patriotism in Church

I found an old thread on displaying a flag in the church but nothing further.
I went to a different parish for Mass this A.M. because it was closer to where I live.
There was a flag displayed up in front, beside a statue of St. Joseph and the closing “hymn” was America the Beautiful". I know today is the 4th of July but that is a secular holiday. I was thinking during the closing that if I was a Catholic visiting from another country instead of another town, I might be annoyed by this blatent display of patriotism in church. Are we not Catholics first and …(fill in the nationality) next?
I was very uncomfortable with this and wonder if I am the only one?
I read somewhere (where escapes me at the moment) that *patriotism is a religion in and of itself and not compatible with worship of the One who created all in His image and sent us to be born on different patches of the earth He also created. *
Please answer without blasting me. This is a legitimate concern.

I don’t see anything wrong. It sounds like there was a flag and one song. It is a good day to pray for our country and I would hope a visitor would understand. I would if I wee in another country.

I could see it taken too far but I don’t think what you describe is too much

As an American, I have no problem with a show of patriotism in Church, especially on the 4th of July!

One of the things I believe that we, as Americans, need to remember is that this country *was founded on the basis of religious freedom,and that the govenment cannot **establish *a “state religion”. No where does it say anything about abolishing religion all together!

And with this right of ***“religious freedom”, ***I believe that I have a duty to my God and my country, to thank God for the things that I have, because I was lucky enough to be born in the USA, to pray for the men and women who gave their lives so that I may enjoy the freedoms and rights that I do, and to pray that all citizens will start to work together to ensure the values and ideals that the Founding Fathers espoused us with 234 years ago today.

And what better place for a Catholic to do that than in the context of the Mass, especially since it is a Sunday!:slight_smile:

That said, our Founding Fathers had God on their side, just read the Declaration of Independence. It is too bad that, all to often, we forget that!

IMHO, if you have no problem saying “God Bless America” then you should have no problem singing “America the Beautiful” in church.

For any of you who may want to read the Declaration of Independence, I have posted some “Thoughts for the 4th” along with a complete transcript of the document on my blog
www.oneofthewomen.blogspot.com.

Peace to all!

in my former parish every week in the Prayers of the Faithful, intentions are included for specific countries that are celebrating their national days in the next week

Last time I checked we have the freedom of religion. That couldn’t have happened if the Declaration of Independence wasn’t written. If it wasn’t for the Declaration, you wouldn’t have that freedom because the Constitution wouldn’t have been written.

Catrus, not blasting you. But, did not the Israelites defend there land. Were they not proud of there land?

Today at my parish, we sang “America the Beautiful” at the end of Mass. As Americans, we should appreciate the fact that our government gives us the right to worship God as Christians and as Catholics.

I went to the Vigil Mass last night, and we had the American Flag up front. (It is always there, just like the Papal flag), and yes, we sang America the Beautiful.

We also recognized those that have fought, and those that are fighting now, through the prayers of the faithful, etc.

I don’t see a thing wrong with it. In fact, considering the nature of July 4th, I would be more insulted and concerned if these things weren’t mentioned.

That said, our Founding Fathers had God on their side, just read the Declaration of Independence. It is too bad that, all to often, we forget that!

Not the first time I’ve heard this and am interested why anyone believes that the “founding fathers” (deists), had “God on their side”, the section of earth we call America, the declaration of independence or any of that, only 234 years old, has anything to do with The Holy Catholic Church.
Even if I did not live in this country, I would still be Catholic. If I lived in Bulgaria, Georgia (the country), Rwanda, anywhere else on Earth, I would STILL be Catholic minus the declaration, flag or any of the nationality accruments I see and hear in my church.
Does anyone out there understand what I am talking about?

There are specific rules as to how flags should be displayed in a Catholic Church.

As to the songs, here are some opinions…

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=340073&highlight=patriotic+songs

After the Mass has ended, singing that is fine liturgically.

Are we not Catholics first and …(fill in the nationality) next?

I love God first, my spouse second, and my children third. If I tell my children that I love them, that does not take away from the fact that I love my wife or that I love God.

[quote=JackVk]As Americans, we should appreciate the fact that our government gives us the right to worship God as Christians and as Catholics.
[/quote]

God gives us that right under natural law, not the American government. We would have that right no matter where we lived- but some governments would refuse to accept it. In fact, even under American political philosophy, case law, and written law, the Constitution is not a document wherein the government grants rights to the people, but a document where the government recognizes rights the people already has which it cannot abrogate without due process. Do not ascribe to the United States government what is yours by God.

On this song specifically… The mass is an act of worship. Why are we singing a song addressed to “America” during an act of worship? In the Roman Rite, we don’t even directly address the Mother of God during mass- why would we directly address America?

I have no problem with prayers for our country during the prayers of the faithful, the final blessing, or any other appropriate place. I have no problem with asking people to sing it after the end of mass or before mass begins! I don’t know if a song that serves no purpose but to extol the values of a nation is appropriate during the liturgy, a few moments after receiving the Eucharist. Our responsibility after entering into communion with our Lord is to offer prayers of thanksgiving and praise to our God, not to our Country. There are other, more appropriate times for that.

EDIT: I know that mass is technically over during the recessional. That time should still be used to reflect on the Eucharist, though.

Yes, I understand what you are saying.

But technically, if you lived in Bulgaria or Georgia, prior to 1989, you could not call yourself “catholic” or practice your faith without the constant fear of the regime that was in power.

Which brings me back to- what better place, for an American Catholic, to show his/her patriotism, than in Mass on Sunday, which also happens to be July 4th?:slight_smile:

What better place for them to remember that America or my country Ireland are ultimately meaningless compared to the Church.

The bible tells us to be patriotic. The forth degree of the Knights of Columbus deals with patriotism.

1 Peter 2:13-14 in particular along with many other scriptures tells us to be patriotic. It is proper for the nation’s flag to be flown in our community meeting. We are Americans and therefore have a God ordered rule to be patriotic.

That passage merely tells Christians to submit to their rules and praise them if they do well. I am actually quite patriotic but I would be most displeased if when Easter Monday came around (which is the Irish equivalent to the 4th of July) I were to find tricolours flying in an Irish Church. My nationality and my religion are not neccesarily the same thing and I value the latter far mroe than the former.

In our Church we displayed the American flag, sang America the Beautiful, had a selected reading at the end of Mass from the Declaration of Independence, and our priest spoke about being thankful for living in this country during the homily. All entirely appropriate for Mass on July 4th IMO.

On Memorial Day we also had a small contingent of veterans from several wars wearing their uniforms process up the aisle carrying our national and state flags. They faced the congregation while Taps was played in honor of all veterans living and dead. I see nothing wrong with it and I am glad my parish has such patriotism.

From the beginning of the Declaration of Independence

*When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.*

Last sentance of the Declaration of Independence

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.

I don’t know if I necessarily am Catholic first, or American first. Both aspects are a part of my sum. The lines are blurred, I do not stop being a Catholic where ever I go any more than I stop being an American, or a woman, or a daughter, or a mother.

I don’t think me being an American and wanting to thank God for all those blessings should stop just when the mass begins and the mass ends. Singing to God is praying twice it is said, the music chosen on days such as the 4th of July, or Veteran’s Day to reflect what we are acknowledging on those days is a prayer IMO.

And I have been to mass in other countries and have found it very appropriate that their nation’s flag and other culture aspects are a part of their liturgies. Why wouldn’t I?

I have really mixed feelings about singing “America the Beautiful” as a ressional at Mass. First of all its not a piece of Sacred music; secondly this is Mass, not a patriotic celebration.
I hope all of you understand that I am as Patriotic as anyone. My wife and I are fromer Marines and my oldest daughter is a former Marine. My second oldest son is a career Marine. In fact he was at Mass with us today in his dress blues. He has served three combat tours in Iraq and is getting ready for a forth tour in “the other desert”.
But I have never liked songs like “America the Beautiful”, “Amazing Grace”, or “How Great Thou Art” as songs for Mass.

The Church recognizes the need to pray for our nation. There is a Mass with special readings in the U.S. Missal and Lectionary and a special opening prayer, prayer over the gifts and post-communion prayer when Independence Day doesn’t fall on a Sunday. They are:

First Reading: Isaiah 9:1-6 or 32:15-18, 20 or 57:15-19
Psalm 72 or 85.
Second Reading: Phillippians 4:6-9 or Colossians 3:12-15 or James 3:13-18
Gospel Acclamation: Matthew 5:9 or John 14:27
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12 or John 14:23-29 or John 20:19-23

There is also a special Mass for Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November).

First Reading: Deuteronomy 8:7-18 or Kings 8:55-61
Psalm 113 or 138
Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-17 or Timothy 6:6-11, 7:19
Gospel Acclamation: Ephesians 1:3 or 1 Thessalonians 5-18
Gospel: Mark 5:18-20 or Luke 12:15-21 or Luke 17:11-19

In short, the Church sees the inclusion of our National civic holidays as fit for inclusion and special celebration on the liturgical calendar. In fact, they rise almost to the level of solemnities with three readings (as opposed to daily Masses which just have two) and special prayers.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.