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Tema: George Washington and Catholics.

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    George Washington and Catholics.

    George Washington and Catholics | The American Catholic

    America has been blessed by God in many ways but I suspect no blessing has been greater than His granting us George Washington to lead us in our struggle for independence and to be our first President. Catholics have perhaps more reason than other Americans to keep the memory of Washington alive in our hearts. In a time of strong prejudice against Catholics in many parts of the colonies he was free from religious bigotry as he demonstrated on November 5, 1775 when he banned the anti-Catholic Guy Fawkes celebrations.

    “As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope – He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.”

    Order in Quarters, November 5, 1775

    – George Washington


    This stand against anti-Catholicism was not unusual for Washington. Throughout his life Washington had Catholic friends, including John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the US. He would sometimes attend Mass, as he did during the Constitutional Convention when he led a delegation of the Convention to attend Mass in Philadelphia as he had attended Protestant churches in that town during the Covention. This sent a powerful signal that under the Constitution Catholics would be just as good Americans as Protestant Americans.

    Washington underlined this point in response to a letter from prominent Catholics, including Charles and John Carroll, congratulating him on being elected President:

    “[March 15], 1790


    Gentlemen:

    While I now receive with much satisfaction your congratulations on my being called, by an unanimous vote, to the first station in my country; I cannot but duly notice your politeness in offering an apology for the unavoidable delay. As that delay has given you an opportunity of realizing, instead of anticipating, the benefits of the general government, you will do me the justice to believe, that your testimony of the increase of the public prosperity, enhances the pleasure which I should otherwise have experienced from your affectionate address.

    I feel that my conduct, in war and in peace, has met with more general approbation than could reasonably have been expected and I find myself disposed to consider that fortunate circumstance, in a great degree, resulting from the able support and extraordinary candor of my fellow-citizens of all denominations.

    The prospect of national prosperity now before us is truly animating, and ought to excite the exertions of all good men to establish and secure the happiness of their country, in the permanent duration of its freedom and independence. America, under the smiles of a Divine Providence, the protection of a good government, and the cultivation of manners, morals, and piety, cannot fail of attaining an uncommon degree of eminence, in literature, commerce, agriculture, improvements at home and respectability abroad.

    As mankind become more liberal they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality. And I presume that your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic part which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution, and the establishment of their government; or the important assistance which they received from a nation in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed.


    I thank you, gentlemen, for your kind concern for me. While my life and my health shall continue, in whatever situation I may be, it shall be my constant endeavor to justify the favorable sentiments which you are pleased to express of my conduct. And may the members of your society in America, animated alone by the pure spirit of Christianity, and still conducting themselves as the faithful subjects of our free government, enjoy every temporal and spiritual felicity.


    G. Washington”


    Pope Leo XIII recalled the attitude of Washington towards Catholics in his encyclical Longinqua:

    “Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion
    .”

    On November 5, the anniversary of Washington dealing a death blow to an anti-Catholic celebration in this country, Catholics have good reason to echo the words of Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, the father of Robert E. Lee, in his funeral eulogy of Washington in Congress on December 26, 1799: “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
    "And, as we Catholics know, Western Civilization is Roman Civilization, first classical Roman Civilization, then Roman Catholic Civilization, as the Christians preserved and carried classical Roman Civilization to the world in a Christianized form. That is, after all, why we are described as Roman Catholics."

  2. #2
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    Re: George Washington and Catholics.

    An unverifiable rumor states that Washington converted to Catholicism on his deathbed or sometime prior to his death. I don't think this is the case. To my knowledge Washington was a lifelong Episcopalian and while he was also a Mason he attached a high importance to the Christian Religion and what is today called ecumenicalism:

    "While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian" (George Washington, The Writings of Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1932), Vol. XI, pp. 342-343, General Orders of May 2, 177).
    Última edición por Annuit Coeptis; 01/11/2012 a las 16:44
    "And, as we Catholics know, Western Civilization is Roman Civilization, first classical Roman Civilization, then Roman Catholic Civilization, as the Christians preserved and carried classical Roman Civilization to the world in a Christianized form. That is, after all, why we are described as Roman Catholics."

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    Re: George Washington and Catholics.

    As far as I know, he also had a vision at Christmas Eve in 1777. The story was referred to the press by one of his aide-de-camp and other closest people. It was officially published for the first time by the National Tribune in 1880, nearly 40 years before the apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima. If it was a product of the fertile imagination of some writer, we don't know, however, the resemblance between the shepherds' account in Fatima seems at least odd.
    “La verdadera fe es incolora, por decirlo así, como el aire y el agua; medio transparente a través del cual el alma ve a Cristo. Nuestros ojos no ven el aire y de la misma manera nuestra alma no se detiene a contemplar su propia fe. Cuando, por consiguiente, los hombres toman esta fe como si dijéramos en las manos, la inspeccionan curiosamente, la analizan, se absorben en ella, se ven forzados a materializarla, a darle color para que pueda ser tocada y vista. En otros términos, sustituyen a ella, colocan sobre ella, cierto sentimiento, cierta impresión, cierta idea, cierta convicción, algo en fin en que la atención pueda prenderse. Cristo les interesa menos que lo que llaman ellos sus experiencias. Los vemos trabajando para seguir en sí mismos los signos de la conversión, la variación de sus sentimientos aspiraciones y deseos: los vemos ponerse a conversar con los demás sobre todo esto. ”. John Henry Newman

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    Re: George Washington and Catholics.

    President Washington was very private with his religious beliefs and much of his opinions of Christianity come from his private letters and the observations of others, i.e. "He was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church" from Rev. Devereux Jarratt, leader of the Virginia Anglican Church, in 1800 (shortly after the death of Washington).

    Washington enjoyed friendships with several prominent Catholics of the time. The article mentions John Carroll but there is also the Marquis de Lafayette and Count de Galvez. I can surmise that Washington, being associated with American and European Catholics, led to him being far, far friendlier to the Church than many of the anti-Catholic revolutionary radicals (i.e. Thomas Paine and his French counterpart Robespierre). If he was a "closet Catholic" or not I've got no way of ascertaining; nothing of he wrote that I've read indicates that he was anything except a member of the Anglican/Episcopal denomination.

    I was unaware that President Washington had a vision (or was reported to have had one) since alot of what's written about him is exaggerated. Upon Googling the topic I found this:

    Washington's Vision


    Washington's Vision


    In the National Tribune, 1880, an article appeared giving an account of the "Vision of Washington" at Valley Forge. The account was told by a gentleman named Anthony Sherman, who supposedly was at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78. The story has been published several times.

    Some people will say that it is substantiated by the fact that a copy of the account is in the Library of Congress. This argument of authenticity is misleading in and of itself. The Library of Congress has copies of anything published. That does not indicate accuracy of the content.

    I am unaware of any eighteenth-century evidence that corroborates this story. The soldier mentioned as having a first-hand account of the "Vision," Anthony Sherman, was a soldier in the Continental Army. However, according to his pension application, written by him, he states that he was at Saratoga under the command of Benedict Arnold at the end of 1777 and only joined the main forces in 1778 in New Jersey just before the Battle of Monmouth.
    Anthony Sherman wrote:

    You doubtless heard the story of Washington's going to the thicket to pray in secret for aid and comfort from God, the interposition of whose Divine Providence brought us safely through the darkest days of tribulation. One day, I remember it well, when the chilly winds whistled through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless and the sun shown brightly, he remained in his quarters nearly all the afternoon alone. When he came out, I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual. There seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dusk, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation of about an hour, Washington, gazing upon his companion with that strange look of dignity which he alone commanded, related the event that occurred that day.

    "George Washington's Vision"

    This afternoon, as I was sitting at this table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something seemed to disturb me. Looking up, I beheld standing opposite me a singularly beautiful female. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the cause of her presence. A second, a third and even a fourth time did I repeat my question, but received no answer from my mysterious visitor except a slight raising of her eyes.
    By this time I felt strange sensations spreading through me. I would have risen but the riveted gaze of the being before me rendered volition impossible. I assayed once more to address her, but my tongue had become useless, as though it had become paralyzed.

    A new influence, mysterious, potent, irresistible, took possession of me. All I could do was to gaze steadily, vacantly at my unknown visitor. Gradually the surrounding atmosphere seemed as if it had become filled with sensations, and luminous. Everything about me seemed to rarefy, the mysterious visitor herself becoming more airy and yet more distinct to my sight than before. I now began to feel as one dying, or rather to experience the sensations which I have sometimes imagined accompany dissolution. I did not think, I did not reason, I did not move; all were alike impossible. I was only conscious of gazing fixedly, vacantly at my companion.

    Presently I heard a voice saying, "Son of the Republic, look and learn," while at the same time my visitor extended her arm eastwardly, I now beheld a heavy white vapor at some distance rising fold upon fold. This gradually dissipated, and I looked upon a stranger scene. Before me lay spread out in one vast plain all the countries of the world — Europe, Asia, Africa and America. I saw rolling and tossing between Europe and America the billows of the Atlantic, and between Asia and America lay the Pacific.

    "Son of the Republic," said the same mysterious voice as before, "look and learn." At that moment I beheld a dark, shadowy being, like an angel, standing or rather floating in mid-air, between Europe and America. Dipping water out of the ocean in the hollow of each hand, he sprinkled some upon America with his right hand, while with his left hand he cast some on Europe. Immediately a cloud raised from these countries, and joined in mid-ocean. For a while it remained stationary, and then moved slowly westward, until it enveloped America in its murky folds. Sharp flashes of lightning gleamed through it at intervals, and I heard the smothered groans and cries of the American people.

    A second time the angel dipped water from the ocean, and sprinkled it out as before. The dark cloud was then drawn back to the ocean, in whose heaving billows in sank from view. A third time I heard the mysterious voice saying, "Son of the Republic, look and learn," I cast my eyes upon America and beheld villages and towns and cities springing up one after another until the whole land from the Atlantic to the Pacific was dotted with them.

    Again, I heard the mysterious voice say, "Son of the Republic, the end of the century cometh, look and learn." At this the dark shadowy angel turned his face southward, and from Africa I saw an ill omened specter approach our land. It flitted slowly over every town and city of the latter. The inhabitants presently set themselves in battle array against each other. As I continued looking I saw a bright angel, on whose brow rested a crown of light, on which was traced the word "Union," bearing the American flag which he placed between the divided nation, and said, "Remember ye are brethren." Instantly, the inhabitants, casting from them their weapons became friends once more, and united around the National Standard.

    "And again I heard the mysterious voice saying "Son of the Republic, look and learn." At this the dark, shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth, and blew three distinct blasts; and taking water from the ocean, he sprinkled it upon Europe, Asia and Africa. Then my eyes beheld a fearful scene: From each of these countries arose thick, black clouds that were soon joined into one. Throughout this mass there gleamed a dark red light by which I saw hordes of armed men, who, moving with the cloud, marched by land and sailed by sea to America. Our country was enveloped in this volume of cloud, and I saw these vast armies devastate the whole county and burn the villages, towns and cities that I beheld springing up. As my ears listened to the thundering of the cannon, clashing of sword, and the shouts and cries of millions in mortal combat, I heard again the mysterious voice saying, "Son of the Republic, look and learn" When the voice had ceased, the dark shadowy angel placed his trumpet once more to his mouth, and blew a long and fearful blast. "Instantly a light as of a thousand suns shone down from above me, and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud which enveloped America. At the same moment the angel upon whose head still shone the word Union, and who bore our national flag in one hand and a sword in the other, descended from the heavens attended by legions of white spirits. These immediately joined the inhabitants of America, who I perceived were will nigh overcome, but who immediately taking courage again, closed up their broken ranks and renewed the battle.

    Again, amid the fearful noise of the conflict, I heard the mysterious voice saying, "Son of the Republic, look and learn." As the voice ceased, the shadowy angel for the last time dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it upon America. Instantly the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious!

    Then once more I beheld the villages, towns and cities springing up where I had seen them before, while the bright angel, planting the azure standard he had brought in the midst of them, cried with a loud voice: "While the stars remain, and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Union last." And taking from his brow the crown on which blazoned the word "Union," he placed it upon the Standard while the people, kneeling down, said, "Amen."

    The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve, and I at last saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor I at first beheld. This also disappearing, I found myself once more gazing upon the mysterious visitor, who, in the same voice I had heard before, said, "Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted: Three great perils will come upon the Republic. The most fearful is the third, but in this greatest conflict the whole world united shall not prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land and the Union." With these words the vision vanished, and I started from my seat and felt that I had seen a vision wherein had been shown to me the birth, progress, and destiny of the United States.
    Última edición por Annuit Coeptis; 01/11/2012 a las 18:22
    "And, as we Catholics know, Western Civilization is Roman Civilization, first classical Roman Civilization, then Roman Catholic Civilization, as the Christians preserved and carried classical Roman Civilization to the world in a Christianized form. That is, after all, why we are described as Roman Catholics."

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    Re: George Washington and Catholics.

    Did George Washington Convert to Catholicism?

    Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
    An article by Ben Emerson has been making the rounds on the Internet lately. It claims that on his deathbed George Washington called for a Jesuit priest, Fr. Leonard Neale, from St. Mary’s Mission across the Piscataway River. Then Washington, who had supposedly “been an Episcopalian,” was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. Emerson’s article alleges, but provides no evidence, that “after Washington’s death, a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and one of St. John were found among the effects on an inventory of articles at his home.”


    Hattie Burdette's portrait of Washington in his Masonic apron
    The article also asserts the General used to make the Sign of the Cross before meals, based on the undocumented testament of his servant Juba. We are also told that “he slipped into a Catholic Church several times to attend Mass” – again, no proof or even testimony.

    Another amazing unproven fact ends the piece: Washington was “a student of the writings on political philosophy of St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Thomas Aquinas.” Together with Thomas Jefferson, he incorporated into the Constitution in 1787 some of the Saints' ideas in setting up the U.S. Republic. An incredible statement - indeed, all the more so as it comes to us without the indispensable evidence.

    Did George Washington really convert and die a Roman Catholic?

    Washington became a focal point in American history, and it is no wonder that some Catholics want to say that he converted. One can legitimately respect some of Washington’s characteristics, such as his upright character, his admiration for the aristocracy, and his military courage. However, such partial admiration should not lead one to deny the known historical facts and accept the myth that Washington secretly adhered to the Holy Faith and died a Catholic. There is simply no solid evidence for such claims. If an affirmation like this were to appear in any serious scholarly article, it would be called fraudulent and the whole work would lose its credibility.

    While Washington and his family belonged to the Church of England, very early in life he seems to have begun that reduction of religion to a vague morality, like so many men whose careers prospered in the Age of the Enlightenment. Washington was not a scholar – his formal education extended only to grammar school. It is doubtful he ever read St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Robert Bellarmine – which at that time would have been available only in Latin, a language he did not read well.

    Washington was, however, ambitious. His knowledge of surveying and excellence in practical mathematics won him the favor of Lord Fairfax of Virginia, and the door to the “Old Society” opened to the gangling “country boy” ready to learn the ways of polite company. Not by coincidence, it was at this period - when his star began to rise - that George Washington was initiated into the Fredericksburg Lodge (Virginia) in 1752, and one year later was raised to Master Mason. In 1788 he was made Charter Master of the Alexandria Lodge No. 22 of Virginia. These are documented facts. (Check evidence here)


    A mural in George Washington Masonic Memorial shows him in full Masonic attire laying the cornerstone of the US Capitol in 1793
    It is also uncontested that President George Washington, dressed in Masonic attire, led a procession of Masonic officers and brethren to the site in the District of Columbia for the laying of the U.S. Capitol's cornerstone in 1793. The apron and sash worn by George Washington together with the trowel he used are today preserved in the Alexandria Washington Masonic Lodge. He remained a member and patron of “The Craft” – as Freemasonry is also called – his entire life, and 100 years after his death, the George Washington Masonic Memorial was built to commemorate him.

    In his letters and addresses to Masonic bodies, Washington professed his profound esteem for their principles. In 1797, two years before his death, he addressed the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts with these words: "My attachment to the Society of which we are all members will dispose me always to contribute my best endeavors to promote the honor and prosperity of the Craft." Later in the same speech, he said that the Masonic institution was one whose liberal principles are founded on the immutable laws of truth and justice and whose grand object is to promote the happiness of the human race.

    Only 13 months before his death, he declared to the Grand Lodge of Maryland, "So far as I am acquainted with the doctrines and principles of Freemasonry, I conceive them to be founded in benevolence, and to be exercised only for the good of mankind. I cannot, therefore, upon this ground, withdraw my approbation from it."

    Some Catholic writers who try to “redeem” Washington claim his beliefs and behavior were actually based on the Stoic philosophy because of his self-admitted admiration for the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. However, anyone who considers the pagan “virtues” promoted by Freemasonry – the quest for wisdom, peace, toleration, perseverance and self-control – will note the similarity with tenets of Stoicism.


    The 12 ton statue of Washington in a Roman toga expresses his admiration for the pagan philosophy
    According to the Stoic philosophy, what counts is a man’s behavior, not his ideas. Before any situation of life the wise man - the model for the Stoic - was always calm and tolerant, refusing to show any emotion, which would distort his judgment. This would be the perfect man who lives according to Nature. To this fundamental religious indifferentism and moral tolerance of Stoicism, Freemasonry added a Deist principle - the Great Architect of the Universe or Eternal Reason - that would give a vague religious sense to the pagan way of life.

    The two philosophies are very similar, and Masonry assumed part of Stoicism as its own. Therefore, when one asserts that Washington was a follower of Stoicism, he is in part correct. But he is also trying to make us swallow Masonry under the appearance of Stoicism.

    Washington, like his more articulate contemporary and fellow-Freemason Jefferson, summarily rejected what they called “dogmaticism.” Like Jefferson, he was a Deist, a man who follows no particular religion but only acknowledges the existence of an impersonal God, without any articles of faith. He often spoke and wrote of the need to submit to the decrees of Providence. In Washington’s public addresses, he used the word Providence, not God. In his correspondence with the Masonic Lodges, he habitually refers to the Great Architect of the Universe. But nowhere does he mention Jesus Christ.

    Washington appears to have died as he lived – faithful to his Masonic principles. His death is minutely described in the personal journal of Tobias Lear, his personal secretary for many years. He took no special leave of his family; he remained calm and without emotion, resigned to death - as any Master Mason would be.

    An eye-witness account

    New Hampshire's Tobias Lear, former secretary to the President, was on the scene during the long slow death of Washington on December 14, 1799 at Mount Vernon. His carefully written account offers a detailed view of Washington's last moments. It is interesting to notice that nowhere does the fanciful fabrication of Ben Emerson enter this description. Here are Lear’s words:
    Doctor Dick came in about 3 o'clock, and Dr. Brown arrived soon after. Upon Dr. Dick's seeing and consulting a few minutes with Dr. Craik, he was bled again. … About half past 4 o'clock he desired me to call Mrs. Washington to his bedside, when he requested her to go down into his room, and take from his desk two wills she would find there, and bring them to him, which she did. Upon looking at them he gave her one which he observed was useless, as being suppressed by the other, and desired her to burn it, which she did.


    Washington's death described in detail does not make any allusion to his conversion
    After this was done I returned to his bedside and took his hand. He said to me, "I find I am going, my breath cannot last long; I believed from the first that the disorder would prove fatal. Do you arrange & record all my late military letters & papers arrange my accounts and settle my books, as you know more about them than anyone else. Let Mr. Rawlins finish recording my other letters which he has begun." I told him this would be done. …

    About 5 o'clock Dr. Craik came again into the Room & upon going to the bedside, the General said to him, "Doctor, I die hard; but I am not afraid to go, I believed from my first attack, that I should not survive it; my breath cannot last long. The Doctor pressed his hand but did not utter a word. He retired from the bed side & sat by the fire absorbed in grief.

    Between 5 & 6 o'clock Dr. Dick & Dr. Brown came into the room, and with Dr. Craik went to the bed; when Dr Craik asked him if he could sit up in bed. He held out his hand & I raised him up. He then said to the Physicians, "I feel myself going, I thank you for your attentions; but I pray you take no more trouble about me, let me go off quietly; I cannot last long."

    They found that all which had been done was without effect; he laid down again, and all retired, excepting Dr. Craik. He continued in the same situation, uneasy & restless; but without complaining; frequently asking what hour it was. When I helped him move at this time he did not speak; but looked at me with strong expressions of gratitude.

    About 8 o'clock the Physicians came again into the room & applied blisters and cataplasms of wheat bran to his legs & feet; after which they went out (except for Dr. Craik) without a ray of hope. …

    About 10 o'clock he made several efforts to speak to me before he could affect it, at length he said, "I am just going! Have me decently buried; and do not let my body to be put into the vault less than three days after I am dead. " I bowed assent, for I could not speak. He then looked at me again and said, "Do you understand me?" I replied Yes! " 'Tis well!" said he.

    About 10 minutes before he expired (which was between 10 & 11 o'clock) he breating [sic] became easier; he lay quietly; he withdrew his hand from mine, and felt his own pulse. I saw his countenance changed I spoke to Dr. Craik who sat by the fire; he came to the bed side. The General's hand fell from his wrist I took it in mine and put it into my bosom. Dr. Craik put his hand over his Eyes and he expired without a struggle or sigh.


    Washington laying the cornerstone of the National Capitol
    Another painting at George Washington Masonic National Memorial





    Sources:




    http://www.traditioninaction.org/History/B_007_WashingtonCatholic.html

    Última edición por Hyeronimus; 02/11/2012 a las 14:37

  6. #6
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    Re: George Washington and Catholics.


    "According to the Stoic philosophy, what counts is a man’s behavior, not his ideas."

    This is not at all correct. One's ideas, rightly- or wrongly-held, predicate someone's behavior in Stoicism. Stoic morality is entirely based upon ideation rather than behavior. Anyways.. Others thought of Washington as being akin to Cincinnatus, Marcus Aurelius, etc. Attempting to present him as the ideal pagan philosopher-king due to his Masonic ties is dubious. Anyways..

    Was George Washington a Christian?

    This is a question often asked today, and it arises from the efforts of those who seek to impeach Washington's character by portraying him as irreligious. Interestingly, Washington's own contemporaries did not question his Christianity but were thoroughly convinced of his devout faith--a fact made evident in the first-ever compilation of the The Writings of George Washington, published in the 1830s. That compilation of Washington's writings was prepared and published by Jared Sparks (1789-1866), a noted writer and historian. Sparks' Herculean historical productions included not only the writing of George Washington (12 volumes) but also Benjamin Franklin (10 volumes) and Constitution signer Gouverneur Morris (3 volumes). Additionally, Sparks compiled the Library of American Biography (25 volumes), The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (12 volumes), and the Correspondence of the American Revolution (4 volumes). In all, Sparks was responsible for some 100 historical volumes. Additionally, Sparks was America's first professor of history--other than ecclesiastical history--to teach at the college level in the United States, and he was later chosen president of Harvard.

    QUOTE
    By 1778, George Washington had so often witnessed God's intervention that on August 20, he wrote Thomas Nelson that:
    The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations. [1]
    Jared Sparks' decision to compile George Washington's works is described by The Dictionary of American Biography. It details that Sparks began…
    …what was destined to be his greatest life work, the publication of the writings of George Washington. ... In January 1827, Sparks found himself alone at Mount Vernon with the manuscripts. An examination of them extending over three months showed that years would be required for the undertaking; and with the owner's consent, Sparks carried off the entire collection, eight large boxes, picking up on the way to Boston a box of diplomatic correspondence from the Department of State, and the [General Horatio] Gates manuscripts from the New York Historical Society. Not content with these, he searched or caused to be searched public and private archives for material, questioned survivors of the Revolution, visited and mapped historic sites. In 1830, for instance, he followed [Benedict] Arnold's [1775] route to Quebec. The first of the twelve volumes of The Writings of George Washington to be published (vol. II) appeared in 1834 and the last (vol. I, containing the biography) in 1837.
    In Volume XII of these writings, Jared Sparks delved into the religious character of George Washington, and included numerous letters written by the friends, associates, and family of Washington which testified of his religious character. Based on that extensive evidence, Sparks concluded:
    To say that he [George Washington] was not a Christian would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty. Of all men in the world, Washington was certainly the last whom any one would charge with dissimulation or indirectness [hypocrisies and evasiveness]; and if he was so scrupulous in avoiding even a shadow of these faults in every known act of his life, [regardless of] however unimportant, is it likely, is it credible, that in a matter of the highest and most serious importance [his religious faith, that] he should practice through a long series of years a deliberate deception upon his friends and the public? It is neither credible nor possible.
    One of the letters Sparks used to arrive at his conclusion was from Nelly Custis-Lewis. While Nelly technically was the granddaughter of the Washingtons, in reality she was much more. When Martha [Custis] married George, she was a widow and brought two young children (John and Martha--also called Patsy) from her first marriage into her marriage with George. The two were carefully raised by George and Martha, later married, and each had children of their own. Unfortunately, tragedy struck, and both John and Patsy died early (by 1781). John left behind his widow and four young children ranging in age from infancy to six years old.
    At the time, Washington was still deeply involved in guiding the American Revolution and tried unsuccessfully to convince Martha's brother to raise the children. The young widow of John was unable to raise all four, so George and Martha adopted the two younger children: Nelly Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis, both of whom already were living at Mount Vernon.
    Nelly lived with the Washingtons for twenty years, from the time of her birth in 1779 until 1799, the year of her marriage and of George Washington's untimely death. She called George and Martha her "beloved parents whom I loved with so much devotion, to whose unceasing tenderness I was indebted for every good I possessed."
    Nelly was ten years old when Washington was called to the Presidency, and she grew to maturity during his two terms. During that time, she traveled with Washington and walked amidst the great foreign and domestic names of the day. On Washington's retirement, she returned with the family to Mount Vernon. Nelly was energetic, spry, and lively, and was the joy of George Washington's life. She served as a gracious hostess and entertained the frequent guests to Mount Vernon who visited the former President.
    Clearly, Nelly was someone who knew the private and public life of her “father” very well. Therefore, Jared Sparks, in searching for information on Washington's religious habits, dispatched a letter to Nelly, asking if she knew for sure whether George Washington indeed was a Christian. Within a week, she had replied to Sparks, and Sparks included her letter in Volume XII of Washington's writings in the lengthy section on Washington's religious habits. Of that specific letter, Jared Sparks explained:
    I shall here insert a letter on this subject, written to me by a lady who lived twenty years in Washington's family and who was his adopted daughter, and the granddaughter of Mrs. Washington. The testimony it affords, and the hints it contains respecting the domestic habits of Washington, are interesting and valuable.
    Woodlawn, 26 February, 1833 Sir,
    I received your favor of the 20th instant last evening, and hasten to give you the information, which you desire.
    Truro Parish [Episcopal] is the one in which Mount Vernon, Pohick Church [the church where George Washington served as a vestryman], and Woodlawn [the home of Nelly and Lawrence Lewis] are situated. Fairfax Parish is now Alexandria. Before the Federal District was ceded to Congress, Alexandria was in Fairfax County. General Washington had a pew in Pohick Church, and one in Christ Church at Alexandria. He was very instrumental in establishing Pohick Church, and I believe subscribed [supported and contributed to] largely. His pew was near the pulpit. I have a perfect recollection of being there, before his election to the presidency, with him and my grandmother...
    He attended the church at Alexandria when the weather and roads permitted a ride of ten miles [a one-way journey of 2-3 hours by horse or carriage]. In New York and Philadelphia he never omitted attendance at church in the morning, unless detained by indisposition [sickness]. The afternoon was spent in his own room at home; the evening with his family, and without company. Sometimes an old and intimate friend called to see us for an hour or two; but visiting and visitors were prohibited for that day [Sunday]. No one in church attended to the services with more reverential respect. My grandmother, who was eminently pious, never deviated from her early habits. She always knelt. The General, as was then the custom, stood during the devotional parts of the service. On communion Sundays, he left the church with me, after the blessing, and returned home, and we sent the carriage back for my grandmother.
    It was his custom to retire to his library at nine or ten o'clock where he remained an hour before he went to his chamber. He always rose before the sun and remained in his library until called to breakfast. I never witnessed his private devotions. I never inquired about them. I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, "that they may be seen of men" [Matthew 6:5]. He communed with his God in secret [Matthew 6:6].
    My mother [Eleanor Calvert-Lewis] resided two years at Mount Vernon after her marriage [in 1774] with John Parke Custis, the only son of Mrs. Washington. I have heard her say that General Washington always received the sacrament with my grandmother before the revolution. When my aunt, Miss Custis [Martha's daughter] died suddenly at Mount Vernon, before they could realize the event [before they understood she was dead], he [General Washington] knelt by her and prayed most fervently, most affectingly, for her recovery. Of this I was assured by Judge [Bushrod] Washington's mother and other witnesses.
    He was a silent, thoughtful man. He spoke little generally; never of himself. I never heard him relate a single act of his life during the war. I have often seen him perfectly abstracted, his lips moving, but no sound was perceptible. I have sometimes made him laugh most heartily from sympathy with my joyous and extravagant spirits. I was, probably, one of the last persons on earth to whom he would have addressed serious conversation, particularly when he knew that I had the most perfect model of female excellence [Martha Washington] ever with me as my monitress, who acted the part of a tender and devoted parent, loving me as only a mother can love, and never extenuating [tolerating] or approving in me what she disapproved of others. She never omitted her private devotions, or her public duties; and she and her husband were so perfectly united and happy that he must have been a Christian. She had no doubts, no fears for him. After forty years of devoted affection and uninterrupted happiness, she resigned him without a murmur into the arms of his Savior and his God, with the assured hope of his eternal felicity [happiness in Heaven].
    Is it necessary that any one should certify, "General Washington avowed himself to me a believer in Christianity?" As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his country. His mottos were, "Deeds, not Words"; and, "For God and my Country."
    With sentiments of esteem,
    I am, Nelly Custis-Lewis
    George Washington's adopted daughter, having spent twenty years of her life in his presence, declared that one might as well question Washington's patriotism as question his Christianity. Certainly, no one questions his patriotism; so is it not rather ridiculous to question his Christianity? George Washington was a devout Episcopalian; and although as an Episcopalian he would not be classified as an outspoken and extrovert “evangelical” Founder as were Founding Fathers like Benjamin Rush, Roger Sherman, and Thomas McKean, nevertheless, being an Episcopalian makes George Washington no less of a Christian.
    Yet for the current revisionists who have made it their goal to assert that America was founded as a secular nation by secular individuals and that the only hope for America's longevity rests in her continued secularism, George Washington's faith must be sacrificed on the altar of their secularist agenda.

    QUOTE
    After researching Washington's life, Dr. Tim LaHaye wrote: “Our first President was a godly man of humble character and sterling commitment to God. William White reports of his sincere piety in 'Washington Writings':
    'It seems proper to subjoin to this letter what was told to me by Mr. Robert Lewis, at Fredricksburg, in the year 1827. Being a nephew of Washington, and his private secretary during the first part of his presidency, Mr. Lewis lived with him on terms of intimacy, and had the best opportunity for observing his habits. Mr. Lewis said that he had accidentally witnessed his private devotions in his library both morning and evening; that on those occasions he had seen him in a kneeling posture with a Bible open before him, and that he believed such to have been his daily practice.'” [2]
    At the end of the Revolutionary War, when the announcement of official peace arrived in America, George Washington issued his final sentiments. In his circular letter to the States on June 8, 1783, even though Washington gratefully acknowledged that we had won the war, he urged them to recall something of much greater importance and to remember…
    …the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation. [3]
    From George Washington's first official order through his last, he displayed a Christian emphasis.
    QUOTE
    While encamped on the banks of a river, Washington was approached by Delaware Indian chiefs who desired that their youth be trained in American schools. In Washington's response, he first told them that "Congress... will look on them as on their own children." [4] That is, we would train their children as if they were our own. He then commended the chiefs for their decision:
    You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention. [4]
    According to George Washington, what students would learn in American schools "above all" was "the religion of Jesus Christ."
    For much more on George Washington and the evidences of his strong faith, examine the following sources…


    • George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, Publisher, 1838), Vol. XII, pp. 399-411.
    • George Washington, The Religious Opinions of Washington, E. C. M'Guire, editor (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1836).
    • William Johnson, George Washington The Christian (1917).
    • William Jackson Johnstone, How Washington Prayed (New York: The Abingdon Press, 1932).
    • James D. Richardson, editor, The Messages and Papers of the Presidents (Published by the Authority of Congress, 1899), Vol. I, pp. 51-57 (1789), 64 (1789), 213-224 (1796), etc.
    • George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States, Late Commander in Chief of the American Army, to the People of the United States, Preparatory to his Declination (Baltimore: George & Henry S. Keatinge, 1796), pp. 22-23.
    • George Washington, The Maxims of Washington (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1855).

    REFERENCES


    • George Washington's letter of August 20, 1778 to Brig. General Thomas Nelson, in John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, The Writings of George Washington, Vol. XII (Washinton: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), p. 343.
    • Tim LaHaye, Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987), p. 103.
    • George Washington's Circular to the States, June 8, 1783, in John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, The Writings of George Washington, Vol. XXVI (Washinton: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), p. 496.
    • George Washington's Speech to Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779, in John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, The Writings of George Washington, Vol. XV (Washinton: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), p. 55.
    Última edición por Annuit Coeptis; 02/11/2012 a las 20:05
    "And, as we Catholics know, Western Civilization is Roman Civilization, first classical Roman Civilization, then Roman Catholic Civilization, as the Christians preserved and carried classical Roman Civilization to the world in a Christianized form. That is, after all, why we are described as Roman Catholics."

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    Re: George Washington and Catholics.

    I don't care whether he was considered a Christian or not. Many Protestants in the U.S. are members of Masonic lodges. In fact, in the article you've posted as a reply, he is described as a devout Protestant, not as Catholic. He may have been very sincere in his beliefs. Only God and him know. But that is not enough. Many Masons try to be "good", but on their own, without God's grace, just what that Pelagius you quote at the end of your posts preached.
    Última edición por Hyeronimus; 02/11/2012 a las 21:06

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    I don't care whether he was considered a Christian or not. Many Protestants in the U.S. are members of Masonic lodges. In fact, in the article you've posted as a reply, he is described as a devout Protestant, not as Catholic. He may have been very sincere in his beliefs. Only God and him know. But that is not enough. Many Masons try to be "good", but on their own, without God's grace, just what that Pelagius you quote at the end of your posts preached.
    As compared to the gnostic ruminations of the former follower of Mani the Zoroastrian heretic? That'd be Augustine, spiritual forebear of the arch-depressive Calvin. Do you really think that Augustine took nothing of gnosticism with him to Christianity, such as the idea of the dualism of matter and spirit, the corruption of matter, etc.? If this is so then I suppose the Stoic and Platonic leanings of Justin or the similarities between Pelagianism and certain aspects of druidry are purely coincidental. Pelagius was only anathematized because his teachings of human nature, popularized by Colestius, offended Augustine and his papal sponsor Innocent. Zosimus later declared Pelagius to be orthodox, later changing his mind and re-declaring Pelagius to be a heretic (because Augustine, Jermone, etc. were raising a fuss).

    http://www.believers-dilemma.org/pub...yword/Pelagius

    A few months later Augustine succeeded in having Pelagius brought to trial before 14 Eastern Bishops who carefully studied the allegedly heretical writings but found Pelagius orthodox on every point. They gave him a full acquittal. Once again, respected men who actually investigated Pelagius found nothing heretical in his beliefs. Augustine and his allies were outraged. They accused the Eastern Bishops of being duped. How? The 14 Eastern Bishops spoke only Greek and Augustine spoke only Latin, so the Bishops may not have fully understood the written accusations he had sent the court. Pelagius was fluent in both languages. Augustine claimed Pelagius was able to misinterpret his own Latin writings to conceal his heresies from the Greeks.
    Última edición por Annuit Coeptis; 03/11/2012 a las 03:45
    "And, as we Catholics know, Western Civilization is Roman Civilization, first classical Roman Civilization, then Roman Catholic Civilization, as the Christians preserved and carried classical Roman Civilization to the world in a Christianized form. That is, after all, why we are described as Roman Catholics."

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    Re: George Washington and Catholics.

    God Bless George Washington! The swearing-in ceremony of Washington as 1st POTUS, from the John Adams TV show. Washington's actions defined him- unlike the monarchs of France and Spain, or the Pope, General Washington led his men from the battle-field and was chosen by the American People to be the leader of the new nation (he didn't simply get born as a royal heir or elected by some assembly of clerics or nobles). As President Washington served the People of America as President for two terms of four years, after which he retired to private life. Some wanted to make him King of America, a dubious honor he refused. Even King George III praised him for his political modesty.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgCQDZdlMdc
    Última edición por Annuit Coeptis; 03/11/2012 a las 10:00
    "And, as we Catholics know, Western Civilization is Roman Civilization, first classical Roman Civilization, then Roman Catholic Civilization, as the Christians preserved and carried classical Roman Civilization to the world in a Christianized form. That is, after all, why we are described as Roman Catholics."

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    Re: George Washington and Catholics.

    So what? George Washington was heretical, and so was Pelagius. Pelagianism is an heresy and has always been condemned by the Church. And Masonism is diabolical, no matter how well-intended they seem to be (and no doubt many of them are). George Washington may have been a great man in other senses, a great patriot and so on, and there may be many reasons to admire him, but he was no saint in the religious sense. I realise this must be hard for you to hear, being American. I don't mean to offend you or the American people, but as a Catholic I cannot agree with that view of George Washington.

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    Cita Iniciado por Hyeronimus Ver mensaje
    So what? George Washington was heretical, and so was Pelagius. Pelagianism is an heresy and has always been condemned by the Church. And Masonism is diabolical, no matter how well-intended they seem to be (and no doubt many of them are). George Washington may have been a great man in other senses, a great patriot and so on, and there may be many reasons to admire him, but he was no saint in the religious sense. I realise this must be hard for you to hear, being American. I don't mean to offend you or the American people, but as a Catholic I cannot agree with that view of George Washington.
    And all Catholics (as well as Protestants) are seen as being heterodox by Orthodoxy. Do not contradict the Patriarch of Constantinople. Anyways I'm not offended but neither do I seek the approval of men for my beliefs.
    Última edición por Annuit Coeptis; 03/11/2012 a las 16:52
    "And, as we Catholics know, Western Civilization is Roman Civilization, first classical Roman Civilization, then Roman Catholic Civilization, as the Christians preserved and carried classical Roman Civilization to the world in a Christianized form. That is, after all, why we are described as Roman Catholics."

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