July 7, 2019

Friends ,

This is July 4th weekend. We celebrate our history as a country and are grateful for our ancestors who made it possible for our land to develop into what we call the United States of America. Like every other entity, just because we live here and call ourselves Americans does not mean we are all on the same page. The same can be said for the Catholic Church: every Catholic has their own history and life experience that can put us at odds with one another on issues that the Catholic Church teaches. Think about this: Are the United States of America really united? We share the same Declaration of Independence and the same Constitution and Bill of Rights but our personal histories, cultures, beliefs and life experience can enter into how we understand and interpret those documents in our world today. Those factors obviously play a role in what we believe it means to be an American. I often think that where we live in this country determines what issues we espouse and how we champion those causes. For example, many people in the deep south surely would look at what makes a great America a lot differently than we may determine in New England; or the major differences between the way of life on the West Coast and how people live in the Midwest.

I love this country which means I also appreciate the freedom I have as an American to disagree and be critical of some of our laws and policies. I love the Catholic Church and can be a better Catholic by holding those in authority accountable if I believe we are not all we are meant to be.

In today’s society even phrases like “freedom of speech”, “the right to bear arms” and “religious freedom” are open to interpretation. Some of the unrest we have witnessed in developing nations are now becoming everyday occurrences within our borders.

Of course we have federal laws which we want to believe are made for the common good. However, we also have state laws that may take precedence over and nullify federal laws. Each of these “United States” may be very different depending on the leadership at any given time. Someone elected to office in Massachusetts, for example, may never be successful in an election in Mississippi because the priorities in these states are not similar.

Those of us who are older can remember both the addition of Alaska and Hawaii to the United States. I’m sure at that time there was a lot of controversy but how blessed we are to include them today.

So on July 4, 2019, I conclude with the prayer: God bless America and God bless every other country in the world.

Enjoy life!
Father Coyne


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