“You’re an honest man, Proculus, which means a bad Roman! Therefore, you are a traitor! Logical, hmm?”
– Caligula, 1979
Catholics in America faced persecution from the beginning. In a land founded by Puritans and and various riffraff who carved out a semblance of a society, that was always going to be the case. The so-called founding fathers, most of whom were masons, failed in their dream to annex Canada precisely due to their anti-Catholic opposition to British acts of tolerance towards Catholics in Quebec. The one Catholic signer of the declaration of independence was among the richest men in the colonies and hardly spoke for the rest (the bishops of Canada despised his brother, the first bishop of the United States). This nation was founded with one purpose: to build a country based on “Enlightenment” ideals.
To fully be an “True American”, one must adopt it as an alternative religion. The Constitution is the Bible, the founding fathers replace the Church Fathers, and Democracy is the salvation of all mankind. In such a setting, what is moral is legal and what is legal is moral. The respectable American Christian desperately fights to make “marriage” between “a man and a woman” on the books because they cannot envision a world where America sanctions something indecent in their eyes. The decency of Church and Country must align or America means nothing! The Catholic must erstwhile strap his belt and realize he cannot have two masters. Try as American Catholics have, from Carroll to Buckley and Buchanan, there is no reconciling these two conflicting religions.
Contrary to the protests of American Catholics for a couple centuries, the Know-Nothings were right. A Catholic cannot be a good American because an American must make his morals align with the law of the land while a Catholic must follow his conscience, obeying the laws where they do not contradict the higher law. In America, man has the rights to Life (in theory), Liberty, and the fruitless pursuit of earthly happiness. The Catholic knows God gave him the power to Life (physical and spiritual), Freedom, and the pursuit of sanctification which leads to true happiness through Theosis.
The virtues of the American are: decency, respectability, niceness, and patriotism. Through decency, the American follows the popular mores at this point in time, whatever they may be. Through respectability, the American goes through whatever motions he must to not appear inferior to his neighbors. If that means a big house or car, so be it. If that requires a weekly hour at whatever church of his choice, so be it. Appearances must be kept. Through niceness, the American puts on false front of civility. Through patriotism, the American is called to uphold the laws of his nation. All of them.
Political correctness is nothing new and was not invented by modern progressives. It has existed from the dawn of the nation, a means to separate those who do not fall into the aforementioned “virtues”. Those who hold the popular opinion determine what is in those bounds. It just so happens that progressives, and not “conservatives” (i.e. ideological liberals) now control the definition.
America was created to be a “city on a hill” for “enlightnment” ideas. The “city on a hill” envisioned by the holy Northeastern Puritans and their ayatollah Woodrow Wilson came to fruition in the twentieth century with the destruction of all that was good and Christian in Europe. If anything, the neoconservatives (followed by the libertarians) are the ones who best enshrine the “respectable”, “decent”, “democratic”, “enlightned”, “ideals” of America. They are the great evangelists of this Enlightment religion. Democracy must be spread everywhere! Any government that does not conform to it is defective and must be replaced! Drop the bombs and damn the consequences!
All the consequences…
Respectability, decency, and niceness are not, and have never been, virtues of the Catholic and Orthodox Christian. Our heroes are the barefoot “lunatic” Francis of Assisi, the prostitute-turned-penitent Mary of Egypt, the highwayman-turned-monk Moses the Black, the guilt-filled Augustine, the Fool for Christ Xenia of St. Petersburg, and Jerome the jerk with a heart of gold. Patriotism is nothing in the long run as even this nation is but earth and ash. Let us not forget John Nepomucene, Thomas Becket, John Fisher, Thomas More, George, and Sebastian who all had the choice to be “law abiding” and patriotic, and made the right choice.
Pictured: Not a good American
If I am ever forced to choose between this fantasy of a Democratic Empire on the one hand and my conscience on the other, there is no choice. I am not John Carroll.