Our Agreement among We, the People

Our Agreement among We, the People
May all true Americans come to know, understand, appreciate, and fulfill our Agreement among We, the People.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Overview of His Holiness Pope Francis’ Message to Americans

During his recent visit to the United States, His Holiness Pope Francis emphasized our shared responsibility for greater harmony between that which we view as secular and that which constitutes our humanity.  He persistently reminded all Americans of our fundamental law as members of We the People of the United States of America. 

The governing law of our relationship was forged as an agreement among the founding members of We the People (as binding upon them and all future generations) through authority from Nature’s God, our Creator, and the Supreme Judge of the world.  That which is secular derives its existence from humanity, as well as from the Earth’s Creator.  Witness these express acknowledgments in the Declaration of Independence: “the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them”; “they are endowed by their Creator”; “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world”; and “with the protection of divine Providence”. 

Moreover, Pope Francis reminded us that: “truths must constantly be reaffirmed, re-appropriated and defended”.  In support of this he reflected upon the fact that our Nation has constantly had to exercise effort to reaffirm, re-appropriate and defend the truths set forth in our charter as the sovereign of this great Nation.

His Holiness Pope Francis reminded all humans that we are endowed by our Creator with human rights.  His message is that all things have come through the Creator.  Men and woman are part of Creation.  Therefore, all of Creation shares rights through men, women and the Creator.  He acknowledged that this is often beyond scientific study and thus beyond our comprehension. 

Thus, Pope Francis described the bigger picture: “The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic.” “Such understanding and respect call for a higher degree of wisdom, one which accepts transcendence, self-transcendence, rejects the creation of an all-powerful Ă©lite, and recognizes that the full meaning of individual and collective life is found in selfless service to others and in the sage and respectful use of creation for the common good.”

Pope Francis focused on the sanctity of men, women and society, frequently referring to human rights, dignity, as well as fraternity.  He also referenced aspects of human dignity which are beyond scientific study and thus beyond our comprehension.  He acknowledged the family as the primary social institution; the foundation upon which we build all others.  He reminded us that the “pursuit of happiness” is through our daily struggle to build a better life for our families.  He reiterated that the identification, honoring and fulfillment of human rights are humanity’s shared responsibilities to one another.  This is that to which American citizens have agreed in our Declaration of Independence, which agreement is supported through our mutual pledge of our lives, fortunes and sacred honor. 

Pope Francis expressly referenced portions of the Declaration of Independence and invoked champions of the Declaration of Independence, including Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and others. He utilized four Americans to inspire Congress: Abraham Lincoln (liberty), Martin Luther King Jr. (liberty in plurality and non-exclusion), Dorothy Day (social justice and the rights of persons) and Thomas Merton (dialogue and openness to God).  He emphasized “cooperation” and asked that we cooperate “generously for the common good” calling for “a renewal of that spirit of cooperation”.  To Congress he observed: “Politics is . . . an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.”  The Declaration of Independence was the first agreement in the United States which expressly mandates such spirit of “cooperation”. 

The Constitution derives its authority from We the People, and thus through We the People, likewise from the same Creator.  He emphasized “governments exist to protect and defend” human rights.  Such purpose of governments is expressly mandated by the Declaration of Independence.  As the sovereign of the Vatican City State through his meetings with the President, Congress, and the General Assembly of the United Nations, Pope Francis emphasized the intention of the Creator that there should be greater harmony between that which is viewed as secular and the religious conscious of all.  The government, capitalists and other secular elements of human life and society should honor and respect religious freedom, not suppress it.  

Furthermore, Pope Francis noted that the modern, secular enforcement of the First Amendment to the US Constitution is a violation of freedom of religion.  The Establishment Clause must not be utilized to limit the exercise of the human right to religious freedom in the “public square”.  To do so serves to suppress the exercise of religious freedom; it elevates spurious and unconstitutional secular objectives above human rights.  He referenced Moses as an example of a historical, religious person who shared the same purpose as Congress.  He reported that although fulfillment of our promises to each other remains our shared goal, the United States of America, the United Nations, the European Union and many other collective democracies share Judeo-Christian origins, including substantive contributions by Catholics. In mentioning this, his purpose was not to diminish the importance of the free exercise of religious consciousness for all religious belief; rather it was to reiterate the common source of authority humans receive from their Creator, Nature’s God. 

He warned us about “today’s widespread and quietly growing ‘culture of waste’.” He reminded us that “The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem. It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth.” “To enable these real men and women to escape from extreme poverty, we must allow them to be dignified agents of their own destiny” through “the right to education”, “lodging, labour, and land” as minimums, as well as “spiritual freedom, which includes religious freedom”. He called upon business to create jobs as “an essential part of its service to the common good”.  The Declaration of Independence expressly contemplates the human right to pursue happiness, as well as other human rights.  It also provides: “And for the support of this Declaration . . . we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

At each and every venue, Pope Francis manifested hope that mankind would embrace the “pursuit of the common good” as the chief aim of politics beginning with “[e]ach son and daughter of a given country [having] a mission, a personal and social responsibility”.  Pope Francis expressed support for capitalism when it serves the common good.  Capitalism is comprised of humans.  When it serves only a fraction of all humans and not the common good, it is not doing its part in our shared responsibilities or obligations as humans to identify, honor and fulfill the human rights of all humans. The founders of We the People of the United States of America fully understood Pope Francis’ concerns regarding unfettered capitalism, markets without real limits, social and economic exclusion, and so on.  America’s founders rejected the notion that the few who possessed extraordinary wealth should rule.  Rather, our founders and early members of We the People entered into an agreement among all Americans that all of our lives, fortunes and sacred honor should serve each member (and all members) of We the People.  In other words, all Americans have already agreed with Pope Francis: “Money must serve, not rule!”   Beginning in 1776 and continuing thereafter, the Agreement among We the People mandates that wealth must serve to fulfill the human rights of all Americans and that the few who have extraordinary wealth shall not rule the many.  The Declaration of Independence evidences all Americans’ agreement to Human Rights Capitalism.

During his recent visit, His Holiness Pope Francis tailored each of his speeches or homilies to his audience.  Nonetheless, Pope Francis emphasized that to which all American citizens have already agreed.   Moreover, Pope Francis reminded us that: “truths must constantly be reaffirmed, re-appropriated and defended” and that throughout our history our Nation has constantly had to exercise effort to reaffirm, re-appropriate and defend the truths set forth in our charter as the sovereign of this great Nation.  Referring to that which is agreed upon in the Declaration of Independent, Pope Francis referred to human rights, the role of government, our mutual pledge and so on as “principles in social and political law”.  In other words, “a governing law of conduct” to which all members of We the People have already agreed.  From Lincoln’s lectern at Independence Hall, Pope Francis called upon each of us to be “responsible citizens”, renewing “society from within.” 

 Pope Francis’ messages are memorialized in the Declaration of Independence.  From the lectern used by Lincoln when he delivered his Gettysburg Address, Pope Francis’ final message is for America to lead as it once did by honoring its original and continuing Agreement.  In other words, he has challenged America (and its citizens) to once again serve as a world leader based upon our Declaration of Independence.     

      Pope Francis encourages us to utilize our elders “who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience”, “they keep working to build up this land.”