Very few Catholics today are familiar with the writings of French convert Léon Bloy. Among other things, it is very likely that the term “politically incorrect” was coined in reference to him.
During his first homily, Pope Francis quoted Bloy:
“When one does not confess Jesus Christ, I am reminded of the expression of Léon Bloy: ‘He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.’ When one does not confess Jesus Christ, one confesses the worldliness of the devil.”
Bloy was the son of a Voltairean anti-Catholic, but converted to Catholicism in 1868 and decided to live a life of radical poverty, depending completely upon charity, even asking for money from the rationalist luminaries he ferociously criticized, thus becoming known as “the ungrateful beggar.”
His numerous books are filled with quotes such as:
• “Priests are latrines. They are there for humanity to pour out our filth.”
• “The worst evil is not the crime committed, but the failure to do the good one might have done.”
• “Any Christian who is not a hero is a pig.”
Because of his “intolerance,” Bloy was hated by big names of his time such as Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant, Ernest Renan and Anatole France…But his radical Catholicism also inspired a wave of conversions in France during the early 20th century that included personalities such as Georges Rouault, Maxence Van der Meersch and the philosophers Jacques and Raisa Maritain.
Bloy may have been smiling when Pope Francis also said in his first homily: “When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross and when we confess Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord: we are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.”