Wednesday, July 4, 2018

1775: "New England militia men screamed, 'No king, no pope' as they charged into British lines."

Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill by John Trumbull

For the record, I do not believe that the U.S. Constitution is an evil or anti-Catholic document, nor do I think that, say, swearing an oath to uphold it, and doing so, is wrong from a Catholic point of view.

And for this Catholic, I think Independence Day is worth celebrating, not just commemorating but celebrating.

For a contrary take on the constitution, see Justice Scalia: A man of “true faith and allegiance” by Louie Verrecchio. I have great respect for Verrecchio and his arguments, but I think he is wrong on this one.

I won't defend my own view, here. But I will say that it's not based on the documents of Vatican II or any similar nonsense. And I wouldn't call myself an "Americanist" Catholic, at least as I understand the definition.

In any case, there's absolutely no question that for faithful Catholics, wherever they come down on the "rightness" of the American Revolution or the founding era in general, the history of the Revolution and Catholicism is unquestionably mixed, to put it mildly.

Which in some ways is curious. After all, we were fighting the British, who had a bloody record of persecuting Catholics and attempting to destroy the Catholic Church in England.

Queen Elizabeth was a monster.

Two years ago, for Independence Day, Hillsdale College professor Bradley Birzer wrote a fascinating piece on 10 Things You Should Know about Catholics and the American Founding. Getting the history right on the founding is not anti-American, nor even anti-founding. But getting the history right, for anything, of course, is always important and often fascinating:
1. With the exception of Maryland—but only for a bit—each of the English colonies along the North American coastline despised and feared Roman Catholics as well as Catholicism. For most English Protestants, whether Reformed and Presbyterian or low-Church Anglican, Catholicism represented the corruption of the Christian faith. Catholics, far from being the brethren of Protestants, were the worst enemies—far worse than pagans or even Muslims. Why? Because Catholics, in the eyes of those Protestants, should have known better; that is, they should have seen the errors of their Catholic ways. In many respects, it was a case of nearness creating division. In New England, beginning in the 1640s, no citizen could enter a church on a Sunday morning without bearing both a bible and a firearm. When service ended, the men of the congregation secured the area before allowing women and children to leave the church, just in case Catholics might be out raiding that day. Even as late as the American Revolution, New England militia men screamed, “No king, no pope” as they charged into enemy lines.
2. Protestants, however, were rarely tolerant of even other Protestants; Calvinists, for example, often hated Baptists as much as they did Catholics. Far from the “land of the free” that our textbooks usually portray, colonies sought not religious freedom and liberty, but rather religious autonomy. That is, they wanted freedom to worship as they saw fit, but they certainly did not believe that other sects should have the same rights. In this, the first century and a half of American colonization (with only a very few exceptions) were defined by a whole variety of intolerances. Because the frontier was huge, however, such tolerances could be alleviated—at least as long as you were willing to move west, away from the respectable folks. From the 1600s through 1774, America was really a sea of intolerance with islands of tolerance. Your freedom was essentially the freedom to choose which intolerance you liked best.
3. Of the 13 original colonies, only Pennsylvania and Maryland offered anything that we might today recognize as religious toleration. Maryland, for an almost 30-year-long period prior to 1689, might very well have been the most tolerant place in the world when it came to religion. To enforce its religious toleration, however, it traded its freedom of speech. Society protected the diversity of religious communities by forbidding 1) blasphemy against the Holy Trinity; 2) mocking of Mary or any of the saints; and 3) referring to any Christian sect by a derogatory name. When radicals seized the provincial government in 1689, however, they undid all laws of religious toleration, demanding that every resident of Maryland honor the Church of England as the established Church. The new government of 1689, which lasted until 1774, for all intents and purposes outlawed Roman Catholicism, double-taxing Catholics, forbidding the education of Catholic children, and actually permanently removing children in danger of being “raised in a Catholic fashion” from their birth parents.
Read the rest, here.

15 comments:

  1. Politics and religion have been bedfellows too long--1700 years too long. The Church must be materially poor and politically powerless if it to be effective.

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  2. England wrote our history, being our benevolent big brother. So of course they are not going to paint themselves in a bad light. It is why we don’t hear about the true history of Ireland and English persecution. The true history of the US is that Florida was the first colony and Catholic. In the early days Catholics were not allowed to set foot in early Savannah.

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  3. Human beings = Conflict
    It has always been that way, and it will always be that way. Cain and Abel started it, and it will never change. As long as people are free to disagree, groups can live side by side, but too many espouse tyranny and really, we're all tyrants because we all want our own way.
    It is impossible to separate church and politics, not only because we bring our worldview along with us into the political realm but the rules we create for society are going to impact others who disagree. Even in a society of people with homogenous worldviews you are only going to have less conflict, not no conflict.
    In heaven there will be no conflict.

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    1. Kathleen. The Church must stop being involved in politics. Christ never got involved so why should his clergy. Lay Catholics should be involved, not the clergy, the USCCB or the Vatican.

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    2. Exactly, Michael. Besides, Catholicism's record concerning politics isn't all that stellar: In the past, outright support for Franco, South American dictatorships and monarchies that weren't accountable to the ruled. In the present, a growing neo-Marxist consensus from Rome.

      And, let's face it, Catholicism has no credibility criticizing republicanism when it has failed in holding its own bishops accountable through Canon Law.

      Whenever Church and State develop a symbiotic relationship (i.e., an "established" church), the Church suffers. The Church relies on the State for financial support and patronage. Consequently, the Church identifies more with the aims of the State's elite rather than with Christ and His people. That is the history of European Christianity through WWI in a nutshell.

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  4. Michael, you are wrong. Politics are as intimately tied to morality as economics. The vile situation in the world today is precisely the result of your mason-like thinking. The church must be politically involved, it just has to get its p9litics right, that's all.

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    1. Albrecht--
      Please consider the following:
      1. Christ was never involved with government politics, only Church politics.
      2. Would you like to follow Pope Francis and his Communist political ideas?

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    2. Albrect, there a difference between morality and governmental support for a particular religion. They're not the same. In fact, they're quite different. Just look at Geneva under Calvin, England under Cromwell, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and Mary I; Russia under the Tsars, Saudi Arabia or Iran.

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  5. Christ was never involved in a lot of things, Michael. By your reasoning, no-one should ever get married. Furthermore, by your reasoning, when Byzantine civil power collapsed in Italy, St Gregory should never have taken on the civil government if the city of Rome (although he was the obvious and best person to do so), and should have allowed anarchy. Christ intended governments to be catholic, not secular, and the church has a lot to do in esrablishing, and maintaining catholic rule.

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    1. Get off your high horse Albrecht it's not becoming. Christ was not involved with politics--ever. Thus the Catholic Church should not be involved. Doing so only causes more division within the Church. Like now with Bishops acting like Democrat politicians.

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  6. Your no 2 is irrelevant. But on economic matters, Pope Francis might just be following the social teaching of the church. Read E Michael Jones' "Barren Metal: A History of Capitalism as the Conflict Between Labor and Usury". Do you know that usury, and therefore capitalism is condemned by the church?

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    1. Albrecht, Francis is a Jesuit. The Jesuits long ago abandoned any support for traditional Western (let alone Christian) culture for intellectual fashion and neo-Marxism. Francis' views on economics aren't informed by Catholic tradition as you see it, or wish it to be.

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    2. Pope Francis is clearly a militant socialist or outright communist. Capitalism is not condemned by the Church. You should check out http://canon212.com/ daily if you want to know what the current Church is all about.

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    3. Albrecht--

      Please let us know if your are associated with Opus Dei in any way. Your reference to Opus Dei associate E. Michael Jones triggered my concern along with the fact that Opus Dei, like yourself, defends Pope Francis despite his obvious failings.

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  7. You know, I am sick and tired of these poseurs called Catholic monarchists who know nothing about history. They forget that the United States that they hate so much gave millions of Catholic immigrants the chance to worship without government interference, let alone persecution.

    These poseurs' view of Catholic monarchy as a panacea is no different than the Islamist view of sharia as a panacea. All utopian panaceas, religious or secular, concentrate power in a centralized elite and dismiss the legitimate concerns of the ruled while claiming to speak for them. Claiming that Christ would approve of such a political situation is blasphemy in the extreme.

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