Pope Pius IX’s definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had varied but profound repercussions from all over the civilized world.
The new dogma deeply shocked the essentially egalitarian mentality of the French Revolution, which since 1789 had despotically held sway in the West.
To see a mere creature elevated so far above all others, enjoying an inestimable privilege from the very first instance of her conception is something that could not and cannot fail to hurt the children of a Revolution which proclaimed absolute equality among men as the basis of all order, justice and goodness. It was painful for both non-Catholics and Catholics more or less infected with this spirit to accept the fact that God established in creation and highlighted such outstanding inequality.
Liberals dislike the nature of that privilege as such. Indeed, anyone who admits the existence of Original Sin, with all the spiritual disorders and miseries of the body that it entails, must accept that man needs an authority that he must obey. The definition of the Immaculate Conception was an implicit reaffirmation of Church teaching in this matter.
For true Catholics, watching the intrepid and majestic figure of the Vicar of Christ standing alone against that tempest of unruly passions, threatening hatreds and furious despair, armed only with heavenly assistance, caused a jubilation like the one the Apostles felt during the storm on the Sea of Genesareth when the Savior commanded the winds and the sea to be calm: “venti et mare oboediunt ei” (Mt. 8:27).
(except of 1958 article by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira entitled A First Milestone in the Rise of the Counter-Revolution)