Americanism is a term that appears to express nothing more than a devotion to America. In reality, however, it teaches principles and a way of life that pose, and always have posed, a threat to the Church of Rome. Indeed, the threat that it poses to Catholicism may be the most dangerous experienced by her in the past few centuries of revolution. Its harmful quality arises from its subtle and effective transformation of the United States into a new religion whose central dogma of “pluralism” cannot be investigated or questioned; a new religion whose creed is said to be purely “practical” and “pragmatic”, but which actually aims at a messianic rebuilding of the entire globe; a new religion that brooks no opposition to its will. – Dr. John C. Rao
On the third day after the Fourth of July, National Catholic Register published a “patriotic” essay by Monsignor Charles Pope entitled, Critical Race Theory Won’t Help America — Only Selfless Love of Country Can Do That.
If you’re assuming that the “Only Selfless Love” being proposed as the solitary remedy for our beleaguered nation simply must be a clever allusion to Our Lord, think again. In fact, there’s nothing especially edifying about the article at all, rather, it provides readers with a useful glimpse into the mind of Americanism, aptly described by Dr. John C. Rao as “the conservative cult of the Constitution as a God-given document.”
Msgr. Pope, speaking no doubt for many self-identified American Catholics, including no small number of so-called “traditionalists,” writes:
For most of us, this past Fourth of July was a day to celebrate the founding principles of our nation and to reflect on the liberty that was given us by God, and secured by the blood and sacrifices of so many.
When viewed through a Catholic lens, however, the “founding principles” of the United States are readily recognizable as an affront to the God from Whom authentic liberty comes, a liberty not so much secured by the blood of soldiers, all too often spilled in service to wicked men and their lust for wealth and power, but won by the Blood of Jesus Christ, shed for the many unto salvation.
Evidently, Msgr. Pope sees things differently.
All indications are that he, like countless others, has allowed himself to become so thoroughly inebriated by the poisonous proposals that were set forth at Vatican Council II, most especially as it concerns religious freedom, that he cannot recognize the stark difference between the false gods of America’s founding and He to whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given (cf Matthew 28:18).
Msgr. Pope went on to characterize the cause of those America-hating, cancel culture warriors who promote so-called Critical Race Theory as follows:
If you are person of color, you are oppressed. If you are white, you are privileged. And this means war. The class struggle of the Marxists becomes the race struggle of America.
That is a fine summary, however, the specific violation for which Msgr. Pope convicts the race-baiters is not the godlessness that serves as the hallmark of all things Marxist, but rather for “discrediting our founding principles and documents.” Doing so, he states, “takes away a shared reference point for conversation and debate,” with the result being “a kind of power struggle where there is a lot of heat, but no light.”
By virtue of the very words he has chosen, it’s as if Msgr. Pope is just begging for a truly Catholic response, and I am happy to oblige:
The reason there is no light to be found in American political discourse is because the voice of Jesus Christ – the Light of the world and Truth incarnate – is treated as just one opinion among many (if not ignored altogether), and this not simply by chance, but by decree, in faithful adherence to the “founding principles” that Msgr. Pope holds in such high regard.
In reality, “the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence” (Martin Luther King as quoted by Msgr. Pope) utterly fail to provide any meaningful “shared reference point” for men of diverse races, cultures, and viewpoints. Such can be found in but one place alone:
There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
The founding principles of the United States, however, require those who exercise civil authority in this nation to give Our Lord no more than a symbolic seat at the table alongside the false gods of the pagans, heathens, heretics and Jews, each of which are manifestations of the diabolical, the mortal enemy of unity.
In such an environment as this a “power struggle” is not just inevitable, it is a permanent condition. Why? Because even under the best of circumstances it amounts to an ongoing revolution against Christ the King.
With the Sovereignty of Our Lord thus treated as a burden to be shed as opposed to the “sweet and saving yoke” that it truly is (Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas), liberty, peace and justice, etc. are reduced to fluid concepts left to be defined according to the whims of the ruling class – the victors of the power struggle, regardless of party affiliation.
At this, let’s take a closer look at America’s founding documents as proposed, through an authentic Catholic lens, beginning with the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence:
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.
Already, a glaring falsehood stands out:
“Governments” do not derive their “just powers” from “the consent of the governed,” but rather from God. In a democratic society, voters may be able to designate who their legislators and rulers will be (fraud on a massive scale notwithstanding), but the actual authority to rule is God’s alone to give, not ours. This is far more than just semantics, rather, it speaks directly to whom those who rule are beholden, and it’s crucially important to get this right.
No society can hold together unless some one be over all, directing all to strive earnestly for the common good, every body politic must have a ruling authority, and this authority, no less than society itself, has its source in nature, and has, consequently, God for its Author. Hence, it follows that all public power must proceed from God. For God alone is the true and supreme Lord of the world. Everything, without exception, must be subject to Him, and must serve him, so that whosoever holds the right to govern holds it from one sole and single source, namely, God, the sovereign Ruler of all. There is no power but from God. (cf Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei – 3)
When this immutable truth is lost on a nation, or worse, a rejection of said truth is enshrined in its founding documents, the results, at times, speak for themselves, e.g., same-sex “marriage” laws, widespread divorce, legalized abortion, etc.
When “evil” is legislated as “good” in such a nation, it can often be said with accuracy that the will of the majority is being faithfully enacted. In the language of the Declaration of Independence, we might say that the one people have gone about asserting their collective right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as defined according to the prevailing opinions of mankind.
At this one may recall the words of Antonin Scalia, the great Constitutionalist whom Michael Matt and other faux “traditionalists” effectively canonized immediately upon his passing. Speaking at a forum hosted by the University of California in 2011, “St. Antonin” said:
You want a right to abortion? … Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law; you got the right to abortion.
This is an entirely plausible description of what the consent of the governed in action can look like. Sure, babies may be mutilated in the process, gravely offending the Lord and Author of life, but hey, the Constitution stands inviolate!
Those who hold to the Americanist point of view will most certainly object:
But the Declaration clearly states that the people’s rights are ‘endowed by their Creator,’ and it even claims recourse to ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.’
An excellent point, one that invites some obvious questions:
Which “Creator God” are we talking about here; is it the “Allah” of the Muslims who make jihad in his name? Is it the “God” of the Methodists who thank him for the gift of abortion? Or is it perhaps the “God” of the Declaration’s Deist authors who reject Divine Revelation altogether? Which one of these many “Gods” is the supposed author of the “Laws of Nature”? How do we settle disputes when disagreements arise over what these Laws are and what they require of us?
The Americanist answer to all of these questions, thanks to those vaunted founding principles, is that it’s pretty much up to those who hold power at any given time. No matter how one slices it, one thing is entirely certain in all cases, Christ the King isn’t welcome – not for who He truly is – which brings us back to the U.S. Constitution, beginning with the Preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
At first blush, these words may appear quite laudable to the Catholic; that is, at least until such time as one comes to grips with what follows in the Bill of Rights:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Please allow me to translate:
In these United States, the legitimate civil authority is strictly forbidden by law to treat the activities of those who, in direct opposition to Christ, foment religious error and promote its assorted evils, whether in public or in private, any differently than it treats those who labor to “Baptize the nation” (cf Mt. 28:16-20) in the one true faith.
This means that the government cannot officially recognize, much less openly govern in accordance with, the immutable objective truth that Jesus Christ is King. Rather, it must effectively deny that “His empire includes not only Catholic nations … so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.” (cf Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas 18, quoting PopeLeo XIII)
Likewise does the U.S. Constitution forbid the government to acknowledge, much less act upon, the truth that the Holy Catholic Church was established by Christ the King to speak in His name in such a way that “He who hears the Church hears Christ, and he who rejects the Church rejects the Almighty and Eternal God.” (cf Luke 10:16).
This is why the United States is struggling so mightily to establish justice and secure the blessings of liberty; its Constitution, in spite of its stated aims, amounts to a formal rejection of the only way for a nation to attain to such lofty ideals:
When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. (Quas Primas 19)
Once again, the Americanist will likely object:
But this is an exhortation for individual men to recognize the Kingship of Christ, even in the exercise of their civic duty. It’s not a call for States to recognize Him. The State is incompetent in matters of religion!
And yet, sure Catholic doctrine clearly teaches otherwise:
His empire includes not only Catholic nations … so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ. Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. (Quas Primas 18)
While it’s likely to come as a surprise to those Catholics who share Msgr. Pope’s views, the founding principles of the United States are irreconcilable with the “traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ,” the same that the Second Vatican Council duplicitously claimed to “leave untouched” (cf Dignitatis Humanae 1) but actually eviscerated as it went about anointing “the conservative cult of the Constitution as a God-given document.”
Take it or leave it, here’s what the Holy Roman Catholic Church truly teaches:
Nations will be reminded … not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for His kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education. (Quas Primas 32)
Did you get that? Christ the King demands – as is His right – that the State order its legislative and judicial affairs in conformity with everything whatsoever that He commanded (cf Mt. 28:16-20), and it is the duty of every Catholic, each according to his station, to insist upon no less, even if we feel powerless to bring it about.
And yet, the best that most of our nation’s self-identified Catholics can do, clerics included (if not most especially), is point to the “founding principles” of the United States as they insist upon “conscience clauses” and “opt outs” from State sponsored evil.
Pay close attention to what this sad state of affairs portends for our nation, and indeed every nation on earth thanks to the Council’s infelicitous endorsement of religious pluralism:
Christ the King will most severely avenge these insults.
With this in mind, let us conclude by defining, in Catholic terms, what “selfless love of country” actually entails:
While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim His kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm His rights. (Quas Primas 25)