Father Kevin’s Reflection – September 4, 2016

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american-flag“History, Religion and Patriotism”

I don’t know exactly what is going on with television shows these days. I find myself going “retro”…watching the sitcoms from the 70’s and 80’s that you on the sub channels verses the network stations. Many of you may remember “All in the Family” with Archie Bunker and the “meathead” characters. I happened to come across an episode: “Edith’s Conversion” which causes this reflection.

The combination of the three words: history, religion and patriotism express a kind of directive. They call us to look back in history and appreciate the significance of faith in the foundation, establishment and growth of this wonderful nation of ours. It is a summons to see more clearly into our modern times in order to allow the hand of God to guide us still.

Part of the joy of being Catholic is the ability to boast of the positive effects that great Catholics have had on the challenges of their times. Knowing that it was a Catholic mind and heart that help solve social problems gives us cause to be proud. We should be proud if we are striving to be faithful Catholics in our own times. So often, I find many Catholics embarrassed being Catholic due to a real systemic prejudice (to judge someone or something before an experience) against Catholicism in our nation.

There are SO MANY examples of how a Catholic (those Catholics who were to the core Catholic) has done great things for our country (and get very little notice in the public school history books). Take for instance Thomas Dongan.  He lived in our nation’s infancy in what is now New York City. Every student (at least when I was young) learned that the colonists bought New York from the Indians for $21 and some trinkets. What is not known is the fact that this important colony was a hot bed of controversy and a model of anti-Catholic prejudice. But Thomas Dongan, a Catholic appointed by the King Charles II of England, brought the new idea of Religious Freedom to his colony.

(Another little known fact is that New York was originally called “New Amsterdam”. It was called New Amsterdam because the Dutch who were settling there wanted a new Amsterdam, not a new York.)

York was the town in England that was an arch enemy of the Dutch. The first three “governors” of this colony were: Colonel Nichols, an English chap…Andros, another English chap (both being Anglican, a.k.a. Episcopalian) and Manning, a Hollander, who was a Lutheran. The dispute about what to call this colony was only solved in 1674 with the Treaty of Westminster. You see, it just so happened that the Duke of York became the new King James II. (This is the same King James II whose father, King James I, lost his head for his loyalty to the Pope.) Therefore, we get New York instead of New Amsterdam. Then King James II loses his head because of Oliver Cromwell…Cromwell loses his head and then King Charles II (and a Catholic becomes King of England). It was King Charles II who appointed Thomas Dongan, a Catholic to be the next governor. It took a Catholic to bring religious freedom (temporarily) to New York, and Dongan also made a treaty with the “Five Nations” of the Indian Tribes of New York. But as soon as Dongan was gone, so was religious freedom and so was the peace treaty with the Indians.    America sure needs good Catholics, right?

that God will lead us to make our nation, unlike other nations…

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