Does one want to understand the solidity of a people’s destiny? One must study that people’s degree of fidelity to the laws of the Church. If its public law is based on the principles and institutions of Christianity, a nation may carry some germs of sickness, but its temperament will be robust. Revolutions make shake it, but will not bring about its dissolution. If the greater number of citizens are faithful to the observance of the Church’s exterior precepts; if they keep, for example, the Lord’s Day, and the Lenten discipline, there will be a moral foundation that will preserve such a people from the dangers of dissolution.
Gloomy economists will see [in these things] no more than a childish and traditional superstition, good only to retard the onward march of progress. If a nation, hitherto simple and faithful, has the misfortune of listening to these prideful and silly theories, not a century will pass before it realizes that, in emancipating itself from the ritual law of Christianity, it has seen the decline of public and private morality, and that its destiny is beginning to slip away. Man can say and write all that he pleases; God wills to be served and honoured by His people, and to be the Master of the forms of this service and of this adoration. The blows struck against exterior worship [the liturgy] which is the veritable bond of society, will fall with all their weight upon the edifice of human interests.