The Christian Conditionnby M. Christiane von Kuehnelt-Leddihnn”Faith is required of thee, and a sincere hfe, not loftiness of intellect, norndeepness in the Mysteries of God.”n— Thomas a KempisnBernanbs Vivantnhy R.L. BruckbergernParis: Albin MichelnThis is, in fact, a book about twonmen, since, due to his strongnpersonality and his close relationship tonGeorges Bernanos, the author plays annimportant part in it. “I wanted to drawnonly a summary portrait,” he says, “butnI know that even the most successfulnportrait reveals as much about the painternas it does about his subject. I do notndeny the particulariy subjective characternof this book.” Therefore, and becausenbiographical data concerning Bernanosnis scarce, both men need to benintroduced briefly here.nGeorges Bernanos was born in 1888nin Paris and died in 1948 in Neuilly. Henwas married and had six children; one ofnhis sons fought with Franco in thenSpanish Civil War, two with the Alliesnin Worid War II. Bernanos left Francenin 1938 for Morocco, then went tonBrazil. He returned to France in 1946.nThe minor fortune he had made withnhis early novels was soon spent, butnthanks to a devoted friend the familynmanaged to live moderately well. However,nthe fact that he had been absentnfrom France during the time of hernworst humiliation and that he had notnbeen active in the Resistance seems tonhave troubled him in later years, althoughnhe never said as much. He wasnvery much a man of the Right, anmonarchist who was sent to jail as ancamelot du roi; but he rejected then”divine right of kings” which, he said,nmonarchs began to claim only in then15 th century. De Gaulle admired himnand wanted him to serve as his ministernof education.nR.L. Bruckberger is a Dominicannmonk, born in 1907 in Murat (Auvergne)nof an Austrian father and anM. Christiane von Kuehnelt-Leddihnnwrites from Austria.n36/CHRONICLESnFrench mother. Severely wounded inn1940, he was made a chaplain for thenResistance in 1944, and for the ForeignnLegion in the French Sahara fromn1948-1950. From 1950 to 1958 henlived in the United States, “exiled” bynhis Order under governmental pressurenfor having revealed, in a book, thensavage excesses of certain parts of thenResistance. While in America, he wasna contributor to the New York Times,nLife, and other publications. He wrotenand published many books and essays,nand directed and co-directed severalnplays and films. He, too, is a man of thennnRight; in his latest book, Capitalisme?nMais c’est la vie!, he describes thenNew Testament as a message of humanninequality.n”I am writing this book,” Bruckbergernsays, “to give evidence on thenone who for me was master and friend,nto say some of those things which anwriter never writes, which he allows tonslip obliquely into a conversation andnwhich would be lost if an attentive earndid not catch them.” One hopes that itnwill eventually be translated, but untilnit is, readers will have to make do withnmy translations of passages quotednhere.nBruckberger met Bernanos for thenfirst time in 1937, but he had beenndeeply impressed by his writings sincen1926, when at the age of 19 he readnSous le soleil de Satan, Bernanos’ firstnbook which was then just published.nHe felt that he had found “the mannwho would initiate him into the greatnthings of the mind.” Their friendshipncan be said to have begun then, andncontinued until Bernanos’ death.nIt irritated Bernanos to be called an”Gatholic writer” or a “Catholic novelist”nbecause he considered the term annamalgam of two, by nature different,nelements. He felt himself first andnforemost to be a Christian, a CatholicnChristian, and only secondarily a writer.nThough not much of a reader, hengreatly admired Pascal, Dostoyevskynand, above all, Peguy. However, thenonly man who had a decisive influencenon his reasoning and his spiritual stylenwas a man who is today practicallynunknown, Edouard Drumont. Drumont’snfierce anti-Semitism, particularlynprominent in his La France Juive,ncaused all his books to be banned,nalthough some of them contain a profoundnand accurate analysis of thendeterioration of French society, thenfailure of the French ruling classes —nthe higher clergy, the administration,nthe political microcosm, the intellectuals—nto maintain their responsibility ton