Skip to content

Sign up for a chance to win an exquisite rosary!

Making a Difference: True freedom leads to healthy patriotism

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

As I write, it is July 4, Independence Day in the United States. This American holiday is always accompanied with parades, fireworks, flag waving and a heightened sense of pride of country. And this is all good - to a point.


By Tony Magliano
7/10/2020 (3 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Freedom, patriotism, license, government

A love of country - whether that country be Russia, China, South Africa, India, the Philippians, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S., or any other nation - is a healthy, genuine love when it humbly understands that one's own nation is an equal member in the world community of nations; and that it not only possesses virtues to celebrate, but also commits sins in need of repentance. 

Slogans like "my country, right or wrong" and "love it or leave it" and "America first" and "American exceptionalism" reveal an unhealthy, arrogant, unenlightened and unholy nationalism which exaggerates the nation's virtues - even attempting to display certain vices as virtues - all the while ignoring the nation's sins.      

Sadly, and dangerously, large segments of many nations hold to this unhealthy patriotism, which is not conducive to genuine freedom, but instead enables the forces of darkness to shackle the mind and soul of both individual adherents, and much of the nation, to a self-centered false sense of superiority which blocks God's gift of inner spiritual freedom, and fosters serious obstacles to establishing a just and peaceful world community. 

Many people understand freedom to mean doing whatever one wants to do. But that mentality is definitely not freedom, instead it's what's known as "license."

And license results when one's ego is the driving force. "Don't tell me what to do. I do what I want" is what people say and do whose lives are being steered by self-centered egoism. This attitude is not freeing, on the contrary it enslaves the person to her/his passions and greed.

And the same goes for nations. Many countries and corporations also have the selfish attitude of "I do what I want" with little regard for the freeing Catholic social teaching principles of solidarity, the common good, and the special option for the poor and vulnerable.

Mark Twain astutely said, "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." 

Governments seeking dangerous and unjust dominance by investing astronomical amounts of money in their military - at the expense of the poor and hungry - and companies that treat workers like mere cogs in the corporate wheel - who often labor in sweatshops - instead of like human beings with human rights, are not only enslaving others, they are unwittingly enslaving themselves.

Unlike secular culture, Jesus shows us that real freedom is not gained by seeking more and more pleasure, fame, money, and power for oneself and one's country. 

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

Rather "The Way" - the earliest name for the church - of Jesus is selfless love. In the Gospel Jesus teaches, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." And Jesus said, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

So, true freedom is not about you doing your thing and me doing my thing; it's about doing God's thing. We are not the center of the universe - God is. And when we as individuals, and as a nation, invite the Center of the universe to be the center of our lives and nation, we are then, and only then, free!

    Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at 

LIVE Lessons @ Catholic Online School

'Live Lessons' with Zoom on Catholic Online School

Professor Connolly: Monday-Friday @ 9am/12pm Eastern
Deacon Frederick Bartels: Tuesday-Friday @ 10am/1pm Eastern

LIVE Lessons This Month's Curriculum

Never Miss any Updates!

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

Saints Fun Facts Coloring Book FREE PDF

Free PDFs: Hail Mary, Our Father, How to Pray the Rosary & more

PDF educational & learning resources for Students, Parents, and Teachers and it’s 100% FREE. How to Pray the Rosary, Hail Mary, Our Father, Saints, Prayers, Coloring Books, Novenas, Espanol and more. All FREE to download and faithful to the Magisterium. Download Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!