I am proud to be an American. I am glad to have been given all the benefits and freedoms that I have been allowed to have as an American citizen. I can’t say that I always like our nation or always have liked it. I don’t kid myself in saying that not everything about America is likeable. I don’t for example like the fact that our nation’s foundation, while there is indeed good and truth in it, is still far from the fullness of truth (a subject for a different discussion). I also don’t like certain historical decisions that have plagued America’s history. Whether it is the institution of slavery, or segregation (Jim Crow Laws and Plessy vs. Ferguson 1896). Nor do I always like or agree for that matter with many Supreme Court decisions such as those mentioned, the legalization of abortion (Roe vs. Wade 1973) or the relatively recent decision of legalizing same sex “marriage” literally sodomy (Obergefell vs. Hodges 2015). Nor do I necessarily like all the presidents and or political decisions taken by our country’s leaders.
However I do truly love our nation. Above all things I love our people and especially our land. I especially love and appreciate many opportunities that it has blessed us with. I love that I can still practice my faith, talk publicity as to what I believe the truth to be, exercise my faith publicity, and if I am to raise a family of my own later on, knowing that I have the opportunity to homeschool them if I so choose. Furthermore I desire for the religious conversion of the United States to the fullness of truth found solely in the Catholic Church and desire for the social kingship of Christ in our nation.
As such I deeply feel for our nation in the present moment. I am profoundly saddened at the loss of faith in God, Christ and His Church that our nation has fallen into. Gallup after Gallup poll and many other public opinion polls show how our nation is generally becoming less and less religious. Belief about Church teaching and especially things like the Eucharist and the importance of Church going are also a sad reality, with as much as 70% of Catholics not believing in many Church teachings or going to Sunday Mass. Furthermore as sociologist Christian Smith has mentioned many people’s faith has become rooted in the heresy of modernism. Not only the belief that truth is relative and changes with the times, but also that religion is nothing more than a mere religious experience, a means by which to cope and feel good, what Smith has called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD) .
Lastly our nation has not only become secularized, but worst of all it has become re-paganized. America as a whole in many areas and institutions have embraced the culture of death and what could be called the “contraceptive mentality” which has seen family life as a curse rather than a blessing, and which has naturally led to abortion and the unholy trinity of “Me, Myself and I.” Amongst other things respect for authority and a rejection of both the Natural and Moral law are at play.
As such it is our duty as faithful Catholics to help change this country around. It is our duty to help “Make America Holy Again.” It is our duty to help do this in every aspect of our lives and in our own homes. Making America holy again begins within our own home, within our own community, and within our own locality. Helping make our nation holy again is a duty imposed on us through our Baptismal and Confirmation promises of being witness to the truth and of personal and public holiness and according to the dictates of the Second Vatican Council Lumen Gentium’s call to universal holiness.
There are many ways which helping make America holy again can be achieved within our states in life. Some of these things include 1) believing in everything that the Church teaches 2) setting good examples in our own lives and constantly evangelizing 3) living a life of holiness and grace 4) privately and publicitly professing our faith 5) being open to life and large families 6) promoting the domestic Church 7) being mindful of what we wear, what we watch and how we shop 8) and many many other things. For an example of some of the things that we could be doing I invite my readers to read a previously published article 8 Ways to Bring About the Restoration and Unity of Christendom.
It all starts above all things by both believing and living our Catholic Christian faiths. Above all this means believing in everything that the Catholic Church teaches as opposed to “Cafeteria Catholicism” which turns the faith into a matter of personal convenience rather than it helping us to conform to the truth.
It furthermore starts above all by us fully living our Catholic Christian faith. This means above all both 1) believing in what the Church teaches and 2) living a life of holiness and grace. How can we help make America holy again if we don’t ourselves believe in what the Church teaches and are not ourselves holy to begin with? To help transform the United States we must first transform ourselves and unite ourselves to God. Amongst priests this involves catechizing the faithful and inspiring a lively faith amongst their flock. Both in how they celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and on the quality of their homilies. How many times do priests talk about the realities of things like sin or hell, encourage the frequent reception of the Sacrament chief amongst which are the Eucharist and Confession, or encourage private devotions such as the recitation of the family Rosary, the enthronement of the home to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and the Divine Mercy Novena? How many times do priests furthermore properly catechize the faithful about traditional Catholic Social teaching regarding things like the Kingship of Christ, and of our moral obligations as Catholics in the voting booth and in public society as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
From the Catechism:
The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is “the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ.” By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them “to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live.” The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies. (CCC 2105)
As Catholics we then have a moral obligation to publicly practice our faith and influence society. There are many ways by which we can do this. The first one is in regards to simply living Sacramentally based lives and frequently going to Mass, both on Sundays and Holy days of obligation but also daily if we can. In addition this includes promoting public processions such as Corpus Christi and other Marian processions. It means praying with our family, friends and co-workers before our meals.
This also includes influencing the culture, institutions and morality of our nation through our political actions and legislation. It involves holding our elected officials accountable. It means instructing ourselves and others in regards to things like the Natural Law and principles of moral theology.
Another thing is in regards to how we vote. Whom are we voting for? As Catholics we are obliged to vote for the person whom has a reasonable chance of winning and who would best represent the ideal of Catholic morality in every aspect. There is or at least should be a hierarchy of moral political principles which should guide our voting process. Above all things we should not vote merely based on partisantism or party politics, but on the moral integrity of the person at hand. Furthermore things consisting of moral matters and especially things such as the 5 non negotiables of Catholic Social Teaching 1) abortion 2) euthanasia 3) human cloning 4) embryonic stem cell research 5) homosexual “marriage” should be of top priority. In addition things dealing with torture, civilian casualties in warfare, and things of that nature.
Similarly voting also means with our dollars and how we spend our dollars. Whom and what are we funding? Many people don’t realize that the way we spend our dollars has a tremendous impact on how we influence society. Just to be clear it is only sinful to directly participate in evil. So giving money to things like groups and causes like Planned Parenthood which is directly in the contraceptive and abortion business, or giving money to other groups whose main goal is to promote homosexuality and things of that nature is gravely sinful.
However we should be mindful of how we spend our own money. Are we spending it on companies, products, services or causes which donate to these groups, or promote ideas and principles which are directly in contradiction with Catholic morality? If you are not sure there are a lot of resources that help people to know whether any of these things are in favor of these causes or donate to groups that support these causes. Two good really good resources are the list composed by the Daily Signal and the 2nd Vote association which shows where companies stand on issues. Please note that Macy’s no longer donates to Planned Parenthood as of late last year.
It also means doing our best to keep holy the Lord’s in regards to not doing unnecessary work or shopping. It means closing our businesses on Sunday and or asking for the day of if it can be given. It means doing our best to do our chores and shopping outside of Sunday as best as we can.
In addition making America holy Again begins within our own homes. It starts above all things with the concept of the domestic Church. It is in the home by which our instruction in the faith comes in. It is in the home in which we are prepared to be virtuous citizens of society and members of the State. It is not the chief responsibility of First Communion or Confirmation classes, but of parents in regards to the education of children as the Church has perennially taught (here) (here) (here) and (here). The parents have a duty to instill a proper knowledge and love of Christ and His Church. They should furthermore instill since a young age a love of prayer and of the liturgy. They should above all pray and go to Mass as a family.
Another thing that is necessary to make America holy again is in regards to being countercultural Christians. There are many ways by which this can come about. For this article I can easily think of three ways by which we can accomplish this in opposition to the secular and even paganization of American culture in recent times. This includes 1) what we watch and read 2) how we dress 3) and how we talk. This is in opposition to much of pop culture which is the opposite of holiness. Fifty Shades of Grey, Family Guy, Modern Family, Kanye West, The Kardashians, American Pie, morally decadent movie and speech and many other things easily come to mind.
In regards to motion pictures and arts the following comes to mind
It should first be noted that every movie and show and motion picture in general should always be held in moral scrutiny. There are many types of goods in general. For example there are what in philosophy are called “ontological goods,” which simply means that it is good for something to exist. This is a very fundamental aspect of goodness because the essential definition of evil is the lack or absence of a good that should naturally be there. For example there are what are known as physical goods such as a person who has both arms and legs. We could say that a person who is missing either an arm or leg to be suffering from a physical evil, because something that should naturally be there (an arm or leg) is not there. Similarly Pseudo Dionysus a Greek convert to Catholicism stated that if something is to be considered good it needs to be good in every respect. A lack of goodness where goodness should naturally be there is really not good in general.1
When we talk about shows and movies or simply about motion pictures as a whole in general, we say that these things need to be morally good. Now a moral evil is the absence of a moral good that should naturally be there. Similarly a moral evil is an act that is willfully committed by an individual, despite the person knowing it to be morally bad. It should be noted that a movie could be artistically good, but morally bad and corrupt at the same time. For example many individuals talk about how good a movie was when in reality it was very immoral and corrupt. What they meant and thought as good was artistic goodness and not moral goodness. If the movie has even just one sin or immorality in it then the movie is naturally morally bad and evil. This should be said of any other thing that classifies as a type of art. What we read, the movies and media we watch, etc…
Similarly as mentioned what we dress and how we speak are also easily countercultural ways by which we can transform our nation and make it holy again. I have made the personal choice in doing my best to dress appropriately and to cut specific words out of my vocabulary that seem to have a type of sexual or decadent connotation. Words like sexy, sucks, hot, and many others. Instead I will use words like beautiful, lady, madame, gentleman, mister, masculine, feminine, misses, miss and things of that nature.
We are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26) and as such we are given human dignity, value and worth. Above all things this also gives us a certain type of holiness and sacredness and as Saint Paul says we are the “temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:19). As such we must dress up accordingly. We must veil ourselves just as everything that is holy is veiled. Our Lady, The Blessed Virgin Mary is often depicted as being veiled, the altar at Church is always veiled, Christ veils and hides Himself in the Tabernacle which is where the Eucharist is kept, many women themselves traditionally veil themselves and so on, not because we are ugly and sinful, but particularly because we are to be holy and as such we must veil it.
Yet another example of how we could be countercultural Catholic Americans and make this nation holy again is in regards to being “fruitful and multiply.” This means being open to life and trusting in Divine Providence. This means above everything seeing every life as a blessing rather than a curse and being open to God’s will. As I wrote in another post:
Bring back a culture of life. A culture which based on the teachings of the Church and the examples of Christ are completely open and accepting of life. A culture which sees children and especially large families not as a curse nor a burden but as a blessing and even a source of temporal happiness which God gives to those who openly accept his creation. What better way to defeat the culture of death than by being truly countercultural Christians in the modern world. What better way to do this than by offering the alternative of the culture of life. A culture which openly accepts any and all children whom God affords to us. A culture which is furthermore open to having a large family and which sees children as a blessing rather than a curse.
I am often amazed by the countless families whom have generously allowed themselves to have as large of a family as God has afforded them. What blessing would it be to have 13 children! That family so long as it frequents the Sacraments frequently will never be bored nor will it ever be in want. Never will vice lurk at the door for virtue will always be practiced on a daily basis. The older children taking care of the younger. Never will the parents themselves ever be alone or in want. For they will always have children to help take care of them. How blessed must have been the family of Saint Catherine of Sienna with 24 siblings. Or the family of St Louis King of France with 9 brothers and sisters. The family of St. Robert Bellarmine whom came of a family of twelve. Or the family of Saint Pope Pius X who came from a family of ten.
Making America holy again then starts with each one of us in our own particular lives and homes. It is a joint effort to live and promote the Gospel and a culture of life. It means above all knowing and living the faith and a life of holiness and grace in each of our own lives. It furthermore means watching how we dress, what we say and what we watch. It means living our faith not only privately but also publictly. This includes in the exercise of our faith and in how we vote both with our ballots but also with our money.
- Fr Chad Ripperger “Movies”