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We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition Paperback – May 1, 1986
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"Fr. Murray deals in his book with many questions, political and philosophical, ranging all over the lot, touching deeply on censorship, humanism, foreign policy, and other subjects. The first section, perhaps the most striking, is addressed to the recurring question: what does America stand for? WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS, he reminds an inattentive public who, alas, if they hold these truths, do not know they do. These truths, he says, are the patrimony of America. The Founders established a republic on the presumption of a natural law the rudiments of which are intelligible to all rational men (ut in pluribus), the refinements of which our Lords Spiritual (the learned and conscientious elite) must elaborate for us. Evil times have overtaken us. The natural law, which is indestructible, exists, but we do not acknowledge it, and hence fail to elaborate a public consensus based on it. The consensus is probably still there, in the interstices of our mind, and the natural law continues to govern our soundest instincts and emotions. But during the last century we got way behind, we were dazed by the shock troops of epistemological relativism and still are...We have failed to elaborate the consensus, admit its essential place in intelligible society, lavish upon it the kind of attention needed to rebuff the assault on the very idea of America. We are left with nothing substantive to believe in.
The consensus proper to American liberal society is purely procedural.Read more ›