This is the translation of a piece by Rafael Castela Santos called "Letter to My Daughter: from Europe to Anti-Europe". For most of us in English speaking countries, the Reformation was the great catastrophe: Catholics were martyred by people who claimed to be doing God's work. The analogous catstrophe in Latin countries was the French Revolution: Catholics were martyred in the name of politics, not religion. Perhaps this is why Belloc is different from Chesterton.
I write because you really are European; because you were conceived in Portugal, in Fatima; because Spanish, French and German blood runs through your veins; because you grew up in the United Kingdom; because you speak several languages, including a bit of Latin; and because your father, who loves you profoundly, sees a certain Carolingian idea reflected in you which fills him with longing. And above all, because you are Catholic, which is the True Faith: the One True, as I often have you repeat, petite chouanne. Because the only real way of being European is to be Catholic. Those who aren’t, and those who fight our True Religion are the destroyers of Europe, whether they know it or not.
About two thousand years ago, a noble people, the Romans, conquered Europe. They were excellent civil engineers and excellent soldiers. Remember the bridges and aqueducts we have seen in Spain, and the Roman roads and ruins we have seen in Cirencester, in Metz, in Salamanca, in Merida, and in Evora. Apart from all of this, they left us their laws, Roman Law, an impressive monument, which continues to inspire us. I’ll explain one day, but this is all about what your Dad says to you about being fair, about being fair to our neighbours, or about your being fair to the other girls at school.
You know how I go on about how in Spain and Portugal the Roman influence penetrated deeper than in the rest of the Empire. It’s as though we are more Roman than the rest of the Romans. You know that reverential love that I have for your grandparents, my parents? You know how the first thing that I do when I take you to Spain is to go to the cemetery? Well, sweetheart, that is something that comes from our religion, but also from the Romans. When I’m old, I want you to respect me in the same way that I respect your grandparents, and when I die, I want you to pray for me in the same way as I pray for all our dead. I’m not asking this for me particularly, nor for you, but that you remember your roots; and because by honouring your parents and your ancestors, you honour your country as well.
I always tell you that you should think about things, that you should use your reason; because of all the powers your soul possesses, reason is the most important. The Greeks taught us this, and the Romans, as they developed and invaded other lands, were not stupid, and realised that the Greeks were very clever and precise. The Romans were amazed by the Greeks. Do you remember Socrates whose death was so serene? Aristotle, of whom I have spoken to you, who had the greatest intellect of Antiquity? Well – they were Greeks. One day, God Willing, we will read them together and discuss them. But the Greeks lacked life. There was too much death and cruelty. There was slavery. Above all, there was darkness. All this because our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned. This human race need to be restored, but only God could seal off the offence which we humans had committed against God. And from among a people chosen by God, the Jewish people, whose blood also runs through your veins, the Messiah, the Redeemer was born: Our Lord Jesus Christ. But Israel, called to be the light of the world, turned its back on the most sublime Son of the chosen people and his message came to Rome, to the Gentiles.
And on that assumed obligation of loving God before all other obligations, they built, over centuries, the greatest civilisation that had ever been: Christian Civilisation. Think of the Cathedrals and castles we have seen together, all of which had Jesus Christ, True God and True Man at their centre. Think of the beauty of the things they made. The saint to whom we always pray, St Thomas Aquinas, wrote, a guiding work. A genius, the poet Dante, wrote the Divine Comedy. I remember as one of the greatest moments of my life sitting beside your crib and rereading the Divine Comedy. The Blessed Virgin spread her blue protective veil across that civilisation.
But men fell away, and Europe – Christianity – stopped being Christianity. Anti-Europe, Anti-Christianity began. In the same way as when Moses descended from Sinai and found the people worshipping the golden calf, the idea that money and trade were the most important thing began to gain ground. The knights who protected maidens in castles, as in the stories I have read to you, were no more; and kings and the powerful exploited the poor and the weak instead of defending them as is their duty.
People began to think strange things. They emptied words of their meanings and began to do ugly things. Up to then, God, Jesus Christ, had been the centre of all things. But they began to put Man at the centre of things and stopped thinking of God as so important. There were some awful men, like Luther, who split Europe in two. And as you will have noticed in Alsace, there are Lutheran villages which at first look cleaner on the outside, but end up looking uglier than Catholic villages.
Then horrible things happened, as in France, your other mother country, where some miserable revolutionaries built a world out of hatred of God and the Holy Catholic Church. Anti-Europe, Anti-Christianity began to show its true face. Now do you understand why, whenever we travel through France, I get angry and start shouting whenever we see statues of people like Eckermann, Kleber or Napoleon, murderers of the worst kind?
But there was resistance in every country. We resisted in the Vendee, in France, in the way that I hope that you, petite chouanne, will resist. We resisted in Spain, with the Carlist heroes, right up to the Last Crusade in 1936. In the other Spains, which are also European, we also suffered greatly, for example in Argentina, or later the Cristeros, martyrs in the lands of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We also stood up in Portugal to republicans, masons and liberals. In Italy we did what we could against Garibaldi and the Carbonarios, orcs who issued forth from Hell.
Meanwhile in Russia, Sauron was in incubation. Even if in Europe he has lost his power, little by little he has taken over in Asia, China and Russia. Communism, the penultimate heresy, but the worst so far, has triumphed in these countries. One day, if we follow the message of Fatima, Russia will return to the Faith and the Church. That is the day when Europe will arise.
What they call Europe today – the European Union – is no more than a few steps towards the Antichrist, the man of perdition. Do not believe in it.
I am not well and perhaps will not live to see Europe arisen. But I have given to you the best of what I know and am able to give. Europe is Christianity: nothing else. Whatever is not Christianity isn’t Europe; it is de facto Anti-Europe. Be virtuous; fight for virtue, even if it costs you your life. Pass this on to your children, my grandchildren and if you become a nun – and how pleased I would be if you did! – pass it on to your spiritual children, the ones who call you Mother.
Fight phariseeism, a cancer which corrodes the spirit. Be hopeful. We are living through bad times, but victory will be Christ’s and nobody else’s. Europe will be Christian again and there will be a shout of joy, great as the centuries have never known, and there will be peace in Christ. I’ve already taught you the Latin: Pax Christi.
Oh! One more thing: don’t eat so much chocolate.
From your father, who loves you with all his soul and all his being, and who blesses you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost
Rafael Castela Santos