As we have demonstrated so many times, the Protestant Revolt of the sixteenth century, the French Revolution, and the Communist Revolution constitute the three phases of the same immense movement, united in spirit, objectives and even methods.
By analyzing the faces of three great leaders of the Revolution, we will seek to see some of the spiritual traits of this movement, that is, something of the spirit of the Revolution.
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In the picture of the deceased Luther (by Lucas Fortnagel, in the Library of the University of Leipzig), a careful analysis reveals, in his rude features, the characteristic note of a self-absorbed demagogue. It is like that of a street thug whose preaching spread so many errors, caused so much revolt, and spilled so much blood. However, the impression that immediately jumps out at the observer is sensuality, and an exaggerated love for every kind of delight. At first glance, this causes a distressing sensation.
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In Robespierre, whose death mask from the Tussaud Museum we reproduce here, the principal note expressed is hatred. It is a hatred so deep, so overpowering that it constitutes, without ignoring sensuality, the dominant note of his countenance. These lips, although closed forever, nevertheless appear to exude something of the preaching of violence and death of the Reign of Terror. These eyes that no longer see appear to preserve a gaze of venomous hatred. His bulging forehead gives the sensation of ruminating incendiary speeches and subversive plots. He represents nothing but egalitarian hatred, both in abstract theory and militant practice, and an immense desire to destroy everything and anything that is superior to him.
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The third image is of Ernersto “Che” Guevara, the Argentine transplanted to Cuba, who expresses so well the Marxist cunning of the Cuban Revolution.
His hair does not appear to be trimmed or washed, and his thin and frayed mustache joins to a disheveled beard with unclear contours. All this frames his face in untidiness and disorder. This causes an instinctive revulsion, but also awakens an impression of naturality and unpretentiousness taken to the extreme.
His gaze has an uncommon lightness, and his smile seeks to give a certain idea of bonhomie and affability that is almost mystical.
This sweet man is a supporter of a regime of firing squads, in front of which so many victims have been cruelly killed. He supports a regime that wages a persecution against the Church that is the same style of Robespierre of Lenin.
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If the countenance of Luther expresses above all the greed for the pleasures of the flesh, and Robespierre expresses egalitarian hatred, “Che” Guevara represents one of the more recent masks of the Revolution, that of insincere bonhomie which ensures the worst violence.
(*) This article was originally published in the magazine Catolicismo, Issue #121, Jan 1961. It has been translated and adapted for publication without the author's revision. –Ed.