Virtue is the Foundation of Our Freedom
George Washington, in his Farewell Address, dispensed advice which he thought would be forever useful in ensuring the endurance and longevity of the recently founded republic of the United States. Below are a few quotes from this speech:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert(s) the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
“It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
“Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?”
In 1891, Pope Leo XIII, in the encyclical Rerum Novarum, made many of these same points: “Christian morality, when adequately and completely practiced, leads of itself to temporal prosperity, for it merits the blessing of that God who is the source of all blessings; it powerfully restrains the greed of possession and the thirst for pleasure…”
“… a State chiefly prospers and thrives through moral rule, well-regulated family life, respect for religion and justice…”
“…since the end of society is to make men better, the chief good that society can possess is virtue.”
“…all things should be carried on in accordance with God's laws and those of nature; that the discipline of family life should be observed and that religion should be obeyed; that a high standard of morality should prevail, both in public and private life…”
Now, however, Christianity is portrayed as a threat, inimical to true freedom, prosperity and justice. Instead, socialism is portrayed as the means to a sort of paradise on earth. But Godless socialism will not achieve its stated goals. Pope Pius XIII recognized this in his 1891 encyclical and warned against adopting it as a model. Socialism, he wrote “…would open the door to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the leveling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation.”
The current plight of the people in Venezuela, who lack food, toilet paper and cooking oil, and wait in hours- long lines for just about everything, is the most recent manifestation of the truth of his statement.
This month your station will show a program about the foundations of freedom in the United States called “The Birth of Freedom.” We will also show two programs on socialism: “Failures of Socialism in Latin America,” and “Free to Choose: The Failure of Socialism.” Our duty as Christians, as Catholics, is to warn others of the siren* call of Socialism. Please support your station by telling others, by praying for its success and a financial contribution if possible.
*Note: In Greek mythology, the sirens were sea nymphs, part woman and part bird, who lured mariners to their deaths on destructive rocks through their seductive singing.