The Dichotomy of American Exceptionalism and the Catholic Church

Non Sequitariat talks about America’s anti-Catholic history and how prominent Catholic politicians like Rick Santorum conform to this sentimentality that persists even today in politics. My favorite excerpt illustrates the opposing creeds of American exceptionalism and the global universality of the Roman Catholic Church:

the Republican Party, pushing the more severe form of American exceptionalism, favors the Christian sect that matured in America. The historic Catholic faith must seem too alien—born at an empty tomb outside Jerusalem, seated in Rome, developed throughout the Mediterranean, and practiced the world over.

Pope Benedict XVI recently highlighted American hostility towards Catholicism when he stated, “It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres.” American Catholics must shed themselves of the naive idea that American exceptionalism is congruent with Catholicism. The idea that America has all the best ideas, the best culture, the best government and that every other culture and nation is therefore inferior to the United States is directly opposed to Catholic thought. We must accept that American Catholics represents only a small minority of the Catholics of the world and that to find true solidarity with our Catholic brothers and sisters worldwide we need to put our shared faith first and recognize our loyalty to the United States, a country that would so quickly demand we disregard our values (here, here, and here for example), as secondary.


One thought on “The Dichotomy of American Exceptionalism and the Catholic Church

  1. American Exceptionalism is the puffery used to excuse misadventure abroad and inaction at home. In a recent post I analyze the American Exceptionalism concept and contrast it with a healthy patriotism that could help unite the public against those few who are ruining America.

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