Americanism and Pluralism
What exactly is meant by religious freedom and what are its implications?
[N.B. The author of the papal encyclical "Quas Primas" should read "Pius XI" not "Pius IX"]
Hello everyone and welcome to The Vortex where lies and falsehoods are trapped and
exposed. I’m Michael Voris coming to you from St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
Its been a much discussed issue in the past .. even somewhat recently. And given the
current condition of relations between the Church and Obama right now .. it’s reemerging
The question of: Catholics balancing loyalty to their country and their love for the faith.
We’ve heard for many many years that the two concepts are not incompatible .. that it is
more than possible for a good Catholic to also be a good American.
Huge numbers of Catholic parishes even have the American flag somewhere inside the
church. Catholic school children still say the Pledge of Allegiance after praying. For
generation of Catholics in America .. being a good Catholic entailed being a good
But here in Rome .. that thought was viewed somewhat warily. For centuries and
centuries .. the Church in Europe was bound up with the state .. usually a monarchy. This
was inherited by the Church when the Roman Empire in the west finally disintegrated in
the 5th century.
For the next 1200 years .. the Church was looked to by the peoples of Europe as the
authority and it was under the order .. and sometimes tension .. between Church and state
that people lived.
During this period .. the Church tolerated .. and this is a very important concept .. the
Church tolerated other religions .. like Judaism for example but they were not allowed to
be publicly supported by the state.
The Church is the One True Faith and the authority of the state was to be used .. and it
was .. to promote and advance it. Other religions were allowed .. but not supported or
advanced. This was viewed as the proper role of the state with regard to other faiths.
Then the Protestant Reformation or Revolt happened in the 16th century which gave birth
to the Age of Enlightenment and philosophers like John Locke who preached a different
doctrine. The Enlightenment philosophers and their followers sparked revolutions all
over Europe .. as well as in the British colonies in the North America.
Soon America was born .. with its unwritten creed of separation of Church and State. It
was this concept that Pope Leo XIII viewed suspiciously .. fearing that such an ideology
could easily get out of hand and create an environment that could eventually be hostile to
His fears seems to bearing out. Americanism .. as it is called .. strikes a more
individualistic and independent spirit with regard to the faith and less reliance on
Authority. Moreover .. as it has played out .. Americanism is supportive of separation
between Church and state .. a condition lamented by Pope Leo XIII in his 1898 encyclical [Testem Benevolentiae]
to US Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore.
He said that he was saddened by an America where church and state are “dissevered and
divorced,” and wrote of his preference for a closer relationship between the Catholic
Church and the State, along European lines.
Likewise .. just 27 years later .. Pope Pius XI wrote in his encyclical Quas Primas [On the Kingship of Christ] .. “The
rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable
The issue centered around the question of religious liberty. And here .. there is much
disagreement. Prior to Vatican II in the 1960s .. it was the accepted understanding by
many in the Church that pluralism and diversity were dangerous as far as approaches to
But at Vatican II … many argue an about face seems to have occurred .. though many
disagree there substantive change. In the openness to the world that was being bandied
about the Council .. a willingness to embrace religious diversity and pluralism became
the new watch word .. this notion being strongly advanced by Americans.
No longer would the Church try to encourage governments to promote the truths
contained in Catholic teaching with a view of course to a good moral order .. with of
course a larger view of attaining salvation.
Now the Church would simply accept that all voices had a right to be heard .. regardless
of what they said. That every religion should be allowed to proselytize equally and in the
Spirit of ’76 coupled with the Spirit of Vatican II .. the people would decide.
Since the 1960’s .. the Church in the west has retreated into an effective position that we
are just one voice among many.
This is why the US bishops have been forced and willfully accepted to frame their
response to Obama HHS mandate as an infringement on religious liberty and not because
The bishops strategy can basically be boiled down to this – do what you want over there
Obama, but leave us alone to run things the way we want over here.
This whole view has encouraged a thought in the minds of many Catholics .. that there
really isn’t any difference .. or at least of any significance .. between one religion and
another. A religious relativism has developed .. even within the Church with regard to
our approach to the world and evangelizing it.
So the clash between Catholics’ Faith and their Patriotism boils down to this – do heresies
and false religions have any “rights”? as we understand that term. Should all religions be
treated equally irrespective of what they preach? In a phrase – does error have any
From a Catholic perspective .. should social evils such as contraception .. abortion ..
active homosexuality WHEN PREACHED BY RELIGIONS be given government
protection and support?
Given the course of actions of the Church in America and the west in general for the past
50 years or so .. this is the situation that has developed.
Perhaps something not foreseen by the Church in the 1960s .. but definitely foreseen by
some earlier Popes .. was a situation where some religions were not just defective and
lacking in their understanding of the divine order .. but actually hostile to it.
And further .. what were to happen is .. along with the general degradation of the
culture .. these religions were to grow and sew moral error throughout a culture on every
And what if the whole concept of religion were to morph in such a manner as to allow for
a “religion of secularism” to which the state gives protection and advancement under the
banner of religious liberty?
The words of Pope Pius IX are instructive and thought provoking here:
“With God and Jesus Christ excluded from political life, with authority derived not from
God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away, because the chief
reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that
human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid
The choice is framed rather well by those words.
GOD Love you,
I’m Michael Voris