Dissonance in Politics


How do American Catholics reconcile their dual identity as both Americans (who are supposed to be loyal to the Republic) and as Catholics (who are supposed to be loyal to the Church)? How can you consider yourself a patriot if you have an allegiance to a foreign entity that supercedes your allegiance to the government of the state in which you live? And if the two entities come into a conflict, which allegiance prevails? If it is the foreign allegiance, then how can I possibly trust American Catholics and not view them as potential enemies?


I have a secret telephone in my basement that the pope uses to call me on undercover missions.

This would be a much more serious argument back in the days of the papal states but lets carry this out.

theSam’s argument is this:
*How can you consider yourself a patriot if you have an allegiance to a foreign entity that supercedes your allegiance to the government of the state in which you live?

*How would they conflict? My allegiance to the Vatican is spiritual my allegiance to my country is national. These are two different realms.

If the state orders me to break one of the ten commandments, I will surely disobey the state. It is not within their sphere of authority to order me to do such.

If the Vatican tells me to start filing my IRS forms with them I would be shocked, it is not their authority to tax me.

Sure these realms overlap sometimes, but do they really overlap or is one authority trying to inappropriately extend it’s influence over things that aren’t it’s authority? Is slavery moral? Can a panel of judges declare swaths of humanity non-persons? How about abortion? What if I lived in China and was allowed to only have one child? Is that within a government’s authority. Of course I answer no. What if the church told me to vote for a specific candidate that way it could become a voting block and get special privileges? (I’ve never heard of that happening, just an example.) I would balk. (That is very different than saying this official up for election wants to encourage grave sins, voting for him is endorsing the sin.)

Let us take this a step further. Do you have allegiance to your father? What would happen if the state told you you had to murder your father at age 55, whether in good or bad health, to save on natural resources? Some states abort children and have practiced infanticide. Existing states routinely use physician-assisted-suicide as a means of saving money. How can you call yourself a patriot if you aren’t willing to jump to your country’s judges or elected official’s every whim. What if he became a citizen of another country, he would then become a “foreign entity” as in your prompt. "How can you consider yourself a patriot if you have an allegiance to a foreign entity…"

I could bring this a step further? What is nationalism? Why should I be a patriot? Is it just a psychological tool developed in the 17th century for the kings and popular leaders to manipulate the masses to fight wars of financial conquest for them? (I don’t buy this argument, but it has been proposed to me, I’m just throwing it out there.)


Aside from your absolutely ridiculous claims, I find your answer completely unsatisfactory. You’ve completely ignored half of my question and your reasons amount to ‘well, it wouldn’t happen’. If my father became a foreign citizen, I wouldn’t expect him to be loyal to the United States, anyways.

For future reference, I don’t have problems with infanticide, abortion or euthanasia.


How do children reconcile their dual identity as answerable to both a mother and a father?

Humans are complex social creatures we make do. We all have obligations to our jobs, family, friends, self, state, Church, etc.
Balancing it all is part of life.

The answer to your questions would by necessity be situation dependant.
Please give examples of how/when you think that Catholic US citizens could be considered untrustworthy, unpatriotic, and/or potential enemies.

And how would those situations be any different for a non-catholic if their Pastor, Rabbi, Imam, whatever told them that a government position was in conflict with their religion?

And would someone please tell me why this 16th century, Tudor question is being asked in the 21st century?

So you think that they are just OK and a great way to run a society?


I don’t have an allegiance to a foreign entity; the Church is universal, so its bounds encompass those of all nations, all worlds, etc. Being an American is not subordinate to being Catholic; it’s additional.



Well I say we euthanize you. You’re just a resource consuming sack of flesh devouring our precious natural resources. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t. But that is in aside.

To clarify my argument was thus:

Exactly, the state can not make spiritual claims to my allegiance because it is not where they have authority.

The Vatican can not make nationalistic claims to my allegiance because that is not where they have authority.

Of course I like DanteAlighieri reasoning much better.


the Samaritan,
I have to ask you if your question is a serious question or not? If it is serious then my statement is your question expresses a real ignorance of American liberities guarenteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Catholic teachings on the role of religion an politics and Catholic moral teachings which is rooted in “Natural Law” i.e. moral principles which can be known through reason without divine revelation.

So again how serious is your question and by asking this are you really being an American?


The question and subsequent comments sound like a teenager attempting to sound sophisticated and learned. Perhaps he would be more at home on another forum.


I am an American and I am also a veteran of the US military… I didn’t see any conflict at all. I am also Catholic. My first loyalty is to God, and no law of the United States could ever make me do anything against God… but thankfully nobody asked me to. My country lets me believe in God and worship as I feel is right. Our founding fathers and indeed our nation was built on Christian morals and beliefs. Are you saying that I (as a veteran and a Catholic) can’t consider myself a patriot? That is funny! Do you know how many of our troops are Catholic?

So… it is ok to murder the weakest and most defenseless of our society? But you question our allegiance to our country? That doesn’t make sense…you want to kill our citizens, our potential patriots… yet you don’t think Catholics can be patriots because you think our allegiance is in question? That makes absolutely no sense at all.


No comment huh???


Obedience to God comes first (Acts 5:29…we must obey God rather than men). That being said, loyalty to God equals loyalty to one’s countrymen and the state. Since God has given authority to some to govern others, we must obey then when they command us within their authority. However, when they command something contrary to God’s law, they have exceeded their authority.

Likewise, the Gospel compels us to set about perfecting the temporal order as well–that means working for justice and truth in our own country. Therefore, by being faithful Catholics we are being good citizens, working for the betterment of our home country, but also the whole human family which we are also members of.


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