Fortnight For Freedom: Declaration of Independence

Tuesday, July 4, AD 2017

 

 

 

 

 

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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Fortnight For Freedom Day: Freedom is Not Just a Big Word

Monday, July 3, AD 2017

But before he started he looked over the judge and jury for
a moment, such being his custom. And he noticed the glitter in their eyes was twice as strong as before, and they
all leaned forward. Like hounds just before they get the fox, they looked, and the blue mist of evil in the room
thickened as he watched them. Then he saw what he’d been about to do, and he wiped his forehead, as a man
might who’s just escaped falling into a pit in the dark.
For it was him they’d come for, not only Jabez Stone. He read it in the glitter of their eyes and in the way the
stranger hid his mouth with one hand. And if he fought them with their own weapons, he’d fall into their power;
he knew that, though he couldn’t have told you how. It was his own anger and horror that burned in their eyes; and
he’d have to wipe that out or the case was lost. He stood there for a moment, his black eyes burning like
anthracite. And then he began to speak.
Stephen Vincent Benet, The Devil and Daniel Webster

 

 

 

 

 

The video at the top of this post is a scene from the classic movie, The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), based upon the short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, in which Daniel Webster bests Satan in a jury trial to save the soul of New Hampshireman Jabez Stone.   In this scene Daniel Webster addresses a jury of the damned, all villains of American history.  I have always thought this speech one of the most eloquent statements of what it means to be an American.

In regard to Freedom it reminds us that it is just not a word:  Freedom is not just a big word — “it is the bread and the   morning and the risen sun”.

Go here to read the passage in the Stephen Vincet Benet’s short story.  Below is the scene as written in the screenplay:

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Fortnight For Freedom: A Just War

Sunday, July 2, AD 2017

 

 

 

Based on the just war doctrine first enunciated by Saint Augustine, the American Revolution was a just war.

 

Over the centuries the precise content of the just war doctrine has varied.  The classic definition of it by Saint Thomas Aquinas is set forth in Part II, Question 40 of his Summa Theologica:

“I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Rm. 13:4): “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil”; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Ps. 81:4): “Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner”; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): “The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority.”

Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. Wherefore Augustine says (Questions. in Hept., qu. x, super Jos.): “A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”

Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [*The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine’s works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1]): “True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good.” For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): “The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war.”

The most recent formulation of the Just War doctrine for the Church is set forth in the Catechism at 2309:

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4 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: A Just War

  • Reading this post I am so glad that Thomas Jefferson had the foresight to enumerate the failings of King George III to acknowledge the colonists’ freedom: taxation without representation, disrespect of the colonists’ private property and especially trials in absentia. In Isaiah 50: 6-9 Isaiah writes: “…if anyone wishes to oppose me , let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let him confront me.” Being faced in a court of law is a law as old as the Old Testament. This law is our Fifth Amendment in our Constitution. There is no way that King George III could have not known about the freedom of Justice. Had King George III repented of his egregious crimes against Justice, Americans may still be English citizens. But alas, much blood was spilled to water the Tree of Liberty and a new nation was born, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal in original innocence and sovereign personhood. Every sovereign person is a child, an adopted child of God, but we must adhere to the Truth or be lost. WHO is the Truth? Jesus Christ is the Truth. Jesus Christ, who prayed in the public square to “…deliver us from evil.”
    Every newly begotten soul is innocence growing, our Constitutional Posterity. Every child is Liberty walking, the rebirth of our nation.
    “And for support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” ratified by every state.
    They did not die in vain.

  • Nice to see. Shortly after I became Catholic, I was stunned to see how many Catholics on how many Catholics sites decried the Revolution as a sinful and unjust war that failed to live up to the standards set.

  • Dave, there are certain radical traditionalists who issued by some Pope in centuries past that the only legitimate government is a Catholic monarchy. King George was no Catholic monarch of a Catholic confessional state but certain radtrads still hold to a monarchy. Without help from then Catholic Spain and France, the Americans would have had a much more difficult time achieving independence.

  • and please remember Casimir Pulaski, a Pole.

Fortnight For Freedom: The Liberty Song

Saturday, July 1, AD 2017

 

Something for the weekend.  The Liberty Song.

 

Written by Founding Father John Dickinson in 1768, the song was sung by patriots in America to the tune of Heart of OakThe video below is the most hilarious scene from the John Adams mini-series where a completely fish out of water John Adams gets donations for the American cause from French aristocrats as they sing the Liberty Song, led by Ben Franklin who is obviously immensely enjoying himself.  It is a good song for Americans to recall, and perhaps especially so in this year of grace, 2017.

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Fortnight For Freedom: High Worship Word

Friday, June 30, AD 2017

 

 

Captain James T. Kirk: [to Spock] Keep working on the window if we’re ever gonna regain our freedom.

Cloud William: Freedom?

[he gets up]

Cloud William: Freedom?

Captain James T. Kirk: Spock.

Mr. Spock: Yes, I heard, Captain.

Cloud William: That is a worship word, Yang worship. You will not speak it.

Star Trek:  The Omega Glory

Long time readers of this blog will not be surprised to see that I have managed to work a Star Trek episode into one of the Fortnight For Freedom posts!

One of the “alternate Earth” episodes that became fairly common as the original Star Trek series proceeded, as explained by Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development, and stringent episode budgets,  the Omega Glory episode in the video clip at the beginning of this post featured an Earth where a cataclysmic war had driven the Americans, the Yangs, out of their cities and into primitive warbands.  Chinese Communists, the Kohms, settled in America.  Their technology was a few steps higher than the Yangs.  The Yangs had been waging a war for generations to drive the Kohms from their land, and the episode coincided with the Yangs taking the last of “the Kohm places”.

Over the generations, the Yangs had forgotten almost all of their history and what little knowledge remained was restricted to priests and chieftains.

“Cloud William: Freedom?

James T. Kirk: Spock.

Spock: Yes, I heard, Captain.

Cloud William: It is a worship word, Yang worship. You will not speak it.

James T. Kirk: Well, well, well. It is… our worship word, too.

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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:

THEY COMFORTED THE DYING, NURSED THE WOUNDED, CARRIED HOPE TO THE IMPRISONED, GAVE IN HIS NAME A DRINK OF WATER TO THE THIRSTY

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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4 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.

  • There are still nuns on the battlefield. A year ago I was on an army post grocery shopping and met a nun in a white traditional habit. Turns out she is an army reserve surgeon who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. On the civilian side she operates on charity patients in a hospital in an affluent neighborhood and periodically travels to Sudan under the auspices of doctors without borders.

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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8 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.

  • Agreed, Mary. However, it is not the father’s decision on whom his 30 year daughter choses to marry. I can understand that he may want purely black grandchildren, but his daughter’s FREEDOM demands that he acquiesce to her decision. As it however turned out, she acquiesced to his. Again, it was her free choice and we remained friends ever after that. I neither hated her father nor was angry with her – her life, her decision.

    PS, that one thing in my life always amazed me. For whatever reason I never got a resentment over that whole thing. Maybe the 12 steps were starting to work in my life instead of me always fighting against them.

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:

SERTUM LAETITIAE

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII
ON THE HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE HIERARCHY
IN THE UNITED STATES

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.

Fortnight For Freedom: Getting in Bed With Caesar

Sunday, June 25, AD 2017

tiberius

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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16 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.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/23/534127330/illinois-bishop-decrees-no-communion-funeral-rites-for-same-sex-spouses

  • 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.”

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

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

    Oh?

    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:
    https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/messages/pont_messages/1980/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_19800901_helsinki-act.html

    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.

    Abortion
    Sodomy
    Usury
    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:

    http://www.nhinet.org/moots23-1.pdf

    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. http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt151.html
    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., http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=35522)

  • “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.

  • IMMORTALE DEI
    ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII
ON THE CHRISTIAN CONSTITUTION OF STATES

    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.

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:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/07/02/origins-of-the-declaration-of-independence-samuel-rutherfords-lex-rex/

    “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: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea/fr.-robert-barron-on-obamas-secular-totalitarianism/#ixzz4DXflzY7w

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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