jump to navigation

Should faithful Catholics celebrate the 4th of July? July 1, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Christendom, disconcerting, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, the enemy.

A reader sent me a fascinating set of questions yesterday regarding how faithful/traditional Catholics should approach the upcoming national celebration of this nation’s independence.  He raised some very interesting points I had honestly not really considered in depth.

As I have grown in knowledge of the traditional Catholic view of “enlightenment” inspired post-Christian libertine democracy, I have come to reappraise my own feelings regarding this country, its political, cultural, and religious orientation, etc.  This knowledge has caused me to grow increasingly convinced that this country as it is founded is not, as John Courtney Murray argued, the perfect embodiment of what a country conducive to the interest of the Church and the salvation of souls should be, but is in fact profoundly deranged from the point of view of the Church, or at least the traditional practice of the Faith.  While the Church in this country has gone whole hog, at least since the Council (but really, long before that) into Americanism, trumpeting our constitutional “right” and “freedoms” as the perfect ideal, from the standpoint of the Tradition, this country is actually oriented to be almost invincibly hostile to the Faith.

This country was not founded by Catholics. It was in fact founded primarily by enlightenment deists profoundly hostile to historical Christendom and in particular to the Catholic Faith.  This country went out of its way to insure that an enlightenment deist hegemony would prevail on this continent, to the extent of crushing a potential Catholic power in the form of Mexico (which, in its original form, would have been as large, and had nearly as many resources, as the remainder of CONUS would have had without the Mexican conquests added to it).  The War of 1848-9 was a war steeped in religious rhetoric and fired, quite frequently, by religious hatred.  There was a fairly clear sense on the American side that the “papists” of Mexico had to be crushed if manifest destiny were to be fulfilled.

Historical incidents demonstrating a bias against the Church aside, more significant are the documents that shape this country, and the outlook and beliefs of the men who wrote and implemented those documents.  Christopher Ferrara goes into great depth demonstrating how the Lockean-Hobbesian principles upon which this country was founded were deliberately shaped to result in a post-Christian society where religion, to the extent it was practiced at all, would be a strictly private affair. This was done to insure that the Church, or church in protestant countries, could never compete with the State again.  This was a return to pagan Roman sensibilities regarding the right (really, wrong) ordering of government, with everything, including the transcendent religion of Jesus Christ, subordinated to the state and its interests.

All the assaults we see against the Church and Her prerogatives, which are really the prerogatives of Jesus Christ the King, flow naturally, and inevitably, from the highly disordered nature of the United States government and culture. They are disordered because by purporting to establish and favor no state religion, agnosticism was actually installed as the de facto state religion.  Yes, there are references to a Creator and a heavenly power in the writings of the Founding Fathers, and a few were even fairly committed protestants, but this is just enlightenment deism manifesting itself, a profoundly indifferentism belief system that posits that if there is a God, he surely doesn’t give a care at all about what happens with us puny creatures, and simply set the universe in motion long ago.  He certainly didn’t become man and establish the One True Church necessary for salvation.

All of the above is mostly to say that the reason we see such a thoroughly immoral and hostile culture and government today, is that reaching this sad point was inevitable from the moment this country was founded. The only surprising thing is how long it has taken to get here, which shows the enduring power of the Christendom the Church created, even in the lives of those who deliberately repudiate the Church.  But I think many feel today we have past a tipping point, and that this culture is accelerating on the downward slope of post-Christianity towards full-on sexular paganism and outright persecution of the few truly faithful souls.

In light of all that, my friend asks…….how do we as American Catholics celebrate Independence Day and these United States – especially when our government is pursuing anti-Catholic (and blatantly immoral) policies at home and abroad?

I might ask differently, do we celebrate them?  I think so, in a way, because Catholics should retain a love of country even in the midst of a government inspired persecution.  Even with an increasingly hostile and insane government and culture, there is still much to love about our country – its natural beauty, its bounty, the fact that there are certainly far worse forms of government, aspects of history, especially some of the glorious Saints that have been raised up here, etc.  There are customs and other elements as well that are not immoral, there is technological achievement that we can be proud of in some sense, and there remain of course millions of good people of varying stripes.

I think a sort of Catholic-centric celebration of the 4th of July might be a very good way to approach the holiday.  We can be thankful for the Church and Saints and holy people we have had and do have.  We can use this holiday as an opportunity to pray for conversion.  We can offer up intentions for more people within the Church to understand the grave problems of modern libertine government.  We can just have fun with our families.

I think it important to stress that we should NOT (sorry for previous typo) act or sound ungrateful.  As I said, there are certainly far worse places to be.  We have an incredible number of blessings in this country, even if we may be disconcerted, even scandalized, by how distant certain endarkenment ideals embedded in this nation’s government and culture are from the Catholic ideal.  I think we can appreciate the many good things, while not being blinded to the fact that we have all of us, essentially, been very carefully indoctrinated into accepting unquestioningly that this nation and its government are undeniably the greatest the world has ever seen.  In some respects, that claim is even true, but in many others, it is false, at least from a traditional Catholic perspective.

So what think you?  One thing I think needs to be stressed, we don’t want to sound like a carping leftist Occupy type, pretending this country is the most racist, classist, oppressive nation there has ever been.  Such claims are stupid, and born of rank ignorance.  There have been and are countries far more hostile to the Faith than this one.  But that should not blind us to the grave deficiencies “baked into” this nation at its founding, and how those fundamental errors are manifesting themselves inexorably today. Nor should it blind us to the almost certain fact that those same errors make it quite possible for this nation to turn into one of evil anti-Catholic persecution, should there not be a great change in direction.

Again, what are your thoughts on how to celebrate the 4th of July?  And I hope I haven’t spoiled your holiday!


1. Noah Moerbeek - July 1, 2014

Yes, I hope to have post up on Unam Sanctam on Catholic Patriotism for the 4th of July.

2. discipleofthedumbox - July 1, 2014

That is an interesting question to ask. One must first understand what is meant by the celebration of the 4th of the July or rather the celebration of the 13 English colonies winning their war of secession from the British crown.

My country won its independence from Mexico sought in response to the parent government’s many violations of the Mexican constitution of 1824 and in response to the aggressive tactics used by that government’s armed forces against both european settler and the native Tejano alike. A conflict which begain in earnest at Gonzales on October 2nd, 1835 and ended effectively with the establishment of the Republic of Texas on April 21, 1836. Therefore, the latter date is more important to me than is July 4th.

That being written, we shall celebrate with family and shall pray for the Union as well as for Texas independence from it so long as it continues down this dark path.

3. I know how to celebrate the 4th – at the Carmel! | A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - July 1, 2014

[…] I asked in the previous post whether or how faithful Catholics should celebrate Independence Day.  Well, here is one really good idea – skip the fireworks and offer up prayers for the conversion of this nation and its government/leaders with the Carmelites in Dallas! […]

4. Fran - July 1, 2014

Catholic Founding Fathers – The Carroll Family
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin. Nearly every schoolchild recognizes them as the Founding Fathers. But there were a great many more Founding Fathers, even if their names are not so familiar as the above. Several of those lesser-known men who played key roles in the creation of the United States of America were Catholics.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin. Nearly every schoolchild recognizes them as the Founding Fathers — signers of the Declaration of Independence, framers of the Constitution, heroes of the Revolutionary War.

There were a great many more Founding Fathers, however, even if their names are not so familiar as the above. Several of those lesser-known men who played key roles in the creation of the United States of America were Catholics. Chief among them were three members of the Carroll family of Maryland: Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence; his cousin Daniel Carroll; and Daniel Carroll’s brother John Carroll, who became America’s first Catholic bishop.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832) was the most illustrious and best-known of the Carrolls. He was the only signer whose property — Carrollton — was mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Carrollton was the 10,000-acre estate in Frederick County, Maryland, that Charles Carroll’s father had given him on his return to America from his education in Europe.

At the time he signed the Declaration, it was against the law for a Catholic to hold public office or to vote. Although Maryland was founded by and for Catholics in 1634, in 1649 and, later, in 1689 after the Glorious Revolution placed severe restrictions on Catholics in England, the laws were changed in Maryland, and Catholicism was repressed.

Catholics could no longer hold office, exercise the franchise, educate their children in their faith, or worship in public. With the Declaration of Independence, all this bias and restriction ended. Charles Carroll first became known in colonial politics through his defense of freedom of conscience and his belief that the power to govern derived from the consent of the governed. He was a staunch supporter of Washington, and when the war was going badly at Valley Forge, he was instrumental in persuading the Revolution’s Board of War not to replace Washington with General Horatio Gates. Carroll supported the war with his own private funds; he was widely regarded as the wealthiest of all the colonists, with the most to lose were the fight for independence to fail. Carroll was greatly acclaimed in later life, and he outlived all the other signers of the Declaration.

Daniel Carroll of Rock Creek (1730-1796) was a member of the Continental Congress (1781-1783), and a signer of the Articles of Confederation. He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and one of only two Catholic signers of the United States Constitution. (The other Catholic signer was Thomas Fitzsimons of Pennsylvania.) At the Constitutional Convention, Daniel Carroll played an essential role in formulating the limitation of the powers of the federal government. He was the author of the presumption — enshrined in the Constitution — that powers not specifically delegated to the federal government were reserved to the states or to the people.

Daniel Carroll later became a member of the first United States Congress (1789-1791). He was also a member of the first Senate of Maryland, where he served up to the time of his death. He was appointed by Washington as one of the first three commissioners of the new federal city that is now known as the District of Columbia. In today’s terminology, he would have been considered the mayor of Washington, D.C.

John Carroll (1735-1815), Daniel Carroll’s younger brother, was educated in Europe, joined the Jesuit order, and was ordained a priest. He founded a private school for boys and named it after the town where it was located, Georgetown, a port on the Potomac River that later became part of Washington, D.C. He went on to be elected — by all the Catholic priests in America — to become America’s first Catholic bishop. He later became archbishop of Baltimore. In any procession of American bishops, the archbishop of Baltimore always goes last in recognition of its role as America’s oldest diocese. In 1789, John Carroll founded the college in Georgetown that later became known as Georgetown University.

During a period when the Revolutionary War was going badly, Washington asked John Carroll to join a mission to Canada to seek the support of the French for the colonies. Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton were the others on the four-man mission. While it failed, it established a relationship with the French, much influenced by the Catholic faith they held in common with the Carrolls. It bore fruit years later at Yorktown, where the largely Catholic-financed French fleet cut off supplies to British general Charles Cornwallis, and Washington was able to force Cornwallis to surrender and bring the war to an end.

John Carroll was an intimate of Washington. He wrote a prayer at the time of Washington’s inauguration asking God’s blessing on the president, Congress, and government of the United States — a prayer still very much in use today. Out of gratitude for John Carroll’s support during the war, Washington gave a modified version of the seal of the United States to the institution that is now Georgetown University, and that seal is still in use.

Despite their enormous contributions to the American founding, the three Carrolls somehow fell below the radar screen of recognition as full-fledged founding fathers. Perhaps that was because they were Catholics in a country and a culture that for many years was overwhelmingly Protestant.


Charles Carroll Carter. “Catholic Founding Fathers — The Carroll Family.” Crisis 19, no. 3 (March 2001): 32-33.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Morley Institute, a non-profit education organization. To subscribe to Crisis magazine call 1-800-852-9962.


Charles Carroll Carter is on the board of trustees of the Charles Carroll House of Annapolis, Maryland, the birthplace of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. He is a direct descendant of Daniel Carroll of Rock Creek.

Copyright © 2001 Crisis

[View the Latest CERC Weekly E-Letter]
Subscribe to CERC’s Weekly E-Letter

Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.

Also, Alexander Hamilton was Catholic I believe. 🙂

Fran - July 1, 2014

Could be wrong about Hamilton…not sure.

Tantumblogo - July 1, 2014

Ferrara demonstrates no on Hamilton. That is a rumor only. I am aware of the Carroll family. They were certainly important and that should not be diminished. But the main authors of the Constitution were enlightenment deists, no question.

Even if all were Catholic, the ideas would still be highly problematic if not outright hostile to Catholicism. I know this is not an easy thing to accept. It certainly was not for me. But the evidence is overwhelming. I strongly recommend reading Liberty: The God That Failed.

Allan Wafkowski - July 1, 2014

A country that has maintained an abortion industry for decades, has perhaps the largest pornography industry in the world, supports homosexuality, exports this immorality to other countries under threat of refusing needed material relief and has elected the demonic Obama twice is not a good country. Weight in its waging many useless wars, unfair financial system, and the fact it has become a police state, and there really is not much to like.

But–this is the land that God choose that we should be born in. That is no small matter. Each country has a guardian angel, as we have a guardian angel. To guard against what? To protect us against the evil of the world, but also to protect the world from our own personal evil. A country breaks down morally to the point that God withholds graces only after we have misused and abused many, many graces. There is no reason to be proud of America. It is a horrid place. But it is what it is because we are not saints. We are to blame. Recall the Cure of Ars’ and the moral mess he was given as his parish. The saint, with merely his two hands and two knees, turned that parish from a place of evil into a wholesome community of Catholics. On this 4th, we cannot praise or dismiss the evil our country has become for the sake of a family barbecue, but we can pray and sacrifice that this country may become what God intended it to be. Whether this country began from corrupt beginnings or not should not be an issue. Nothing happens without God’s consent.

Tantumblogo - July 1, 2014

Just to be clear, I didn’t mean to say that this country is “good,” only that it, like essentially every country, has good aspects. Not sure if I gave a contrary impression.

Thank you for the comment. Much to consider, I agree, but I think you give some great input, especially regarding the Cure’ of Ars. An inspiring example, to be sure.

TG - July 2, 2014

Agree with your comment. I for one am grateful to have been born here instead of Mexico. Mexico even if it is Catholic has always had a corrupt government.

discipleofthedumbox - July 1, 2014

Good book. Christopher Ferrara also speaks on the Mike Church program on Sirius/XM radio from time to time. He always gets a great response from the listening audience.

Fran Hill - July 1, 2014

Thanks! I’ll definitely read your suggestion 🙂

5. LongSkirts1 - July 1, 2014


Happy Fourth!
Happy Fourth!
Always a Catholic
Firtht, of courth.

Happy Fourth,
And I say – eth
We’re no descent
Of Henry the eigh – eth!

Happy Fourth
U – S – A
Priests say Latin
Mass each day!

Happy Fourth!
“Latin what??!!”
A firecracker
Up Henry’s…

But – Happy Fourth,
Hank’s in his grave,
The One, True, Faith
Still frees the brave,

So Happy Fourth
Of God’s July,
In the U – S – A
A Catholic I’ll die!

6. dymphna wilson (@dymphnaw) - July 1, 2014

…largest pornography industry in the world,

Wouldn’t that be Japan?

Tantumblogo - July 1, 2014

Ummm…….no. US production is greater than rest of the world combined.

Japan makes a lot, but it’s very different. I really don’t want to remember how.

7. Joseph D'Hippolito - July 1, 2014

You know, this country has been a boon to Catholics, especially those whose forebears came from Italy, Ireland, Poland, Croatia, Portugal and Latin America, to name just a few.

Both sets of my grandparents immigrated from Italy. My paternal grandfather worked as a blaster in New York City. His son — my father — graduated from New York University with a degree in electrical engineering and served in WWII as a provost marshal, earning the Legion of Merit. Yes, he faced discrimination for being Catholic when he came back. He saw want-ads demanding “Protestant only” and “Christian only” in the most cosmopolitan city in this country! Nevertheless, North American Aviation (which built the P-51 Mustang) hired him, and he became heavily involved with the United States’ space program — especially the Apollo and Space Shuttle projects.

My maternal grandfather worked as a tailor. Two of his sons became electrical enginneers; one became the head of graduate studies at Brooklyn Polytechnic. One of his daughters became an award-winning pain specialist at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Do you think any of that would have happened if my grandparents had remained in the “old country”?

Moreover, how do you explain the rise of Catholic hospitals, universities and numerous foundations?

If it weren’t for the principles of individual liberty that the Founders embraced and codified in the Constitution, do you think any of this would have happened?

You people are no better than the “liberals” you want to avoid being. Just like them, you take for granted the blessings that God has bestowed on this country.

May I also remind you that freedom, ultimately, comes from a God Who is the ultimate free being in the universe, and that humanity is created in His free Image?

Liberty is the birthright of every man, woman and child. That’s not a justification for license or moral irresponsibility. It is, however, an indictment of the corporatist millieu that has pervaded Catholicism and its geopolitical dealings for centuries.

8. MFG - July 2, 2014

Its interesting to note today in the N.O. calendar is the commemoration of Blessed Junipero Serra who founded introduced Catholicism into California back in the 1600s. Another one to honor.

Good discussion and more ideas will develop as people want to celebrate America without the political/diest element.

MFG - July 2, 2014

On a side note, a friend of mine wrote a thesis paper examining how the Constitution and U.S. government did not mention God or Christ. He did find that the Articles of Confederation, and the Confederacy Constitution did a slightly better job at mentioning God, but that its too vague to pass a Catholic muster.

9. D.O.T.C.O.M. (@DOTCOM_MOM) - July 2, 2014

Was it morally ok for faithful catholics to have participated in the Revolutionary war? …or, the Civil war? I never hear any priest speak out against these wars. If it was “just” to kill people to stop from being overtaxed… or “just” to kill people to end slavery—it seems duplicitous to say that it is NOT “just” to end the senseless killing of innocent, defenseless babies in the womb.

David - July 2, 2014

I heard a commentator not long ago discuss some of the discrimination that occurred in the 18th and 19th century United States. During the Civil War, Catholics served on both sides (many were Irish immigrants), and both sides often placed Catholics on the front lines, with their superiors thinking they were expendable, insignificant casualties.

discipleofthedumbox - July 3, 2014

A war that should never have happened. Thank you, Republican president, Abe Lincoln, our first imperial tyrant.

Presidential candidate Ron Paul though not a Catholic had the following suggestion, “On Independence Day we should remember the spirit of rebellion against tyranny that inspired our Founding Fathers to set out our experiment in liberty. We should ourselves celebrate and continue that struggle if we are to keep our republic.”

discipleofthedumbox - July 3, 2014

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: