It is a sad, sad time for religion when the prelates and priests of the Church appear to sympathize more with the oppressors than with the oppressed, and are more concerned in enforcing the duties of the people than in enlightening them in regard to their rights. The work of the Church is "to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke." (Is 58:6)
It is not to be wondered at that in such a state of society there should spring up a radicalism which is atheistic, revolutionary and destructive.
Intellectual renewal such as Leo XIII aims at will bring about religious, moral, social and political regeneration. But it must not be forgotten that the application of Christianity to the social and political state of society is a part of the duty of the leaders of the Church. This latter needs be brought forward if the Church would not lose its hold on the most numerous classes of society. It was the failing in this duty of the French clergy which led mainly to the Revolution of '98. (Diary, October 1880)