Revolution and Counter Revolution (Book Review and Summary)

Revolution and Counter Revolution

How the Revolutionary Mindset has destroyed Christendom and what we must do to bring it back

This article is primarily a book review and summary of Revolution and Counter Revolution by Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. It is also a first series of articles that I am planning on writing on the subject of the collapse of Western Civilization and Christendom, as well as the decline of the influence of the Catholic Church in society and similarly on what we can do to reverse this trend.

That being said I don’t think many other books do such a good job in explaining the fall of Christendom and the rise of a revolutionary mindset that is completely opposed to the Catholic Church and the natural order of things than that of Revolution and Counter Revolution. This book was originally published in 1959, with an update both in 1972 and lastly in 1992. This book shows how a singular and continuous process called the Revolution started which was completely opposed to Christendom and the natural laws of God. Professor Oliveira shows how this Revolution has an overall essence which makes it identifiable and how it started in a specific time and place.

Starting with the essence of the Revolution, Professor Oliveira shows how “its profound cause was an explosion of pride and sensuality. Pride leads to hatred of all superiority and thus to the affirmation that all inequality is an evil in of itself at all levels. Sensuality per se tends to sweep aside all barriers. It does not accept restrains and leads to revolt against all authority and law, divine or human, ecclesiastical or civil.” (Revolution and Counter Revolution 3)

Humanism, Renaissance and the Proto Revolution

In showing these factors Professor Oliveira shows how its origin was in the secular humanism within the overall atmosphere of the Renaissance that glorified the pagan world and which naturally put paganism and naturalism (the removal of the supernatural from society) in place of the Church. This naturally made people seek out material and earthly pleasures more than the care for their souls and their eternal salvation. “Hearts began to shy away from the love of sacrifice, from true devotion to the Cross, and from the aspiration to sanctity and eternal life.” (Revolution and Counter Revolution 14) People naturally abandoned prudence and restrain in various aspects of life

The Protestant “Reformation” and the Continuous Revolution

Professor Oliveira shows how this naturally brought forth the specific beginning of the Revolution with the start of the Protestant “Reformation”. “Pride and sensuality, whose satisfaction is the pleasure of pagan life, gave rise to Protestantism… Pride begot the spirit of doubt, free examination, and naturalistic interpretations of Scripture. It produced insurrection against ecclesiastical authority, expressed in all sects by the denial of the monarchical character of the Universal Church that is to say by a revolt against the Papacy.” (Revolution and Counter Revolution 16)

Professor Oliveira shows how this Protestant “Reformation” which was the specific start of this Revolutionary mindset, gave rise both explicitly and implicitly to the various movements, ideologies, and isms which are all opposed to the Catholic Church and to order in general. These include the Enlightenment, The French Revolution, Socialism, Communism, the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s, and various others as well.Che Guevarra vitruvian man

In Revolution and Counter Revolution Plinio de Oliveira shows how this Revolutionary mindset which is in essence one continuous and metamorphic movement has specific essences which allow us to be identify it. As noted above, these include pride, sensuality, and a false sense of egalitarianism which sees all inequality as evil in of itself. Professor Oliveira shows how the Revolution’s number one enemy has always been Christendom and the Catholic Church. Furthermore professor Oliveira shows how revolutionaries  change society by subtly conforming society to their revolutionary ways, rather than conforming themselves to society. They do this by “modifying mentalities, ways of being, artistic expressions and customs. New doctrines burst forth.” (Revolution and Counter Revolution 26-27)

Another way they accomplish this is by using the media and the arts. “It is obvious that, through the arts, mentalities can be profoundly influenced and persons, families and peoples can be induced to form a profoundly revolutionary state of spirit.” (Revolution and Counter Revolution 63)

The Revolution’s Denial of Sin

One of the greatest aspects of the Revolution which Professor Plinio de Oliveira points out in his book, is its denial of sin. Plinio de Oliveira writes that the very reason for this is that were the Revolution to speak about sin and evil, then most people would be able to see the Revolution for what it really is, the offspring of the greatest capital sin (pride).

This consequence of rejecting the notion of sin naturally lead to great societal fallacies, namely the belief of radical individualism where the individual is sin as immaculate, and later when this was found to be false, the State was see  as without error or fault; the immaculate nature of the collective whole.

The Solution: The Counter Revolution and the return of Christendom

What is the solution according to the theses of Oliveira in Revolution and Counter Revolution? It is namely the need of a Counter Revolution to help restore Christendom and the natural influence of the Catholic Church in society. Oliveira states

If the Revolution is disorder, the Counter Revolution is the Restoration of Order. By order we mean the peace of Christ in the Reign of Christ. That is Christian Civilization, austere and hierarchical, fundamentally sacral, anti-egalitarian, and antiliberal.” (Revolution and Counter Revolution 75)\

What is Christendom and why must it be restored?

Christendom is basically the vision and harmony of society based on the Social Doctrines of the Catholic Church. This is basically the structuring of all of society such as human institutions like marriage and the family, the individual, and the State according to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Quoting Saint Pius X

“Is all the more true, all the more lasting, all the more fecund in precious fruits, the more purely Christian it is; it is all the more decadent, to the great misfortune of society, the farther it withdraws from the Christian ideal. Thus by the intrinsic nature of things, the Church becomes also in fact the guardian and protector of civilization. (Pope Pius X: IL FERMO PROPOSITO 4)

The Counter Revolutionary Process

In closing this book review and overall summary, it should be pointed out several ways which Plinio de Oliveira gives for bringing about this Counter Revolution. Not only does professor Oliveira show eloquently that the overall solution is a complete return to Christendom but he also gives the process by which to attain this reality.

One of the most efficient means which professor Oliveira offers is that of individual counter revolutionary action. “Nothing is more effective than the frank and proud counter-revolutionary stand taken by a young college student, an officer, a teacher, a priest, especially an aristocrat, or a blue collar worker who is influential within his circle.” (Counter Revolution 84) This means that in each of his own occupations, Catholics could influence society with Catholic and Counter Revolutionary thought in each of his or her positions and spheres of influence.

Similarly two other specific Counter Revolutionary means which Professor Oliveira talks about is by using the publications and media as a means of promoting Catholic and Counter Revolutionary thought in society. Just as this is one of the most effective means which Revolutionaries have used to their own advantage, we can reverse that trend and use it for the right intentions and purposes.


I know that I am doing a great disservice writing this summary of Revolution and Counter Revolution for it is such rich in depth and insight into the mindset and process of the Revolution which has been destroying Christendom, and the Church and society in general. For this reason I recommend all of you to read this book and study it yourselves and put it into practice.

All Notes taken from Revolution and Counter Revolution with the exception of one quote which was taken from Saint Pius X’s encyclical FERMO PROPOSITO .

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