The Pope, Jingoism, and the Truth
Guest column by Hugh Turley
If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; the reason it hates you is that you do not belong to the world. John 15:19
On September 26, 2015, Pope Francis spoke at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. He began by saying, “The Declaration of Independence stated that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…” The audience of 10,000 cheered.
The Declaration actually states that “all men are created equal” and does not mention women.
Had Francis read more of the Declaration of Independence he would have seen this phrase, “For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies."
Most American Catholics, including clergy, don’t know what this is referring to because Catholic schools offer the same poor quality education as the secular public schools. The phrase refers to the Quebec Act that guaranteed the free practice of the Catholic faith and this so angered the American colonists that the Continental Army attacked Quebec on December 31, 1775. The Act was considered one of the Intolerable Acts and a leading cause of the Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers didn’t want any popish influence on the North American continent and they made this known in the Declaration of Independence.
The Age of Enlightenment influenced many leaders of the American Revolution and they favored science and reason over religion. When they rebelled against the Christian King George III many viewed Christianity as a silly superstition.
Had Pope Pius VI visited Independence Hall in 1776 he may have actually needed the security protection that was provided the modern and very popular Pope Francis.
What has changed during the past 239 years so that the once unwelcome influence of a pope is now popular even at Independence Hall? Have Americans become more Catholic? That does not seem likely because most American Catholics do not practice their religion. Only 24% of Catholics attend Mass weekly according the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.
Perhaps the Pope and modern Catholics have become more American in how they view the truth. Traditionally Catholics knew God as the truth and Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John14: 6) Knowledge of reality has been replaced by expediency.
Roman Catholic philosophy professor D.Q. McInerny wrote, “There are too many people today who are concerned not so much with what is true as with what will work. A statement need not be true; what is important is that it have the capacity to move people to follow a certain course of action, and often irrespective of the moral quality of that action.”
At the present time nothing has moved people to follow a certain course of action more than the events of September 11, 2001. Pope Francis joined an interfaith service at the New York 9/11 memorial saying, “O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and religious traditions, who gather today on this hallowed ground…”
In what sense is the 9/11 memorial site hallowed?
On the tenth anniversary the National Catholic Reporter called the 9/11 memorial in New York, “sacred in itself.” Last year President Obama praised the memorial as “a sacred place of healing and hope.” The Catholic News Service reported, “Monica Iken-Murphy, whose husband died in the south tower said the memorial is a ‘sacred and hallowed space’ made even more symbolic by the pope’s blessing.”
Every year on the anniversary of 9/11 a huge American flag is draped on the bell tower of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where Pope Francis celebrated Mass during his visit to Washington, D.C. American flags are frequently displayed in sanctuaries of American Catholic churches. St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. has a 9/11 shrine in the church sanctuary.
In front of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic school in Milltown, New Jersey is a large memorial for Cpl. Steven R. Koch, who died tragically during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. These words are inscribed in stone, “I’d bleed on the stripes to keep them red.” Koch is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, “our nation’s most sacred shrine.”
John F. Kennedy is also buried at Arlington. Pope Francis visited St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington and spoke to a gathering of bishops while standing on the very spot in the Cathedral where these words are inscribed, "Here rested the remains of President Kennedy at the Requiem Mass, Nov. 25, 1963, before their removal to Arlington where they lie in expectation of a heavenly resurrection." Francis did not ask who killed America’s only Catholic president. The establishment press has spoken.
The veneration of the 9/11 memorial that Francis called “hallowed ground” invites people to accept the official narrative on faith. The 9/11 story has been elevated to a religious status. Pope Francis and modern Catholics are servants to the powerful establishment news media first. They have overturned the dying words of Saint Thomas More – “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
If we ignore the truth about our own reality can we get near the true God?