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A Jesuit Spiritual Insurrection: Resistance to Vichy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with a contrasting phenomenon, the clear-sightedness shared by a group of French Jesuits during that dark time of war. It discusses the participation of approximately 50 French Jesuits in this religious insurrection, their description of it as a "spiritual resistance". Both totalitarianism and the Vichy regime reinforced the conviction among resisters that what was at stake in the activity was their very "soul", a motif constantly sounded in their communications. One of the traits of this spiritual resistance was its communal character and ecumenical reach. This spiritual resistance was characterized by its frontal assault on racist ideology and on the anti-Semitism justified by it. The Jesuit Pierre Chaillet is an imposing figure and, as founder and leader of Les Cahiers du témoignage chrétien, he has been called the "conductor of the clandestine orchestra" of the spiritual resistance and a "hero in the armies of spirit".

Keywords: French Jesuits; Pierre Chaillet; religious insurrection; spiritual resistance; totalitarianism; Vichy regime



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