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Intricacies of Patriotism

Towards a Complexity of Patriotic Allegiance

Edited By Maciej Hułas and Stanisław Fel

Intricacies of Patriotism presents a selection of concepts of patria along with their corresponding forms of patriotism. The various contributions represent different backgrounds and draw a picture of patria as a universal value that is indispensible to one’s sense of self-awareness, and the identity of groups. The different understandings of patria in this collection are examples of employing patriotism to advance the identity of the group, or the individuals within it. While eulogists of cosmopolitanism tend to portray patriotism as anachronistic and irreconcilable with the «man-of-the-world-style», the notion of patria seems to be motivated by a deep concern to preserve patriotic feelings in an undistorted fashion, and to preserve them as a value of utmost importance.
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Patriotism The Human Family, and a Christian Prophetic Stance.


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Robert Gascoigne

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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