Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/5/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

On this Fourth of July I reaffirm that we still hold those truths as Americans - because they hold us and will secure our future! Will you join me?

The Declaration was the birth certificate of the United States of America. The principles have informed our history and inspired our neighbors in other parts of the world to stand up against all forms of tyranny. We should remember that our forebears were not declaring their independence from Divine Providence. Rather, they were trusting in the Governance of God.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/5/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Fourth of July, Independence Day, Declaration of Independence, Freedom, right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, pope benedict XVI, Founders, relativism, Deacon Keith Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On the 4th of July people will gather all over the United States of America to celebrate Independence Day. Fireworks will light up the sky in celebration of our liberty. Families and friends will remember those who gave their lives so that the promises set forth in that Declaration of Independence could inform our life together as a free people. The words of that Declaration proclaimed:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights - that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men." The Declaration was the birth certificate of the United States of America. The words are still memorized by at least some of our schoolchildren. They can bring a tear to the oldest American eye with little effort.

The principles of that Declaration have informed our history and inspired our neighbors in other parts of the world to stand up against all forms of tyranny. As we reflect upon the text we should remember that our forebears were not declaring their independence from Divine Providence. Rather, they were trusting in the Governance of God over their noble undertaking in forging a new Nation which Lincoln would proclaim years later was "conceived in liberty".

They sought independence from a monarchy which had become tyrannical precisely because it had forgotten the implications of the primacy of Divine Providence. The principles set forth in that Declaration were a rallying cry which called forth extraordinary sacrifice. They were rooted in something greater than political expediency. Those heroic men, women and children who sacrificed to birth this nation believed there were truths - objective truths- to be held. Those truths are self evident. They include the existence of unalienable rights given to all men and women by a Creator. Those truths and rights can be discerned by all men and women because they are revealed by the Natural Law written on all human hearts. It is a participation in God's law.

Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration, Charles Carroll of Carrolton, cousin of the Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, was the only Catholic signer. At the time of his signing it was illegal for Catholics to hold public office or to vote in Maryland. Yet, he still pledged with all of the signatories: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." He knew the importance of the vision of freedom, rights and liberty which that Declaration proclaimed in those three profoundly simple but supremely powerful words: "We Hold These Truths."

What is clear is that competing visions of the human person, human dignity, human rights, marriage, family and human freedom are threatening our National future. Some counterfeits of liberty are now being imposed upon us; through the very institutions formed to protect the American experiment. The preeminent Right to Life affirmed in that Declaration is undermined by the positive/civil law of the Nation which the Declaration helped to birth. How can a Nation which has enshrined the killing of innocent children in the womb in its law claim that that it still recognizes the unalienable right to life?

The child in the womb is our first neighbor. Certainly all of the American founders would have agreed it is wrong to kill an innocent neighbor. How can we read Jefferson's words, "God who gave us life gave us liberty" and not see the evil of a jurisprudence which puts the police power of the Federal Government behind the intentional taking of her/his life? What makes it even more profane is that the ground for such a violation of fundamental human rights comes from a Supreme Court opinion which manufactured out of whole cloth an alleged "right" to commit such a heinous crime within a so called "liberty interest" of the U.S. Constitution. The entire infrastructure of human rights and freedoms is at risk. Life is the first right and first human good. Without Life there can be no other rights because only human persons can receive them.

At the root of the American founder's vision of a "good" society was the affirmation of a common morality upon which this virtuous and free society could be built. It alone could help to secure a truly free society which allowed all to pursue happiness. The classical vision of happiness included within it an obligation to live a moral life. It was understood that human persons flourish when they live virtuously. While the American founders embraced a properly understood freedom of religion, they did not ascribe to an enforced secularism, a freedom FROM religion, where the influence of religious principles and the leavening role of religious institutions were viewed as some kind of threat to liberty.

Yet, look at the challenge we face today with a growing hostility toward faith and faith based institutions. The HHS mandate attached to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act seeks to compel believers to violate their conscience. It will sanction the Church for being faithful to her deeply held religious convictions. It threatens to exclude our very participation in society. No matter how diverse the American founders were in their religious convictions they all affirmed the truths that Declaration proclaimed and recognized that the unalienable rights which flowed from them were given not by civil government but endowed by the Creator. The implication is obvious; they could not be taken away by civil government either.

If we had the ear of the founders today, would anyone argue they would have viewed marriage and the family founded upon it as expendable, capable of being redefined by judicial fiat or a feat of legislative alchemy? The two parent, man/woman, marriage bound family was viewed as the first government, first school, first economy, first church, and first mediating institution. Yet, we currently face the ominous cloud of a libertine counterfeit of marriage and family being forced upon us by Cultural Revolutionaries. If it becomes a part of the positive law, it will be backed up by the police power of the State.   

On April 18, 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger presided over Mass in St. Peter's square. The entire world was mourning the death of Blessed John Paul II and the conclave was gathering to discern who would succeed him in the Chair of Peter. In a stirring homily he asked a probing question and shared a prophetic insight: "How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking? The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4:14) comes true.

"Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be "tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine", seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires.

"We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An "adult" faith is not a faith that follows the trends of fashion and the latest novelty; a mature adult faith is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ. It is this friendship that opens us up to all that is good and gives us a criterion by which to distinguish the true from the false, and deceit from truth. We must develop this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith - only faith - that creates unity and is fulfilled in love." The next day, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger took the name Pope Benedict XVI. 

As American Catholics we are experiencing the effects of the "dictatorship of relativism" which Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) spoke of. We must now live the kind of adult faith of which he also spoke. Not only for ourselves but for this Nation we love.  Blessed John Paul II wrote in his letter the "Gospel of Life" in 1995 of a "remarkable contradiction" unleashed in our age, precisely at the "level of politics and government". He warned of the emergence of a "tyrant State" and the "death of true freedom":

"The process which once led to discovering the idea of "human rights"- rights inherent in every person and prior to any Constitution and State legislation - is today marked by a surprising contradiction. Precisely in an age when the inviolable rights of the person are solemnly proclaimed and the value of life is publicly affirmed, the very right to life is being denied or trampled upon, especially at the more significant moments of existence: the moment of birth and the moment of death. The original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people-even if it is the majority."

"This is the sinister result of a relativism which reigns unopposed: the "right" ceases to be such, because it is no longer firmly founded on the inviolable dignity of the person, but is made subject to the will of the stronger part. In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the "common home" where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenseless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part".

"The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations: How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted?

"In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practiced: some individuals are held to be deserving of defense and others are denied that dignity? When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun. To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin" (Jn 8:34)."

On this Fourth of July I reaffirm that we still hold those truths as Americans - because they hold us and will secure our future! Will you join me?

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More U.S.

How far will it spread? A New York doctor has tested positive for Ebola Watch

Image of 33-year-old Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, had recently returned to the U.S. after treating Ebola patients in Guinea.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A New York doctor who had recently returned from Guinea has tested positive for Ebola, the fourth person diagnosed with the disease in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Craig Spencer worked for Doctors Without Borders where he was treating ... continue reading


Same-sex couples line up to be wed in Wyoming Watch

Image of After the state formally dropped its defense of a law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, Jennifer Mumaugh says that attitudes across the state have shifted in recent years to be more open to gay couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Same-sex couples began lining up around the block in Wyoming for marriage licenses this week. U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl, appointed by President Barack Obama struck down the state's gay marriage ban last week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Will they riot after this? Autopsy, analysis shows officer Wilson was telling the truth Watch

Image of New analysis and witness reports suggest that officer Darren Wilson was being attacked by Michael Brown and shot him in self defense.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New evidence from Ferguson Missouri seems to vindicate the testimony of officer Darren Wilson, showing that the fatal shooting of Michael Brown may not be as cut and dry as many of the protestors in the area believe. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to ... continue reading


Is this a sign of things to come? 2014 midterm most expensive on record Watch

Image of Early voting has already started in several states including Kansas and Illinois.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Well underway, the 2014 midterms are set to be the most expensive midterms ever, according to projections that the Center for Responsive Politics released on October 22. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While heavily overshadowed by global affairs like the ... continue reading


ACTIVE SHOOTER - Kids, teachers, community terrorized by admin, police at Thompson Jr. HS in Bakersfield in the name of safety? Watch

Image of Terrorization in the name of safety is still terror.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest school shooting did not make the national news yesterday because allegedly it was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated against kids and a working-class community in the name of safety. For about 30 minutes on Tuesday, students, faculty, and their parents ... continue reading


Guns Do Not Have Rights, People Do. Legitimate Self Defense is One of Them

Image of Guns have no rights, only people do.Yes, one of them is the Right to Self Defense - and the Right to defend your neighbor. You may ask,

By Keith A. Fournier

We live in a precarious time in the United States of America. Many of us are deeply concerned about the effort to infringe upon the fundamental rights which were delineated in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. I have written extensively about ... continue reading


Catholic school forbids Hollywood lesbian drama from shooting on location Watch

Image of In the scene to be filmed at the school, Moore's character, a New Jersey police detective with terminal cancer, applies for a domestic partnership with her partner, played by Page in order to pass on her pension legally after her death.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While actresses Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are big names in filmland, their largesse didn't get them past the authorities at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, New York. The catholic school has declined their request to use their location for a ... continue reading


On the Feast of St. John Paul II, His Prophetic Warning to the U.S. Requires a Response Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier standing under the beautiful bronze statue of John Paul II in Denver, Colorado.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In an address given during that 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla spoke some words which I believe were prophetic. - We are now standing in the face ... continue reading


Guest Commentary by Ken Blackwell: Houston's Mayor is Endangering Civil Rights

Image of Ken Blackwell

By Ken Blackwell

In Houston, Texas, we have seen a bizarre twist on traditional Civil Rights play out. The Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, has been waging an uncivil war on people who oppose the far-reaching homosexual rights ordinance she powered through the City Council. That ... continue reading


Suspected Indiana serial killer foiled by text messages Watch

Image of Darren Deon Vann is suspected in the death of a woman in Hammond - and possibly six more in neighboring Gary, possibly even more.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Darren Deon Vann told Indiana Police he "messed up" and expressed surprise that he was found so quickly, in the biggest understatement in recent memory. Vann is suspected in the death of a woman in Hammond - and possibly six more in neighboring Gary, possibly ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2014 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in ... 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