Pervading nationalism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms and with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The challenge that is already with us is the temptation to accept as true freedom what in reality is only a new form of slavery.Pope St. John Paul II never said that, as far as I can tell.
This is one of those cases where being an old guy is actually an advantage. I remember the speech. The quote above is somebody's mangled re-telling of part of the homily in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland, on 29 September 1979. Here's the original:
Pervading materialism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms and with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The most sacred principles, which were the sure guides for the behaviour of individuals and society, are being hollowed out by false pretences concerning freedom, the sacredness of life, the indissolubility of marriage, the true sense of human sexuality, the right attitude towards the material goods that progress has to offer. Many people now are tempted to self-indulgence and consumerism, and human identity is often defined by what one owns. Prosperity and affluence, even when they are only beginning to be available to larger strata of society, tend to make people assume that they have a right to all that prosperity can bring, and thus they can become more selfish in their demands. Everybody wants a full freedom in all the areas of human behaviour and new models of morality are being proposed in the name of would-be freedom. When the moral fibre of a nation is weakened, when the sense of personal responsibility is diminished, then the door is open for the justification of injustices, for violence in all its forms, and for the manipulation of the many by the few. The challenge that is already with us is the temptation to accept as true freedom what in reality is only a new form of slavery. [emphasis added, and note I maintained the Vatican's British spellings -- that proves crowndot is not an evil nationalist!]I seem to recall that at times our beloved late St. JPII spoke out against a mistaken patriotism or nationalism that excludes Christian charity. But that's outside the scope of what I want to say today.
I have been bumping into right-hearted wrong-minded people since the selection of President Trump as the Republican nominee in 2016, whom I must present today only in straw form because of time (laziness), who denigrate all nationalism and all patriotism, even in America.
There are people all over the world who really do have a my-country-can-do-no-wrong mentality. I say that because it is clear from the bloody trail it has left through history that for radical Mohammedanism, every day is my-religion-can-do-no-wrong, plus for them "my country" equals "my religion" ergo my-country-can-do-no-wrong. If that is patriotism, then patriotism is nothing good. But that's not patriotism.
Patriotism seems to be the belief that other things being equal, the land of my birth or adoption gets a bye on close scrutiny in matters of economic advantage. So patriotism might be a bit intellectually lazy, but is morally ambiguous at worst. Say we're in France. It's probably okay to talk and act like we have the best cheese, the best meat sauce, the best soccer team, the best climate. But taking that to absolutes doesn't make sense. For instance, take the French legal system. Monsieur, you are guilty until proven innocent -- how can you prove you are innocent?! Take communist China. Comrade, you live at the discretion of your political elite -- you can't even have a second child without incurring the wrath of your overlords!
What about the United States of America? I'm not about to try to justify the Code of Federal Regulations, the IRS, or legal abortion. But the American system makes possible the actualization of each person's potential as God intended, more than any other system ever devised.
1878 All men are called to the same end: God himself. There is a certain resemblance between the union of the divine persons and the fraternity that men are to establish among themselves in truth and love. Love of neighbor is inseparable from love for God. 1879 The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation. (Catechism of the Catholic Church)Human beings develop their potential in the environment of maximum liberty.
America is still the shining city on the hill, the best place of most freedom. Is it the ideal? Of course not. Each of us is developing our potential. That's our vocation, the end of which is God Himself. As a nation we are supposed to be developing too. Something about promoting the general welfare and securing the blessings of liberty. God writes straight with crooked lines. Hint: we are the crooked lines. What God hath writ in America, nice and straight, is, "The land of the free."
Material prosperity in America is a byproduct of the system of liberty. What is offered to the world is freedom; what the immigrant (legal and otherwise) seeks is unfortunately material prosperity. But that's a start, if they adopt the culture of liberty. If not, all they have taken on is the imposing dominion of materialism. (Side point: materialism is what Islam says it hates about us; what it actually hates is freedom. Discuss.)
As an American, it his hard to go wrong if you are a bit nationalistic and patriotic. That is natural in the land of the free. President Trump noted in his inaugural address, "When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice." He was talking about AMERICAN patriotism.
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