Thoughts on Dominique Venner
The reactions to Dominique Venner's suicide are greatly varied, displaying compassion and understanding, but also severity toward Venner for doing such a terrible thing, and toward his sympathizers for not realizing what a basically evil man he was. I admit to knowing little about him until this occurred. I had heard the name and read snippets of his writings at various sites, but I was not familiar with his character or his work. I do not personally want to enter into a discussion of suicide, except to repeat what I said in a comment, namely that I think he may have done more harm than good to the cause of French resistance. Here is Yves Daoudal's uncompromising criticism of Venner's deed which he considers a provocation. This post elicited forty-five persuasive comments from readers.
Dominique Venner committed suicide by shooting a bullet through his mouth before the high altar of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.
I found him very unlikeable. And it isn't because he was "pagan", since I know pagans whom I like. Behind his paganism, there was, in truth, as one can see in his final message at his blog (before his suicide letter), but one can see it also in his manner of relating history, a total atheism, hence an absolute, hateful rejection of all that is religious. There was in him something satanic. That is how I perceived it. And his death confirms it.
The staging of his death shows his will to blaspheme. Suicide in a consecrated place is a double crime: a murder and a profanation. It is a satanic provocation, both abject and pathetic. The cathedral remains, God too. But Venner has disappeared. The act of revolt against God, that tries to be spectacular, in reality has no consistency. No human consistency , and no historical consistency.
But the fate of his soul is terrifying.
There was a strong reaction from his readers many of whom answered him forcefully and persuasively, whatever their opinion. I can only give a tiny sampling, somewhat edited:
- I think you would have done better to abstain.
- DV's thinking owes much to German paganism at the very least. He greatly influenced anti-Christian associations. Monsieur Daoudal is right many times over. I find nothing to criticize in his analysis. Let's look closely at those who rush to praise this man. It's very revealing.
- No, Monsieur Daoudal, it is not a blasphemous act. It's an act of love and hope even if he did not believe. I hope he will be welcomed.
Note: One of the major questions the readers debate is whether a suicide can still hope for divine mercy.
One reader who remains anonymous claims to have known Dominique Venner. The OAS was the clandestine French army mobilized to defend French Algeria:
- (…) I completely approve of your article on the death of Dominique Venner. I knew the man well when I was a student. It was in my house that he hid for several weeks when the police were after him as an active sympathizer of the OAS (he was not really a member I'm sure, despite what they say). He was really pagan, but it was a modern paganism particularly hateful of Christ, despite his austere morals. Secretly he was a great admirer of Hitler, whom he never reproached except that he failed. He profoundly, viscerally, despised Christianity and regarded Christians as weaklings. He detested the catholic nature of Christianity, preferring the exalted notion of national tribalism. What he liked in chivalry, was absolutely not the chivalric side, Christianized, but the dark side, brutal, almost perverse. (…) Like you, I believe that his deed was an ultimate provocation, a final act of defiance at this Christ whom he doubly hated as a Jew and as protector of the weak. He often said to me, in the years between 1959 and 1962 (…) that it would be necessary one day to resume Hitler's work and to succeed in annihilating Jews and Christianity. This man's soul was in the hands of the devil, even though he always showed a friendly manner. I hesitate to say "may his soul rest in peace"!
Note: A reminder that this is an anonymous comment. It may be true, false, partially true, biased or based on emotional factors. We never know for sure who sends comments. These are terrible accusations.
The next comment is addressed to Yves Daoudal:
- Sir, this article adds nothing to your reputation. It is like kicking a corpse. Monsieur Venner's act, and I have no intellectual affinity with him, is perhaps grandiloquent or even grotesque, but his motives are in no way low or contemptible. At least he acted in conformity with his thinking. How many Catholics can claim to do as much? As for pagans, I feel closer to an old Roman who respects the rituals and the gods than I do to these little atheist pleasure-seekers who make up the majority of our contemporaries and who have no sense of the sacred, not even pagan sacred. The account by the reader on his relationship with Monsieur Venner strikes me as completely out of place. It is more than kicking a corpse, it is spitting on him. R.I.P.
- The account by the reader is in no way out of place; it supports what we felt instinctively about this man, namely his satanic and Hitlerian aspect, and his rebellion against God.
- You are not God, so far as I know.
Note: Father Claude Proux, a chaplain, writes to Yves Daoudal:
- Monsieur Daoudal. Thank you for the very relevant comment on Dominique Venner, but your last words are excessive: "The fate of his soul is terrifying". Yes, we must repeat that 1) to commit suicide is a very grave sin 2) that in this case to do it in a church in front of everyone aggravates the fault 3) but the mercy of the Savior is infinite… if you open your heart to him. Monsieur Venner needs our prayer… Say it!
To which Yves Daoudal responds:
- Dear Father, I know well that a miracle is always possible, at the last fraction of a second…
But it is necessary to take into account the fact that Dominique Venner was fiercely anti-Christian and atheist his whole life. In a way that seemed to me to be satanic from the first moment I laid eyes on him (although his speech was very urbane…).
I hope he had a flash of lucidity at the last moment, but it would really be a miracle. I wrote without taking this very slim possibility into account, and I am changing nothing. It is not I, it is the Church that, not so long ago, refused a Christian burial to suicides. (…)
Note: There's much much more. But the essential questions have been asked: Was he in any way justified? Will any good come of this? Was his hatred of the Church due to his affinity for paganism or his disillusionment with a Church that had collaborated with the Left and later with Islam? Was this an act of despair or an act of defiance? If defiance, was it defiance of God or defiance of a Church he deemed inadequate? Answers are harder to come by than questions.
At his website, Catholic writer Bernard Antony scorns the ignorance of the media:
- The inept remarks you are hearing from the media are enough to make the constellations whinny! In their ignorance, as abysmal as it is haughty, that characterizes those whose job it is to inform, they have presented Venner as a traditionalist Catholic!
Not surprising. The media avoid details that separate fact from fantasy.
The six-minute video below is mainly for French readers, though speech is at a minimum. It shows a homage to Venner that took place at Notre-Dame cathedral on Tuesday May 21. In the beginning, deputy Jacques Bompard, who is closely associated with Marine Le Pen, though not a member of the Front National, explains why he came to Notre-Dame to pay his respects to Dominique Venner. He believes Venner killed himself in protest against the decadence of French society, and even though he does not agree with the act itself he understands the motives and feels Venner was very affected by the demonstrations against gay marriage. The rising up of the people was a sight no one thought was possible. The second speaker is Julien Rochedy, of the Front National Youth Movement, who also warns that France will die unless there is an awakening. At the reporter's question he notes the various threats hovering over the country: destruction of values, immigration, loss of sovereignty. He notes that gay marriage is just one of many threatening issues and declares everyone should have a rebellious heart as Venner did.
The rest of the video is singing against a backdrop of lighted torches.