was invested. Under another regime than the sacral regime, it was not impossible for kings truly Christian in heart to act according to the spirit which she requested. In actual fact, seeing the behavior of the kings who succeeded Charles VII (and in general the politics of all our rulers), it is necessary to state that this secret mission of Joan was a total failure. However, if one thinks of the wholly different manner in which the Christian spirit no longer of kings but of the faithful people must more than ever strive to vivify the temporal order, is it to be believed that in Heaven Joan has forgotten a mission which was so dear to her?

3. Let us pass to an altogether different consideration, in which this time it will be a question of the mission of Joan according as it continues in human history on the plane of the spirit (which by its very nature is a universal plane).

I remark in the first place that no Saint has attracted as much as Joan the attention of writers and of poets, outside as well as within the frontiers of our country, and to whatever spiritual family they may belong. Come first Villon and Christine of Pisa. Voltaire detested her; it is doubtless because she irked him exceedingly. Anatole France loved her against his will. Among those who loved her gladly, the most celebrated ones are Schiller and Bernard Shaw.

On the other hand there are those in whom one can discern either a kinship of spirit with her (sometimes unknown to themselves), or a direct influence of her genius: from Pascal for example (who, as far as I know, never spoke of her, but who also was under the sign of "God first served") to Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Léon Bloy, Charles Péguy, Claudel perhaps, and, perhaps in a sense, André Breton, and, certainly, a great painter like Georges Rouault. . . .

But what matters most here is the plane of spirituality itself. The milieu from which St. Theresa of Lisieux came, and her natural temperament, had nothing in common with those of Joan. And yet not only did she love her as a sister, and, in the heart of the cloister, live with her spirit, but one can say that in the domain of the pure interior life her mission among us has been stamped with a mark which allies it singularly with that of Joan: extraordinary liberty, extraordinary simplicity, extraordinary courage, and, above all, total gift-of-oneself to give heroically assistance to the pity which is in the kingdom of the earth.{32} The celebrated saying of Theresa: "I shall spend my Heaven doing good on earth," has the resonance of a reply of Joan.{33} And what light it gives us! So many Christians, understanding wrongly the Requiem aeternam, have thought for such a long time that the Saints spent their Heaven resting and slept there with a blessed sleep! Actually the vision of God exalts unceasingly in them an inconceivable ardor -- and one which will last until the end of the world -- to come to the assistance of the poor lost sheep here on earth. "Since the time that I have been suffering for you," the Blessed Virgin said to the two little shepherds of La Salette, in her message to all. And again: "If I desire that my Son not abandon you, I am instructed to pray to Him unceasingly. And you, for your part, do not appreciate it. Pray as you may, do as you may, you will not be able to recompense the grief which I have accepted for the sake of you."

4. May a moment's remark -- in order to catch my breath -- on a much lower plane be permitted me here, -- a small digression, parenthetically, in which I would like to return to my old professional concerns as philosopher? My Scholastic masters taught me a doctrine which I cherish. But I have always thought that the so-called "Scholastic" mode of exposition, manner and style have had their day, because they have become an obstacle to the life and to the progress of this great doctrine in human history. What it needs is no longer a doctoral and magistral approach, inscribing in marble a majestic sed contra and peremptory responses to numbered objections; it is a free approach, inquiring, humble and proud at one and the same time; it is to advance under the standard of Joan. (There was something of this in the style of Bergson.)

I dream of students in theology and of seminarians who would pray each day with all their heart to St. Thomas Aquinas in order that he may enlighten them and help them to adhere in the truth, and to St. Joan of Arc in order that she may give to that which they will have to say and to do among men the manner and the style which are required today.

5. A third and final consideration, which concerns things of singular importance, but which I shall present in the briefest manner (it would take a whole book in order to develop it suitably).

I think that Joan of Arc -- who failed, but not forever, in the secret mission of which it was a question above -- is par excellence the saint and the patron of the temporal mission of the Christian; in other words the saint and the patron of the Christian laity: for this temporal mission is the affair of laymen, to be conducted under their initiative and at their risks and perils,{34} -- on condition that in their collaboration with men of every belief and of every nation for a common temporal work they keep in their hearts a faith as pure, total, and absolute as that of Joan. (This is required not only by loyalty toward God, but also by the loyalty -- and for the efficacy -- of a true friendship with non-Catholics and non-Christians). Let us note that in the temporal work in question it is not a question of bringing about the happiness of man upon the earth. In a civilization more and more dehumanized by techocracy, it may be that this temporal work, of the necessity of which we have finally become conscious today, occurs quite precisely, in our historical age, to compensate the greater evils and to avoid the greater destructions which threaten the world.

I think also that Joan is par excellence the saint of the last combats of the Church; and that it is by small flocks faithful to God first served that these combats will be conducted; and that from the supreme torments of the world, in the midst of which she herself will be assailed on all sides, the Church will emerge radiant and martyrized. It will be the hour of Joan.

IV The Condemnation of Galileo

{1} To which Galileo does not fail to reply: "To say that Copernicus expresses himself by way of hypothesis and not with the conviction that his theory is consonant with reality, is not to have read him."

Let us note here that the word 'hypothesis' (mathematical hypothesis) did not have the same sense for the theologians of that time as for the scientists. For the scientists an hypothesis is a view of the mind which it is a question of verifying, and which one seeks to demonstrate as consonant with reality. For the theologians it was a view of the mind for the pleasure of the mind and which one refrained from seeking to demonstrate as consonant with reality.

It was to believe or not to believe heliocentrism consonant with reality which was the grand concern, and it was in this that in 1633 Galileo was held to be "vehemently suspect of heresy." (It is also the reason why I have translated -- see pages 203 and 207 -- by provable the word probabilis employed in the sentence of condemnation.) On their side the scientists had not yet learned to distinguish between science of phenomena and philosophy of nature. As Santillana remarks (p. 47 of his book), Galileo "repeated always that he had spent more years in the study of philosophy than months in that of mathematics." And when he declared that "the book of Nature is written in mathematical symbols" (ibid., p. 93), what he thus maintained signified, in his eyes as in those of his contemporaries, that mathematical symbols disclose to us that which Nature is absolutely speaking, or in its intelligible essence and its first reality: philosophy of nature which, in an altogether different perspective, Descartes, his masked rival, introduced in his manner on the scene, and which was contrary to all that which one taught in the schools. It is not surprising that his most implacable and most cunning enemies were to be found in the universities and among their professors. It was as philosopher of nature that he was condemned.

In order to summarize this whole story, in which obscurities are not lacking, what seemed to me the safest course was to follow the very objective exposition of Vacandard in the Dictionnaire de théologie, while modifying and completing it by that which Giorgio de Santillana has furnished us in his Procès de Galilée (Paris, Club du meilleur livre, 1955), especially (op. cit., pp. 135-166 and 325-340) with regard to the false official report surreptitiously introduced into the dossier, doubtless as early as 1616 (cf. above, pp. 201-204). Galileo always denied having received in 1616 a formal injunction, and an attestation of Bellarmine (dated May 26, 1616) confirms that there was at that time mere notification. (Deliberate infraction of an injunction of the Holy Office in matters of faith entailed condemnation for heresy.)

{2} It is likewise in something infallibly true that we believe on the word of the Church in the case of the canonization of saints.

At the first Council of the Vatican, a canon had been prepared with a view to defining as of faith the doctrine affirming that the infallibility of the Church is not "restricted simply to what is contained in the divine revelation," but "extends also to other truths necessarily required to ensure the integrity of the revealed deposit." Cf. Ch. Journet, op. cit., p. 343.

It is the formal motive of my theological faith: the first Truth in dicendo (I say of my theological faith in the infallibility of the Church) which causes me to believe in the nonrevealed truths taught by a Pope speaking ex cathedra (like Alexander VII affirming the heretical tenor of the five propositions of Jansen): not, clearly, that in themselves (since they are not revealed) they could invoke this formal motive, but because, insofar as mere intuitively perceived points of application of my faith in the infallibility of the Church, they are this faith itself intuitively particularized.

Another example invoked by the theologians in their discussion of "ecclesiastical faith" (Paul VI, like every legitimately elected Pope, is the vicar of Jesus Christ) belongs to an altogether different category. This is also a truth not directly revealed, which is a mere immediately evident point of application of a revealed truth (and which, by this fact, is therefore also an object of my theological faith); but the revealed truth of which it is a question is not the Una Sancta and her infallibility; it is this truth of divine faith that the legitimate successor of Peter on the episcopal see of Rome is the vicar of Jesus Christ.

If it is a question after this of acts of the magisterium through which the infallible voice of the person of the Church does not pass, but which require however interior assent by reason of the authority (more or less high) from which they emanate, this assent is doubtless "governed" by theological faith, insofar as it assures us that -- in very diverse degrees -- the magisterium is assisted in its office; but the assent this time cannot invoke the formal motive of theological faith, nor therefore be produced by it. And it is itself exactly measured by the degree of authority of the teaching in question.

{3} When the Pope speaks ex cathedra, or when an ecumenical Council declares a decree concerning the doctrine of faith and of morals, one has to do with an infallible decision. -- When, in the same matter, a Roman Congregation expresses itself on its own authority, one has to do with a fallible decision (except if it is approved by the Pope in farina specifica). -- As regards prudential decisions, cf. above, Ch. IV, note 18.

{4} Ch. Journet, op. cit., p. 355.

{5} Cf. above, p. 201. 6. Cf. above, p. 203.

{7} Charles Journet, op. cit., p. 358.

{8} Letter to Bishop Dini, Cf. above, pp. 20 1-202.

{9} Same letter. -- That Galileo did not really demonstrate the movement of the earth is beside the point here. In actual fact, it is only with Newton that heliocentrism imposed itself on all men of science. The proofs invoked by [Galileo] were not demonstrative and were not worth much. But before demonstrating and without being yet able to demonstrate, there is in the mind of the great scientist an intuitive understanding which suffices to give him a conviction of which (rightly or wrongly, that is another affair, and which concerns the progress of science) he has absolutely no doubt. Such was the case for the intuitive genius of Galileo.

{10} Cf. above, pp. 207-208 and note 7.

{11} The religious obedience required of Galileo would have then been normal; and it would have required him (as in the case of the promises made in 1616, -- and badly kept) to recognize interiorly that this interdiction to propagate heliocentrism, -- badly motivated in terms of his conscience of scientist, -- was nevertheless prudent in itself, in this sense for example that it obliged him to seek in silence scientifically better proofs, and that it gave time to the theologians to understand the independence, with regard to Holy Scripture, of the science of phenomena which was entering from that time into full development. In fact, however, the judges of Galileo went infinitely further than the interdiction which I am supposing here. They abused the religious obedience required of Galileo.

Normally, to the decisions of ecclesiastical authority, even fallible and in revocable matter, religious obedience requires interior assent. But, as Jaugey writes (Le procès de Galilée et la théologie, p. 118, quoted by Vacandard, Dict. de Théol., col. 1085), the religious assent in question, "in the case of a provisional doctrinal judgment, is not an absolute adhesion, like that which is required for infallible decisions and which excludes all fear of possible error: it is a provisional adhesion, compatible with the thought that perhaps that which one admits will be one day recognized to be wrong. The required intellectual submission finds itself thus proportionate to the motive on which it rests."

When it acts not as instrument of the person of the Church, but as proper cause, -- therefore fallible, -- the personnel of the Church has its graces of state, from which it slips away in a grave manner only in case of a failure itself grave, like that of the judges of Galileo.

{12} This "absurd in philosophy" seems to us today rather comical. The expression nevertheless merits attention. If the theologians of the Holy Office employed it so ingenuously, it was not only that their reason judged Copernicus absurd in comparison with Ptolemy; it was also and above all. I think, because the idea that the earth turns appeared to them as clearly contrary to the witness of the senses. Do we not see with our eyes the sun rise each morning and set each evening? And I confess that, however unfortunate it was in the case, such a confidence in the testimony of the senses touches me in men who are doctors of the invisible. A confidence itself "absurd" and "senseless" in the testimony of the senses is still better, "in philosophy," than idealism.

{13} op. cit., p. 356. 14. By a mere authorization to print given in 1822 (cf. above, p. 209).

V The Funeral-Pile of Rouen

{1} Olivier Leroy, Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, Les Voix, Paris, Alsatia, 1954, p. 23 (Quicherat I, 51).

{2} St. Michael did not state his name to her. The angels have no need of names or of identity cards like us; they know each other intuitively. It was also in an intuitive manner that Joan knew that it was he; she was "as certain of it as she was of the existence of God." St. Theresa, "speaking of the visions of saints which she had had, remarks that she understood many things which they had expressed without words, beginning with their identity" (Interior Castle, Mansion VI, Ch. V, from O. Leroy, op. cit., p. 35). One can think that a certain absolutely singular quality of emotion, of spiritual joy ineffably experienced by her connaturalized her with the very being of the saints whom she saw; and that for Joan the same held true in respect of him whom she knew already, through the teaching of her mother, as the leader of the angels and the supreme victorious one, and at the name of whom she felt, although in an incomparably weaker degree, the same absolutely singular tonality of emotion as that which was going to penetrate her before the apparition. This is why she applied intuitively this name, with an entire certitude, and under a charismatic inspiration, to the being whom she saw and who spoke to her then. She recognized him.

In order to return to the name of Mi-ki-El (Quis ut Deus), I note further that it is the most fundamental truth concerning God that it manifests. In order that from a high antiquity it should have been attributed by men, -- those of Israel, -- to the protecting angel of their people, there was needed that an obscure prophetical instinct designate to them the highest of the pure spirits as the witness par excellence of the divine Transcendence. It is this, it seems to me, that Olivier Leroy wished to indicate in pages (pp. 134, 135, 139) which are not the most successful ones of his excellent book.

{3} Up to that time she had deliberated with herself, weighing the meaning of the words heard, and the wisdom with which they were full. "How did you know that it was, as you say, language of an angel? -- I had this will to believe it."

{4} At this point, if one is a little au courant of modern works (and if one judges them without due consideration), one will stop me perhaps and ask: How could Joan of Arc have seen St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret of Antioch, since modern criticism has shown the nonexistence of these latter? It certainly seems indeed that the history of these two saints is legendary. But if one can quite easily show that that which one relates of someone is legendary, it is more difficult to show that this someone has not existed. And supposing that this be the case, one can reasonably think, with Edmond Richer, Sorbonist of the eighteenth century, that it was angels who appeared to Joan under the form and the shape of these two saints, of whom the legend, doubtless familiar to the child, was not without relation with her own destiny. (Virgins and martyrs the two of them, and consigned to the fire after having long discussed, Margaret with the Governor, Catherine with fifty doctors. To the latter St. Michael had said to "speak fearlessly." Cf. Jean Guitton, Problème et Mystère de Jeanne d'Arc, Paris, Fayard, 1961, pp~ 148-150.) It matters little that formerly they did not exist; by the angels who had taken their shape they existed now before Joan and spoke to her.

{St} Thomas teaches that the angels can "assume bodies" (Sum. theol., I, 51, 2) presenting all the appearances (visible, tangible, olfactive, etc.) of a human being. Moreover no saint, -- except the Lord Himself and His Mother, -- is in Heaven with his body. Supposing that St. Catherine and St. Margaret once existed in Alexandria and in Antioch, and that their souls enjoy now the Beatific Vision, these souls would have had also to assume all the appearances of a human being, as also clothes worn by the latter, in order to appear to Joan "really and corporally."

"Whether her two saints are historical or not," writes Olivier Leroy, "Joan had of their life only a valueless knowledge. However, that which she knew of them, that which she honored, venerated in them, had a permanent truth, a truth outside the grasps of past or of future History. In the person of Catherine or of Margaret, she venerated virginity, the love of God, Christian wisdom and the abnegation of martyrdom, and she honored them by imitating them to the point of dying as they. These are not realities which can vanish like an historical fiction." (op. cit., p. 138.)

{5} Cf. Olivier Leroy, op. cit., pp. 132, 133-134.

{6} She disobeyed them only two times. This was the second. The first time was the "leap" from the castle-keep of Beaurevoir. For having signed the memorandum she had great repentance, and her saints reproached her for it as a "betrayal" before giving her their pardon. (They had moreover warned her in advance that she would commit this mistake.)

{7} Cf. J. B. J. Ayroles, La Vraie Jeanne d'Arc, La Pucelle devant l'Eglise de son temps, Paris, Gaume, 1890, pp. 176, 597, 689.

{8} In the interrogatory of the 14th of March, of which there is mention a little below, she repeated that St. Catherine had promised to help her. -- Cf. below, note 11.

{9} Cf. the fragment entitled Information Posthume, and fabricated by Cauchon after the trial. It is a faked and defamatory document which neither the witnesses nor the clerks signed (one of the clerks, Manchon, specified that he had refused to affix his signature to it). Concerning the visit paid to Joan by Cauchon, and concerning the words which he said to her, one cannot doubt. But the reply attributed to Joan (by Jean Toutmouille and by Thomas de Courcelles -- "it seems to me," says the latter, "that Joan added: 'I see indeed that I have been deceived'") is certainly an invention or a falsification. The 30th of May, when she was on the ambo where she was listening to the sermon of Nicolas Midi before being burnt at the stake, she invoked St. Michael and her saints, as she had invoked them at the churchyard of Saint-Ouen. Cf. the testimony of Brother Ladvenu at the trial of rehabilitation: "Says and deposes that always until the end of her life, she maintained and affirmed that her Voices were from God, and that all that which she had done, she had done it on the commandment of God, and that she did not think that she had been deceived by her Voices; and that the revelations which she had had came from God." (Quoted by Olivier Leroy, op. cit., p. 150.) We absolutely do not know that which in her prison she replied to Cauchon, nor if she replied to him.

{10} On the prophecies of Joan, see Olivier Leroy, op. cit., Ch. XII, "Prophésie"; Jean Guitton, op. cit., pp. 163-164; and the article "Jeanne d'Arc" by Ph. Dunand, in the Dictionnaire d'Apologétique.

{11} Olivier Leroy, op. cit., p. 108. Here is the text in which the reply of Joan is recorded: "Respond que saincte Katherine luy a dit qu'elle aurait secours, et qu'elle ne sçait se ce sera à estre délivrée de la prison, ou quant elle seroit au jugement, s'il y viendroit aucun trouble, par quel moien elle pourroit estre délivrée. Et pense que ce soit ou l'un ou l'autre. Et de plus luy dient ses voix qu'elle sera délivrée par grande victoire; et après lui dient ses voix: 'Pran tout en gré, ne te chaille pas de ton martire; tu t'en viendras enfin en royaulme de paradis'. Et ce luy dient ses voix simplement et absoluement, c'est assavoir sans faillir; et appele ce, martire, pour la paine et adversité qu'elle souffre en prison, et ne sçait se plus grand souffrera; mais s'en actend à Nostre Seigneur." (Q.I., p. 155; and 254.)

{12} Cf. M. J. Belon and F. Balme, Jean Bréhal et la Réhabilitation de Jeanne d'Arc, Paris, Lethielleux, 1893, p. 2.

{13} Cf. ibid., p. 5 and pp. 66-69.

{14} Cf. ibid., pp. 157-162.

{15} It is that which appears for example in the case of Blessed Juliana of Mount Cornillon, asking in the name of Jesus and finally obtaining the institution of the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament; in the case of St. Catherine of Sienna or of St. Bridget, sent to the Leader of the Church in order to transmit to him the wishes of the Divine Majesty; in the case of St. Margaret Mary, messenger of the desires and of the promises of the Sacred Heart. This appears also in an eminent manner in the case of Joan of Arc.

{16} Cf. Olivier Leroy, op. cit., p. 125 (Q. I, 395-396).

It is to this that she also alluded in another reply: "Interrogée s'elle croist que ses voix soient saincte Marguerite et sainte Katherine: respond que ouil, et de Dieu." (Q. I, 457.)

{17} "Interrogée s'elle a commandement de ses voix qu'elle ne se submecte point à l'Église militante, qui est en terre, ne au jugement d'icelle: respond . . . [elles] ne commandent point qu'elle ne obéisse à l'Eglise, nostre Sire premier servi." (Q. I, 326.)

Citing the gloss (of St. Augustine) on the Epistle to the Romans 13, 2 (cf. Sum. theol., II-II, 104, 5), Bréhal writes in his Recollectio: "Et ad hoc recte tendit illud verbum Johannae, ubi dixit quod erat subdita Ecclesiae ac Domino Papae et allis prelatis, Deo primitus servato."

{18} "She says also that she relies upon the Church militant provided that this Church does not command her anything impossible, namely to revoke what she has said and done on behalf of God. She will not revoke it for anything in the world, nor for man who lives. She relies upon Our Lord, Whose commandment she will always follow." Ayroles, op. cit., p. 252.

{19} A good theologian could have explained to her why. It is perhaps what the two Dominicans would have done who wished to give her explanations, clear this time, on the Church militant and the Church triumphant, and whom Cauchon violently rejected.

Another witness said that Joan did not distinguish between the Church militant and the Church triumphant. She distinguished them very well, but she knew that they are a single and same Church.

{20} Testimony of Isambart de la Pierre.

{21} Cf. Ayroles, op. cit., p. 168.

{22} Ibid., p. 689. -- I retain these words scientific doctors (they amuse me and they enlighten me). At that time the science in question was the sophisticated traditional theology of the masters of the University of Paris, and it served them to defend the faith against the infection of heresy of which Joan the apostate and the idolatress was the bearer. Today it is the same intellectual race which we see at work; it has only passed into the opposite camp; the science of our new scientifici doctores is the "human sciences and the philosophies of the day, with which they fabricate a so-called theology (scientific also) entirely turned toward the world, that of the pseudotheologians to whom I alluded in the Preface.

An obscure and powerful instinct persuades them with good reason that theology must proceed to an immense effort of integration and interpretation of the newly acquired knowledges concerning man and concerning the world, but on condition of remaining itself, and of making a no less immense effort of discernment: that which they do not see, because they no longer know what theology is. They think that the human sciences, psychoanalysis, the theory of evolution, ethnology, sociology, etc. are "theological places."

And they think that the essential function of theology is "the criticism of the Church," -- because they do not know what the Church is. Are they not moreover above her, since they constitute now the true magisterium, by virtue of the authority of "Science," whereas the concern of the hierarchy, which attributes to itself still magisterium by virtue of the authority of God, of Christ and of the apostles, is in the eyes of scientifici doctores only administration?

They think also that it is they who made the second Council of the Vatican. This very remarkable illusion leads one to suppose that the considerable -- but purely consultative -- role which the theologians (and certain ones of those who were but lately suspected) played in the preparatorily constituted commissions of specialists has gone to the head of our new Reformers, and has caused them to believe that this role played by "the theologians" was the decisive and capital role. Perhaps they have had the gentle impression that the episcopate was composed in general only of incompetents and semiignorants in theology? Well, even if such a proudly arrogant impression had been somewhat well-founded, they did not have enough faith, and enough authentically theological light, in order to understand that in an ecumenical Council, it is by the episcopate gathered together in union with the Pope, -- by it, in nowise by the theologians in its service, -- that, even in the epochs in which He does not shine in that human science which is theology, divine truth is expressed and made explicit under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Who has been promised to the Church, and Who makes then of it the very voice of the Church.

{23} Belon and Balme, op. cit., p. 104.

{24} Cf. ibid., p. 42, note 7 (Q. I, 392).

{25} Cf. ibid., p. 43, note 3 (Q. I, 205). -- And again (Ayroles, p. 251): "As regards submission to the Church, she says that she would like to bear honor and reverence to the Church militant with all her power; but to trust for her deeds in this Church, it is necessary that I trust in Our Lord Who caused me to do them."

{26} Cf. Julian Green, Journal, t. II, p. 1407: "I find quite troubling the declarations of this saint who makes a distinction between the terrestrial Church and the Church of above 'which alone she claims to obey.'" Julian Green, in the eyes of whom this saint "remains the greatest because she is the most abandoned," spoke of the question to a priest friend of his who replied to him with an unpardonable thoughtlessness.

{27} As Julian Green notes (op. cit., p. 1409) she was ready also to present herself before the Council, but when a Dominican asked her if she would agree to go to the Council of Basel, and when she said yes, Cauchon shouted at the Dominican: "Be silent, by the devil!"

{28} Cf. Belon and Balme, op. cit., p. 41, note 3 (Q. I, 175).

{29} In his Recollectio, Jean Bréhal writes very justly: "Fideliter et pie sensisse apparet de unitate ecclesiae. Nam catholica veritas nullam difficultatem inducit, quin regnancium seu fruencium in celis ac militantium in terris una sit societas et unica ecclesia. Ut autem dicit sanctus Doctor (III, q. 8, a. 3 and 4), multitudo ordinata in unum secundum distinctos actus et officia unum corpus similitudinarie dicitur. Corpus vero misticum ecclesie non solum consistit ex hominibus, sed etiam ex angelis; quoniam ad unum finem, qui est gloria divine fruicionis, ordinantur et homines et angeli. Unde secundum statum dumtaxat accipitur hujusmodi distinctio. Secundum enim statum vie, congregacio fidelium est in qua comprehenduntur omnes homines a principio mundi usque ad finem ejus, cujuscumque condicionis sint, justi vel injusti, fideles et infideles, qui, quamdiu viatores existunt, ad congregacionem ecclesie sive actu sive potentia pertinent. Secundum autem statum patrie, est congregatio comprehendencium et fruencium, que dignior pars est, eo quod illi Deo actu uniuntur. Unde non est mirum, si Johanna, de hils que ex inspiracione et revelacione dixit et gessit, Deo in primis et huic summe congregacioni se potissimum retulit; quoniam ex ea parte procedebant, et ideo illud summum judicatorium maxime exigebant." (Belon and Balme, op. cit., p. 101.)

All this is true, in many words. And Joan in her own manner knew it still better than Bréhal.

{30} I find this phrase in the book, in other respects excellent, of Belon and Balme: "Joan of Arc was truly a new Judith, sent to the people of Israel when it was necessary almost to despair of its salvation" (p. 104). Behold France promoted to the rank of chosen people! This book appeared in 1893.

One has been astonished that the Church waited five centuries before canonizing Joan of Arc. But if this canonization had taken place sooner, it is probable that the misinterpretation committed regarding it by national sentiment would have run the risk of implanting itself definitively.

{31} Cf. Ayroles, op. cit., pp. 5 7-58.

{32} Cf. Jean Guitton, op. cit., pp. 207-214. -- Theresa had "the idea that the task of Joan is not finished." And what is very striking, "it is that Theresa, at several moments of her supreme audacity, in an 'unconscious-supraconscious,' almost identified herself with Joan of Arc, that she at least linked herself with Joan by a mysterious and mystical assimilation.'. . . For Merejkovsky, Joan and Theresa were the two most modern and most revolutionary saints -- and of a revolution which is scarcely beginning, which carries us into a new age."

{33} Cf. ibid., p. 212: "She thinks that at death, one is dubbed a knight in order to begin one's functions as an Angel of God. Just as the coronation of Rheims, which Joan set up and presided over, is an act of knighthood, so also for Theresa the entry into Heaven, place of eminent action where she is finally going to be able to work according to all the dimensions of her vocation. During her mortal and furtive life, she had in love the recapitulation of her divergent vocations, impossible to exercise together on earth, even if she had been a super-Joan. -- Henceforth, liberated from this mantle of flesh which limits all action, she is going to spread her wings. One has perhaps not yet sufficiently shown how much this is paradoxical, original, inspired."

Jean Guitton quotes then these astonishing lines of Theresa: "The thought of heavenly happiness does not cause me any joy, but still I ask myself sometimes how it will be possible for me to be happy without suffering. Jesus without doubt will change my nature, otherwise I would miss suffering and the vale of tears."

{34} The present crisis is a general crisis of civilization which has repercussions upon the Church, and affects in the first place clerics forgetful of the interior reform required above all. The old spirit of clericalism (reversed, but still extant) could persuade these clerics who kneel now before the world that without being directed and brigaded by them Christian laymen cannot accomplish properly that which they have to do for the world. And this would not be good for them or for the world.

I add that in the struggle against the dehumanization of the world by scientific progress, however admirable it may be in itself, and by a civilization enslaved to techocracy, it seems to me that a role of first rank belongs normally to those technicians and technologists who have concern for man and for the spiritual. (Cf. the positions taken by M. Fernand Lapland, Departmental President, in the Bulletin de l'Association Française pour le Développement de l'Enseignement technique, Section du Vaucluse.)

<< ======= >>