Maistre in the Dock

In September 2010, Émile Perreau-Saussine, age 37, was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, U.K., with chest pains.  The junior physician on staff misdiagnosed his condition and thus failed to prevent his death hours later of a massive heart attack.  This tragic incident is much more than a sad commentary on the quality of socialized healthcare in England; it ended the promising career of a popular professor whose sharp mind, immense learning, and gentlemanly disposition had, by all accounts, made a lasting impression on his students and colleagues.  Perreau-Saussine was a student of the distinguished French political theorist Pierre Manent and the author of a well-received intellectual biography of Alasdair MacIntyre.  By the time of its publication in 2005, he had become a lecturer in history and political thought at the University of Cambridge.  His second and posthumously published work examines the difficult process the French Catholic Church underwent in her transition from an intimate association with the Gallican monarchy before the Revolution to final acceptance of liberal democracy in the 20th century.

Broadly speaking, Catholicism and Democracy is a defense of French republicanism against its Catholic counterrevolutionary critics.  It argues that the modern Catholic Church came to enjoy greater independence and spiritual...

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