If we want to fix our country, our Catholic Church must return to teaching this about our country and how to hold on to it- or we will certainly loose it. Socialism and communism are just a heartbeat away.
I've highlighted some parts that stood out to me in light of our current trials+tribulations in America.
(The Catholic Instructor: An Educational Library of Ready Reference, published by The Office of Catholic Publications, 1910)
American Patriotism: The Duty and Value of Patriotism
By The Most Rev. Archbishop Ireland
A History of the achievements of the church in America from the great pens of John Gilmary Shea, LL. D. and the review of its progress and growth by Richard H. Clark, LL. D. two native Catholic historians of recognized pre-eminence in the field of Catholic History in the United States, may very appropriately be accompanied by an extensive quotation from the celebrated address on “The Duty and Value of Patriotism,” delivered by the Most Rev. JohnIreland, D. D., Archbishop of St. Paul, before the New York Commandery of the Loyal Legion, and an authentic History of the origin and foundation of that great Patriotic Catholic Organization, “The Knights of Columbus.”
No one has earned a better right to speak for American Patriotism or Liberty, than the Archbishop of St. Paul. He served his country in her hour of peril and speaks as one of her defenders.
The calumnies so frequently uttered against the Church, and the Americanism of Catholic citizens, should need no other refutation than will be found in the lofty patriotism breathed in this eloquent address to his comrades in arms.
The following are pertinent selections from the Archbishop’s address:
“I shall define patriotism as you understand and feel it. Patriotism is love of country, and loyalty to its life and weal-love, tender and strong; tender as the love of son for mother, strong as the pillars of death; loyalty generous and disinterested shrinking from no sacrifice, seeking no reward save country’s honor and country’s triumph.
More than a century ago a trans-Atlantic poet and philosopher, reading well the signs wrote:
“Westward the star of empire takes its way.
The first four acts already past,
A fifth shall close the drama with the day:
Time’s noblest offspring is the last.”
Berkeley’s prophetic eye had descried America. What shall I say in brief discourse of my country’s value and beauty, of her claims to my love and loyalty? I will pass by in silence her fields and forests, her rivers and seas, the boundless riches hidden beneath her soil and amid the rocks of her mountains, her pure and health-giving air, her transcendent wealth of nature’s fairest and most precious gifts.
I will not speak of the noble qualities and robust deeds of her sons, skilled in commerce and industry, valorous in war, prosperous in peace. In all these things America is opulent and great; but beyond them and above them is her singular grandeur, to which her material splendor is only one fitting circumstance.
America born into the family of nations in these latter times is the highest billow in humanity’s evolution, the crowning effort of ages in the aggrandizement of man. Unless we take her in this altitude we do not comprehend her; we belittle her towering stature, and conceal the singular design of Providence in her creation.
America is a country of human dignity and human liberty.
When the fathers of the Republic declared: “That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” a cardinal principle was enunciated, which in its truth was as old as the race, but in practical realization almost unknown.
Slowly, amid sufferings and revolutions, humanity had been reaching out toward a reign of the right of man. Ante-Christian paganism had utterly denied such rights. It allowed nothing to man as man; he was what wealth, place, or power made him. Even the wise Aristotle taught that some men were intended by nature to be slaves and chattels. The sweet religion of Christ proclaimed aloud the doctrines of the common fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of men. Eighteen not yet put its civil and political institutions in accord with its spiritual faith. The Christian Church was all this time leavening human society, and patiently awaiting the promised fermentation. This came at last, and it came in America. It came in a first manifestation through the Declaration of Independence; in came in a second and final manifestation through President Lincoln’s proclamation of emancipation.
In America all men are civilly and politically equal; all have the same rights; all wield the same arm of defence and of conquest, the suffrage; and the sole condition of rights and of power is simple manhood.
Humanity, under the spell of heavenly memories, never ceased to dream of liberty, and to aspire to its possession. Now and then, here and there, its refreshing breezes caressed humanity’s brow. But not until the Republic of the West was born, not until the star-spangled banner rose toward the skies, was liberty caught up in humanity’s embrace, and embodied in a great and abiding nation.
In America the government takes from the liberty of the citizen only so much as is necessary for the weal of the nation, which the citizen by this own act freely concedes. In America there are no masters, who govern in their own right, for their own interest, or at their own will. We have over us no Louis XIV., saying: “L’etat c’est moi”; no Hohenzollern, announcing that in his acts as sovereign he is responsible only to his conscience and to God. Ours is the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The government is our own organized will.
THERE IS NO STATE ABOVE OR APART FROM THE PEOPLE
Rights begin with, and go upward from the people. In other countries, even those apparently the most free, rights begin with and come downward from the state. The rights of citizens, the rights of the people, are concessions which have been painfully wrenched from the governing powers. With Americans, whenever the organized government does not prove its grant, the liberty of the individual citizen is sacred and inviolable. Elsewhere there are governments called republics; universal suffrage constitutes the state; but once constituted the state is tyrannous and arbitrary, and invades at will private rights, and curtails at will individual liberty.
One Republic is liberty’s native home- America.
The God-given mission of the Republic of America is not only to its own people; it is to all the peoples of the earth, before whose eyes it is the symbol of human rights and human liberty, toward whom its flag flutters hopes of future happiness for themselves.
Is there not for Americans a meaning to the word, Country? Is there not for Americans reason to live for country, and, if need there be, to die for country? Whatever the country, patriotism is a duty; in America the duty is thrice sacred.
Duty to country is a duty of conscience, a duty to God. For country exists by natural divine right. It receives from God the authority needful for its life and work; its authority to command is divine. The apostle of Christ to the Gentiles writes: “There is no power but from God, and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore, he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” The religion of patriotism is not sufficiently considered; and yet, it is this religion which gives to country its majesty, and to patriotism its sacredness and force.
PATRIOTISM IN THE TIME OF PEACE
The days of peace have come upon our fair land; the days when patriotism was a duty have not departed. What was saved by war must be preserved.
A government of the people, by the people, and for the people, as proposed by the founders of the Republic, was, in the light of the facts of history, a stupendous experiment. The experiment has so far succeeded. A French publicist, De Maistre, once dismissed with contempt the argument drawn from the United States in favor of free institutions in Europe, remarking; “The Republic of the United States is in its swathing-clothes; let it grow; wait a century and you will see.”
The Republic has lived out a century, it has lived out a mighty civil war, with no diminution, assuredly, of vigor and promise. Can we say, however, that it is beyond all the stages of an experiment? The world at large is not willing to grant this conclusion; it tells us, even, that the Republic is but now entering upon its crucial crisis.
New conditions, indeed, confront us; new perils menace us, in a population bordering on the hundredth million and prepared quickly to leap beyond this figure, in plethoric unwieldy urban conglomerations, in that unbridled luxury of living consequent on vast material prosperity, which in all times is a dreaded foe to liberty. It were reckless folly on our part to deny all force to the objections which are put to us.
Meanwhile, the destinies of numerous peoples are in the balance. They move toward liberty, as liberty is seen to reign undisturbed in America; they recede toward absolution and hereditary régimes, as clouds are seen darkening our sky.
Civil, political, social happenings of America are watched, the world over, with intense anxiety, because of their supported bearings upon the question of the practicability of popular government. A hundred times the thought pressed itself upon me, as I discussed in foreign countries the modern democracy, that, could Americans understand how much is made to depend upon the outcome of republican and democratic institutions in their country, a new fire of patriotism, a new zeal in the welfare of the Republic, would kindle within their hearts.
For my part, I have unwavering faith in the Republic of America. I have faith in the providence of God and the progress of humanity; I will not believe that liberty is not a permanent gift, and it were not if America fail. I have faith in the powerful and loyal heart of America, which clings fast to liberty, and sooner or later rights wrongs and uproots evils. I have no fears. Clouds cross the heavens; soon a burst of sunlight dispels them.
Different interests in society are out of joint with one another, and the social organism is feverish; it is simply the effort toward new adjustments; in a little while there will be order and peace. Threatening social and political evils are near, and are seemingly gaining ground; the American people are conservatively patient; but ere long the national heart is roused and the evils, however formidable be their aspect, go down before the tread of an indignant people.
DANGERS TO A GOVERNMENT BY THE PEOPLE
The safety of the Republic lies in the vigilant and active patriotism of the American people.
There is a danger of ignorant voters. As a rule, the man who does not read and write intelligently, cannot vote intelligently. Americans understand the necessity of popular instruction, and spare no expense at spreading it. They cannot be too zealous in the matter. They need to have laws in every State which will punish, as guilty of crimes against the country, the parent who neglects to send his children to school.
There is a danger-and a most serious one-in corrupt morals.
A people without good morals is incapable of self-government. At the basis of the proper exercise of the suffrage lie unselfishness and the spirit of sacrifice. A corrupt man is selfish; an appeal to duty finds no response in his conscience; he is incapable of the high-mindedness and generous acts which are the elements of patriotism; he is ready to sell the country for pelf or pleasure.
Patriotism takes alarm at the spread of intemperance, lasciviousness, dishonesty, perjury; for country’s sake it should arm against those dire evils all the country’s forces, its legislatures, its courts, and above all else, public opinion.
Materialism and the denial of a living, supreme God annihilate conscience, and break down the barriers to sensuality; they sow broadcast the seeds of moral death; they are fatal to liberty and social order. A people without a belief in God and a future life of soul will not remain a free people. The age of the democracy must, for its own protection, be an age of religion.
AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP-THE SOLE STANDARD
Storms are passing over the land, arising from sectarian hatred, and nativist or foreign prejudices. These are scarcely to be heeded; they cannot last. Day by day the spirit of Americanism waxes strong; narrowness of thought and unreasoning strife cannot resist its influences.
The country is America; only they who are loyal to her can be allowed to live under her flag; and they who are loyal to her may enjoy all her liberties and rights. Freedom of religion is accorded by the Constitution; religion is put outside the state action, and most wisely so; therefore, the religion of a citizen must not be considered by voter or executive officer. The oath of allegiance to the country makes the man a citizen; if that allegiance is not plenary and supreme, he is false to his profession; if it is, he is an American.
Discriminations and segregations, in civil or political matters, on lines of religion, of birth-place, or of race, or of language-and, I add, or of color- is un-American, and wrong. Compel all to be Americans, in soul as well as in name: and then, let the standard of all value be their American citizenship.
AMERICAN PATRIOTISM NEEDED
American patriotism is needed-patriotism intense, which speaks out in noble pride, with beating heart; Civis Americanus-I am an American citizen; patriotism active, which shows itself in deed and in sacrifice; patriotism public-spirited, which cares for the public weal as for the apple of the eye. Private personal civic virtue is not uncommon among us; more uncommon is public civic virtue, which watches the ballot and all approaches to it, which demands that public officials do their duty, which purifies public opinion on all matters where country is concerned. This patriotism will save the Republic.
From whom primarily does the Republic expect this patriotism? From her veteran soldiers.
This patriotism, America, thou shalt have. I speak for veterans. I speak for their brother-citizens.
Noblest ship of state, sail thou on over billows, and through storms, undaunted, imperishable! Of thee I do not say: “Caesarem vehis-thou carriest Caesar.” But of thee I say: “Libertatem vehis-thou carriest Liberty.” Within thy bulwarks the fair goddess is enthroned, holding in her hands the dreams and hopes of humanity. Oh! For her sake, guard well thyself. Sail thou on, peerless ship; safe from shoals and malign winds, ever strong in keel, ever beauteous in prow and canvas, ever guided by heaven’s polar star! Sail thou on, I pray thee, undaunted and imperishable!" --end--
If we do nothing our country will continue to destroy itself from the inside. We must be a properly educated and moral people. Our Catholic Church today is mostly failing us. Our Catholic Church of yesterday will never fail us, as we can always find solid teachings with Her.
I have many of these old Catholic teaching books and I will continue to share the treasures they hold. Please share this writing with other Catholics who may not have such books or good solid priests to instruct them in our beautiful Faith. Perhaps you know a priest who might be interested in this writing from 1910? Please share - I think our country really needs this now. Thank you.
God bless you all and God bless America.
More on Most Rev. Archbishop Ireland: https://www.archspm.org/leadership/past-bishops/most-reverend-john-ireland/