- Because it’s worth reading: The Declaration of Independence – read it and view high-resolution images of the original. (This is a part of the “Charters of Freedom”, an exhibit of the National Archives, on the documents that shaped our history.
- Catholic Sources and the Declaration of Independence by Rev. John C. Rager. The Catholic Mind XXVIII, no. 13 (July 8, 1930), looks at synergies between the thought of Aquinas and Bellarmine and that expressed in the Declaration, asking: “Did Jefferson know of Bellarmine?”? (In How Catholic is the Declaration of Independence?, Commonweal takes a look at the “Scholastic-roots-of-democracy theory”; and CatholicHistory.net provides a bibliography on Catholics and the American Founding).
Maggie’s Notebook provides the background to the signing of the Declaration, with excerpts from David McCullough’s John Adams.
St. Blog’s Commemorates the 4th of July
- Fr. Zuhlsdorf (What Does Prayer Really Say?) posts the text of “Prayer for Government” composed by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, in 1791. John Carroll was the first Bishop of the United States, appointed in 1789 by Pope Pius VI. He was a cousin of Charles Carroll of Maryland, the lone Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. (See also Charles Carroll and the American Founding Religion and Liberty November 06, 2005).
As Fr. Z says, “This [prayer] needs no translation for Catholics who love their country!”
- Our Word and Welcome To It introduces us to two poems that portray America prior to the initial Independence Day and one of the celebrations after it – “4th of July Night” by Carl Sandburg and “By the Rude Bridge” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
- Rich Leonardi offers thanks for the Catholic American heroes who have contributed to the greatness of our country.
- Michael Liccione (Sacramentum Vitae) offers a sober meditation on “the steady erosion of freedom”.
- Reconnecting to the Truth reminds us to Celebrating Our Independence, and the Men & Women Who Make it Possible:
- Over at Vox Nova, Henry Karlson requests a debate on the question: Was the American revolution a “Just War”?; Michael Iafrate marshals the criticism of Dorothy Day in “We are Un-American: We are Catholics”, calling for resistance to the American capitalist war machine. “Morning’s Minion” pleas Let America Be America Again (Langston Hughes), and Michael Joseph posts a moving video he made for the National Day of Prayer.
A revisitation to some posts from years past:
- “What’s Right About America”, by Fr. Jim Tucker (Dappled Things).
- I. Shawn McElhinney shares the other verses to “America, The Beautiful” (and a bit of history behind the tune and lyrics).
- Greg Mockeridge (Cooperatores Veritatis) takes a look at The Declaration of Independence from a Catholic Perspective
- “Do we deserve to be free?”, Fr. James V. Schall on the Fourth of July. (Ignatius Insight, 2006)
What Kind of Freedom?
“Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law!” — A pertinent line from America the Beautiful and a clarification of the kind of freedom that our founding fathers envisioned and sought for in establishing our nation.
One of the most ardent defenders of religious and political freedom in the 19th century was Lord Acton, remembered for his oft-quoted caution that “”Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” but who also insisted that “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.”
- From the Acton Institute comes two pertinent studies of the meaning of human freedom: Enjoying and Making Use of a Responsible Freedom by Cardinal Avery Dulles Religion & Liberty Volume 11, Number 5, Sept/Oct 2001) – on the understanding of freedom put forth by Dignitatis Humanae; and “The Moral Foundations of Freedom”, by George Weigel (Acton Lecture on Religion & Liberty. October 23, 2000), on religious freedom and the Catholic Church’s interaction with contemporary democracy.