Recently on June 14th, Flag Day, I participated in two virtual ceremonies for the Knights of Columbus. Over 300 men made their 4th Degree Exemplification online due to the COVID-19 restrictions on crowds and gatherings. The 4th Degree concerns Patriotism and it reminded me and all of the men making their degree of our Catholic, American heritage. Patriotism is the principle of the 4th Degree as Charity, Unity and Fraternity are the core principles of the other three degrees. I encourage the men of our parish to investigate and consider joining the Knights of Columbus, if you are not already a member.
It is sad and it angers me to see certain crowds throughout our nation defacing or attempting to destroy some of our civil and religious monuments and statues. I am proud to be an American and I think that we should be grateful to live in this country. Yes, our country is imperfect—it is not heaven nor will it ever be so—but some evil elements are trying to hijack and undermine some valid concerns and turn them into anarchy and lawlessness. There is a deliberate attempt to cause civil unrest and foment hatred of our police. Peacefully protest and be civilly disobedient, if and when necessary. People pray the rosary and participate in sidewalk counseling in front of abortion clinics. However, anarchy, looting, rioting, the destruction of property and other forms of lawlessness are not the solution to any kind of racism or injustice and should never be accepted or tolerated.
During the Olympics I am proud to hear our National anthem played as I see our dedicated athletes awarded their medals. Having been born in and living so close to Philadelphia, I treasure the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the many other reminders of the founding of our country. I look forward to the fireworks and various celebrations on the 4th of July.
Our nation, like every person who may ever live in it, is flawed. Unjust laws and decisions unfortunately exist (e.g. Roe v. Wade) and we should peacefully work to change them. We should strive for equal justice under the law. Yet, what I have seen happening recently in certain parts of our country is neither productive nor divinely inspired. There is an underlying evil source causing chaos, which I can clearly see is not from God.
Our nation has been a continual force for good throughout the world. Foreign peoples long to live here. Judeo-Christian principles have guided the rule of law throughout its existence. Although our past has some undesirable elements, we should learn from them and try to improve upon them and correct them. We should not attempt to destroy our history and try to pretend that it was something other than what it was. We should not attempt foolishly to eliminate the rule of law or abolish the police. The result will be an absolute disaster, as we can see playing out in the streets of some of our cities.
I pray you can celebrate this 4th of July peacefully with family and friends. I know there are still warnings about social-distancing and restrictions around the gathering of crowds. However, be proud to be a Catholic and be proud to be an American.
I certainly am!
Vivat Jesus! God bless America!
Fr. Ed Namiotka