Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Tony Magliano

7/2/2014 (2 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Patriotism can be good, or it can be bad. Pride in one's country can be healthy, or it can be unhealthy.

Are we Catholic Americans or American Catholics?

Are we Catholic Americans or American Catholics?

Highlights

By Tony Magliano

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/2/2014 (2 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Jesus, God, America, United States, Fourth of July, patriotism, flag, peace, social justice, poverty, abortion


An unhealthy pride is often considered the original sin. In his pride, Lucifer (Satan) thought he knew better than God. The first humans in their pride thought they knew better than God. And we in our pride sometimes think and act as though we know better than God.

An unhealthy patriotism does not seek God's will for the nation in all matters. Instead, it conveniently chooses what issues it will consult the Almighty on.

Catholics adhering to this type of patriotism will often cite God's approval on those issues where they feel - through Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium - God is in agreement with their position.

However, when that is not the case, instead of doing the hard work and prayer of spiritual discernment, they choose to ignore God and rely on purely secular arguments.  

This way of thinking leads to an unhealthy pride in one's country - where waving the flag and proclaiming "my country right or wrong, love it or leave it," becomes the narrow-minded standard for judging whether a person is a patriotic citizen or not.

This unhealthy patriotism often leads many people to believe their nation is better than all other countries. It proclaims: "We are number one!"

Numerous people in various nations seem addicted to this kind of unhealthy pride of country. In the United States, this sense of haughty superiority - promoted by some neoconservative writers - is known as "American exceptionalism."

In this sense, it is believed that America is that city on a hilltop - taken from Matthew's Gospel - that shines a totally righteous light for all other nations to admire and emulate.

While America can generally claim in some areas to be a very good example for others to follow - such as the U.S. Bill of Rights which guarantees freedom of religion, speech, assembly and the press - there are on the other hand many areas where the United States is walking in darkness.

From legalized abortion, to being the world's leading arms merchant, to possessing the world's most dangerous nuclear arsenal, to having over 15 million children living in poverty, to rampant pornography, to the military-industrial complex, to only giving less than 1 percent of its annual income to the poor of the world, the U.S. is demonstrating it has a moral illness and is in need of healing and spiritual conversion. 

Instead of ignoring these and other ills, Americans who possess a healthy patriotism honestly acknowledge these sicknesses and work to heal the nation.

As people of faith, we have the indispensable wisdom, power and love of God - the great physician - to aid us. But we must invite him to lead the way. In order to be healthy and holy, God must be at the center of our lives and our nation.
   
A few years ago I had the privilege of interviewing the courageous counter cultural peace activist Jesuit Father Dan Berrigan. He raised a question of crucial importance for every American Catholic to ponder: "Am I a Catholic-American? Or am I an American-Catholic?"   

What comes first, our country or our God?"

Do we blindly follow the culture, government and economic system of our nation, or do we faithfully follow the Lord Jesus who alone is the way, the truth and the life?

     
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings about Catholic social teaching. His keynote address, "Advancing the Kingdom of God in the 21st Century," has been well received by diocesan gatherings from Salt Lake City to Baltimore. Tony can be reached at: tmag@zoominternet.net

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


ę 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Living Faith

Weakness and Failure in the Christian Life. We Hold This Treasure in Earthen Vessels Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I have been reflecting upon my own weakness a lot these days. I have discovered that the older I get the less I know and the more imperfections I discover in myself. As a younger man, I labored under a misconception that living the Christian life would somehow ... continue reading


Labor Day: Human Work Has Been Raised to the Grandeur of God Watch

Image of For the Christian, all human work participates in the ongoing work of redemption

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

When God Incarnate entered into our created world, he sanctified humankind and the labor in which men engage in order to shape creation. It is in gazing through the supreme lens of the consummation of God's revelation, the Person of Jesus Christ, that the divine light ... continue reading


International community has done too little in Syria and Iraq, Cardinal Vegli˛ declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegli├▓ met with Pope Francis last week. The President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Cardinal Vegli├▓ me to discuss the plight of those fleeing the Islamist violence in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Pope: 'God wants us to grow in the ability to come together, forgive each other' Watch

Image of Pope Francis drinks a traditional South American drink called mate offered by the faithful as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, addressing more than 12,000 people that had gathered for the pope's catechesis and blessing, touched upon a common human trait that everyone must strive to overcome. The Pope said that while envy, jealousy and cruelty are human instincts, they are ... continue reading


Why Do We Commemorate the Beheading of John the Baptizer? Watch

Image of The Beheading of John the Baptizer

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We now refer to this Feast as the Passion of John the Baptizer more often than the Beheading of John the Baptizer. However, given the realities we face in this new missionary age of the Church, the actual beheading rushes to the forefront. We are seeing it in our own ... continue reading


How much power do you really have? More than you think!

Image of YCVF continues to deliver quality learning tools to Catholic students.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Earlier this year, representatives from Catholic Team Global donated a batch of XO Tablets to a humble Catholic school. Now, Catholic Team Global is preparing to do it again with support from its members and valued readers of Catholic Online. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Challenging the just war theory

Image of The horrors of war persist long after the shooting stops.

By Tony Magliano

Is there such a thing as a just war? Can the massive death and destruction of armed conflict ever be morally justified by followers of the Prince of Peace? For the first disciples of Christ the answer was a resounding "No!"During the first 300 years of Christianity it ... continue reading


St Augustine Teaches Us How to Read the Bible Watch

Image of St. Augustine writing

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Bible is not some-thing, but reveals Some-One. In the words of St. Paul to Timothy, all Scripture is inspired by God. (2 Tim. 3:16) The Greek means God-breathed. They reveal Jesus Christ and our encounter with Him is the heart of what it means to be a Christian. ... continue reading


Spiritual Childhood and Contemplative Prayer Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

One of the greatest joys in this later chapter of my life is an unexpected gift, his name is Noah. He is my grandson. He calls me Poppi. He is seven years old and so very wise. Noah continually confronts me with the utter simplicity, trust, openness and beauty of ... continue reading


How to Avoid Sliding into Pharisee-ism Watch

Image of Christ Before the High Priest, by Gerrit van Honthorst (1590-1656) hangs in the London Museum of Art.  The painting depicts Jesus, standing before the High priest - with His holy hands bound. The Priest, who at the time I thought was a Pharisee, is looking up with an arrogant demeanor and a pointed finger.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

A priest friend once reminded me that not ALL the Pharisees were so blinded by their self-righteousness that they failed to recognize that the One whom they so often sought to correct was God Incarnate. And, of course, he was correct. The Pharisees were a genuine ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter