Envisioning an American Theocracy

Several years ago a provocative article appeared on Dr. Taylor Marshall’s website which attracted both criticism and praise. Hypothetically applying St. Thomas’ principle that grace “…perfects, heals, and elevates nature” to the state, he explores answers to the following question:

“…[I]f we Catholics lived holy lives and lovingly evangelized as we should, What would the United States look like?”

Dr. Marshall’s pieces are usually short but he gives this one a lot of thought, listing 28 changes that would reflect the transformation of the country into a Catholic state. It is no surprise that the article immediately drew criticism from protestants and non-Christians, but it also drew disapproval from liberal Catholics. Commonweal Magazine called the article flawed and “a political dream” adding, “It’s not Martin Luther King’s dream, either.”

Why would any Catholic find it objectionable for someone to conceive of America as a Catholic country in service to Christ? And I fail to understand the reference to MLK other than your typical PC ad hominem slander, branding someone they disagree with as a racist.

These are a some of Dr. Taylor’s reflections:

  • The newly elected president would recite his oath of office, not only with his hand on the Holy Bible, but kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance held by the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, DC. within the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. In other words, the President would make his oath directly to Christ.
  • Mary under her title “Immaculate Conception” is currently the patroness of the United States. She would become featured on our national seal and on our currency.
  • January 21, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, would be a perennial day of national penance.
  • Abortion, contraception, sodomy, euthanasia, and divorce would be illegal as these sins are contrary to the natural law. Of course, abused wives would be protected and assisted under law.
  • Public blasphemy and the abuse of the most holy name of Jesus would be forbidden in film, television, and music.
  • All Holy Days of Obligation would become federal holidays and Days of Obligation would not be transferred to Sundays since they would become holidays for all citizens. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday would also become nationally recognized holidays.
  • The sin of usury in form of credit cards, school loans, and other disadvantaging lending policies would be criminalized as contrary to natural law.

    No more “bishops of bling”
  • The clergy (but especially our archbishops and bishops) would not live like royalty in mansions as in previous years but would live penitent and poor lives like great bishops of old such as St Martin of Tours, St Francis de Sales, St Augustine, and St Bonaventure.
  • The meetings of the Senate and Congress would begin with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and with prayers and benedictions from the clergy.
  • Those of different religions would be tolerated and by no means forced to convert to Catholicism. Conversion, as the Popes have taught, is an act of the will and people should not be forced through political coercion.

Towards the end of the era of the Grey Wolf, St. Hildegard envisioned that after a period of persecution the Church will have achieved her mission and “…be replete with the full number of her children” (Scivias, Book III, Vision 10, Chapter 13).* It will also have achieved a new height in spirituality:

“For until the time of the son of perdition, who will pretend to be the man of strength, His [Christ’s] faithful members will be perfected in fortitude and He will be splendid in the justice of his righteous worshippers” (Chapt. 9).

The world Dr. Marshall describes, whether here or in Europe, is not unimaginable. When asked why he thought Europe would return to the Catholic faith, the late would-be emperor Otto von Hapsburg answered simply, “Because we have the truth!”.

…rjt

*Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias, translated by Columba Hart and Jane Bishop. The Abby of Regina Laudis: Benedictine Congregation Regina Laudis of the Strict Observance, Inc. Paulist Press, 1990.

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