Studying and reporting on America's role in the world

(This is the text of a talk given at the 24th annual meeting of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists on October 28, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The response of the Catholic intellectuals was interesting — the ones who spoke with me tried to minimize the reality.)

John Courtney Murray and the American Ideology


How the Catholic Church Became an Arm of American Power


American power is based on four primary factors or elements: financial, military, media/entertainment, and ideas.   The Catholic Church is an arm of American power in today’s world.  The Catholic leadership endorses or approves of the ideology underlying the formation of America and the political philosophy that forms America’s political institutions which in turn maintain the American ideology.  This ideology is nothing more than the Liberalism condemned by the Popes of the Nineteenth Century and condemned by Catholic doctrine itself, however its acceptance re-orders the relevant societies to be like America or to be allied with America.

Pope Francis gave an interview on May 9 of this year that was published in the French periodical called LaCroix. In response to a question posed by interviewers Guillaume Goubert and Sebastien Maillard in Rome, Pope Francis said “States must be secular.  Confessional states end badly.  That goes against the grain of History.  I believe that a version of laicity accompanied by a solid law guaranteeing religious freedom offers a framework for going forward.”[1]

This was a clarification of comments previously given while visiting the United States several months earlier, and at the same time it was a confirmation of the Pope’s commitment to the American ideology as good in principle. At Independence Hall on September 26, 2015 he praised the Declaration of Independence 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, and that governments exist to protect and defend those rights.  Those ringing words continue to inspire us today….”[2]  Just a few days earlier and at the White House he said “During my visit, I will have the honor of addressing Congress, where I hope, as a brother of this country, to offer words of encouragement to those called to guide the nation’s political future in fidelity to its founding principles….”[3]

These comments were neither isolated nor unique to this pontiff but rather are a logical consequence of statements by an earlier pope, Benedict XVI, who as Fr. Joseph Ratzinger served as a theologian and peritus at the Vatican II Council.  As such, Benedict represented the intellectual arm of the Catholic Church as well as the highest levels of its leadership and the definitive authority on the meaning of Vatican Council II’s documents.  In an address to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005, Benedict laid out how the leadership of the Church came to accept the American ideology with its disestablishment of any church or religion, and hence the creation of the first secular state in history, as being good in principle.  He said:

“People came to realize that the American Revolution was offering a model of a modern State that differed from the theoretical model with radical tendencies that had emerged during the second phase of the French Revolution….In the period between the two World Wars and especially after the Second World War, Catholic statesmen demonstrated that a modern secular State could exist that was not neutral regarding values but alive, drawing from the great ethical sources opened by Christianity….

“[I]t was necessary to give a new definition to the relationship between the Church and the modern State that would make room impartially for citizens of various religions and ideologies, merely assuming responsibility for an orderly and tolerant coexistence among them and for the freedom to practice their own religion….[L]inked more generally to this was the problem of religious tolerance – a question that required a new definition of the relationship between the Christian faith and the world religions…..

“It is quite different, on the other hand, to perceive religious freedom as a need that derives from human coexistence, or indeed, as an intrinsic consequence of the truth that cannot be externally imposed but that the person must adopt only through the process of conviction.  The Second Vatican Council, recognizing and making its own an essential principle of the modern State with the Decree on Religious Freedom, has recovered the deepest patrimony of the Church……”[4]

With these statements, the highest levels of the leadership of the Catholic Church endorsed as good in principle both the idea of non-establishment or dis-establishment of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith as the church and the religion of the society, and also endorsed the American version of religious liberty. This results in public policy being based neither on a religious faith nor faith based morality.[5] This could be done, as Benedict made clear, because America set the example for social organization.

When the highest levels of the Catholic Church reject their own doctrine, which calls for society and its policies to adhere to the Catholic Faith and acknowledge/establish the Catholic Church as pre-eminent, it follows that those at lower levels will follow suit because the Catholic Church is hierarchical.   How that could happen, how the Catholic leadership could forfeit the best interests of their own organization, and the wider implications of this state of affairs, is addressed in my book, John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition. This talk is designed to give you a summary of what is contained in my book.

The Basic American Position and the Basic Catholic Position

We must first come to grips with a few fundamental concepts. The issues presented in this paper, as well as the issues directly implicated by such things as church and state relations and religious liberty, are none other than fundamental principles of social organization.  The most fundamental organizing principle of any society is the one that pertains to the relationship of that society to a deity or deities and a religion or a creed.  This organizing principle becomes apparent in the founding or organizing documents, as well as the basic law of the society.  A political philosophy is devised to give legitimacy to these various foundational principles.

Now to define terms which are used throughout this paper. America refers to a society.  The United States of America or the US is a political entity whose political institutions are established in the US Constitution.  The Constitution also serves to protect and expand the foundational principles of America the society, and creates a political economy.   Religious liberty or religious freedom means the freedom of the individual to choose a religion, or no religion, without coercion or its threat by the governing authorities, or government, or civil authorities of a society or political entity.  Dis-establishment or non-establishment refers to the refusal or failure by a political entity (or state) or a society to give status or standing in law to one religion (i.e., faith system) or church above or before any other church or religion.

The Catholic principles of social organization are irreconcilable with the American principles of social organization because Catholicism requires the society, through the state or civil authorities, to recognize and protect the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith.[6]  The American principles of social organization do not recognize any church or any faith system in its foundational laws as set forth, and protected, in the First Amendment to the US Constitution.  Therefore, there is neither a church nor a faith system established in law for all the society , and public policy is not based on faith based morality or religious tenets.  This is the same thing as Liberalism, as explained, and condemned, by Pope Pius IX in his Syllabus issued in 1864 with Quanta Cura.[7]     Despite this clear difference, the Catholic leadership has accepted as good in principle, if not also as the ideal, the American system of social organization, and the political philosophy justifying it.

Catholic doctrine holds that every society has an obligation to the Divine Positive Law of Jesus Christ which means the Catholic Faith, and that means basing public policy on the Catholic faith or Catholic morality. This doctrine was clearly set forth by Pope Leo XIII in Immortale Dei (1885), and then repeated in Tametsi Futura (1900) and by Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas (1925).[8]  The roots of this doctrine may be found in dogma which issued from the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus Christ established His bona fides as the Messiah.  In Matthew 5:17, it is written that Jesus Christ said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.  I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”[9]    This statement applies both to  rulers and to societies in general, and mandates compliance with all of the Ten Commandments plus the doctrines of Jesus Christ.

The significance of Catholic doctrine is that every society is required to formally and juridically recognize the Catholic Church as the established church and the Catholic faith as the established religion, and that public policy is to be based on the Catholic faith. The civil authorities are to protect the faith and the Church.  Citizens are not to be caught between two opposing authorities – the state and the church – which may demand conflicting obligations from them if Catholic doctrine is not followed.  The establishment of the Catholic Church as the state church gives real moral authority or power to the Church to make sure that the teachings of the Faith form the basis of public policy and to modulate the behavior of the ambitious while protecting the faithful and preventing the corruption of doctrine.  The power of the state or civil authorities is then made available to also serve these purposes.  Under Catholic doctrine, conversions are not to be forced.

The American ideology was best set out by Thomas Paine in his pamphlet entitled Common Sense that hit the streets of Philadelphia on January 9, 1776.  These principles consist of several main points.  First, government is evil, though a necessary evil, and society at large is good.  Hence, government’s powers must be limited and its primary purpose is to protect individual rights.  Second, the individual is the measure of all things and ethnicity is eschewed.  Third, religion is defined as worship and is a private and personal matter while government is there to keep it that way in the name of religious liberty or religious freedom.  Fourth, America is dedicated to the accumulation of material wealth and the satisfaction of worldly desires.  Finally, the American ideology is universally applicable as it is the way “to begin the world over again” and serves to give birth to a “new world.”[10]      These ideas are inherent in the Declaration of Independence with the phrase “all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights and that among them are the right to…liberty” which issued less than six months later.  The First Amendment, with its “Free Exercise Clause” and its “Establishment Clause,” enshrines and protects the idea that religion is a private matter and is not to form a basis for public policy.

Americans and Americanists[11] Versus Catholics

Henry Luce, Presbyterian, Yale graduate, inventor of the newsmagazine and founder of Time, Inc. publisher of Time magazine and Life magazine was therefore the most influential man in America at the time.  He spent his life advancing the foundational principles of American society.  It was said that there was almost never a time that “he did not know all about the US Constitution.”[12]  In February, 1941, he wrote an editorial in Life magazine that urged the US to enter the war against Germany.  Luce claimed this would be the beginning of “The American Century” which meant world dominion by America and its ideas.   This call for The American Century came a few weeks after the “Four Freedoms” speech of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which was the State of the Union Address for 1941, and set out a vision of a remade world in the image of America.  Two of those four freedoms were “freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.  The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.”[13]

Perhaps just as important though not so well known, Luce gave a talk on November 29, 1953 entitled “The American Proposition”   The talk, given while Luce’s wife, Catholic convert Clare Boothe Luce was US Ambassador to Italy, was given in Rome at the Pro Deo University.  Pro Deo was founded by Felix Morlion, OP, who had been supported and helped by the US intelligence establishment lead by Major General William “Wild Bill” Donovan.  Pro Deo taught that the principles of social organization of America are good if not also the ideal.  These principles, in the form of the Declaration and the Constitution, were taught to young men from all around the world who some day would assume positions of business and civic leadership in their home countries.   Luce said to the assembled thousands of dignitaries, guests and students that late autumn day that “The United States is a nation which depends for its existence on a proposition and that this is the unique and distinguishing fact about the United States.”[14]  That proposition is the American Proposition and the “American Proposition is the Constitution interpreted in the light of certain first principles,” he said.  The “first principles” that “inform the Constitution” are contained in the Declaration of Independence, and these involve certain truths though he could not define or list what all those truths were.[15]

John Courtney Murray, SJ, a Jesuit, theologian and editor of Theological Studies, was a close friend, fellow-traveler, and confidant of Luce who was also Murray’s benefactor.  Luce and Murray believed in the same thing, and together they developed the American Proposition in their respective writings and talks particularly during the period of 1945 through 1965.  Murray drafted Luce’s “The American Proposition” speech given at Pro Deo in 1953.  Credit is also given to Murray for “The Declaration on Religious Freedom,” or Dignitatis Humanae that issued from the Vatican II Council on December 7, 1965.

It was during the post World War II period and in the early days of the Cold War that a debate took place in the pages of Catholic theological journals, as well as the Catholic press. That same debate occurred in the American secular press, most notably Luce’s Time magazine and The New York Times, between the Americans and the Catholics as to the best, if not also acceptable, forms of societal organization.  The Americans, and the Americanists (those within the Church who saw America as the ideal of societal organization), were lead by Luce and Murray.  The Catholics were primarily lead by Redemptorist priest and theologian Fr. Francis Connell, C.Ss.R. (called “the Catholic theologian of America”), Msgr. Joseph Fenton editor of American Ecclesiastical Review (both were professors at Catholic University of America), and Msgr. George Shea, a professor of theology at Seton Hall University.

The debate began with Murray addressing the issue of whether government (or civil authorities) has a moral obligation to suppress false religions. The issue rapidly boiled down to the basis of the obligations of civil authorities.  Murray’s position, which was also Luce’s position, was that civil authorities need only obey the natural law, which was a vague and equivocal term capable of being assigned any or as many meanings as one wanted.  This meant that the civil authorities, or the government, had only to grant religious freedom (i.e., freedom to worship or believe as one wants without coercion by the civil authorities) and disestablish or not establish any state churches or religions.  The government was incapable of determining the true religion, or Catholicism, as the religion to be protected and elevated.  The government’s duty was to protect rights, not to defend either the Catholic Church or the Catholic Faith or the Catholic faithful.  America, which after World War II was viewed by many as the Promised Land, was the ideal form of social organization, and Murray claimed that America was a revival of the Catholic tradition because it separated the civil power from the ecclesiastical powers.  Murray borrowed from and cited with approval the writings of John of Paris who six centuries earlier advanced similar arguments to support the King of France over the Pope.  John of Paris was ultimately censured.[16]  However, Murray admitted to the Rockefellers during his period of consultation for a national purpose in June, 1957 that America is part of Liberalism, or the “liberal, political tradition of the West.”[17]

Murray deconstructed the idea of the confessional state by stating that it is the product of a certain period of history. He admitted this in a private note to Clare Boothe Luce in 1962.  He wrote:

“Clare dear: The point of this historical argument is to show that, as the institution of the state-church owed its genesis to the special structure of an historic-social situation, so also it depends for its justification on the peculiarity of this situation.  Alter the situation, and the arguments for the institution is undermined….How’s that?”[18]

Acceptance of Murray’s position meant acceptance of the American political philosophy. Inherent in that philosophy is the idea of limited government and that in turn means that the civil authorities are not allowed all the power needed to benefit all of society, something the Ancients understood was important. (This I further discuss below.)

As an initial matter, Msgr. Shea disagreed with Murray and noted that history had never supported the claim that the natural law allowed for non- or dis-establishment of a church and/or religion. America was the first secular society with the first secular state, a break from not only centuries of Christian tradition, but also a break with more than 5,000 years of recorded human history.  Fr. Connell targeted the basis of the obligations of the civil authorities.  While the natural law was not inconsistent with the Divine Positive Law, it was incomplete, and each society with its civil authorities was required to follow the Divine Positive Law of Jesus Christ.  From this obligation came the obligation to establish the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith as the church and the faith of the society.  It was possible for the government, Connell wrote, to determine the one true faith and the one true church and therefore protect the same.

Fr. Connell’s comments echo those of a very influential Catholic prelate in America who passed from the scene right as the debate was heating up. Msgr. John Ryan (1869-1945) made clear in his book from 1930, The State and the Church, that the American system of social organization was not in accord with Catholic doctrine.  First, he wrote that “no individual, no group of individuals, no society, no State is justified in supporting error or in according to error the same recognition as to truth.”  From this came the maxim that Murray and others sought to discredit, “error has no rights,” claiming instead that people had rights that should be protected.  Second, Ryan made clear that “[s]pecious neutrality” of the state towards religion was always a “policy of hostility.”  Finally, Ryan rejected a number of arguments used to justify the non-recognition of the Church and the Faith perhaps the most notable being that “those who hold that truth will by its own power speedily overcome error, and that the state should consequently assume an attitude of impartiality toward both.”   Truth’s “victory can be greatly hastened by judicious assistance from the State and, indeed, from every other kind of organized social power” he added.[19]  Ryan’s views were troubling to Luce and many others.  At the secret meeting at the Biltmore Hotel in New York on April 26, 1948 sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Murray stepped up to the plate for the job of deconstructing Ryan’s position.[20]

Luce and the American media in general, portrayed this doctrinal conflict as between two equally valid Catholic viewpoints. The American viewpoint was portrayed as progressive and hence good, and the Catholic position was portrayed as regressive or reactionary as well as authoritarian and hence bad.  It was a classic American fairy tale, or perhaps better put, a classic American Western with good guys like Murray and his fellow traveler and fellow Jesuit, Gustave Weigel, SJ, and Americans in general, and bad guys like Cardinal Ottaviani of the Holy Office, the Curia, and the Spanish in particular.   The issue was never really in doubt given the power of American media, and especially given the refusal of the Vatican to openly condemn Murray.  Ottaviani’s Holy Office secretly issued “four erroneous propositions” in October, 1954 to Msgr. Fenton and Fr. Connell which in essence condemned Murray’s thesis that the confessional state was only a product of history and did not apply to democracies.[21]  Additionally, it became clear with time that Fr. Robert Leiber, a Jesuit like Murray, and the confidant and secretary of Pius XII, favored and protected Murray.[22]

Luce used his enormously influential magazines, Time and Life, beginning in September, 1949 to promote Murray as a great theologian and authority on the church and state matter, and he did so at that time with what amounted to a staged fight between Murray and a leading Protestant theologian, Dean Walter Russell Bowie.  Bowie was a dean at the Union Theological Seminary in New York where Luce sat on the Board of Directors.[23]  Throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, Murray not only received favorable press, but he also helped to edit and write some of the articles in Luce’s magazines to support the fiction that America was founded on, and is based on, Christian principles[24].

The Context of this Discussion, and Its Significance

Why is the issue of church-state and religious liberty so important, and why was it brought to a head after World War II and during the Cold War? The short answer is to extend American power which means the power of the wealthy to better control societies.  It is important to understand that this debate about Catholic doctrine and the proper organization of societies, occurred during the early stages of something called the Cold War, or what I refer to as World War III.  In reality it was a war waged by Communism (representing universal communitarianism) and the United States (representing universal individualism) against Catholicism (which doctrines strike a balance between the individual and the community).   Of course, the much feared and much vaunted Soviet system was similar to the American system because both formed their respective societies on principles which excluded or rejected any deity or religion as the basis of policy.  Indeed, an examination of the pertinent provisions of the US and USSR constitutions reveals a striking similarity between the two in the area of religious liberty.

The Americans knew the value of an enemy like the Soviets and exploited fear of Communism to justify the extension of their power and influence around the globe. The Catholic Church was viewed by Luce and his class of Americans, as well as by US Government officials (particularly in the intelligence agencies), as both an adversary given its doctrine on church and state relations which Paul Blanshard in 1947 identified as central to Catholic power,[25] and a potential asset if its leadership could come to accept the American ideology as good in principle.  As an asset, the vast circulatory machinery of the Church could be used to dispense this ideology along with the view that America is the ideal of social organization in a variety of different cultures and do so effectively.[26]   The US Government, through the efforts of the Psychological Strategy Board and Dr. Edward P. Lilly, a Catholic academic and scion of a wealthy Catholic family, devised a program known as Doctrinal Warfare, later termed Ideological Warfare, in 1953 with the promulgation of the classified document known as PSB D-33.  This program was designed to obtain the approval of the American ideology by leaders (businessmen, academics, politicians, clerics) of various societies around the globe.  The US Government worked together with Luce and the American media in spreading The American Proposition, the chief weapon of US and American doctrinal warfare, around the globe.

Luce and his chief lieutenant Charles Douglas “CD” Jackson hosted a secret conference at Princeton in May, 1954 which helped to lay the groundwork for globalization. Invited were representatives of the American triad – finance, intelligence, media – along with representatives of labor, agriculture, State Department, MIT, and various think tanks.  All attendees were officially present at these meetings in an unofficial capacity.  Essential to the plan being devised, which was termed by Luce and his lieutenants the World Economic Plan or WEP,[27] was the propagation of ideas allowing for a certain form of societal organization, one that allowed the entrance and pre-eminence of private capital into these societies.  The ideas necessary for creating the right environment in these societies comprised the American ideology, or in the parlance of Luce and Murray, The American Proposition.

Economist Walt Rostow, an attendee at the Princeton Conference, put it well. He said that one interest America had in creating a World Economic Plan was “an authentic American ideological interest in the world, and it is that other societies develop not in the image of the United States, but according to some version of the humanistic tradition which is appropriate to their culture.”  Rostow, CD Jackson and others said that the “story of America” had to be told and social structures in foreign countries, such as for instance, Italy, had to change.[28]

In CD Jackson we see the confluence of the interests of the intelligence, media, and finance communities. Working for both Luce and the CIA or other agencies of the US Government, Jackson commented on the enormous success of the American efforts to change the Catholic Church.   CD Jackson made clear the value of Pro Deo and the American Proposition in advancing psychological warfare objectives of the US.  He did so with a talk delivered at the Army War College, which is advanced schooling for those with promise to make general officer in the US Army.  Jackson said

“I have for many years studied the plans of psychological strategy not only when I was an assistant to President Eisenhower, and I must say that this effective new educational activity is one of the few that is working and his [sic] immense potentialities. It is helping to infuse the concept of the American Proposition through young, fervent Latin American disciples instead of relying exclusively on officials from this country.”[29]

Ideas were important, and America beat the Soviet Union in that realm, hands down. The Church leadership was quick to follow the winners.  By 1965, the Americanists, using in particular the Abbott translation of the Council documents controlled the interpretation or the meaning of The Declaration on Religious Liberty, or Dignitatis Humanae. That meant America exemplified Catholic teaching and that America was the ideal of social organization especially as it seemed to provide a good life for so many.  The Catholic priests, prelates and other leaders set about serving as a fifth column in Catholic countries deconstructing the Catholic organization of those societies.  Most notably was Spain under Francisco Franco.   Scholar Stanley G. Payne explained how it was that the Catholic clergy became “the primary public spokesmen for the opposition” and Franco’s regime, which had once saved the Catholic Church in that nation, found that it was “less and less able to count on the Church.”  Despite appeals to Pope Paul VI protesting the liberalization of the clergy and the negative impact on the nation, no help was forthcoming from the Vatican.  Finally, in 1978, after the death of Franco, a constitution disestablishing the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith, and mirroring the First Amendment to the US Constitution, was signed into law by King Juan Carlos I.[30]  Italy went the same way, though it took a little longer.[31]  Both societies are now embroiled in “culture wars” as in the US.

The Significance of The American Proposition

There are, and have been, several consequences to the implementation of the American ideology. First, spiritual values, or religious faiths, do not inform the policies or laws of government, or the civil authorities.  The result is the secular state in history, and that secularism was insured with the First Amendment’s “Establishment Clause” which is the supreme law of the land.  The secular state ultimately results in the secular society for the public comes to shape the private, and the higher comes to control the lower.  The secular state, or government, comes to control religion and the various religious groups as Catholic Bishop Josef Fessler (1813-1872), Secretary of the Vatican I Council, observed and called “heathen Caesarism.”  This control consists largely in attempting to change doctrine or policy of the Church (and other religious groups), and influence the leadership of the religious bodies to endorse the American ideology.

Second, government policies tend to favor primarily, or mainly, the powerful private interests who are also protected in the name of limited government in their efforts to shape and control the culture and hence society. With freedom of the press, the ability to shape thoughts, values and perceptions lie in the hands of the wealthy.  They come to exert great control over society by exerting power through the various cultural engines they control (especially the press, media, and entertainment) or through the government over which they have increased influence.  Religion therefore loses control of the culture, and with American style religious liberty, the churches are always competing for members.  This results in a softening of their doctrines to please people shaped by a culture that is not friendly to religion.  The wealthy therefore come to control religion, and can use religion to support government policies and actions.

Third, society becomes infused with, and oriented towards, material values or materialism. Italian statesman and Catholic professor, Amintore Fanfani (1908-1999)[32] explained that as materialism rises, spiritual values or faith declines and as spiritual values or faith declines, the capitalist spirit rises.  He explained that the capitalist spirit is a spirit of consumerism or a desire to acquire and enjoy an ever growing number of things.  The capitalist spirit seeks the reduction or elimination of hindrances to the spreading of that spirit, and that means the reduction of barriers to markets, the free flow of capital, and commerce.  Those best situated to gain from an increased capitalist spirit are the most powerful in society, usually the wealthiest.  One of the barriers they seek to eliminate is a state established church and a state-established religion because these things hinder their ability to pursue the accumulation of wealth and power.  Hence, even greater importance is given to the concepts of religious liberty, which means the individual chooses how he or she wishes to worship, and the separation of church and state, which means religious beliefs are not to form the basis of public policies.

Other barriers targeted for elimination are ethnicity or any other group not authorized. The successful efforts to define what a person is, the essence of marriage, and one’s right to determine one’s own sexual or gender identity are all the consequence of the American system of social organization that removes religion from the equation for determining public policies.  All of this is characteristic of a materialist society and all these matters are designed to assist with social mobility, a promise made to, relied on and desired by Catholics.

Catholic efforts to stop the legalization of abortion and “gay marriage” failed because of the inherent contradiction in the Catholic stance. Having accepted as good the American system of social organization, the Catholics cannot now claim that it is some version of God’s law that the public authorities must follow.  And, not being the established church or religion, the Catholics cannot expect that their voice will be given any special or greater weight, if any at all.  This is especially so when issues of science or efficiency are brought to the fore in any argument.  More importantly, the Catholic positions on these and other similar issues go against the American drive to advance oneself in society.

Catholic efforts against the so-called “culture of death” will likely continue to fail as will efforts to evangelize the culture as long as their leadership accepts the American ideology.   The culture will remain the same or continue to change in ways not acceptable to Catholics until their leadership (namely, the priests) takes charge of the Church and again recognizes the duty to establish the desirability of the confessional state.  This will open the way for Catholics to work for that end result which also provides accommodation for people of different faiths.   Catholic style religious liberty, set forth in Dignitatis Humanae[33], permits some degree of worship and expression by members of other religions provided the Catholic faithful are not harmed.  At the same time, it does not allow forced conversions, and so overall permits a just form of religious freedom in society.

Whether this will happen seems unlikely at this point because everyone benefits from the status quo. Francis Rooney, former US Ambassador to the Vatican, in his book, The Global Vatican: An Inside Look at the Catholic Church, World Politics, and the Extraordinary Relationship Between the United States and the Holy See wrote of the essential nature of an ongoing collaboration between the US, or America, and the Church.[34]  In words reminiscent of the RCA report studied by CD Jackson fifty years earlier, Rooney wrote that “the United States and the Holy See remained two of the most significant institutions in world history….we should be friends and collaborators…Today, the church remains a singular supranational force, operating effectively in more places and cultures than any other international body…..the church is a powerful and unique source of soft power….”[35]  It is an alluring thing to be asked to join with the only superpower and wealthiest nation on earth thereby gaining its protection and blessings.  Catholics are comfortable being able to serve concurrently the spiritual and the material and both God and Mammon in this their American Captivity.

Thank you.

[1] Guillaume Goubert and Sebastien Maillard, “Interview Pope Francis,” LaCroix posted May 17, 2016 and retrieved October 9, 2016 from….

[2] Myles Snyder, “Read the pope’s speech at Independence Hall,” abc27news, published September 27, 2015. (accessed October 9, 2016) (emphasis added).

[3] Ryan Teague Beckwith, “Read the Speech Pope Francis Gave at the White House,” Time, published September 23, 2015. (accessed October 9, 2016) (emphasis added).

[4] Pope Benedict XVI, “Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia Offering Them His Christmas Greetings,” Thursday, 22 December 2005, Vatican website. (accessed July 21, 2013) (emphasis added).

[5] As a theologian, Benedict would undoubtedly have been aware of the famous speech by Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani on March 2, 1953 in which Ottaviani mentioned the concept of religious freedom in the context of states that refused to recognize the Church’s right to recognition and the Faith’s implementation as the basis of the laws of a society.  As I mention in my book, Ottaviani noted that in “a situation where `the exclusiveness of its mission is not recognized,’ or the rights of God are ignored, the Church speaks of toleration, equality, and the rights of man.”   Ottaviani recapitulated Church doctrine at that talk, and the lay or secular state was never an accepted form of social organization.  David Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition (South Bend, Indiana; Fidelity, 2015), 331; Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, Duties of the Catholic State in Regard to Religion, 2d ed., tr. Denis Fahey (Kansas City, Missouri: Angelus Press, 1993), 14-15;  Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, “Church and State:  Some Present Problems in the Light of the Teaching of Pope Pius XII,” American Ecclesiastical Review CXXVIII (May, 1953), 329-330.

[6] Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, paras. 4,6.… (accessed July 11, 2010); Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 94-95, 330;  Ottaviani, “Church and State:  Some Present Problems in the Light of the Teaching of Pope Pius XII,” 326-327.

[7] Pius IX, The Syllabus of Errors Condemned by Pius IX, Part VII, paras. 56, 57, 77, 80. (accessed November 7, 2006); Pius IX, Quanta Cura, para. 3. 09/p9quanta.htm (accessed November 7, 2006).

[8] Francis J. Connell, “Christ the King of Civil Rulers,” American Ecclesiastical Review Vol. CXIX (October, 1948), 248, 253; Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 203-204.

[9] Holy Bible, The New American Bible 1994-1995 edition.

[10] Thomas Paine, Common Sense (Mineola, New York:  Dover Publications, Inc., 1997).

[11] On January 22, 1899 Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical letter called Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae in which he condemned the heresy of Americanism.  The encyclical condemned the view that the Catholic Church should adopt the Liberalism (and reduce its internal discipline) that seemed to be so prevalent and successful in civil societies, such as America.  In so doing, he condemned the view that America, and Liberalism in general, knew better than the Church.   Those who came to endorse America as an ideal of social organization and who believed the Church should learn from America are called Americanists.  As I explain in my book, “Americanism…was…one main principle: `that, in order to more easily to bring over the Catholic doctrine those who dissent from it, the Church ought to adapt herself somewhat to our advanced civilization, and relaxing her ancient rigor, show some indulgence to modern popular theories and methods…not only with regard to the rule of life, but also to the doctrines in which the deposit of faith is contained.’  The Americanist project, Leo continued, `involves a greater danger and is more hostile to Catholic doctrine and discipline, inasmuch as the followers of these novelties judge that a certain liberty ought to be introduced into the Church.’  The object of these errors was to allow `each one of the faithful [to] act more freely in pursuance of his own natural bent and capacity.’  Americanism hoped that the Church would `imitate that liberty which, though quite recently introduced, is now the law and the foundation of almost every civil community.’”  Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 104; Pope Leo XIII, “Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae,” The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII Plus Other Documents (Rockford, Illinois:  Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1995), 441-453.

[12] Nation:  He Ran the Course,” Time, March 10, 1967.,8816,836724,00.html (accessed December 31, 2009).

[13] Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Four Freedoms Speech.” gen/text/us/fdr1941.html (accessed May 29, 2010); Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and The American Proposition, 59-60.

[14]Henry R. Luce, “The American Proposition,” Henry R. Luce Papers Box 75 Folder 10, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

[15] Id.: Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time Life and the American Proposition, 377.

[16] V. O’Daniel, “John of Paris,” In The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910). Retrieved April 25, 2012 from New Advent:

[17] Remarks by Father John Courtney Murray Professor of Philosophy, Woodstock College Overall Panel Meeting Wednesday June 19, 1957, Rockefeller Brothers Fund S-7, Box 48, File 545, Rockefeller Archive Center, Sleepy Hollow, New York; Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 508.

[18] John Courtney Murray to Clare Boothe Luce, Letter dated February 27 [est. 1962], Clare Boothe Luce Papers Box 795, Folder 11, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

[19] John A. Ryan and Moorhouse F. X. Millar, The State and the Church. (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1930), 26-32.

[20] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and The American Proposition, 122-127.

[21]  These were “a) The Catholic confessional State, professing itself as such, is not an ideal to which organized political society is universally obliged. b) Full religious liberty can be considered as a valid political ideal in a truly democratic State. c) The State organized on a genuinely democratic basis must be considered to have done its duty when it has guaranteed the freedom of the Church by a general guarantee of liberty of religion. d) It is true that Leo XIII had said: `…civitates…debent eum in colendo numine morem usurpare modumque quo coli se Deus ipse demonstravit velle’ (Enc. Immortale Dei).  Words such as these can be understood as referring to the State considered as organized on a basis other than that of the perfectly democratic State but to this latter strictly speaking are not applicable.” Envelope marked “Under seal of the Holy Office to Be Burned” “Proposizioni Dottinali Erronee” from Francis J. Connell Papers, Redemptorist House Archives, Baltimore Province, Brooklyn, New York; Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and The American Proposition, 427-430.

[22] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and The American Proposition, 422-426.

[23] Dean Bowie attacked the Catholic Church as totalitarian and condemned the practice of Catholic states repressing error.  Murray, in characteristic fashion, attacked the messenger and then proceeded to surrender the Catholic position by saying a “`Catholic America’ was `a bogeyman [that] does not exist’” and would not come about.  Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 216 through 218; “Religion Across the Gulf,” Time, September 12, 1949.

[24] With the Eisenhower Administration, religion was actively recruited to assist national objectives.  The National Prayer Breakfast began during that time, the Pledge of Allegiance was changed to insert “under God” in it, and Luce and his magazines promoted the idea that America had a religious founding that gave foundational documents a sacred air.  These ideas persist to this day in this society and are used by the “conservatives,” Evangelicals and others to justify these groups’ participation in the political system, and to recruit members for their various causes.

[25] Paul Blanshard wrote in his 1949 book American Freedom and Catholic Power “The Church’s philosophy of church and state is far more important than the continued existence of a bit of acreage which has its own postage stamps and flag.  In fact, the philosophy of church and state espoused by the Vatican is the most important thing in the whole Catholic system because it determines the political and social policies which the bishops and priests will pursue throughout the world.”; Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and The American Proposition, 116-117.

[26] CD Jackson read a study done by RCA in 1958 in which the following appeared:  “The Church appears to the world as the most complex of enterprises, inasmuch as she manages to coordinate the most heterogenous of efforts as regards cultural backgrounds and territorial dispersion without the resort to force; no other group at the moment has her extension nor employs so much human energy over such a wide area without any continuity or possibility of physical control.”  Vittorio Vaccari to CD Jackson, letter dated January 23, 1959 with “The Policy of the Catholic Church in the Selection and Training of Her Leaders,” CD Jackson Papers, Box 109, File “Misc.(1),” Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas;

[27] This was effectively a plan for globalization, a word used with great regularity these days.

[28] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time Life and the American Proposition, 432-434; “Proceedings of the Off the Record Conference Held Under the Auspices of Time, Inc.” C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 83, Folder “Princeton Economic Conf., 5/54-Transcript (1),” 24-27, 114-115, 118-119, 252-253, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.

[29] CD Jackson Papers Box 90 Folder “Pro Deo 1962,” Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.

[30] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time Life and the American Proposition, 896-898;  Stanley Payne, The Franco Regime: 1936-1975 (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987), 561-563.

[31] Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time Life and the American Proposition, 898-899.

[32] Reference is made to the work of Amintore Fanfani, Catholicism Protestantism and Capitalism (Norfolk, Virginia: IHS Press, 2003).

[33] Austin Flannery, OP provided a version of the documents of Vatican II in a 1975 publication that gained the approval of at least one prelate, John Cardinal Wright, who penned the introduction.  Wright stressed the necessity of the Flannery book as initial versions of the Conciliar documents suffered from “hasty” translations, “frequent infelicities,” “inaccuracies,” and contained “the journalistic touch”. The Flannery version had an “air of permanence, completeness and academic thoroughness” which came about as a result of “sober second thoughts and carefully measured words”.  Additionally,  unlike the earlier translations, the Flannery volume did not contain “commentary or reactions” that were “frequently irrelevant and even confusing to one seeking to learn exactly what the Council said rather than what someone outside the Council thought about the matter.”  The Flannery version was “the collection of Council documents and their authentic interpretation that is indispensable for the serious student” and it was “overdue.”  The Flannery volume with its translations was needed not just for serious students or all of those who read and write English, but for scholars the Cardinal wrote.  (see, Wemhoff, John Courtney Murray Time/Life and the American Proposition, 845 – 857. ) Wright’s comments were a direct repudiation of the editorialized Abbot version of the documents in which Murray set forth in footnotes to select portions of the document an Americanist interpretation and elevated America with the First Amendment as the ideal.  Of note, Benedict XVI referenced the Abbot version during his talk to the Curia on December 22, 2005.

[34] Ambassador Rooney writes of the centrality of the First Amendment to America and the essential nature of Murray’s arguments for garnering support for the American Experiment:   “the religion clause of the First Amendment is fundamental to the whole idea of the United States.”  Francis Rooney, The Global Vatican (New York:  Sheed and Ward, 2013), 224.

[35] Rooney, The Global Vatican, xiv, xvi, xvii.