Shameless Plug

My latest article for Inside Catholic is a condensed version of a number of posts I wrote here at TAC  regarding Catholicism and American history.

I mention my membership in TAC as part of the reason why I came to change my views on America’s past; Don, Paul Z. and others have made a number of enlightening historical posts/comments over the months that prompted me to investigate further.

Here’s hoping that my plug gets us a few more readers, and that IC and TAC continue to keep one another in mind.

7 Responses to Shameless Plug

  • Tito Edwards says:

    Just finished reading it.

    Outstanding.

    You have inspired me to complete some of my ideas to paper for future posts on history and the Catholic Church.

    I enjoyed reading your post and it certainly explained very well in a condensed fashion many encyclicals and the Catholic contribution to America!

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    A very good article Joe. I especially liked this section:

    “Secondly, the controversy over the heresy of “Americanism,” which is a specter frequently invoked in anti-American diatribes, has been somewhat misunderstood. The Americanism controversy was primarily over tendencies in the French clergy that were inspired by the ideas of an American priest, Rev. Isaac Hecker. In the encyclical that Leo XIII issued to address the problem of Americanism, Testem Benevolentia Nostrae, he wrote that Americanism consisted of three main ideas: 1) the notion that the Church must engage in theological and liturgical experimentation or opportunism to become amiable to people of other faiths; 2) the notion that the natural virtues should be elevated above the spiritual virtues of the saints, because they allow men to act with greater freedom and strength; and 3) the consequent notion that religious orders are less worthy of respect, cultivating as they do the spiritual virtues.

    Leo clearly stated that these erroneous ideas were not inherently American. Not only that, he suggested that there are inherently American ideas that are redeemable and praiseworthy:

    From the foregoing it is manifest . . . that we are not able to give approval to those views which, in their collective sense, are called by some “Americanism.” But if by this name are to be understood certain endowments of mind which belong to the American people, just as other characteristics belong to various other nations, and if, moreover, by it is designated your political condition and the laws and customs by which you are governed, there is no reason to take exception to the name.

    In the context of his positive account of the Church’s history in the United States given in another encyclical (Longinqua), it is evident that whatever tensions existed between Catholicism and America were never great enough to warrant papal commendation. Indeed, both Leo and Pius XII recognized the vast growth of the Church in the United States and saw it, in the latter’s words, as “a proof that reverence for the Faith of Christ is a holy and established principle of the American people.”"

    Too often the Americanist heresy is invoked by people who clearly do not understand what the Pope was condemning, and who use the condemnation to bludgeon aspects of America that they are not fond of. Actually, the popes, on the whole, have been rather fond of the US. One of the early nineteenth century popes who was not fond of the US had to confess that in no other country was he more the pope than in the US due to the fact that the State kept hands off the Catholic Church in the US.

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