“Don’t Vote for a Frenchman and a Catholic”: The Campaign Against Belloc

Hilaire Belloc had a rosary
Rosary beads by By Daniel Tibi (Dti) | daniel-tibi.de (Own work) Public domain via Wikimedia commons.

Recently at this weblog, we have tried to convey the thinking of Hilaire Belloc –  first looking at his critique of the Modern Mind, before proceeding to other areas of his thought, including those regarding Capitalism, Distributism and his vision of Europe …

But today for a change, we thought we would just tell a little story from Belloc’s life.

Belloc was passionate in his crusade against Capitalism and thus belonged to Britain’s Liberal party – a rough equivalent to America’s Democratic party. (This is to say on the Left, without being Labour or Socialist).

And in 1906, he ran as a Liberal for Parliament against the Conservatives.

But Belloc had ‘electoral liabilities’ that the Right was swift to point out, for Belloc’s father had been French and Belloc was, of course, passionately Catholic.

And so the Conservatives came up with the following pithy and imaginative slogan:

“Don’t Vote for a Frenchman and a Catholic.”

Belloc’s response to the challenge was memorable indeed. He mounted the stage and addressed his audience with these words:

I am a Catholic. As far as possible, I go to Mass every day.

(Taking out a Rosary and holding it up before his audience.) This is a Rosary. As far as possible, I kneel down and tell these beads every day.

If you reject me on account of my religion, I shall thank God that He has spared me the indignity of being your representative!

According to reports, the audience fell into stunned silence for some moments – then burst into thunderous applause.

He was elected.

Video from Our YouTube Channel—Article Continues Below

One can only wonder what political fortunes would await such a declaration today!

And one can only wish that we had more politicians who went daily to the Holy Mass and prayed their Rosary daily …

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