Happy Independence Day! I hope we all are celebrating this special holiday all weekend.
More than fireworks and watermelon, this Fourth of July is a special time to reflect on, and be recommitted to, the virtue of patriotism. Patriotism is a love of country and your fellow countrymen, sincerely wanting your country to be the best it can be.
The opposite of the virtue of patriotism is nationalism, which is the vice that says ‘my country right or wrong,’ denying the true kinship of all peoples.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), # 1939, we read of the principal of Human Solidarity. It states: “The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of ‘friendship’ or ‘social charity,’ is a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood.
The CCC then quotes Pope Pius XII: “An error, today abundantly widespread, is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, dictated and imposed both by our common origin and by the equality in rational nature of all men, whatever nation they belong to. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity.”
Sadly, though Pope Pius XII stated this back in October 1939, it remains a serious problem for the world today.
I firmly believe that the best way to fight against a narrow and demeaning nationalism is to promote a healthy and authentic patriotism. We do have much to give thanks for in this nation. We also have very much to work yet to do in terms of race relations, social and economic justice, fairness before the law, equal opportunities to education and health care, and so many other important and basic issues. We do have our work cut out for us.
So as you celebrate the nation’s birthday this weekend, I urge you to pray for our country, and re-commit yourself to working to make the United States of America the best country it can be, a positive and up-lifting example to all the world of liberty and justice FOR ALL. Happy Independence Day! Stay safe!