Fortnight For Freedom: Top Ten Movies for the Fourth

Thursday, June 29, AD 2017


Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.

John Adams




This is a repeat from a post last year, but I think the logic behind the post still holds true.   I think the Fourth of July is a good time to recall the price paid to establish our liberties.  It is trite to say that freedom is not free, but it is also true.  Winning the American Revolution took eight years and it was a definite David v. Goliath upset.  A people who forget this eternal lesson will not remain free for long.



A number of feature films and miniseries have been made about the events of the American Revolution.  Here are my top ten choices for Fourth of July viewing:

10.  Ben and Me (1953)- Something for the younger patriots.  Disney put to film the novel of Robert Lawson, Ben and Me, which related how many of Ben Franklin’s bright ideas came from his mouse Amos.  Quite a bit of fun.   Not a classic but certainly an overlooked gem.

9.  The Crossing (2000)-A retelling of Washington’s brilliant crossing of the Delaware on Christmas 1776 and the battle of Trenton.  This film would rank much higher on my list but for Jeff Daniels’ portrayal of Washington as sullen and out of sorts throughout the movie.  Washington had a temper, and he could give vent to it if provoked, although he usually kept it under control, but the peevish Washington portrayed here is simply ahistoric and mars an otherwise good recreation of the turning point of the Revolution.

8.  John Paul Jones (1959)  Robert Stack, just before he rose to fame in the Untouchables, is grand in the role of the archetypal American sea hero.  Bette Davis is absolutely unforgettable as Catherine the Great.  The climactic sea battle with the Serapis is well done, especially for those pre-CGI days.  The only problem with the film is that many of the details are wrong.  This is forgivable to a certain extent since scholarship on Jones was badly skewed by Augustus Buell in a two-volume “scholarly biography” which appeared in 1900.  Buell was a charlatan who made up many incidents about Jones and then invented sources to support his fabrications.  Buell was not completely exposed until Samuel Eliot Morison, Harvard professor of history, and an Admiral in the Navy, wrote his definitive biography of Jones. Here is a list of the fabrications of Buell compiled by Morison.  Morison’s book appeared after the movie, which is to be regretted.

7.  The Patriot (2000) Finally, a film which depicts the unsung contribution of Australians to victory in the American Revolution!  Actually not too bad of a film overall.  Heath Ledger is quite good as Gibson’s oldest son who joins the Continentals at the beginning of the war against his father’s wishes.  Jason Isaacs is snarlingly good as the evil Colonel Tavington, very loosely based on Banastre Tarleton, commander of Tarleton’s Raiders during the Southern Campaign.  The film of course allows Gibson to carry on his over-the-top vendetta against all things English.  No, the British did not lock up American civilians in churches and burn them alive.  However, the ferocity of the partisan fighting in the South is well depicted, and Banastre Tarleton  at the Waxhaw Massacre earned a reputation for slaughtering men attempting to surrender.  The final battle of the film is based on the battle of Cowpens where General Daniel Morgan decisively defeated Tarleton.

6.  Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)-A John Ford classic starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert.  Through the eyes of a young newlywed couple, Fonda and Colbert, the American Revolution on the frontier is depicted in the strategic Mohawk Valley.  Full of the usual Ford touches of heroism, humor and ordinary life.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Nuns of the Battlefield

Wednesday, June 28, AD 2017




The Church is sometimes depicted as somehow an alien presence in this fair land of freedom.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Catholics, beginning with Christopher Columbus, have played a vital role in American history from the beginning.  Such was the case with the nuns who attended wounded and sick soldiers during the national nightmare known as the Civil War.


Visitors to Washington DC might be surprised at first to encounter a monument to nuns and sisters entitled Nuns of the Battlefield.  It was erected by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1924 to honor the some 600 Catholic nuns and sisters who during the Civil War nursed soldiers on both sides.  It bears this inscription:


Anti-Catholic propaganda prior to the Civil War often focused on alleged lurid misdeeds involving nuns, the completely fictional account written by Maria Monk being a typical example, thus combining both bigotry and near pornography.  A convent was burned by an anti-Catholic mob in 1834 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, their minds poisoned by just such allegations.

Nuns and sisters prior to the Civil War would not wear their habits outside of their convents for fear of insult or attack.  Then, in the words of Lincoln, the war came.

Nuns on both sides swiftly volunteered to served as nurses, and they proved superb at this task.  Mary Livermore, who served on the United States Sanitary Commission and who would later win fame as an early fighter for the rights of women, wrote this tribute after the War:

“I am neither a Catholic, nor an advocate of the monastic institutions of that church . . . But I can never forget my experience during the War of the Rebellion . . . Never did I meet these Catholic sisters in hospitals, on transports, or hospital steamers, without observing their devotion, faithfulness, and unobtrusiveness. They gave themselves no airs of superiority or holiness, shirked no duty, sought no easy place, bred no mischiefs. Sick and wounded men watched for their entrance into the wards at morning, and looked a regretful farewell when they departed at night.”

Soldiers were impressed both by the quality of the nursing they received from the nuns and their good cheer and kindness.  Generations of bigotry melted away by the ministrations of these women of God.  A Confederate chaplain recalled this incident between a soldier and a sister:

“Sister, is it true that you belong to the Catholic Church?”

“Yes, sir, it’s true. And that’s the source of the greatest happiness I have in this life.”

“Well, I declare. I’d never have suspected it. I’ve heard so many things . . . I thought Catholics were the worst people on earth.”

“I hope you don’t think so now.”

“Well, Sister . . . I’ll tell you. If you say you’re a Catholic, I’ll certainly have a better opinion of Catholics from now on.”

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3 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: Nuns of the Battlefield

  • Thank you, Donald. Amid all of the mischief created by our current Pope, we tend to forget what real women in holy orders have done, and continue to do, for the faith. God Bless.

  • Good post.
    Thank you Donald.

    At our local Carmelite monastery I periodically go before the sisters to intervene on behalf of a sick or dieing soul.
    They are a cloistered community and as powerful as Michael the archangel and his legion. Embellishment? No. Their prayers are that strong.

    The invisible power is made tangible by our committed nuns through out the world.
    Seen or unseen, they are one of God’s great gift to mankind.

  • The Catholic nuns’ virginity and freedom from sin allows them to come and go freely. Jesus Christ, the Healer, their spouse guides their actions.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Why Do We Celebrate the Fourth?

Tuesday, June 27, AD 2017




Why do we observe Independence Day on the Fourth of July each year?  Is it merely a historical commemoration, or is it because the lightning words of the Declaration of Independence still have meaning and relevance today?  This is not a new issue.  In the debate over slavery which embroiled this nation a century and a half ago, the phrase “all men are created equal” from the Declaration was argued and fought over.  On June 26, 1857, Abraham Lincoln, in response to the Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, contended in a speech in Springfield, Illinois, that the phrase “all men are created equal” applied to blacks as well as whites:

Chief Justice Taney, in his opinion in the Dred Scott case, admits that the language of the Declaration is broad enough to include the whole human family, but he and Judge Douglas argue that the authors of that instrument did not intend to include negroes, by the fact that they did not at once, actually place them on an equality with the whites. Now this grave argument comes to just nothing at all, by the other fact, that they did not at once, or ever afterwards, actually place all white people on an equality with one or another. And this is the staple argument of both the Chief Justice and the Senator, for doing this obvious violence to the plain unmistakable language of the Declaration. I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness, in what respects they did consider all men created equal—equal in “certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This they said, and this meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere. The assertion that “all men are created equal” was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, nor for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack.

I have now briefly expressed my view of the meaning and objects of that part of the Declaration of Independence which declares that “all men are created equal.”

Now let us hear Judge Douglas’ view of the same subject, as I find it in the printed report of his late speech. Here it is:

“No man can vindicate the character, motives and conduct of the signers of the Declaration of Independence except upon the hypothesis that they referred to the white race alone, and not to the African, when they declared all men to have been created equal—that they were speaking of British subjects on this continent being equal to British subjects born and residing in Great Britain—that they were entitled to the same inalienable rights, and among them were enumerated life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration was adopted for the purpose of justifying the colonists in the eyes of the civilized world in withdrawing their allegiance from the British crown, and dissolving their connection with the mother country.”

My good friends, read that carefully over some leisure hour, and ponder well upon it—see what a mere wreck—mangled ruin—it makes of our once glorious Declaration.

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7 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: Why Do We Celebrate the Fourth?

  • There is a difference between equality in dignity and equality in function. All human beings – young or old, black or white, gay or straight, male or female, Christian or Jew, etc. ad nauseam – are created equal in dignity. But all human beings are unequal in function – not superior or inferior but different, diverse. A woman can bear a baby. A man cannot. An adult can drive a car. A baby cannot. A priest can confect the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. A priestess cannot. A math genius can do calculus in his head and a language genius can understand many different tongues. No one in those examples is inferior or superior to the other. But they are ALL unequal in function. Could then black people be better at certain functions natural to their race than white people, or vice versa? Why not? They are different one from the other (perhaps because God likes diversity – I so love turning liberal clap rap on its head), but each is a human being created in the Image and Likeness of God Almighty, and thus each is equal to the other in dignity. Why is this so difficult to understand?

    PS, lest anyone goes off the deep end, long before I married I had dated a drop dead gorgeous black woman (I am a white man in case you didn’t guess) whom I absolutely adored. Being a nurse and working on becoming a medical doctor, she was super smart too – smarter than me (but maybe that doesn’t take so much – ha! ha!). Sadly, her father did not adore me. It’s called reverse prejudice or reverse racism. I still think fondly of her (but not so much her father).

  • My favorite founders, Jesse Ventura and John Wilkes Booth, lol… these “man on the street” bits are always funny and yet depressing. Many of those folks vote.

  • The second to the last guy with the Irish “Beer” tee shirt was almost surely visiting from Boston; and I think the last lady definitely had a “New” England accent.

    Maybe it’s the local history, maybe the schools are better, or maybe we have to work like squirrels here preparing for winter with little natural resources except our brains, but I simply cannot imagine any teenager I know in my suburb of Boston who would not know the answer to those questions.

    (Before anyone says it, my suburb almost always votes Republican.)

  • The liberal “progressives do not allow our Founding Principles and our civil rights, our unalienable civil rights to be taught and learned in public school, public school bought and paid for with our hard earned tax dollars.

  • LQC “Sadly, her father did not adore me. It’s called reverse prejudice or reverse racism. I still think fondly of her (but not so much her father)..”
    It is called loving your own and wanting to see more of them.

  • Mary De Voe wrote: “It is called loving your own and wanting to see more of them.”

    Really? No inter-racial marriage because white people must love their own and want to see more of them, and black people must love their own and want to see more of them?

    If that’s the case, then I ought not to have eventually married a Filipina. Or were St. Paul’s words in vain when he wrote there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free before God?

  • LQC It is a personal choice that persons have in FREEDOM. In my neighborhood there are more than several inter racial marriages and more loving families I have yet to see. Filipino people are my favorite nation, and I am Polish. When you first mentioned that your spouse was Filipina, I was glad for you. They are a gentle and loving people.
    In explanation, I believe that grandparents want to see themselves in their grandchildren.

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Fortnight For Freedom: SERTUM LAETITIAE

Monday, June 26, AD 2017

Pius XII was the first Pope to visit the United States, albeit as Papal Secretary of State.  He visited Mount Vernon while in the country on October 22, 1936.  On  November 1, 1939 he issued the encyclical SERTUM LAETITIAE commemorating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the hierarchy.  His comments on America are still of interest:



To Our Beloved Sons: William O’Connell, Cardinal Priest of the Holy Roman Church, Archbishop of Boston, Dennis Dougherty, Cardinal Priest of the Holy Roman Church, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and to all the Venerable Brethren, the Archbishops, Bishops and Ordinaries of the United States of America in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction:

1. In our desire to enrich the crown of your holy joy We cross in spirit the vast spaces of the seas and find Ourselves in your midst as you celebrate, in company with all your faithful people, the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy in the United States of America. And this We do with great gladness, because an occasion is thus afforded Us, as gratifying as it is solemn, of giving public testimony of Our esteem and Our affection for the youthfully vigorous and illustrious American people.

2. To one who turns the pages of your history and reflects upon the causes of what has been accomplished it is apparent that the triumphal progress of Divine religion has contributed in no small degree to the glory and prosperity which your country now enjoys. It is indeed true that religion has its laws and institutions for eternal happiness but It is also undeniable that it dowers life here below with so many benefits that it could do no more even if the principal reason for its existence were to make men happy during the brief span of their earthly life.

3. It is a pleasure for Us to recall the well remembered story.
When Pope Pius VI gave you your first Bishop in the person of the American John Carroll and set him over the See of Baltimore, small and of slight importance was the Catholic population of your land. At that time, too, the condition of the United States was so perilous that its structure and its very political unity were threatened by grave crisis. Because of the long and exhausting war the public treasury was burdened with debt, industry languished and the citizenry wearied by misfortunes was split into contending parties. This ruinous and critical state of affairs was put aright by the celebrated George Washington, famed for his courage and keen intelligence. He was a close friend of the Bishop of Baltimore. Thus the Father of His Country and the pioneer pastor of the Church in that land so dear to Us, bound together by the ties of friendship and clasping, so to speak, each the other’s hand, form a picture for their descendants, a lesson to all future generations, and a proof that reverence for the Faith of Christ is a holy and established principle of the American people, seeing that it is the foundation of morality and decency, consequently the source of prosperity and progress.

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6 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: SERTUM LAETITIAE

  • If I am not mistaken, the first pope to set foot on American sovereign territory was Pio Nono. It was an American naval vessel docked in Naples I think.

  • WOW. Pope Pius XII is my Pope. I love him.
    Marriage is the expression of reverence for human life. I must thank the good sisters and the Baltimore Catechism for my FAITH.
    Gandhi is also on that newspaper:
    On the death Penalty: Capital punishment is the temporal punishment due to homicide in the first degree. After the crime is forgiven and repented, temporal punishment must be imposed. If the murderer has expired with grief over the commission of his crime, then it may be known that he is repented. If the murderer has not expired with grief over the commission of his crime, then it may be known that he is not repented. Homicide in the first degree must be equal Justice.
    Gandhi said: “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” An eye for an eye will be a deterrent to making the whole world blind. In this sense, the crimes never committed may be counted. It may be said that at the least, all sighted individuals chose to avoid becoming murderers because of the capital punishment imposed. Counting persons who avoided becoming murderers, their number far exceeds those of actual murderers.

  • People have a personal space that may not be violated. A person’s personal space is not owned by the government, nor is a man’s personal space owned by the public. A man’s personal space is an innate human right flowing from his transcendent being.
    The government may regulate his business, tax his income and place restrictions on his public comings and goings, but only to serve the common good. These are conformities to a man’s outward life.
    The personal space of the human being may not be violated by crime committed by himself or by others. For other individuals to violate a man’s personal space is the crime of assault. For the man to violate his own personal space makes him an outlaw.
    The personal space of the human being is analogous to the public square of the community and the sovereignty of a nation. The personal space of the human being is to the individual what the public square is to the community and sovereignty is to a nation. Violations of “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” may not be perpetrated therein, neither in the man’s personal space nor in the community’s public square, nor in the sovereignty of the nation, not by the person nor by his enemies.

  • For Pope Pius XII: Jesus Christ, the Son of Man and the Son of God was murdered. If Jesus Christ was not an innocent man, then He would have had to die for His own sins. Mankind would not have been saved. Born of The Virgin who willed to love God perfectly, Mary maintained her original innocence and was not subject to the concupiscence of the sin of Adam, original sin. Mary’s Immaculate Conception testifies to the innocence of her Son and the Son of God.
    Mary’s soul was created in eternity by God in response to the Son of God loving mankind. Mary’s soul was created after Adam and Eve were created but before our first parents chose to disobey God. Mary, in her free will, chose to remain obedient and maintain her virginity in her love of God. Mary maintained her original innocence and was not subject to the concupiscence of the sin of Adam, original sin. Mary’s fiat began with Mary’s existence.
    Mary’s identity: “I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION”, means that God infused Mary’s immaculate soul created in eternity, outside of time, into her body procreated in time with Mary’s informed consent. Mary gave informed consent through her free will to be preserved from original sin in the privilege of her IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. In Justice, God required Mary’s informed consent, given in free will, to grant the privilege of her IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, the doctrine of Mary’s preservation from original sin.
    God does not contradict himself. God’s gift of free will will not be revoked, not for St. Lucifer, nor for The Mother of the Son of God. In reverence for the sovereign personhood of mankind, God in His love for His Son and in reverence for Himself desires such “fiat”. In obedience to God’s desire, Mary made her “fiat” for all mankind.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Getting in Bed With Caesar

Sunday, June 25, AD 2017


If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Sam Adams, August 1, 1776

(This is a repeat from last year.  I can’t improve upon it, except for minor changes that I have made.)

The American Catholic is proud to participate in this year’s Fortnight For Freedom.  The Fortnights were started in 2012 by the bishops of this country in response to the unprecedented assault on religious liberty posed by the Obama administration, to remind Catholics of the preciousness of their inheritance of freedom as Americans and Catholics and the necessity of standing up to threats to it.  All well and good, and a very worthy cause indeed.  However, the leadership of the Church appears to be schizophrenic on this subject.  While Caesar seeks to limit the freedom of the Church, too many ecclesiastics respond by wanting to get into bed with Caesar.

The examples of this are legion.

It was the policy of the Church to aid the Obama administration in flouting the immigration laws of this country, acting as a virtual arm of the State in sheltering illegal aliens.  Thank heavens that administration is now one with Nineveh and Tyre.

The Church was all in favor of Obamacare, until the Obama administration targeted the Church with the contraceptive mandate.

The Green Encyclical, Laudato Si, released in 2015, is one long demand for Caesar to engage in an immense power grab, and regulate business and citizens to fight a mythical global warming threat.

The Vatican is a cheerleader of UN activities that spell a mortal danger to economic freedom in the West.

The Church through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds hundreds of left wing pressure groups to call for ever bigger government, and, inevitably, further restrictions on freedom.

Welfare States require huge amounts of tax money and huge amounts of government power.  The default position of the Church today when confronting any need traditionally filled by private or Church charity, is to scream for Caesar to come fix things.  This bastardized parody of the social teachings of the Church inevitably comes back to bite the Church as Caesar will always exact a price for his favors and under the Obama administration that price was for the Church to bend the knee to contraception, abortion and gay marriage.  For all too many of our shepherds that was a small price to pay to keep the government largess flowing.  There is a reason why Christ whipped the money changers from the Temple and why He uttered the phrase to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.   These days the Church too often seems willing to bow the knee to Caesar, no matter what Caesar demands, so long as the funds from Caesar keep flowing.

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15 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: Getting in Bed With Caesar

  • NPR doesn’t get it but Bishop Paprocki does. This Bishop has moxie. Willing to defend Holy Catholic Church and it’s teachings. Freedom fighter Paprocki!
    God bless you.

  • Not one red cent for any Catholic anything. Not one. None of them can be trusted to ensure the money is spent on what God wants instead of on Caesar.

    “The Green Encyclical, Laudato Si, released in 2015, is one long demand for Caesar to engage in an immense power grab, and regulate business and citizens to fight a mythical global warming threat.”

    “The Vatican is a cheerleader of UN activities that spell a mortal danger to economic freedom in the West.”

    “The Church through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds hundreds of left wing pressure groups to call for ever bigger government, and, inevitably, further restrictions on freedom.”

  • Pope Francis et al, Orwell’s 1984 was a warning, not a guidebook.

    Todays’ St. Matthew is most important. Fear not that which can only destroy the body. Fear God Who can destroy body and soul, and consign one to eternal fire in Hell. Sadly, few are given that message. Concomitant with selling out to Big Brother, there is scarcely an iota of zeal for the salvation of souls. Tragic!

    Sam Adams was a fire brand.

  • When a Capitular of 800 making the payment of tithes universal within the fiscal domain of the whole Frankish kingdom was published in Rome, we are told the reading of this Capitular was interrupted by loud and repeated shouts from Pope Leo III and the assembled clergy of “Life and victory to our ever-august Emperor!” – Vita! Victoria!

  • The Papacy created the Holy Roman Empire and then spent most of the next thousand years fighting against it.

  • The Church’s problem isn’t ‘getting in bed with Caesar’. Cadres who know their own mind (however witless the contents) will engage in try-every-door non-compliance (and will be selectively succored by the judiciary for so doing). The problem is that Caesar’s compliance mandates are a tool in the hands of intramural factions which wish to suborn and corrupt the institution. These people are already there. The bishops, religious superiors, and college trustees could can these crooks, but they cannot be bothered, by and large. (For reasons it’s not difficult to imagine). Dollars to doughnuts, a sociological and psychological survey of people who work for the Church and it’s subsidiaries would reveal them to be quite similar to people who work for NGOs generally. Remember Todd Flowerday, music director? (“Peace, All”). When he was in discernment (eventually electing not to go to seminary), he was working for the NPR station in Rochester.

    There’s been a certain amount of chuffering about ‘religious freedom’ in this fora and certain parties may be quite right that the last Oecumenical Council generated some serious theological trouble with its pronouncements. Trouble is, brass tacks, it does not matter for obvious reasons.

    “Welfare state” is a rhetorical thrust without much content, and people should stop using it. Some element of common provision administered by public or parastatal authorities is a pervasive feature of human societies. It wasn’t absent in the world in which Calvin Coolidge was a working politician, which was populated by state schools, state asylums, state sanitoriums, veterans hospitals, &c.

    Social Security hardly requires more public power than is necessary to collect taxes. The same is true with SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), and, in a more qualified way, housing vouchers. The lumbering mess various authorities have made of the finance of medical care over the last 50 odd years (and, in some respects, the last 75 years) incorporates more discretion on the part of public authorities, but that’s contextually a subsidiary problem. The main problems all have to do with perverse incentives which have distorted and disfigured the market, the doctor-paitient relationship, and the professional lives of practitioners.

    Where you’re going to see troublesome discretion, it’s in the state schools and the child protective apparat. The latter does not incorporate much of a financial flow and the former was a feature of the common life two-or-three generations ‘ere anyone had ever heard of Franklin Roosevelt.

  • You have perfectly stated the issue and the proper response Mr. McClarey.

    Having given up their belief in the largess of God the Bishops seek succor from the government as tools of the Democrat party. The ultimate end of their endeavors has to be Communism which will bring untold misery to folks they presume to protect. One thinks that these faithless Bishops must be loathsome in the eyes of God as they focus on the goods of this world rather than those of the Kingdom of God.

    By the way, this morning I was re-reading Bishop Fulton Sheen’s ”Life of Christ’, chapter 15, entitled (Christ’s) ‘Refusal to be a Bread King.’ The huge crowds that followed Christ stopped when He told them they must eat His body and drink His blood to be saved. They were looking for earthly satisfaction like our Bishops seem to be doing today.

  • The main difference between the time of Samuel and now, is that back then some merely (if helplessly) wanted a king (Caesar), and today with democracy, we actually pick our own Caesar…i.e. we are Caesar…or perhaps lately, we are more like Nero.

  • It was actually a two part process. Samuel annointed Saul as King, and then later the people acclaimed him as King. It is striking that such an anti-monarchical section survived in Scripture.

  • The establishment of a monarchy was basically a rebellion of the Jewish people against God (1 Sam 8):
    But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
    Just as men as societies now reject the Kingship of Christ.

  • The main difference between the time of Samuel and now, is that back then some merely (if helplessly) wanted a king (Caesar), and today with democracy, we actually pick our own Caesar…i.e. we are Caesar…or perhaps lately, we are more like Nero.

    No, the main difference is that we’re not a collection of pastoralists organized around lineages. If you fancy you can do without a central government, you might just review what life was like in Beirut ca. 1982 or visit Mogadishu today.

  • Art, you latest post, while in many ways true, has nothing to do with Don L’s post. Really.

  • Art, you latest post, while in many ways true, has nothing to do with Don L’s post. Really.

    It’s a precise reply to something he said, verbatim quotation included. I’m sorry the relevance eludes you, but that’s not my problem.

  • Art Deco: Love your put down of TomD.
    “and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen” I understand that the souls in hell are not remembered not ever. Sam Adams got it right.

  • It is your problem, Art, if it eludes a fair number of other people.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Over There

Saturday, June 24, AD 2017





Something for the weekend.  George M. Cohan wrote Over There, the song which will always be associated with America in World War I.  He was immortalized by James Cagney in the 1942 film biopic Yankee Doodle Dandy.  Dying on November 5, 1942 of stomach cancer, Cohan saw the film shortly before its release in a private screening.  I do not know if the ending of the film in the clip brought tears to his eyes, but it always does mine.  Cohan wrote the song in under two hours on April 7, 1917, two days after the US declared war on Imperial Germany.  Over There would be introduced to the public during a Red Cross benefit in New York City during the fall of 1917, and swiftly became the American anthem for the war effort.  Son of Union veteran Jeremiah Cohan, who lied about his age to serve as a Union surgeon’s orderly during the Civil War, Cohan attempted to enlist during World War I in the Army but was rejected due to his age.  I have always liked this song.  It has a brash exuberance matched with a determination to accomplish a hard task, traits which have served the US well in dark times.  We could use much more of that spirit today.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Catholics in the American Revolution

Friday, June 23, AD 2017







Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion.

Pope Leo XIII

American Catholics, a very small percentage of the population of the 13 colonies, 1.6 percent, were overwhelmingly patriots and played a role in the American Revolution out of all proportion to the small fragment of the American people they represented.  Among the Catholics who assumed leadership roles in the fight for our liberty were:

General Stephen Moylan  a noted cavalry commander and the first Muster Master-General of the Continental Army.

Captains Joshua Barney and John Barry,  two of the most successful naval commanders in the American Revolution.

Colonel John Fitzgerald was a trusted aide and private secretary to General George Washington.

Father Pierre Gibault, Vicar General of Illinois, whose aid was instrumental in the conquest of the Northwest for America by George Rogers Clark.

Thomas Fitzsimons served as a Pennsylvania militia company commander during the Trenton campaign.  Later in the War he helped found the Pennsylvania state navy.  After the War he was one of the two Catholic signers of the U.S. Constitution in 1787

Colonel Thomas Moore led a Philadelphia regiment in the War.

Major John Doyle led a group of elite riflemen during the War.

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3 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: Catholics in the American Revolution

  • Colonel Fitzgerald was one of the founding members of my church, St. Mary’s in Alexandria, VA. He hit up his friend General Washington for a donation to the building fund of the first church. So George Washington is on the original donor list to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the oldest Catholic Church in Virginia.
    Another great American president, Abraham Lincoln, allowed the builders of the first predominately black Catholic Church in D.C., St. Augustine’s, to hold a fundraising picnic on the White House grounds. There is a plaque in the back of the church commemorating this event.

  • Colonel Fitzgerald sounds like a fascinating fellow BPS and probably historically worthy of having a biography done of him.

  • An excerpt from the diary of Colonel Fitzgerald on the battle of Trenton:

    “Christmas, 6 P.M….It is fearfully cold and raw and a snow-storm setting in. The wind is northeast and beats in the faces of the men. It will be a terrible night for the soldiers who have no shoes. Some of them have tied old rags around their feet, but I have not heard a man complain….I have never seen Washington so determined as he is now….He stands on the bank of the stream, wrapped in his cloak, superintending the landing of his troops. He is calm and collected, but very determined. The storm is changing to sleet and cuts like a knife….

    [3 A.M.] I am writing in the ferry house. The troops are all over, and the boats have gone back for the artillery. We are three hours behind the set time…[the fishermen directing the boats] have had a hard time to force the boats through the floating ice with the snow drifting in their faces….

    …it was broad daylight when we came to a house where a man was chopping wood. He was very much surprised when he saw us. ‘Can you tell me where the Hessian picket is?’ Washington asked. The man hesitated, but I said, ‘You need not be frightened, it is General Washington who asks the question.’ His face brightened, and he pointed toward the house of Mr. Howell.

    It was just eight o’clock. Looking down the road I saw a Hessian running out from the house. He yelled in Dutch and swung his arms. Three or four others came out with their guns. Two of them fired at us, but the bullets whistled over our heads. Some of General Stephen’s men rushed forward and captured two. The others took to their heels, running toward Mr. Calhoun’s house, where the picket guard was stationed, about twenty men under Captain Altenbrockum. They came running out of the house. The captain flourished his sword and tried to form his men. Some of them fired at us, others ran toward the village.

    The next moment we heard drums beat and a bugle sound, and then from the west came the boom of cannon. General Washington’s face lighted up instantly, for he knew that it was one of [General John] Sullivan’s guns.

    …We could see a great commotion down toward the meetinghouse, men running here and there, officers swinging their swords, artillerymen harnessing their horses. Captain Forrest unlimbered his guns. Washington gave the order to advance, and we rushed on to the junction of King and Queen streets. Forrest wheeled six of his cannon into position to sweep both streets. The riflemen under Colonel Hand and Scott’s and Lawson’s battalions went upon the run through the fields on the left to gain possession of the Princeton Road. The Hessians were just ready to open fire with two of their cannon when Captain [William] Washington and Lieutenant [James] Monroe with their men rushed forward and captured them.

    We saw [Colonel Johann] Rall [commander of the Hessians] riding up the street from his headquarters, which were at Stacy Potts’ house. We could hear him shouting in Dutch, ‘My brave soldiers, advance.’

    His men were frightened and confused, for our men were firing upon them from fences and houses and they were falling fast. Instead of advancing they ran into an apple orchard. The officers tried to rally them, but our men kept advancing and picking off the officers. It was not long before Rall tumbled from his horse and his soldiers threw down their guns and gave themselves up as prisoners….

    [9 P.M.] …I have just been with General Washington and [Nathanael] Greene to see Rall. He will not live through the night. He asked that his men might be kindly treated. Washington promised that he would see they were well cared for.”

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Fortnight for Freedom: Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher

Thursday, June 22, AD 2017


A spot of blood and grease on the pages of English history.

Charles Dickens, referring to King Henry VIII

For English speaking Catholics, June 22 is a bright day on the calendar of the Saints.  It is appropriate that in the northern hemisphere it is also one of the longest days, when it is not the longest day, of the year, since no amount of sunshine is too much to celebrate the merits of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher.  On this day we remember the two saints who stood against King Henry VIII, for the great principle that the State must never be allowed to control the Church.  Much that we Americans celebrate as freedom was born out of Church-State struggles down through the ages.  Sometimes those who stood against the State fell in the struggle, but the concept that the State is not absolute, that there are limits to its authority, is one of the great gifts of the Catholic Middle Ages to all of mankind.  It is only in modern times, since 1500, that the heresy that the State may exercise absolute authority has been a constant source of misery and strife in the history of the West.

When he ascended to the throne of England Henry VIII was popularly known as the Golden Hope of England.  His father Henry VII had never been loved by the people of England:  a miser and a distinctly unheroic figure no matter what Shakespeare would write in Richard III.  He had brought the end of the War of the Roses and peace to England, but that was about as much credit as his subjects would give the grasping, unlovable Henry Tudor.  His son by contrast looked like an Adonis when young, strong and athletic.  He had a sharp mind and had been well-educated, intended, ironically, for a career in the Church before the death of his elder brother Arthur.  He was reputed, correctly, to be pious.  He had considerable charisma in his youth and knew how to make himself loved with a well timed laugh or smile, and loved he was, by the nobles, commons, his wife Katherine, and the Church.  Few reigns started more auspiciously than that of Henry, eighth of that name.

By the end of his reign he was widely despised by most of his subjects.  Called a crowned monster behind his back, his reign had brought religious turmoil to England and domestic strife.  The best known symbols of his reign were the headman’s axe, the stake and the boiling pot in which he had some of the luckless individuals who roused his fury boiled to death.

It of course is small wonder for a Catholic to have little love for Henry VIII and his reign, but the distaste for Henry extends well beyond members of the Church.  Winston Churchill, the great English statesman and historian, in his magisterial History of the English Speaking Peoples, has this to say about the executions of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher:

“The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.”


Churchill himself was not noted for being a churchgoer.  When asked if he was a pillar of the Church of England, he quipped that perhaps he could be considered to be a flying buttress of the Church, supporting it from outside.  Perhaps this helped give him a certain objectivity regarding Henry VIII.  Here is part of his summing up of Henry’s reign:

“Henry’s rule saw many advances in the growth and the character of the English state, but it is a hideous blot upon his record that the reign should be widely remembered for its executions.  Two Queens, two of the King’s chief Ministers, a saintly bishop, numerous abbots, monks and many ordinary folk who dared to resist the royal will were put to death.  Almost every member of the nobility in whom royal blood ran perished on the scaffold at Henry’s command.  Roman Catholic and Calvinist alike were burnt for heresy and religious treason.  These persecutions, inflicted in solemn manner by officers of the law, perhaps in the presence of the Council or even the King himself, form a brutal sequel to the bright promise of the Renaissance.  The sufferings of devout men and women among the faggots, the use of torture, and the savage penalties imposed for even paltry crimes, stand in repellent contrast to the enlightened principles of humanism.” 

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7 Responses to Fortnight for Freedom: Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher

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Fortnight For Freedom: Bulwark of Freedom

Wednesday, June 21, AD 2017




On this date 239 years ago New Hampshire adopted the Constitution and the Constitution went into effect, as the “Live Free or Die State” was the ninth state to vote to ratify it.  I love the Constitution.  The Founding Fathers crafted it well.  Where this country has gone off the rails is when one arm of the tripartite government begins to operate outside of its scope.  For example, when courts act like legislatures, when administrative agencies act like legislatures, when Congress attempts to micromanage foreign policy, etc.  I have heard the Constitution praised as the bulwark of our liberties.  It is a pretty sentiment, but mistaken.  Lincoln hit the target in a speech on what is the bulwark of our liberties, after God:

What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.
September, 11, 1858


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Fortnight For Freedom 2017

Tuesday, June 20, AD 2017


As in years past The American Catholic will participate in the Fortnight for Freedom proclaimed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Each day up to the Fourth of July we will have a special blog post on the subject of liberty and freedom.

I debated in my mind whether to participate this year.  With a friend of liberty in the White House, it seemed less pressing to participate than under the odious Obama regime that was a clear and pressing danger to American liberty.  However, as our history shows, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and the issues raised in regard to the defense of our freedoms goes to the very heart of what it means to be an American.  This country was born in furious debate and thus it must continue.  And so we will take part again this year.


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27 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom 2017

  • God made all things AND KEEPS THEM IN EXISTENCE. it is this “KEEPS THEM IN EXISTENCE” battle that must be fought against the forces of hell. It is God’s battle. Make no mistake. “their Creator” created man in freedom and endowed the sovereignty of man to each and every person. It is to maintain the kingdom of heaven that we must be constantly vigilant.

  • Freedom, use it or loose it. The same can be said of Teaching Authority.

    It was during the Obama administration when I first heard… a sermon on contraception, a weak one, but one none the less. Now, things are suddenly quiet again.
    We need exercises in solid Teaching much more than a “Fortnight For Freedom 2017” celebration.

  • The captains of our ships…both secular and sacred, seem to be asleep at the wheel! Bishops wake up!

  • The USCCB claims “How to talk about Religious Liberty,” that religious Freedom is “2. A Fundamental Right” but religious freedom is not a fundamental right in Catholic Tradition and so it seems to ABS that claim is in direct opposition to Mirari Vos, Pascendi, The Syllabus of Errors, the Leonine Encyclicals, (Immortale Dei, and Libertas) and other examples could be multiplied.

    It can not be contested the Magisterium of today has pitted itself against the Magisterium of Tradition and so instead of celebrating this contentious chaos, let’s consider just getting drunk.

    The Thomist, Msgr. BruneroGherardini, “The Ecumenical Vatican Council II A MUCH NEEDED DISCUSSION” produces a recapitulation of the Church historic opposition to the claims of the USCCB (See Denzinger 647 for a rather different consideration of Religious LIberty).

    On page 217 of his text, Msgr Gherardini observes: The content of DH and the contents of the previous Magisterium are different. So, there is neither continuity nor development of the previous Magisterium in DH.

  • It’s not so simple as that. Limited religious tolerance was always extended to the Jews, for example, with the Popes of the Middle Ages often being the protector of the Jews. The Crusaders, with the consent of the Church, extended tolerance to many Christian groups in the East that would have been considered to be heretical. During the first three centuries of Christianity the Church asked to be merely left alone by Caesar. The discussion is complicated by the fact that heretical groups often didn’t seek tolerance but rather to destroy the Church. It is interesting that at the height of the Wars of Religion, during the reign of Mary Tudor, the Pope through his representatives was counseling a tolerant go slow approach. Pope Innocent XI expressed his displeasure at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and the persecution of the French Protestants undertaken by Louis XIV. Pope Gregory XVI, no fan of republics, noted that because of the hands off policy to religion in the United States, that except for the Papal States in no other country was he more the Pope.

    I think a good case can be made that the Church never came out against religious freedom, as we understand it today, in a regime where the Catholic Church was tolerated and protected by the Civil Authority. Actions of the past cannot be viewed in isolation but must be understood as they related to the conditions of the time.

  • “religious freedom, as we understand it today” I wish I understood how we understand it today 🙂
    We are getting into the odd position of seculars discussing and dividing theological questions– like Bernard Sanders- whose opinion has some weight.
    Plus, of course, words don’t mean what they have always meant– and they mean different things in different places. I read that religious freedom in England meant that every citizen had the right to the ministration of the Anglican church.

  • “We are getting into the odd position of seculars discussing and dividing theological questions–”

    In my case I am discussing the history of the Church and religious freedom.

  • Yes I understood that and appreciated your post. I was just jumping to a aspect of the discussion that is a concern to me– a lack of shared understanding of the meaning of terms.
    And also the very loud voice of today’s secular politicians who have a big impact religious liberty, maybe without a personal involvement in religion.

  • With the Catholic Church siding with the secular world in so many ways we have to wonder whether in the future the Fortnight of Freedom will be seen as an archaic and un-necessary practice. Seems to me our general loss of faith within and outside the Church should be our main concern.

  • Limited religious tolerance was always extended to the Jews, for example, with the Popes of the Middle Ages often being the protector of the Jews

    True enough but the Church did not let them proselytise and Catholics could not work for them etc. whereas the Judaised protestants who established America were keen on preventing the true religion from being an effective force against its desires and so they chose to keep religion private even though Catholic Doctrine teaches the state has a duty to worship God publicly.

    ABS acknowledges we disagree on this but he is not about to belabor the point on your blog so ABS will just retire from this thread and thank you for your patience.

    Simliar repossess could be made to your other examples

  • “even though Catholic Doctrine teaches the state has a duty to worship God publicly.”

    And what a disaster getting into bed with Caesar has been for the Church. At best it makes for a lazy Church. At worst it makes for a Church that becomes a national Church that looks to the State for marching orders as occurred with the Gallican movement in the Church in France. Where the State has historically adopted a hands off policy with the Church, the Church has flourished. Modern liberalism seeks to place hands on the Church which is one reason why I oppose it so strongly.

  • While prudential concerns might dictate that tolerance be extended by the state, and indeed, in the modern world, it’s hard to imagine a state (though some exceptions come to mind: Poland, for instance) *not* exercising practical tolerance, it is undeniable that the Church taught, as part of its ordinary magisterium, that the state qua state has a duty to acknowledge the one true religion and favor it, since the purpose of the state is to facilitate the telos of human existence, namely salvation, and salvation comes only through Christ and His Church. Again, that the public recognition of the Church and the suppressing of sects might be utterly impractical at a given time does not diminish the reality of the state’s duties with respect to God.

  • “does not diminish the reality of the state’s duties with respect to God.”

    Having Caesar act as a guardian for the Church has, in practice, been bad for the Church. I am glad that the idea of it being accomplished anywhere currently seems impossible. The less involvement that the Church has with Caesar the better.

  • Well, the point is, regardless of one’s view about the historical success or not of state cooperation with the Church (a lengthy, complicated, and nuanced one, revealing successes and failures), the Church’s *doctrine* as opposed to any individual’s assessment of the wisdom of how the doctrine has concretely played out, is clear: the State, deriving authority as it does from God, is bound to cooperate in helping men achieve their final end. For further study, cf, Mortalium Animos, Libertas Praestantissimum, Mirari Vos, the Syllabus of Errors, Vehementer Nos, and even the “liberal” Leo XII in Longique Oceana, where he said: “it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced.”
    I agree with the Popes and the Magisterium on this one.

  • whereas the Judaised protestants


    who established America were keen on preventing the true religion from being an effective force against its desires and so they chose to keep religion private even though Catholic Doctrine teaches the state has a duty to worship God publicly.

    That’s a most … inventive understanding of New England Puritans.

  • “I agree with the Popes and the Magisterium on this one.”

    Actually you disagree with some of the Popes and the Magisterium on this one, as do I, since Popes and the Magisterium have proclaimed different things in regard to religious freedom and the relationship of the Church to the State at different times.
    In regard to religious freedom I say ditto to John Paul II:

    The history of the Church with the State tends to be a combative and an unhappy one and the Church should always have followed the example of Christ and the early Christians who never asked anything of Caesar for three centuries except to be left alone.

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  • Sorry, but the perennial doctrine on the duties of the state to the true Faith remains unchanged by Vatican II, as the Declaration on Religious Liberty expressly stated, that document, while acknowledging a personal right to free exercise of religion, “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”
    That “untouched traditional doctrine” was expressed in the papal magisterial documents I mentioned previously. There is no more definitive statement than these encyclicals, affirmed by the express words of an Ecumenical Council, regardless of the personal opinions of a particular Pope. A Catholic may not like that teaching, but a Catholic is bound to accept them by “religious submission of the mind and will,” as Lumen Gentium, another document of Vatican II phrased it.

  • Where the State has historically adopted a hands off policy with the Church, the Church has flourished

    Not in America.

    Both the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and The State are perfect societies in that each has as its disposal all of the means to meet each of its ends (salvation and Sanctification, Church Common Good, State) but both must acknowledge God as the source of authority and, thus, the state can not legislate in opposition to Jesus Christ the King as His commandments and yet we see that America has established positive law that succors the Four Sins crying to Heaven for Vengeance.

    Open Borders -> excessive labor -> decreased wages
    etc etc.

    This malign madness is one that ought not be celebrated

  • “Not in America.”

    Of course it has, at least until Vatican II. Also compare and contrast the state of the Church in this country with traditional Catholic countries like Spain and Austria where the Church is on life support.

    “Both the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and The State are perfect societies:Both the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and The State are perfect societies ”

    Even a cursory review of history would indicate that is complete and total rubbish. The only aspect of the Church that is a perfect society is the Church Triumphant.

  • “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”

    “Leaves untouched”, yes. Smashed to bits would be more accurate. As we attorneys know Tom, words can be used in many ways but they can never alter reality. The idea that the Church today would support a state that forbade all religions except Catholicism is simple lunacy.

    “Government is also to help create conditions favorable to the fostering of religious life, in order that the people may be truly enabled to exercise their religious rights and to fulfill their religious duties, and also in order that society itself may profit by the moral qualities of justice and peace which have their origin in men’s faithfulness to God and to His holy will. (6)

    If, in view of peculiar circumstances obtaining among peoples, special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional order of society, it is at the same time imperative that the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom should be recognized and made effective in practice.

    Finally, government is to see to it that equality of citizens before the law, which is itself an element of the common good, is never violated, whether openly or covertly, for religious reasons. Nor is there to be discrimination among citizens.

    It follows that a wrong is done when government imposes upon its people, by force or fear or other means, the profession or repudiation of any religion, or when it hinders men from joining or leaving a religious community. All the more is it a violation of the will of God and of the sacred rights of the person and the family of nations when force is brought to bear in any way in order to destroy or repress religion, either in the whole of mankind or in a particular country or in a definite community”

    Compare and contrast that section of DH with this section from the Syllabus of Errors:’

    “77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. — Allocution “Nemo vestrum,” July 26, 1855.

    78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship. — Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852.”

  • That’s a most … inventive understanding of New England Puritans.

    It is not really inventive, rather, it just describes what happened in a nutshell.

    The English Puritans exited to the Low Countries where they we’re schooled by such men as the Jews who had been bounced out of Spain and those prots/puritans came to the colonies and established their Judaised Protestant state.

    P. 84 here:

    OK, earlier ABS said he would shut up and so he will even though the topic is interesting

  • Of course it has, at least until Vatican II. Also compare and contrast the state of the Church in this country with traditional Catholic countries like Spain and Austria where the Church is on life support.

    I think you mean France, not Spain. I’m not aware of any country in Europe bar Malta (and perhaps Poland) where the Church has much vigor, but IIRC Spain and Portugal are above the median.

  • It is not really inventive, rather, it just describes what happened in a nutshell.

    In the space between your ears only.

  • I wrote my undergrad thesis on the conflict between Dignitatis Humanae and the traditional teaching of the Church, particularly as enunciated by the Church Fathers, so yes, I’m acutely aware of the “tension” (to put it mildly) between DH and tradition. Nonetheless, the duty of a Catholic is, to use the legalese we so love, to interpret the teaching in pari materia, attempting to show continuity, not discontinuity. Many have done so with respect to DH, some with more success than others. Fr. Brian Harrison (another lawyer!) came closest in my view.
    What all orthodox commenters maintain, however, is that the traditional teaching remains intact so far as the duties of individuals and societies both to acknowledge the Kingship of Christ and order their affairs accordingly. This does not, by the way, necessarily mean a fusion of Church and State, but rather the State accompanying the Church in the effort to save souls. Think 15th and 16th century Spain, where a confessional state kept the country from going Protestant. Other examples exist, but it’s a sidetrack, since the issue is the principle. By the way, “perfect society” is a theological/philosophical term of art, not a concrete descriptive. Both Church and state are in fact perfect societies. (cf.,

  • “By the way, “perfect society” is a theological/philosophical term of art, not a concrete descriptive. Both Church and state are in fact perfect societies.”

    I’m aware of that Tom but I find it amusing since historically it is simply not accurate of any human society. It is no accident, as the Marxists used to say, that the term has not been used by the Church much since its swan song usage by Paul VI in ’69.

    I understand the desire to pretend that DH does not break with tradition but I find the arguments simply unconvincing. It is like arguing that there is no difference between our Universe and the Bearded Spock Universe. One can imagine Pope John Paul II in Heaven futilely attempting to convince Pio Nono that DH did not involve a rupture from what he taught in the Syllabus of Errors.

    In regard to Spain one could argue that the close alliance of State and Church fanned the flames of the anti-clericalism that became such a feature of Spanish life in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Longterm I think such identification by the Church with a local Caesar is almost always a bad bargain for the Church.


    See #23- #36
 if there is no time to read all of it
    note #35 in which Pope Leo XII reiterates Tradition that Church and State are perfect societies.

    The Church has abandoned Tradition vis a vis the Church and State and it is impossible to reconcile DH with Tradition.

    In any event, were a nominal Catholic (i.e. the USCCB members) to read the great encyclicals of Pope Leo XII, they’d be constrained to clam-up about glorifying Freedom of Religion.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Declaration of Independence

Monday, July 4, AD 2016


fortnight for freedom 2016





IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

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6 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: Declaration of Independence

  • It appears that Catholic thought also directly influenced the Declaration. Here’s an interesting post from Volokh Conspiracy about “Lex, Rex,” by Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish Presbyterian:

    “Rutherford used the Scholastic model of questions, assertions and arguments. Unlike some other Protestants, Rutherford quoted from and built explicitly on Thomas Aquinas and other Catholics, such as the Spanish Second Scholastics Francisco Vitoria and Francisco Suárez. Like the Scholastics, Rutherford paid great attention to Aristotle and to the political history of ancient Greece and Rome.”

  • Now there is one more reason I look forward to July 4th. And that is this sham called Fortnight for Freedom (or as truth in advertising would demand, Operation Define Religious Liberty Down to the Abyss of the Meaningless) will be over for another year.

    Don’s first post was about the bishops getting into bed with Caesar. Well, the USCCB’s FFF campaign is just one more tryst in that sordid affair. To characterize just immigration laws as an attack in the same way the HHS Mandate does cannot be justified by any Catholic or Constitutional stretch of the imagination. And when you look at this campaign against the backdrop of Cardinal Dolan’s race-baited calumnious swipe at Arizona’s SB 1070 and the USCCB’s amicus brief to SCOTUS citing that same law as a serious threat to religious liberty (a reading of the law for which you can easily find by googleling it will reveal it does no such thing), and the USCCB receiving government funding through its Migration Fund, the bishops place the push for open borders immigration policy as a higher priority than actual religious liberty. A sad truth to be sure, but the truth nonetheless.

  • Stay on topic Greg. I know your opinion about the Fortnight for Freedom, but this post is about the Declaration of Independence. I would think that all Americans could find much to celebrate about that document. Is it too much too ask that on one day, one day, we celebrate our American heritage?

  • I am with you Donald, Celebrating our American heritage on the fourth and all days. And thank you for posting the entire declaration here, we don’t see it often enough to remind us just how much we have to be thankful for.

  • And we should all rejoice in all our freedoms, and that it is not yet a hate crime to read the Declaration Of Independence in public.

  • “What was written in 1776 applies to our current despot: “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

    In full:

    Sorry re the length on this one-post from Natl Cath Reg some years back:

    Posted by Guy McClung on Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012 4:29 PM (EDT):

    England, Could You, Would You?

    Dear England: Some years ago we sent a cordial note to your monarch – some here called it a DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE – in an effort to commence a mutually beneficial dialogue between some of us over here and you all over there. Only for potential negotiating advantage did our forefathers refer to your monarch as a “Tyrant” and his form of government as “despotism.”

    Due to recent developments here in the colonies, we entreat you to consider re-opening this dialogue begun in the Spring of 1776 and, after a serious study of the benefits for all of us, that you allow us to again join with you and become part of the realm. Let us in mutual cooperation submit facts to a candid world.

    Our Declaration listed some proposed talking points (in the parlance of that time over two centuries ago these topics for discussion were referred to as “usurpations” which then was just another word for “deliberations”). “He” was the esteemed and beloved His Royal Highness George III. We believe some of these topics bear reconsideration today since they perfectly describe our present tyrant in the White House; for example

    “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States;
    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.”

    We had no clue that the “swarms” of which we complained previously in 1776 could today multiply exponentially into heartless hordes, virtual mobs, of intransigent agents and officers.

    We apologetically admit that we had no idea that someone could subvert words we wrote specifically to prevent tyranny; and then could sign treaties which countermanded our Constitution and were contrary to the will of the people. By his imperial pen he is at this very moment preparing to sign a UN Treaty to repeal our 2nd Amendment, when he is fully aware that our Constitution explicitly does not permit amendment in this way.

    Our taxes, as compared to those just and reasonable ones under the esteemed and beloved George III, have also increased both exponentially in rate and in the scope of things and activities taxed.

    We did not realize that what we were setting up could be abused via so-called “penalties” so that a huge percentage – now almost 50% – of all the populace live off the labor and sweat of the remaining people who work. We had no idea that our plans could be embodied in a work force nearly half of whose jobs are working for the government to either control every aspect of our lives or to collect the taxes which apply to every aspect of our existence from birth to death and even thereafter.

    Your revered monarchs have always respected the rights enshrined in the Magna Carta, while our current tyrant invests himself and his government with power to legislate –which we thought we had reserved to a legislative branch of government – while now via imperial decrees – which are called “executive orders” – he himself alone legislates enacting his imperial “laws” which are not based on and are usually contrary to the will of the people.

    And now our country, at his bidding, is divided – making what we called “domestic insurrections” in 1776 look like picnics – while he purposefully pits one group against another, making Americans hate Americans, to increase his power.

    What was written in 1776 applies to our current despot: “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

    For some time we have been inclined to suffer, while evils were sufferable, rather than to right ourselves by leaving our loved homeland so that we are not subject to the new form of aristocracy here in the colonies. Since in this day and age change as occurred in 1776 is unrealistic and politically impossible, we humbly and earnestly ask, no, we beg and beseech you, that you most seriously consider allowing us to rejoin you so that we can again lift our heads high with others who respect human dignity, who value the Creator-endowed inalienable rights of all men and women, and who believe that government is of, by and for the people.

    God bless the Queen; and God bless America.
    Sincerely, the People of the Unites States of America

    PS: All rights reserved in the event of a “Queen Camilla”

    Read more:

Fortnight For Freedom: Battle Cries of Freedom

Saturday, July 2, AD 2016

fortnight for freedom 2016

Something for a Fourth of July weekend.  The Battle Cry of Freedom was a popular song North and South during the Civil War.  Of course they sang different lyrics to the song.  The Union version was such a favorite among the Union troops, that President Lincoln, in a letter to George F. Root, the composer, wrote:  “You have done more than a hundred generals and a thousand  orators. If you could not shoulder a musket in defense of your country, you certainly have served her through your songs.”

Here is the Southern version sung by Bobby Horton who has waged a one man campaign to bring Civil War music to modern audiences:


Here is the version from the Lincoln (2012) movie:

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Fortnight For Freedom: Great Family of Man

Friday, July 1, AD 2016

fortnight for freedom 2016




These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.

Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858

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One Response to Fortnight For Freedom: Great Family of Man

  • The Temple of Liberty will survive.
    Obama – Clinton – Trump. They will bow before Thee…now or at the hour of Judgement .

    We have a good and gracious God. Rich in mercy and patience beyond human ability. He will teach as He chastises, yet He will extend forgiveness to those who are contrite of heart.

    “Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self evident truths, that when in the distant future, some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, their prosperity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence, and TAKE COURAGE To renew the battle which their fathers began – so that TRUTH, and Justice, and Mercy and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principals on which the Temple of Liberty was being built.”

    My God! The emphasis added is for your WORK to be accomplished regardless of the tyranny that threatens your work. Not regardless, rather in defiance of the tyranny that is set to try to destroy your Great Work, AMERICA.

    With YOU great God, we will not bow to hypocrites that claim your authority yet despise your commandments, rather we will stand fast aginist these liars who wish to rule over you and your people. We will rise up to defend Religious Freedom and the Christian Church which you founded after nine evenings of prayer in the upper room so many years ago. We will never give in or up. We will sacrifice our lives since we are yours, and our lives are only granted us by your decree and your power. We will be worthy of the Name, Christian. We will abide by you, our Creator since we are yours..your creatures, your children and your witnesses in this time, our time to stand with you! We stand! We will not fail you. We will proclaim your greatness with our inferiority…since it is in our weaknesses that your power is evident. With you great God, we will never be defeated, since the kingdom we proclaim is everlasting and yours forever. A kingdom that will never end. Your kingdom come…NOW and forever..Amen.

    The distant future Abraham Lincoln spoke of is here. It is now.

    Happy birthday.
    We won’t let you down!

Fortnight For Freedom: Archbishop John Ireland on Patriotism

Thursday, June 30, AD 2016


fortnight for freedom 2016





Like most veterans of the Civil War, go here to read about his service, Archbishop John Ireland had a deep love of this nation.  The following is a speech on patriotism that he delivered to the New York Commandery of the Loyal League on April 4, 1894.  His speech is completely out of step with the popular sentiments of our day that tend to view patriotism, at best, with suspicion and that take for granted freedom hard won by the blood of prior generations.  I find myself much closer to agreement with the Archbishop than I do with the zeitgeist in which we find ourselves.



Patriotism is love of country, and loyalty to its life and weal—love tender and strong, tender as the love of son for mother, strong as the pillars of death; loyalty generous and disinterested, shrinking from no sacrifice, seeking no reward save country’s honor and country’s triumph.

  Patriotism! There is magic in the word. It is bliss to repeat it. Through ages the human race burnt the incense of admiration and reverence at the shrines of patriotism. The most beautiful pages of history are those which recount its deeds. Fireside tales, the outpourings of the memories of peoples, borrow from it their warmest glow.
Poets are sweetest when they re-echo its whisperings; orators are most potent when they thrill its chords to music.

Pagan nations were wrong when they made gods of their noblest patriots. But the error was the excess of a great truth, that heaven unites with earth in approving and blessing patriotism; that patriotism is one of earth’s highest virtues, worthy to have come down from the atmosphere of the skies.

  The exalted patriotism of the exiled Hebrew exhaled itself in a canticle of religion which Jehovah inspired, and which has been transmitted, as the inheritance of God’s people to the Christian Church:

“Upon the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, when we remembered Sion.—If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember thee, if I do not make Jerusalem the beginning of my joy.”

The human race pays homage to patriotism because of its supreme value. The value of patriotism to a people is above gold and precious stones, above commerce and industry, above citadels and warships. Patriotism is the vital spark of national honor; it is the fount of the nation’s prosperity, the shield of the nation’s safety. Take patriotism away, the nation’s soul has fled, bloom and beauty have vanished from the nation’s countenance.

The human race pays homage to patriotism because of its supreme loveliness. Patriotism goes out to what is among earth’s possessions the most precious, the first and best and dearest—country—and its effusion is the fragrant flowering of the purest and noblest sentiments of the heart.

Patriotism is innate in all men; the absence of it betokens a perversion of human nature; but it grows its full growth only where thoughts are elevated and heart-beatings are generous.

Next to God is country, and next to religion is patriotism. No praise goes beyond its deserts. It is sublime in its heroic oblation upon the field of battle. “Oh glorious is he,” exclaims in Homer the Trojan warrior, “who for his country falls!” It is sublime in the oft-repeated toil of dutiful citizenship. “Of all human doings,” writes Cicero, “none is more honorable and more estimable than to merit well of the commonwealth.”

Countries are of divine appointment. The Most High “divided the nations, separated the sons of Adam, and appointed the bounds of peoples.” The physical and moral necessities of God’s creatures are revelations of his will and laws. Man is born a social being. A condition of his existence and of his growth of mature age is the family. Nor does the family suffice to itself. A larger social organism is needed, into which families gather, so as to obtain from one another security to life and property and aid in the development of the faculties and powers with which nature has endowed the children of men.

The whole human race is too extensive and too diversified in interests to serve those ends: hence its subdivisions into countries or peoples. Countries have their providential limits—the waters of a sea, a mountain range, the lines of similarity of requirements or of methods of living. The limits widen in space according to the measure of the destinies which the great Ruler allots to peoples, and the importance of their parts in the mighty work of the cycles of years, the ever-advancing tide of humanity’s evolution.

The Lord is the God of nations because he is the God of men. No nation is born into life or vanishes back into nothingness without his bidding. I believe in the providence of God over countries as I believe in his wisdom and his love, and my patriotism to my country rises within my soul invested with the halo of my religion to my God.

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3 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: Archbishop John Ireland on Patriotism

  • Breathtaking and inspiring in its wisdom. I will share with my children on Independence Day. The last two paragraphs put love of country in historical and moral perspective. I marvel at the contrast between this view of liberty to the political positions of the USCCB and far too many of our bishops.

  • Maybe had he been a little less nationalistic and a bit more Catholic, Archbishop John Ireland wouldn’t be known as the founder of the Orthodox Church in America.

  • Maybe if Father Alexis Toth hadn’t been so concerned with his ruffled pride he wouldn’t have died a schismatic. Or, here is an idea, maybe if the Vatican had assigned Eastern Rite bishops to America in the nineteenth century, instead of ignoring a manifest problem, the issue wouldn’t have come up at all. It would also have helped if Eastern Rite Bishops in Europe hadn’t ignored their priests in America leaving them without any instructions.

    As for Archbishop Ireland, he was a patriot, and anyone who calls him anything else better have been exposed to enemy fire as he was.

Fortnight For Freedom: Abraham Lincoln on the Supreme Court

Tuesday, June 28, AD 2016






fortnight for freedom 2016


(This is a repeat from last year.  In light of the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday, go here to read about it, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down two key sections in the Texas abortion law, it seemed more relevant than ever.  The Supreme Court is growing ever more high handed in its rulings, and what it is engaged in when it comes to favored made up court created rights like “abortion” and “gay marriage” has nothing to do with the law or the constitution.  In his blistering dissent in Hellerstedt, Justice Clarence Thomas nailed it:


Some quotes from Abraham Lincoln in how to react to illegitimate Supreme Court decisions.  An illegitimate decision is one in which the Court arrogates to itself the power of a legislature under the mendacious guise of merely interpreting the Constitution:

1.  I do not forget the position assumed by some, that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case, upon the parties to a suit; as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the government.

2.  Judicial decisions have two uses-first, to absolutely determine the case decided, and secondly, to indicate to the public how other similar cases will be decided when they arise. For the latter use, they are called “precedents” and “authorities.”

3.  We think its (the Supreme Court) decisions on Constitutional questions, when fully settled, should control, not only the particular cases decided, but the general policy of the country, subject to be disturbed only by amendments of the Constitution as provided in that instrument itself. More than this would be revolution.

4.  At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.

5.  Judicial decisions are of greater or less authority as precedents, according to circumstances. That this should be so, accords both with common sense, and the customary understanding of the legal profession.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Benjamin Franklin

Monday, June 27, AD 2016

fortnight for freedom 2016


During the Constitutional Convention, on June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin, dismayed by the lack of progress since the convention convened on May 25, 1787, and alarmed at the acrimony of the debates, rose and delivered a memorable address:


Mr. President

The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other,”our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes and ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, some we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. ”Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Great God Our King

Sunday, June 26, AD 2016

fortnight for freedom 2016



America has  always been my  favorite patriotic song.  Written by a Baptist minister, Samuel Francis, and set to the tune, ironically, of God Save the Queen, the song was first performed on July 4, 1831 at Park Street Church in Boston.  Near the end of his life, Francis was proposed by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr, for an honorary degree from Harvard.  Harvard turned this proposal down on the grounds that Smith had not written the tune.  The reply of Holmes was memorable and prophetic:  His song will be sung centuries from now, when most of us and our pipings are forgotten.



The rendition above is by Marian Anderson, perhaps the most gifted songstress of her generation.  A devout Christian, this granddaughter of slaves was denied the opportunity by the Daughters of the American Revolution to sing at Constitution Hall in 1939.  In 1939 the District of Columbia was controlled by committees of Congress.  Democrat segregationists rigidly enforced rules of segregation in the District.  Blacks were rightly upset that during a performance by Miss Anderson, if it had been held at Constitution Hall, they would have been required to sit in the back of the hall.  The District of Columbia Board of Education, controlled by Democrats, declined to allow Marian Anderson to perform in the auditorium of a white school.  To her credit, Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband arranged for Anderson to give her unforgettable performance at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939, Easter Sunday.

During the war years, Miss Anderson spent a large part of her time entertaining troops.  In 1943, at the invitation of the Daughters of the American Revolution, she sang before an integrated audience for a Red Cross benefit.  The always gracious Miss Anderson remembered the event:  When I finally walked onto the stage of Constitution Hall, I felt no different than I had in other halls. There was no sense of triumph. I felt that it was a beautiful concert hall and I was very happy to sing there.”

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One Response to Fortnight For Freedom: Great God Our King

  • Marian Anderson, what a voice. As she sang, what struck me was how well dressed the crowd was . . . take a look again. Reminds me of pictures and film from the 40s and 50s at baseball games.

    How we comport ourselves and dress in public is a direct reflection of the state of our culture and society. Is it even possible that we can regain some semblance of our decorum as a culture and society?