Towards a Complexity of Patriotic Allegiance
Edited By Maciej Hułas and Stanisław Fel
Patriotism The Human Family, and a Christian Prophetic Stance.
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Australian Catholic University, Sydney, Australia
Patriotism, the Human Family, and a Christian Prophetic Stance
As human beings, we are concrete and creaturely; we are not pure spirits, but embodied spirits, bound by time and space. We are local, and therefore formed by what is local and particular, through landscape, language, culture and history. All these things shape us. Our humanity is something transcendent, but it is not something abstract – we become human in concrete and specific ways. It is therefore appropriate that we experience feelings of attachment, affection and gratitude towards all the things that have enabled us to become truly human in and through a particular culture. It is good and right that we are patriotic. In Church tradition, patriotism is linked to the fourth commandment. Thomas Aquinas argued in the Summa Theologica (2a, 2ae, Q. 101, Article 1) that: ‘the principles of our being and government are our parents and our country, that have given us birth and nourishment. Consequently man is debtor chiefly to his parents and his country, after God. Wherefore, just as it belongs to religion to give worship to God, so does it belong to piety [pietas], in the second place, to give worship to one’s parents and one’s country’1.
This essay will reflect on the meaning of patriotism from a Christian perspective, its relationship to the concept of the ‘human family’, as emphasized in recent Papal teaching, and on the...
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