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Post-Christian America
The Catholic Thing ^ | August 19, 2012 | Fr. C. John McCloskey III

Posted on 08/19/2012 1:51:28 PM PDT by NYer

When we reach the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolution in 2027, will Protestantism still be a presence in the United States?

America is no longer a Christian country. Deal with it and act accordingly. Denial will get you nowhere. After death, however, there is the possibility of resurrection.

What is the definition of a Christian country? Mine is a country that has a majority of citizens who believe in and publicly profess the Nicene or Apostles Creed, as these creeds have come down to us from the Ancient Church – people who at least attempt to live according to the Ten Commandments. 

Of course, we are all sinners. But the proof that we are even more pagan than formerly Christian Europe – or the Islamic countries for that matter – is the piling up of more than a million abortions per year (killing our own citizens) since 1973.

“Christian” America has already killed enough of its unborn to easily surpass Nazi Germany’s extermination camp total and may soon catch up with the death rolls of the U.S.S.R. and Red China. No true Christian country that has recourse to democratic voting could countenance such massacre without regime change or rebellion.

On top of this, the number of divorces and illegitimate births continues to rise, as fewer “couples” bother to get married and the number of people addicted to pornography skyrockets. In short, the social revolution of the 1960s captured the culture and converted much of the nation. According to a new Pew poll, the number of Americans who profess a belief in no religion at all has tripled since the 1990s, now accounting for one in five of our countrymen.

My purpose here, however, is not to prove that America is no longer a Christian country but to reflect on why and how it happened.

Many of the first settlers came to the Americas to escape religious persecution. With the solitary exception of Maryland (my home state, settled by Catholics), these early settlers were Protestants of various persuasions. They differed from one another in dogma, but generally agreed in professing and attempting to live a moral life based on the Ten Commandments.

Though bestowed by God on Mt. Sinai, the Commandments are also commonly held (even when not lived up to) by non-Judeo-Christians and unbelievers who recognize the natural law written on our hearts.


          Alexis de Tocqueville

With the passage of time, homegrown American Protestant sects sprang up so profusely that they now can be counted in the thousands. Despite this variety, almost all shared a biblical moral philosophy not far removed from Catholics. The loosening of divorce laws and the propagation of the birth control pill in the Sixties, however, precipitated further retreat mere decades later by mainstream and traditional Protestant denominations on other moral fronts, including abortion, homosexual activity, and most recently same-sex marriage.

The primary reason is the lack of dogmatic authority in Protestantism and the reliance on the principle of private judgment. Leaving people to rely on only their opinions or feelings as moral guide is not enough to sustain a country that was once Christian and now is increasingly pagan.

What is the solution? Can American become Christian again? In my judgment, mainstream Protestantism is in an irreversible freefall. Don’t count on any great religious revivals. America needs witness, not enthusiasm. The United States will either become predominantly Catholic in numbers, faith, and morals or perish under the weight of its unbridled hedonism and corruption. As Alexis de Tocqueville, the nineteenth-century French observer who arguably best understood the United States, observed:

At the present time, more than in any preceding age, Roman Catholics are seen to lapse into infidelity, and Protestants to be converted to Roman Catholicism. If you consider Catholicism within its own organization, it seems to be losing; if you consider it from outside, it seems to be gaining. Nor is this difficult to explain. The men of our days are naturally little disposed to believe; but as soon as they have any religion, they immediately find in themselves a latent instinct that urges them unconsciously towards Catholicism. Many of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church astonish them, but they feel a secret admiration for its discipline, and its great unity attracts them. If Catholicism could at length withdraw itself from the political animosities to which it has given rise, I have hardly any doubt but that the same spirit of the age which appears to be so opposed to it would become so favorable as to admit of its great and sudden advancement.

One of the most ordinary weaknesses of the human intellect is to seek to reconcile contrary principles and to purchase peace at the expense of logic. Thus there have ever been and will ever be men who, after having submitted some portion of their religious belief to the principle of authority, will seek to exempt several other parts of their faith from it and to keep their minds floating at random between liberty and obedience. But I am inclined to believe that the number of these thinkers will be less in democratic than in other ages, and that our posterity will tend more and more to a division into only two parts, some relinquishing Christianity entirely and others returning to the Church of Rome. 
I hope and believe that readers will live to see that happen in this life – if not the next.


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: christian
Fr. C. John McCloskey III is a Church Historian and Research Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, DC.
1 posted on 08/19/2012 1:51:36 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 08/19/2012 1:52:33 PM PDT by NYer (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
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To: NYer
What is the definition of a Christian country?

One in which the government as a whole, supports Christianity.

Does ours?

3 posted on 08/19/2012 2:02:48 PM PDT by Errant
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To: NYer

Problem: There is little or no evidence that Catholics in America, as a group, are more attached to biblical morality than Protestants, particularly conservative Protestants.

Not that this is saying much.


4 posted on 08/19/2012 2:47:55 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: NYer

I’d bet that the majority of Americans could honestly confess the Apostles’ Creed.

I can’t prove it, but I think so. At least all adult Americans.

Which would make this a Christian country, in the cited author’s opinion.


5 posted on 08/19/2012 2:51:30 PM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: NYer

Reads more like wishful thinking that those “pesky” Protestants will finally go away.


6 posted on 08/19/2012 3:08:16 PM PDT by chargers fan
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To: NYer

Maybe the U.S. should be more like France, a country whose history is saturated with Catholic morality and dominance as well as the blood of those the Catholic church deemed “heretics”.


7 posted on 08/19/2012 3:36:53 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: All

Last time I checked our Government has been a secular plus
the seperation of church and state thing.


8 posted on 08/19/2012 3:49:09 PM PDT by KevinDavis (Romney / Ryan 2012)
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To: NYer

A different alternative would be that conservative Protestants and Roman Catholics meet in conclave to end the 500 year old Reformation schism in the Christian communion.

Many Protestant faiths today have almost forgotten why they split off from each other and the Catholic church. As such many could merge without offense until perhaps just a few remained.

The liberals, of course, would reject such a reunion entirely, as it would be done under the auspices of faith and shared belief, instead of for the purposes of the leftist agenda. But without the conservatives, the religions of liberals evaporate as inconsequential.

The end result would still be the Catholic church and one or more Protestant faiths, but no longer in contention and argument.


9 posted on 08/19/2012 5:06:10 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: count-your-change

Your description might fit France in the 17th Century or before, but Catholicism in France has been in serious decline since the revolution.


10 posted on 08/19/2012 5:07:11 PM PDT by Campion ("Social justice" begins in the womb)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
As such many could merge without offense until perhaps just a few remained.

Merge into the Catholic Church, right?

11 posted on 08/19/2012 5:10:42 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater (CrossFit.com)
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To: Campion

Thus “Catholic morality” is in no way superior to any Protestant morality.


12 posted on 08/19/2012 5:34:55 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change

In practice or on paper?


13 posted on 08/19/2012 5:48:59 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: Future Snake Eater

Unlikely, at least at first. Several Protestant denominations could merge with each other first.

But even a potential merge between the Catholics and Anglicans, who are very doctrinally similar, and wanted by many in both faiths for a very long time, has only recently become possible, after a fashion. Anglicans can now “become Catholic”, while still practicing their Anglican version.


14 posted on 08/19/2012 6:12:29 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: A.A. Cunningham

Anyone can talk a good fight but the practice is what tells the tale.

Overall, is there a great difference between Catholic and non-Catholic in abortion rates or premarital sex, etc.?

I doubt there is.


15 posted on 08/19/2012 6:53:14 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: NYer

You can tell the quality of what a church teaches about Christianity, by which party it’s adherents vote for.

The Catholic church, Episcopalians and other liberal churches produce voters who support the left’s morals and they vote for that.


16 posted on 08/19/2012 7:17:10 PM PDT by ansel12 (Massachusetts Governors, where the GOP goes for it's "conservative" Presidential candidates.)
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To: ansel12

Yes, liberal sympathizers the whole lot of them.


17 posted on 08/19/2012 7:29:05 PM PDT by AmericanSamurai
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To: Sherman Logan

I would make a distinction between mainline Protestants and the growing number of Evangelical Protestants.


18 posted on 08/19/2012 9:17:32 PM PDT by lastchance ("Nisi credideritis, non intelligetis" St. Augustine)
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To: NYer
The primary reason is the lack of dogmatic authority in Protestantism and the reliance on the principle of private judgment. Leaving people to rely on only their opinions or feelings as moral guide is not enough to sustain a country that was once Christian and now is increasingly pagan.

Ah, yes, the Protestants are the reason America is going down the toilet! Fr. McCloskey, as the nuns used to tell us in grade school, "Clean off your OWN doorstep before you try to clean off someone else's."

What's with you guys this weekend? Beat up on those Protties so you can feel better about yourselves? So far, you are NOT scoring any points and I highly doubt our Heavenly Father is pleased.

19 posted on 08/19/2012 9:45:48 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: chargers fan
Reads more like wishful thinking that those “pesky” Protestants will finally go away.

When the Rapture happens, we WILL go away - to be with the Lord!

20 posted on 08/19/2012 9:51:34 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: lastchance

I quite agree.

I see no particular advantage of most Catholics over Evangelicals in their morality in practice. In fact, I think there are a great many more “cultural Catholics” than “cultural Evangelicals,” people who are “members” of a religion because it’s part of their culture and lifestyle, but not something they build their life around.


21 posted on 08/20/2012 5:46:29 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: NYer

As Jesus said - render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. Christians are growing more in getting Caesar’s laws to set the moral tone of the country rather than going to Church and living the Beatitudes.


22 posted on 08/20/2012 3:14:02 PM PDT by ex-snook (without forgiveness there is no Christianity)
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To: boatbums; Sherman Logan

Just another of the seemingly obligatory posts promoting pro-papal propaganda, this time once again imagining that Rome will save America, and that it is SS that is the problem, while the facts are that it is the churches that no longer hold the Scriptures supreme as the Word of God, to be obey consistent with the Biblical conservative tradition, that are the most liberal, and in this Rome joins Protestant denoms which are most like here.

And as regards such, here are the stats again. http://www.peacebyjesus.com/RC-Stats_vs._Evang.html

And in contrast to Rome’s use of the sword of men to deal with theological enemies, and her historical oppression and denial of freedom of religion - which early Protestantism had to unlearn - and her hindering free reading of the Scriptures,Protestantism promoted literacy and learning among the “laity,” and a priority on education.

Much due to the Protestant belief that lay people should learn to read the Bible in English, instead of Latin or Greek, many colonists pushed for literacy. In 1647 the Massachusetts colonial legislature commented that as the “old deluder Satan” had worked to keep the Bible (in the vernacular) from the people in the times before the Protestant Reformation, they passed a law that towns of over 50 families should provide a school.

However, education was mainly considered to be a local, or a family responsibility, often using private schools, rather than being an duty of the State. Ralph Walker, author of Old Readers, believes that in this period “children were often taught to read at home before they were subjected to the rigours of school. In middle-class families, where the mother would be expected to be literate, this was considered part of her duties.[2]

In Puritan New England this seems to have been particularly evidenced. In The Intellectual Life of New England Samuel Eliot Morison notes that Boston Latin was “the only public school down to 1684, when a writing school was established; and it is probable that only children who already read were admitted to that . . . . they must have learned to read somehow, since there is no evidence of unusual illiteracy in the town. And a Boston bookseller’s stock in 1700 includes no less than eleven dozen spellers and sixty-one dozen primers.”

Some contend that in colonial America literacy rates were as high or higher than they are today.[10] Ruth Wallis Herndon, in Literacy among New England’s transient poor, 1750-1800, states that by using different sources, a number of “historians have discovered a nearly universal literacy among New England men and varying levels of literacy among New England women in the latter part of the eighteenth century.

In addition, while there existed thousands of local schools, nearly one thousand colleges and universities (of varying quality), and scores of normal schools with trained teachers, education was largely locally managed, as the federal bureau of education, while collecting information about the condition of education, possessed no control over local schools. Education agencies on the state level were small, and its few employees had little or no power over local school districts. School systems in large cities could also function with little oversight, such as in Baltimore, where the public schools in 1890 employed only two superintendents for the entire district of 1,200 teachers.

Despite the lack of centralized administration, public schools across America were notably similar, with children learning both the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the basics of good behavior – the latter being enforced when necessary by corporal punishment. (More: http://www.astorehouseofknowledge.info/Education_in_the_United_States)

Also, as the Atlantic Magazine in “Our Ten Contributions to Civilization” states,

The American system was a legacy of colonial times, when the theological motive for settlement was intense and the multiplicity of denominations suggested the need for mutual forbearance. Rhode Island, Maryland, and Pennsylvania in the persons of Roger Williams, Lord Baltimore, and William Penn set the pattern to which the Bill of Rights of the federal Constitution gave nationwide sanction. Religion by choice was the natural counterpart of government by consent, and, contrary to Old World belief, the separation of church and state did not in fact weaken either but strengthened both.

The French RC historian Alexis de Tocqueville quoted in the article also said (among other things) of Protestant America,

“The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.

And in a pamphlet for Europeans titled “ Information to Those Who Would Remove to America” (1754), Benjamin Franklin wrote,

“ ...serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practiced. Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel. And the Divine Being seems to have manifested His approbation of the mutual forbearance and kindness by which the different sects treat each other, and by the remarkable prosperity with which He has been please to favor the whole country.


23 posted on 08/22/2012 5:35:27 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a damned+destitute actual sinner, + trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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