If America were Catholic

What would the U.S. be like, if, say, 75% of the population were believing and practicing Catholics? Some countries in the world have a majority Catholic population, so it is not unthinkable. But I’m proposing this as a hypothetical.

The first rule of such a society would be: No one is ever permitted to coerce persons to embrace the Catholic faith against their conscience. In America today, the sinful secular culture tries to coerce persons to embrace its teachings, many of which are immoral or absurd. A Catholic America should not coerce persons to accept Catholic teachings, even though these are wise and salutary. People would be free to disagree with Catholic belief and practice. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution would still be upheld.

But, since we are a democracy, and given that, in this hypothetical, the vast majority of citizens would be Catholic, the nation’s laws and culture would be very different.

Direct abortion would be illegal. It pertains to the role of government to protect the lives of human beings under its purview. Unborn human persons should have the protection of law. However, some life of the mother abortions, under Catholic teaching, are indirect and therefore morally permissible. So indirect abortion would be legal, in some cases.

Abortifacient contraception would be illegal, as it is a form of direct abortion. Use of abortifacient contraception for medical purposes, by a woman who is refraining from sex, is moral. But legally, this presents a practical problem. The law has no way to determine that the woman is refraining from sex, and she could easily lie in order to obtain abortifacient contraception. So as a practical matter, abortifacient contraception should be always illegal, even for a medical purpose. Under Catholic teaching, use of abortifacient contraception for a medical reason is only moral if one refrains from all sex.

Divorce would still be legal in a Catholic America, since divorce is not intrinsically evil. But divorce on demand, for no real reason but the will and whim of the couple, should not be legal. Divorce is moral only for a grave reason. And if the spouses have a valid Sacrament of Marriage, they may not remarry. A valid and consummated Christian Sacrament of marriage is only dissolved by death. For non-Catholic spouses, in a hypothetical Catholic America, divorce should still require a serious reason, but remarriage should be permitted.

If America were truly Catholic, pornography of every kind would be both illegal and socially unacceptable. In addition, I suggest that a new type of Hayes Code is needed to reign in the entertainment industry. It has now reached a point where some mainstream cable shows are pornographic or near-pornographic. Even prime time TV shows depict sex scenes, including gay sex scenes. And there seems to be no limit at all to the depravity of pay-cable type shows. A Catholic America would make every effort to do away with all types of pornography. Then, too, any material that falls short of a strict definition of pornography, but is nevertheless immoral in its promotion of grave sexual sins, should be prohibited. No entertainment shows should be allowed to promote gravely sexual immoral acts, as if these were good and moral.

Should every immoral act be illegal in a Catholic nation? Not necessarily. Some grave sins are simply not the place of the secular government to judge and punish. For example, a law making blasphemy illegal puts the secular authorities in charge of deciding what is and is not blasphemy; it puts the secular government in charge of religion. And that would be a grave disorder. Some sins are should not be illegal, even though they are gravely immoral.

Should every immoral sexual act be illegal? Perhaps not. Privacy is no excuse for sins or crimes. But the government should not police every aspect of personal behavior. So it is a difficult question as to which gravely immoral sexual acts should be illegal. Certainly, rape and child abuse should be illegal, with severe penalties for perpetrators. But I’m not sure which sexual sins between consenting adults should also be crimes.

If America were 75% devout Catholic Christian, the other 25% would have diverse views, not always in accord with the Catholic beliefs. We should not impose Catholicism on non-Catholics. However, we should still uphold our understanding of the proper order in society, through the democratic process.

If a large majority of America were devout Catholic Christian, the culture would be very different. Society would not accept abortion, contraception, euthanasia, premarital sex, same-sex marriage, gender ideology, or any other morally disordered behavior.

Children would be safer, and schools would teach good morals. The children of today are in grave moral danger. For the sinful false teachings of secular society have much influence in schools, in the media, and over young minds. A devout Catholic America would be far better for children.

But I had to say “devout Catholic”, because very many Catholics today have accepted the grave sins of secular society, and have incorporated those sins into their version of religion. They approve of abortion, abortifacient contraception, contraception, and all manner of sexual sins. They have a very poor understanding of Catholic teachings on faith and morals. And they spread these errors among their fellow Catholics, with no compunction or remorse.

If America were comprised of sinful Catholics, there would be no real improvement or change in our society. For most Catholics have mostly fallen away from the true faith, even though they might still attend Mass and still speak as if they were Catholic. They are like certain Jews in the Old Testament, who were guilty of religious syncretism. They took the ideas of pagan culture and religion, from the peoples surrounding them, and merged these into Judaism. And that is what many Catholics today are doing. They take the sinful false teachings of modern culture, and they try to justify those sins with theological rationalizations, and then they try to incorporate those false teachings into the teachings of Christ.

A sinking ship cannot save souls. We must pray for a Pope who will purify the Church from false teachings and false teachers, and make the Church much smaller and much holier.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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6 Responses to If America were Catholic

  1. Mark P. says:

    Ron, some of your recent posts seem to be – I wouldn’t go so far as to say critical, but perhaps a bit frustrated – with the Holy Father. I am not being accusatory, because I have myself at times been frustrated with what I see as a lack of public correction of some certain persons and views. Also, I do realize that it is not only up to the Holy Father to correct errors, but also (and more probably) the local bishops. Just within the last few months we have had “Catholic” theologians making way for abortion, the new head of the Jesuits doubting the inspiration of Sacred Scripture, and a highly-placed priest seemingly promoting a softening of Church teaching on same-sex acts and marriage. Only a few brave souls here and there seem to speak up to address these issues.

    Also, admittedly, the rumored dismissal of Cardinal Muller today is a bit disheartening to me. I have found him to be a very balanced, calm and thoughtful voice within the Vatican.

    I apologize if I have misread you and my perception is incorrect. I continue to pray daily for Pope Francis and our leaders.

    • Ron Conte says:

      I’m happy with the work that Pope Francis is doing. I think he will eventually be a canonized Saint. But I long for the time of the Angelic Shepherd and the great Ecumenical Council that will correct the many errors of this age. The role of Pope Francis in all this is to initiate the conservative schism by opposing the errors of conservative Catholics. Then his successor will similarly oppose the errors of liberal Catholics. It’s a long process in the plan of God to purify the Church on earth.

  2. Tom Mazanec says:

    What would the U.S. be like, if, say, 75% of the population were believing and practicing Catholics? Some countries in the world have a majority Catholic population, so it is not unthinkable

    Is there any country in the world with 75% population BELIEVING and PRACTICING Catholics?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Vatican City State. The Church is in a dire state. The vast majority of Catholics have fallen away from the true faith, yet they still call themselves Catholic. The foundation for the great apostasy is ready. We are just waiting for one last event to trigger the conservative schism, and then it begins.

  3. Matt says:

    How would a Catholic society, with free speech amendment rights, do away with songs on free radio with lyrics promoting fornication, anti-Christian, and violence?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I think that this type of material would be greatly diminished by the influence of culture. If someone today wrote a song that criticized gay marriage and gender ideology, how much air time would it get? Radio stations would reject it, because it is contrary to the culture. But if the culture were in accord with Christianity, then songs with sinful lyrics would be rejected by radio stations and by listeners.

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