In 2009, Father Anthony Brankin spoke to the nonsense I am discussing today and labelled it as the heresy of Americanism. Here is what he had to say: “‘Americanism’ is the heresy that teaches that whatever we do—because we are Americans or American Catholics—is therefore right. The rules and moral laws that other people must observe do not apply to us because we are exceptional.”
The subject of Americanism is fodder for lengthy study and scholarly books, but for my purposes I can boil it down to three living, breathing examples of this popular heresy among many Catholics today.
My first example is House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. This woman claims to be a “mainstream” Catholic who, in my humble opinion, has now elevated herself to the position of quasi-inquisitor, if not American theologian. Pelosi has unabashedly proclaimed that Senator Marco Rubio, also a Catholic, is “polarizing” and that she doubts Pope Francis himself would agree with what Rubio had to say recently about same-sex marriage.
What did Rubio say that elicited such a statement from Pelosi? He stated during an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network: “We are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech, because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. . . . The next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech. And that’s a real and present danger.”
While one will either agree or disagree with his words, Rubio is a Catholic who is speaking in accord with what the Church teaches on the subject of same-sex marriage. Pelosi, on the other hand, is speaking heresy. The Catholic Church does not condone homosexuality, nor does the Church condone aborting children. Pelosi favors both abortion and homosexuality, as her record in Congress and her public statements make clear.
My second example is equally disturbing. The Catholic Health Association, never known to be a bastion of strong Catholic principle, has now stooped to a new low by inviting President Obama to speak at its annual meeting. The CHA president, Sister Carol Keehan, who received a special pen from Obama for her public support of Obamacare, presents another clear example of a Catholic who falls into the cavernous pit of Americanism.
After the vote on the passage of Obamacare, the late Cardinal Francis George explained: “Sr. Carol and her colleagues are to blame” for the passage of Obamacare as they “provided cover for those on the fence to support Obama and the administration.”
Finally, as my last example, I reflect upon a corporate decision by the administration of St. Louis University—a Catholic institution of higher learning. And what was that decision? It was to move the statue of Jesuit missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet, S.J., from a prominent spot in front of a campus building to a museum where only few visit. And why was this done? The statue depicts the missionary praying over a couple of American Indians, one of whom was kneeling to receive a blessing. The decision was made after “a number of students complained that it represented ‘white supremacy, racism, and colonialism.’”
If this seems mind-boggling to you, put it into the proper frame of reference. It is no longer respectable, in American culture, to publicly proclaim God’s word, to bow before those teaching truth, to stand up and oppose public policy and proposed laws that endanger human beings before as well as after birth. No! Americanism demands that Catholics go along with cultural trends, not Catholic teaching.
Sad, isn’t it?
Well, as Father Brankin reminds us: “We must never ever think that just because some politician has decided to get our country involved in something immoral—like abortion or unjust wars — that the case is closed and we cannot object. We must never think that loyalty to our country means we cannot speak out.”
Stand UP. Defend TRUTH.