This is How and Where It Began: A Creed
John Winthrop for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1630
THE REASON HEREOF
1. Reason: First, to hold conformity with the rest of his workes being delighted to shewe forthe the glory of his wisdome in the variety and differance of the Creatures and the glory of his power in ordering all these differences for the preservacion and good of the whole; and the glory of his greatnes that as it is the glory of princes to have many officers, soe this great King will have many Stewards, counting himselfe more honoured in dispenceing his gifts to man by man, than if tree did it by his owne immediate hand.
2. Reason: Secondly, That he might have the more occasion to manifest the worke of his Spirit: first, upon the wicked in moderate ing and restraineing them: soe that the riche and mighty should not eate upp the poore, nor the poore and dispised rise upp against their superiours and shake off thiere yoake; secondly in the regenerate in exerciseing his graces in them, as in the greate ones, their love, mercy, gentlenes, temperance, etc., in the poore and inferiour sorte, theire faithe, patience, obedience, etc.
3. Reason: Thirdly, That every man might have need of other, and from hence they might be all knit more nearly together in the Bond of brotherly affeccion: from hence it appeares plainely that noe man is made more honourable than another or more wealthy etc., out of any perticuler and singuler respect to himselfe but for the glory of his Creator and the Common good of the Creature, Man, Therefore God still reserves the propperty of these gifts to himselfe as Ezek: 16.17. he there calls wealthe his gold and his silver, etc. Prov: 3.9 he claimes theire service as his due, honour the Lord with thy riches, etc. All men being thus (by divine providence) ranked into two sortes, riche and poore; under the first, are comprehended all such as are able to live comfortably by theire owne meanes duely improved; and all others are poore according to the former distribution. There are two rules whereby wee are to walke one towards another: JUSTICE and MERCY. These are allwayes distinguished in theire Act and in theire object, yet may they both concurre in the same Subject in eache respect; as sometimes there may be an occasion of shewing mercy to a rich man, in some sudden danger of distresse, and allsoe doeing of meere Justice to a poor man in regard of some perticuler contract, etc. There is likewise a double Lawe by which wee are regulated in our conversacion one towardes another: in both the former respects, the lawe of nature and the lawe of grace, or the morrall lawe or the lawe of the gospel!, to omit the rule of Justice as not propperly belonging to this purpose otherwise than it may fall into consideraction in some perticuler Cases: By the first of these lawes man as he was enabled soe withall [is] commanded to love his neighbour as himselfe. Upon this ground stands all the precepts of the morrall lawe, which concernes our dealings with men. To apply this to the works of mercy this lawe requires two things: first, that every man afford his help to another in every want or distress. Secondly, That hee performe this out of the same affeccion which makes him careful! of his owne good according to that of our Saviour, Math: [7.12] Whatsoever ye would that men should doe to you. This was practiced by Abraham and Lott in entertaineing the Angells and the old man of Gibea.
The Lawe of Grace or the Gospell hath some differance from the former as in these respects: first, the lawe of nature was given to man in the estate of innocency; this of the gospell in the estate of regeneracy. Secondly, the former propounds one man to another, as the same fleshe and Image of god; this as a brother in Christ allsoe, and in the Communion of the same spirit and soe teacheth us to put a diflference betweene Christians and others. Doe good to all, especially to the household of faith; upon this ground the Israelites were to putt a difference betweene the brethren of such as were strangers though not of the Canaanites. Thirdly, the Lawe of nature could give noe rules for dealing with enemies, for all are to be considered as friends in the estate of innocency, but the Gospell commands love to an enemy. Proofe: If thine Enemie hunger feede him; Love your Enemies, doe good to them that hate you Math: 5.44.
This Lawe of the Gospell propoundes likewise a difference of seasons and occasions. There is a tyme when a Christian must sell all and give to the poore, as they did in the Apostles times. There is a tyme allsoe when a Christian (though they give not all yet) must give beyond theire ability, as they of Macedonia. Cor: 2.6. Likewise community of perills calls for extraordinary liberallity and soe cloth Community in some special! service for the Churche. Lastly, when there is noe other meanes whereby our Christian brother may be relieved in this distresse, wee must help him beyond our ability, rather than tempt God, in putting him upon help by miraculous or extraordinary meanest.
1. For the persons, wee are a Company professing our selves fellow members of Christ, in which respect onely though wee were absent from eache other many miles, and had our imploymentes as farre distant, yet wee ought to account our selves knits together by this bond of love, and live in the exercise of it, if wee would have comforte of our being in Christ. This was notorious in the practice of the Christians in former times, as is testified of the Waldenses from the mouth of one of the adversaries Aeneas Sylvius, mutuo [solent amare] pene antequam norint. They use to love any of theire own religion even before they were acquainted with them.
2. For the worke wee have in hand, it is by a mutuall consent through a special overruleing providence, and a more than an ordinary approbation of the Churches of Christ to seeke out a place of Cohabitation and Consorteshipp under a due forme of Government both civill and ecclesiastical!. In such cases as this the care of the publique must oversway all private respects, by which not onely conscience, but meare Civill pollicy cloth binde us; for it is a true rule that perticuler estates cannott subsist in the ruine of the publique.
3. The end is to improve our lives, to doe more service to the Lord, the comforte and encrease of the body of Christ whereof wee are members, that our selves and posterity may be the better preserved from the Common corrupcions of this evill world, to serve the Lord and worke out our Salvacion under the power and purity of his holy Ordinances.
4. For the meanes whereby this must bee effected, they are twofold, a Conformity with the worke and end wee aime at; these wee see are extraordinary, therefore wee must not content our selves with usuall ordinary meanest Whatsoever wee did or ought to have done when wee lived in England, the same must wee doe and more allsoe where wee goe: That which the most in theire Churches mainteine as a truthe in profession onely, wee must bring into familiar and constant practice, as in this duty of love wee must love brotherly without dissimulation, wee must love one another with a pure hearse fervently, wee must beare one anothers burthens, wee must not looke onely on our owne things but allsoe on the things of our brethren, neither must wee think that the lord will beare with such faileings at our hands as tree clothe from those among whome wee have lived.
Thus stands the cause betweene God and us. Wee are entered into Covenant with him for this worke, wee have taken out a Commission the Lord hath given us leave to draw our owne Articles, wee have professed to enterprise these Accions upon these and these ends, wee have hereupon besought him of favour and blessing: Now if the Lord shall please to heare us, and bring us in peace to the place wee desire. then hath tree ratified this Covenant and sealed our Commission [and] will expect a strickt performance of the Articles contained in it, but if wee shall neglect the observacion of these Articles which are the ends wee have propounded, and dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnall intencions seekeing grease things for our selves and our posterity, the Lord will surely breake out in wrathe against us, be revenged of such a perjured people and make us knowe the price of the breache of such a Covenant.
Now the onely way to avoyde this shipwracke and to provide for our posterity is to followe the Counsell of Micah, to doe Justly, to love mercy, to walke humbly with our God. For this end, wee must be knit together in this worke as one man, wee must entertaine each other in brotherly Affeccion, wee must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfiuities, for the supply of others necessities, wee must uphold a familiar Commerce together in all meeknes, gentlenes, patience and liberallity, wee must delight in each other, make others Condicions our owne, rejoyce together, mourne together, labour and suffer together, allwayes haveing before our eyes our Commission and Community in the worke, our Community as members of the same body, soe shall wee keepe the unitie of the spirit in the bond of peace, the Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us as his owne people and will command a blessing upon us in all our wayes, soe that wee shall see much more of his wisdome, power, goodnes and truthe than formerly wee have beene acquainted with. Wee shall finde that the God of Israell is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when hee shall make us a prayse and glory, that men shall say of succeeding plantacions: the lord make it like that of New England: for wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are uppon us; soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke wee have undertaken and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause theire prayers to be turned into Cursses upon us till wee be consumed out of the good land whither wee are goeing: And to shut upp this discourse with that exhortacion of Moses, that faithful! servant of the Lord in his last farewell to Israell, Deut. 30. Beloved there is now sett before us life, and good, deathe and evill in that wee are Commaunded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walke in his wayes and to keepe his Commaundements and his Ordinance, and his lawes, and the Articles of our Covenant with him that wee may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may blesse us in the land whither we goe to possesse it: But if our hearses shall turne away soe that wee will not obey, but shall be seduced and worship . . . other Gods, our pleasures, and proffitts, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, wee shall surely perishe out of the good Land whither wee passe over this vast Sea to possesse it;
Therefore lett us choose life,that wee, and our Seede,may live; by obeyeing hisvoyce, and cleaveing to him,for hee is our life, andour prosperity.
This is what happened in between 1630 and 1776: Creed Becomes Consciousness by Living It
“America is the Only Nation in the World Founded on a Creed”
G.K. Chesterton:“It may have seemed something less than a compliment to compare the American Constitution to the Spanish Inquisition. But oddly enough, it does involve a truth, and still more oddly perhaps, it does involve a compliment. The American Constitution does resemble the Spanish Inquisition in this: that it is founded on a creed. America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence; perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature. It enunciates that al men are equal in their claim to justice, that governments exist to give them that justice, and that their authority is for that reason just. It certainly does condemn anarchism, and it does also by inference condemn atheism, since it clearly names the Creator as the ultimate authority from whom these equal rights are derived. Nobody expects a modern political system to proceed logically in the application of such dogmas, and in the matter of God and government it is naturally God whose claim is taken more lightly. The point is that there is a creed, if not about divine, at least about human things.”“(The Spaniard) might burn a philosopher because he was heterodox; but he must accept a barbarian because he was orthodox. And we see, even in modern times, that the same Church which is blamed for making sages heretics is also blamed for making savages priests. Now in a much vaguer and more evolutionary fashion, there is something of the same idea at the back of the great American experiment; the experiment of a democracy of diverse races which has been compared to a melting pot. But even that metaphor implies that the pot itself is of a certain shape and a certain substance; a pretty solid substance. The melting-pot must not melt. The original shape was traced on the lines of Jeffersonian democracy; and it will remain in that shape until it becomes shapeless. America invites al men to become citizens; but it implies the dogma that there is such a thing as citizenship. Only, so far as its primary ideal is concerned, its exclusiveness is religious because it is not racial. The missionary can condemn a cannibal, precisely because he cannot condemn a Sandwich Islander. And in something of the same spirit the American may exclude a polygamist, precisely because he cannot exclude a Turk.”
Robert N. Bellah remarks: “America’s myth of origin is a strategic point of departure because the comparative study of religion has found that where a people conceives itself to have started reveals much about it most basic self-conceptions. At first glance the problem of origin in America seems a relatively simple one. Unlike most historic peoples, America as a nation began on a definite date, July Fourth, 1776. Thus in analyzing America’s myth of origin, close attention must be paid to the mythic significance of the Declaration of Independence, which is considerable. Or taking a less precise definition of beginning, one might consider the whole period, from the Declaration of Independence to the inauguration of Washington under the new Constitution, as the origin time of the American nation. America began as the result of a series of conscious decision. The acts embodying those decisions have a kind of absolute meaning-creating significance.”Bellah goes on: “To the early Puritans, conversion was an intensely personal and individual experience of salvation, and the prerequisite of church membership. A public account of such a person experience, subject to inquiry and examination and the confirmation of goodly moral character, was required from each prospective member…. In addition to the inward covenant there was also the outward or national covenant to which all New Englanders were conceived of as belonging or at least to which they were subject. This was the basis of civil society” (underline mine).Then in 1740, there occurred the so-called “Great Awakening, the wave of religious revivals that swept through all the colonies” and engendered a heightened consciousness of dignity, autonomy and self-determination and provoking an even higher and more sensitive reaction to the slightest encroachment of England (a tax on tea) on colonial self-government.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Self-Evidence From Faith-Experience: Historically, North America passed through the experience of 150 years of Christian faith lived by mostly baptized Protestants with benefit of Scripture, prayer and work. As we have seen in previous blogs, the experience of faith as self-gift to the revealing Christ creates a consciousness of self-dignity and rights: “(I)n the beginning, America was Protestant: that point has been emphasized by every historian of the United States. Therefore we turn to the doctrines and the mentality and the social characteristics of what we call Protestantism – or rather, of certain types of Reformers. But also we need to remind ourselves that when we call early America Protestant, we mean that America was Christian. The fundamental Christian convictions… were not undone at the Reformation. Instead, certain of those beliefs received a renewed emphasis from Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and the other Reformers…. The Protestant Reformers believed that they were reasserting and reviving the teachings of the early Church of Christ….“The vast majority of people in the thirteen Colonies professed the Christian religion in one or another of its Protestant aspects – chiefly in Anglicanism, in Puritanism (an offshoot of Calvinism), or in Presbyterianism (another offshoot of Calvinism)…. This should be borne in mind: despite the ferocity of the Wars of Religion, the similarities among various Christian bodies are more important than their differences, where we have to do with questions of the order of the soul and of the commonwealth. Hideously though Catholics and Protestants often dealt with one another, still their understanding of man and of society had come from one Christian root.”
Gordon S. Wood - the primier historian of the American Revolutionary period - has pointed out that the American Revolution was truly unique. He asserts: “(I)t did not seem to have been a usual revolution, the sources of its force and its momentum appeared strangely unaccountable. `In other revolutions, the sword has been drawn by the arm of offended freedom, under and oppression that threatened the vital powers of society.’ But this seemed hardly true of the American Revolution. There was none of the legendary tyranny of history that had so often driven desperate people into rebellion. The Americans were not an oppressed people; they had not crushing imperial shackles to throw off. In fact, the Americans knew they were probably freer and less burdened with cumbersome feudal and hierarchical restraints than any part of mankind in the eighteenth century. To its victims, the Tories, the Revolution was truly incomprehensible. Never in history, said Daniel Leonard, had there been so much rebellion with so `little real cause.’” Read in the word "objective" here, because the "real cause" is the subjective sensibility accruing to a lived faith-experience. Later, Wood says, “(It had) reversed in a revolutionary way the traditional conception of politics: the stability of government no longer relied, as it had for centuries, upon its embodiment of the basic social forces of the state. Indeed, it now depended upon the prevention of the various social interests from incorporating themselves too firmly in the government…. . The eighteenth century had sought to understand politics, as it had all of life, by capturing in an integrated, ordered, changeless ideal the totality and complexity of the world – an ideal that the concept of the mixed constitution and the proportioned social hierarchy on which it rested perfectly expressed. In such an ideal there could be only potential energy, no kinetic energy, only a static equilibrium among synthetic orders, and no motion among the particular, miscellaneous parts that made up the society. By destroying this ideal Americans placed a new emphasis on the piecemeal and the concrete in politics at the expense of order and completeness. The Constitution represented both the climax and the finale of the American Enlightenment, both the fulfillment and the end of the belief that the endless variety and perplexity of society could be reduced to a simple and harmonious system. By attempting to formulate a theory of politics that would represent reality as it was, the Americans of 1787 shattered the classical Whig world of 1776… And the Americans had demonstrated to the world how a people could fundamentally and yet peaceably alter their forms of government. `This revolution principle – that, the sovereign power residing in the people, they may change their constitution and government whenever they please – is' said James Wilson, `not a principle of discord, rancor, or war: it is a principle of melioration, contentment, and peace.’ Americans had in fact institutionalized and legitimized revolution. Thereafter, they believed, new knowledge about the nature of government could be converted into concrete form without resorting to violence. Let no one, concluded Chipman, now rashly predict `that this beautiful system is, with the crazy empires of antiquity, destined to a speedy dissolution; or that it must in time, thro’ the degeneracy of the people, and a corruption of its principles, of necessity give place to a system of remediless tyranny and oppression.’ By actually implementing the old and trite conception of the sovereignty of the people, by infusing political and even legal life into the people, Americans had created, said Wilson, `the great panacea of human politics.’”
No Religion, No Virtue; No Virtue, No Commonwealth:
Prior to the 1776 Revolution, Wood portrays the American mind: "It was not the force of arms which made the ancient republics great or which ultimately destroyed them. It was rather the character and spirit of their people. Frugality, industry, temperance, and simplicity - the rustic traits of the sturdy yeoman - were the stuff that made a society strong. The virile martial qualities - the scorn of ease, the contempt of danger, the love of valor - were what made a nation great. The obsessive term was luxury, both a cause and a symptom of social sickness. This luxury, not mere wealth but that `dull... animal enjoyment' which left `minds stupefied, and bodies enervated, by wallowing for ever in one continual puddle of voluptuousness,' was what corrupted a society: the love of refinement, the desire for distinction and elegance eventually weakened a people and left them soft and effeminate, dissipated cowards, unfit and undesiring to serve the state. `Then slumbers that virtuous jealousy of public men and public measures, which was wont to scrutinize not only actions but motives: then nods that active zeal, which, with eagle eye watched, and with nervous arm defended the constitution... Thus, before a nation is completely deprived of freedom, she must be fitted for slavery by her vices.' Republics died not from invasions from without but from decay from within." (Wood, 52-53).
After the Revolution, "The American people were no longer uniquely virtuous. They were `a Luxurious Voluptuous indolent expensive people without Economy or Industry.' `Instead of finding general proofs of industry, economy, temperance, and other republican virtues,' some American now saw themselves as `a nation that was more luxurious, more indolent, and more extravagant, than any other people on the face of the earth.' Such a people could not possess the proper character for republican government. America was not to be another Sparta or Rome after all. Americans had hoped to establish `great, wholesome equal republics,' but the `high expectations' ... seemed smashed" (Wood, 424).
However great the temptation to impose a theocracy on the nation, it was resisted by the hard fought consciousness of the dignity of the person and the right to religious freedom that had emerged from 150 years of self-transcendence.
Solution of the Relation of Church and Stateas Institutions: Person as Believer/Citizen
John Courtney Murray, S.J., the author of one the Conciliar schemas on Religious Freedom ("Dignitatis Humanae") observes that "the United States of America (is) the first state in the history of the world that was established by the uniquely revolutionary means of a formal constitutional consent." The key to the solution was conceptually formulated by Pope Leo XIII.
The following are Murray's remarks:
“I consider that by some manner of genius he (Leo XIII) put forth the principle of solution. It is contained in the special twist, so to speak, that he gave to the Gelasian doctrine. Consistently he posits as the root of the necessity of an `orderly relation’ between the two powers the fact that `utriusque imperium est in eosdem,’ the rule of both is over the same one man. If therefore there is conflict and not harmony between them, the conflict is felt in the depths of the personal conscience, which knows itself to be obligated to both of the powers which are from God. Their harmony therefore is required by the unity and integrity of the human personality. The whole Gelasian doctrine is thus made to grow, from the standpoint of the finality of the diarchy [Church and State] , out of the essential datum, `civis idem et christianus,’ the same one man who is citizen and also a Christian.“This sets the Gelasian doctrine in genuinely modern perspectives, which are not those of medieval times. In the medieval universe of discourse the root of the matter was not the unity of the human person, citizen and Christian, but rather the unity of the social body which was both Church and state, the respublica Christiana, whose unity required the subordination of regnum to sacerdotium because it was an inferior function within the one body, instrumental to the good of the body, which was identically the good of the church. The medieval starting point was the Church, and it set the doctrine of the two powers in characteristic social perspectives. Their `union’ was a requirement of social unity. These perspectives and their consequences were carried over into the so-called confessional state wit its `Union of Throne and Altar.’ Its predominant finality was likewise social unity, now conceived as national unity. It is obvious, for instance, now in contemporary Spain, where the Union of Throne and Altar still  exists in a special form; the problem of Church-state relationships is conceived in function of the problem of national unity.“However, the Leonine starting point is not the Church nor are its perspectives social. Its starting point is the dualism within the human person, who is both child of God, member of the Church, and also member of the human community, citizen of a state – endowed in each capacity with a set of rights, which are of different origin but which must be organized into an organic whole. And the principle of organization is the primacy of the spiritual aspect of his nature, which implies the fundamental right to have the two powers to which he is subject in harmony with each other. The finality of this harmony is ot a social unity but a personal unity – the integrity of the human personality. It is only by preservation of this integrity that man is truly `free,’ empowered to be n fullness what he is – citizen and Christian. This freedom is a positive empowerment – the full faculty of obeying the law which he knows to have the primacy (the law of Christ as mediated by the Church), under due obedience to the other law to which he is also subject, the human law of the state. Unless these two obediences are in harmony, there is no freedom.“My point is that this Leonine restatement of the Gelasian doctrine opens in principle the way to the solution of the ancient problem in its modern position – the manner of exercise of the indirect power, the manner of maintaining the primacy of the spiritual under respect for the autonomy of the temporal. [Read here, “secular”]. Leo XIII was in advance of Pius XII in placing `the whole man in his concrete and historical reality at the center of the whole social order in its two components, Church and state, whose dualism corresponds to the dualism in man himself and whose orderly relationship is the exigence of the unity of human personality…. In the developed conditions of modern political society they are not the medieval sacerdotium and imperium, nor yet the Throne and Altar of the confessional state. The are sacerdotium and civis idem et christianus.”
The Hermeneutic of Continuity and Reform
Benedict XVI offers the American Revolution as the “model of a modern state.” As we have seen on previous blogs, on December 22, 2005 in an address to the Roman Curia, he stated that “the modern age had also experienced developments. 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.” He goes on to explain that “if religious freedom were to be considered an expression of the human inability to discover the truth and thus become a canonization of relativism, then this social and historical necessity is raised inappropriately to the metaphysical level and thus tripped of its true meaning. Consequently, it cannot be accepted by those who believe that the human person is capable of knowing the truth about God and, on the basis of the inner dignity of the truth, is bound to this knowledge.“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. By so doing she can be conscious of being in full harmony with the teaching of Jesus himself (cf. Mt. 22, 21), as well as with the church of the martyrs of all time. The ancient church naturally prayed for the emperors and political leaders out of duty (cf. 1 tm. 2, 2); but while she prayed for the emperors, she refused to worship them and thereby clearly rejected the religion of the state.“The martyrs of the early church died for their faith in that God who was revealed in Jesus Christ, and for this very reason they also died for freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one’s own faith – a profession that no state can impose but which, instead, can only be claimed with God’s grace in freedom of conscience.”
As we have seen, the relation of the Church and the State as institutions is separation. This necessity is founded on the identity of the citizen of the state as believer who has the inalienable right, and therefore, freedom, to determine himself in his gift of self to God. God wants his love, and therefore, God wants his freedom. He must not be coerced, but enabled to be free and responsible morally to seek the truth, and when finding it, adhere to it.This is ultimately grounded on the relation of faith and reason. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger – on this topic – wrote: “What is essential is that reason shut in on itself does not remain reasonable or rational, just as the state that aims at being perfect becomes tyrannical. Reason needs revelation in order to be able to be effective as reason. The connection between the state and its Christian foundations is imperative precisely if it is to remain the state and be pluralist.” G.K. Chesterton, “What is America?”41-42. Robert N. Bellah, “The Broken Covenant,” Crossroad (Seabury) (1975) 3. Ibid. 18. Russell Kirk, “The Roots of American Order,” Regnery Gateway Gordon S. Wood, “The Creation of the American Republic,” Norton (1972) 3. Ibid. 606. Ibid. 613-614. John Courtney Murray, S.J., “Contemporary Orientations of Catholic thought on Church and State in the Light of History,” Theological Studies Vol X, June 1949, Number 2, 187. Following Mt. 22, 21 of giving to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s, Pope Gelasius (494) resisted the unicity of the res publica Christiana: “There are two, august Emperor, by which this world is governed, the sacred authority of priests and the royal power….” Cf. H. Rahner, “Church and State in Early Christianity,” Ignatius(1992) 174. Ibid. 220-222. Benedict XVI, “Interpreting Vatican II,” Origins January 26, 2006; Vol. 35; No. 32, 537-538. J. Ratzinger, “A Christian Orientation in a Pluralistic Democracy?” Church, Ecumenism and Politics, Crossroad, (1988) 218.
This is where it ended.
Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring 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 in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776
This is the Crisis Now
The crisis now is God. The invisible God can only be known by the Incarnation of the Son of the Father: Jesus Christ. The revelation of God is the Self-gift of Jesus Christ as enfleshed Divine Person. Faith is the response to that Revelation as a reciprocal self-gift. Like is known only by like. Since Christ is prayer, only in the self-giving that is prayer will yield knowledge-as-experience of Him Who is prayer. When so achieved, one is able – like Peter – to say: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16, 16).
What occurs in the believer in this belief-act of self-transcendence that is prayer is the experience of the “I” as subject and the concomitant consciousness of being “another Christ.” Since Christ is the revelation of not only who God is but who man is (Gaudium et Spes #22), that consciousness of self is the consciousness of Christ and of self as man. In a word, it is the revelation to the self of the dignity of the human person. It is entering into the consciousness of the self-evident truths that are the basis of democratic government. It is only in the identity of the believer-citizen where responsible and free self-determining democracy takes place. This is the reason that the democracy that obtains in the United States cannot be exported except to a society that has gone through, or will go through, the experience of the 150 years of lived Protestant Christianity (1620-1776). This is the challenge of globalism at the moment.
Ratzinger said in 1992: “(H)ow is possible to strengthen law and the good in our societies so that they can do battle against naiveté and cynicism without imposing the power of law by external coercion or defining it arbitrarily. In this context, de Tocqueville’s analysis in Democracy in America has always impressed me. This great political thinker saw one essential precondition for the cohesion of this fragile structure, which made possible the regulation of freedoms in a communal experience of freedom. This precondition lay in the vitality in America of a basic moral conviction (nourished by Protestantism) that supplied the foundational structures of institutions and democratic mechanisms, and it is perfectly true that institutions cannot survive and work effectively without shared ethical convictions. These, however, cannot be the product of merely empirical reason. Even majority decisions become truly human and rational only when they presuppose a basic human element that they respect as the real common good that is the presupposition of al other good things. Such convictions demand corresponding human attitudes, but these attitudes cannot flourish unless the historical basis of a culture and the ethical-religious insights that is preserves are taken seriously. A culture and a nation that cuts itself off from the great ethical and religious forces of its own history commits suicide. The cultivation of essential moral insights, preserving and protecting these as a common possession but without imposing them by force, seems to be one condition for the continued existence of freedom in the fact of all the nihilisms and their totalitarian consequences.
“It is here that I see the public task of the Christian churches in today’s world. It accords with the nature of the Church that it is separated from the state and that its faith may not imposed by the state but is based on convictions that are freely arrived at. Origen made a fine comment here, which unfortunately has not received the attention it deserves: ‘Christ does not win victory over anyone who does not wish it. He conquers only by convincing, for he is the Word of God.’ It is an essential aspect of the Church that it is neither the state nor a part of the state but a fellowship based on conviction. But it is also essentially aware of its responsibility for the totality: it cannot accept a limitation to its own affairs. On the basis of its own freedom, it must address the freedom of all human beings so that the moral forces of history may remain forces in the present. This will permit people, in continually changing circumstances, to grasp the evidential character of those values without which a shared freedom is impossible.”
 See Ratzinger’s “Turning Point for Europe” Ignatius (1994) 27-31.
 J. Ratzinger, “Freedom, Law, and the Good – Mopral Principles in Democratic Societies” (1993) Values in a Time of Upheaval Ignatius (2006) 51-52.