Votive Mass of the Immaculate Conception:
Prayer for Those in Government
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.—That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the
consent of the governed….
“…. 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.”
hope that all Americans recognize these words as coming from our declaration of
Independence. I mentioned last Sunday that in the opening paragraph pf the
Declaration, Thomas Jefferson agreed with words written by the sixteenth century
Jesuit and scholastic philosopher, Saint Robert Bellarmine. All political
authority comes from God, who permanently grants rights to all of his human
creations. With enlightened self-interest men and women form governments that
will protect their God-given rights.
As our Lord
told Pontius Pilate “thou wouldst have no power at all over me if it were not
given thee from above.”
essential that every American understand this sequence: God grants rights, and
people may establish governments to protect those rights. Rights do not come
from man. Rights do not come from Government. Rights come from God. Any other
understanding will make man a slave of the devil or a slave of the state.
Supposing that rights come from man will cause him to be governed by his own
lusts. Imagining that rights come from government will cause him to be governed
by power hungry people.
To be sure
that Catholic Americans never lost sight of God as the unalienable source of all
rights, the early bishops of our Republic designated God’s holy Mother as the
patroness of our nation under her title of the Immaculate Conception.
“Archbishop Samuel Eccleston of Baltimore called the Sixth Provincial
Council of the Church in America in 1846. Twenty-two bishops responded,
and [on May 5th, 1846] the Council passed as its first decree the
resolution to choose Mary Immaculate as the Patroness of the United
States and to make December 8 the patronal feast. This was eight years
before Pius IX defined the Immaculate Conception as a dogma of the
Freedom is something which can be
possessed only by virtuous persons—persons who will make themselves subject to
God alone, and not to their lusts, nor to power hungry despots. Our greatest
hope for the virtues required in us to sustain the Republic is in the imitation
of the virtues of the most Holy Mother of God.
conceived without sin,
chosen patroness of the American Republic,
pray for us who have recourse to thee.