Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Tony Magliano

7/2/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


Is this where the Annunciation took place? Ancient artwork sheds light an old mystery about the Virgin Mary Watch

Image of The Annunciation, 1859 (oil on canvas), Pinchon, Auguste.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

One of the oldest depictions of the Virgin Mary is casting new light on the Annunciation. A new look at an ancient depiction in the Yale University Art Gallery is making some question what they believe about the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


How do presidents pray? The beginning of a beautiful tradition Watch

Image of John F. Kennedy praying during the 9th annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 9, 1961 (Prayers for America).

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

This morning marks the 64th annual National Prayer Breakfast and President Obama's last time attending the remarkable tradition while in office.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On the first Thursday in February, the members of Congress and evangelical ... continue reading


Pope Francis will travel to Mexico as a messenger for peace Watch

Image of Pope Francis has participated in a collective interview, in which he responded to four questions posed by 33 people from various states across Mexico (Catholic News Agency).

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis will leave for Mexico in just over a week. In a new interview with a Mexican news agency, he told citizens of the crime-ridden country that while there, he hopes to be a messenger of peace, which must be fought for daily. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


Sparks fly over Pope Francis' interview with Asia Times Watch

Image of Pope Francis did not speak of religion or freedom when praising China as a progressive country (Vatican).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis' exclusive interview on Tuesday afternoon has been met with harsh criticism. Though the pontiff spoke highly of the country, he steered clear of religion and freedom talks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis spoke ... continue reading


Sis boom bah! American Circus cheerleaders perform for Pope Francis at the Vatican Watch

Image of Pope Francis enjoyed a cheer by the American Circus, which performed at the Vatican on Wednesday (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Following his general audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis enjoyed cheers, acrobatics and juggling performed by the Italian troupe "American Circus." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During the Papal Audience, the American Circus performed before the pontiff and ... continue reading


'I'm gay and I'm a priest, period': Chicago priest opens up about his same sex attraction Watch

Image of Father Michael Shanahan has announced his sexual orientation to the world (Our Lady of Lourdes).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Twenty-three years after joining the clergy as a priest, Father Michael Shanahan, the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Chicago, has publicly admitted he is sexually attracted to other men. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The news was released via the ... continue reading


Before priests, nuns drop 'gossip bombs,' - bite your tongue, Pope Francis commands Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

"Bite your tongue!" That is the orders of Pope Francis, who said that gossip loving priests and nuns are hindering their cause by the spreading of innuendos and gossip. The pontiff also bemoaned the drop-off in vocations but said those that the church takes must be ... continue reading


Pope Francis: The actor? Watch

Image of Pope Francis is rumored to play himself in the upcoming spiritual film ''Beyond the Sun'' (Paul Haring).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In the upcoming film "Beyond the Sun," Pope Francis will be making his acting debut. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Radio Vatican denied all claims that Pope Francis "will play himself" in "Beyond the Sun," with Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò stating only "video ... continue reading


God sends nun to save elderly man's life Watch

Image of A nun who has yet to be identified saved a man after a tree pinned him to the ground (wiseGEEK).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a story that sounds like the plot of a religious film, a nun, who stepped outside to pray, heard the cries of an elderly man caught beneath a tree in the frigid Wrentham, MA night. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Seventy-four-year-old Douglas Goldman was out in ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 47:2-11
2 As the fat is set apart from the communion sacrifice, so was David ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 18:31, 47, 50, 51
47 the God who gives me vengeance, and subjects whole peoples to ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:14-29
14 King Herod had heard about him, since by now his name was well known. ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 5th, 2016 Image

St. Agatha
February 5: Although we have evidence that Agatha was ... Read More