Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Idiot

7. CHAPTER VII. (continued)

"You exaggerate the matter very much," said Ivan Petrovitch, with rather a bored air. "There are, in the foreign Churches, many representatives of their faith who are worthy of respect and esteem."

"Oh, but I did not speak of individual representatives. I was merely talking about Roman Catholicism, and its essence--of Rome itself. A Church can never entirely disappear; I never hinted at that!"

"Agreed that all this may be true; but we need not discuss a subject which belongs to the domain of theology."

"Oh, no; oh, no! Not to theology alone, I assure you! Why, Socialism is the progeny of Romanism and of the Romanistic spirit. It and its brother Atheism proceed from Despair in opposition to Catholicism. It seeks to replace in itself the moral power of religion, in order to appease the spiritual thirst of parched humanity and save it; not by Christ, but by force. 'Don't dare to believe in God, don't dare to possess any individuality, any property! Fraternite ou la Mort; two million heads. 'By their works ye shall know them'--we are told. And we must not suppose that all this is harmless and without danger to ourselves. Oh, no; we must resist, and quickly, quickly! We must let out Christ shine forth upon the Western nations, our Christ whom we have preserved intact, and whom they have never known. Not as slaves, allowing ourselves to be caught by the hooks of the Jesuits, but carrying our Russian civilization to THEM, we must stand before them, not letting it be said among us that their preaching is 'skilful,' as someone expressed it just now."

"But excuse me, excuse me;" cried Ivan Petrovitch considerably disturbed, and looking around uneasily. "Your ideas are, of course, most praiseworthy, and in the highest degree patriotic; but you exaggerate the matter terribly. It would be better if we dropped the subject."

"No, sir, I do not exaggerate, I understate the matter, if anything, undoubtedly understate it; simply because I cannot express myself as I should like, but--"

"Allow me!"

The prince was silent. He sat straight up in his chair and gazed fervently at Ivan Petrovitch.

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