The combativeness of the good Christian
One of the greatest exponents of traditional Catholicism in Brazil, Gustavo Corção can be characterized as the archetype of the teacher, striving to help his friends and acquaintances, as well as the entire Brazilian public, to understand the profound nature of the crisis that he gradually perceives and rejects , especially on the threshold of his death, in the 1970s, when the sinking of religion and customs in Brazilian society becomes clear. He was combative and by combative penalty he defended the good cause.
Fluminense, born on December 17, 1896, Corção was the son of Francisco Braga and Graciete Corção Braga. From an early age, while studying at the famous Colégio Pedro II, he showed a penchant for the exact sciences, studying engineering at the Polytechnic School of Rio de Janeiro and performing professional tasks with care throughout his life. His mother, very dedicated to the area of education, owned a school called Colégio Corção, whose environment will reflect in the future in Gustavo's own way of observing the cultivation of education: Permanência , which will be founded after the grouping of friends and acquaintances that they urged me to teach them about Catholicism and Catholic culture, it will carry this collegial air, marking the memory of so many who have passed through it, such as the couple Sileno and Maria Tereza Muniz, parents of the prior of Santa Cruz Monastery, Dom Aquinas. However, although Catholic since birth, this does not mean that Corção has not gone through a spiritual winter: after reading and deepening the study of Marx in German, since his youth he distanced himself from the Church, only to return to Catholicism after the death of his wife, Diva Paiva, in 1936, when he went through a crisis and returned to the bosom of the Church. At the time, he took as his main references Gilbert Chesterton (whom he admired not only the work, but also the concept of Distributism , being perhaps the pioneer in the country in the propagation of this idea) and Jacques Maritain, sources from which he drank the Thomist philosophy and the taste for elegance in writing. From this approach comes his first successful work: The Discovery of the Other .
He traveled through part of Brazil in the performance of his work as an engineer, passing through Mato Grosso, Espírito Santo and the interior of several other states. He was passionate about music and the invention of radio, working at Radiobrás, at the Military Engineering Institute of the Army and at Rádio Cinefon Brasileira, continuing to improve his studies on visits to Europe to observe the latest technological trends. He also worked, in the 1940s, at the CTB (Companhia Telefônica Brasileira) and in electronics courses taught at several universities and colleges in Rio de Janeiro, then the Federal Capital, such as the Faculdade Nacional de Engenharia of the Universidade do Brasil.
His approach to the Dom Vital Center and to the Monastery of São Bento, in the period before the Council, gave him an aggrandizement of spirit, bringing him new influences and making him deepen in the propagation of Catholicism. He was committed to this cause mainly while working for the newspapers O Globo and O Estado de São Paulo. At this stage, he was even attributed with the conversion to Catholicism of another famous polemicist, but predominantly political, who was Carlos Lacerda, covering his influence over so many others, such as Manuel Bandeira, Raquel de Queiroz and Ariano Suassuna.
The breath of changes coming from Europe started a new direction in Corção's life in the 1960s: with the Second Vatican Council and its recent direction of the Dom Vital Center, taken over with the departure of Alceu Amoroso Lima, his friend, to the USA, more and more, the defense of the Catholic tradition appears to him as a necessity in face of the spiritual problems faced by Western civilization with the traumatic Second World War. The thinker imprinted this conviction with great brilliance in his meetings at the Dom Vital Center, which little by little creates an internal "crack". When Tristão de Athayde returns to Brazil, Gustavo's stay at the Dom Vital Center becomes unsustainable, mainly due to the constant clashes between both thinkers, taking Corção with him, during his departure, no less than about two hundred members of the old center.
Collaborating with the TFP (Tradition, Family and Property) and with the magazine Permanência (of its organization), Corção will live the "III World War", as we know the Second Vatican Council, hoping that, in the same spirit as Bishop Lefebvre, Communism was solemnly condemned and the growing distance between the faithful and the sacraments healed with a reinvigoration of the liturgy. However, this was not what happened: the Council not only did not condemn Communism but also gave way for liberalism, modernism, Americanism and several other heresies to approach the Church, distilling the product of this approximation in the form of a change radical approach to the Catholic liturgy. Permanência is shocked by this agonizing realization in sincere doubt about the future situation.
Over the years, its resistance to the scandals verified in the Brazilian clergy has grown, especially in the religious orders and in the actions of some bishops, whose level of distance from Tradition was so wide open that even less combative but lucid writers such as Nelson Rodrigues , will strike blows against this corrupted clergy with playful ease. Around this time, many acquaintances and friends prayed for Corção's help, such as the son of Maria Tereza, his friend, when he asked him for an indication to confirm his religious vocation. with D. Lefebvre, from where he received the good intellectual formation in Écône.
Gustavo Corção's work was broad and his influence on Brazilian readers ample. But the culmination of this struggle in favor of Tradition comes with the work O Século do Nada , a voluminous examination of conscience launched in 1973, in which he synthesizes all the past mistakes he had made and crystallizes his conviction about the present and the future of Roman Catholicism. A breath-taking work, it is his main legacy for us resistant Catholics.
Gustavo Corção will die on July 6, 1978, leaving behind four children and his second wife, as well as an already smaller group of good Catholics and their undying set of technical and literary achievements.