The Church is now bringing together what that tower had sundered. Of one tongue there were made many; marvel not: this was the doing of pride. Of many tongues there is made one; marvel not: this was the doing of charity. For although the sounds of tongues are various, in the heart one God is invoked, one peace preserved.
-St. Augustine, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John
In my wanderings in this valley of tears, I have always tried to uphold the virtue of Patriotism, the love of my country, the land and its peoples. I have written in the past about the perversion of Nationalism which daily undermines the true Common Good of the countries it infects. Yet as with all philosophical errors it returns under different forms in different ages. As it was invoked against the Universal Church in the Sacred Ages, now the Nationalists dare even to invoke God for their defense in this Age of Godlessness.
This is the Thearchic Nationalism to which I refer in this article’s title. Often disguised in the guise of Patriotism, this ideology in its essence proclaims that, “genuine Christians must stand firm against the sinful, satanic error of opposing nationalism. Nationalism is God’s way. Nationalism is God’s plan and purpose for the nations.” Such an ideology, ignorant not only of Divine Revelation, but of reason and of history, cannot succeed as coherent worldview. In all the history of the world, there has been no country historically constituted that contained only inhabitants of one strict linguistic-cultural nation. Nor is it possible, despite all the attempts of Nationalism for the pure nation-state to exist. The last few centuries have shown that the only logical outcome of disordered loyalty to one nation over the country is nothing but mass spilling of the blood of innocents.
This is not to say that one should abandon all loyalty to one’s country, rather as the Venerable Pope Pius XII wrote in his encyclical Summi Pontificatus, “Nor is there any fear lest the consciousness of universal brotherhood aroused by the teaching of Christianity, and the spirit which it inspires, be in contrast with love of traditions or the glories of one’s fatherland, or impede the progress of prosperity or legitimate interests.” And in the writings of his predecessor Pius XI, “ Patriotism – the stimulus of so many virtues and of so many noble acts of heroism when kept within the bounds of the law of Christ – becomes merely an occasion, an added incentive to grave injustice when true love of country is debased to the condition of an extreme nationalism, when we forget that all men are our brothers and members of the same great human family, that other nations have an equal right with us both to life and to prosperity, that it is never lawful nor even wise, to dissociate morality from the affairs of practical life, that, in the last analysis, it is ‘justice which exalteth a people: but sin maketh the populace miserable.’” Why then does the Magisterium of the Holy Church place its emphasis on the country in which lives and not the nation to which one culturally belongs?
The answer is in the fact that the Country, rightly ordered, has its end and purpose in the Common Good of all those within its jurisdictional bounds. One’s Nation on the other hand, whether ethnic or cultural-linguistic, while good is not primarily ordered towards the Good. Belonging to it may rightly awaken natural affections, yet Man is ordered to moral Good (and ultimately to God), and so his first loyalties are to the Good, not to emotions or affections. Then too, while the Country itself exists for the sake of men, the men within have stewardship of its land, and this care and affection for the land is equally as natural (proper to Man’s God given Nature, not his fallen nature), if not more so, as his affection for those of similar culture and language (or descent) as he himself is. As the great Catholic author G.K. Chesterton writes in The Catholic Church and Conversion,
That religious culture does indeed encourage him to fight to the last for his country, as for his family. But that is because the religious culture is generous and imaginative and humane and knows that men must have intimate and individual ties. But those secondary loyalties are secondary in time and logic to the law of universal morality which justifies them. ¹
The love of the Patriot is a virtue because it is the love of Good, and willingness to serve the Good of All in a community of others willing so to serve. The disordered “love” of the Nationalist is the sinful pride of one who sees only his egotistical self reflected in the identitarian mass, at the heart of which is only fear. Thus those who invoke God against the Universal Law of Charity for which He sent His Son into the world, those who attempt to justify with tradition and morality that which is contrary to both, undermine their position. Those who claim to support the traditional understanding of the world, and yet are really only subscribing to a heresy as old as the Fall of Man and stemming from the same Heresiarch, all invoke the history of the world and the very Name of God in vain. For when the Patriot, the lover of virtue and of the Good, stands alone against the Nations, and against his own country that has taken the road of sin and destruction, calling out in the wilderness with the voice of Reason and of Faith, God stands with him and is well-pleased.
And if the patriot is such a fool as to force the issue against that universal tradition from which his own patriotism descends, if he presses his claim to priority over the primitive law of the whole earth–then he will have brought it on himself if he is answered with the pulverising plainness of the Book of Job. As God said to the man, “Where were you when the foundations of the world were laid?” We might well say to the nation, “Where were you when the foundations of the Church were laid?” And the nation will not know in the least what to answer…¹
¹G.K. Chesterton, The Catholic Church and Conversion, The Obvious Blunders