Charles Carroll and Independence Day

My dear parishioners and friends,

It’s Independence Day week, Happy 4th of July! and there is a link worth tracing between the Declaration of Independence and the language of liturgy. One of the signers of the Declaration on that July 4 long ago was Charles Carroll, probably the wealthiest man in the colonies and one of the few Catholics on the political scene.

As a polish to his signature, he sought to distinguish himself from other prominent citizens bearing the same name by penning “Charles Carroll of Carrolltown”—a defiant “come and get me if you dare” postscript aimed at the British.

Charles’ ecclesiastically now famous brother John was a priest and patriot who in 1789 was given the task of organizing the Catholic Church in this country. By 1791 he had assembled a synod, or assembly of delegates, to launch that task formally. Archbishop Carroll wanted to gain acceptance of our faith by American people who mistrusted our customs and could not comprehend our liturgy. He made the amazing proposal to Rome that our liturgy should be prayed not in Latin, but in the vernacular, English. His wish was denied, but one hundred sixty years later, his deep desire helped the American bishops and scholars at the Second Vatican Council to win the vote in favor of the vernacular not just for the United States, but for the Church throughout the world.

On this Independence Day, we in the Liturgy, give thanks to God for His rescuing us from our oppressors. We rejoice in the greatest victory. When we unite ourselves to Christ Jesus, we unite ourselves to his resurrection from the dead.

Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts these past weeks, and of course to my brother priests for recently helping out!

God bless,
Fr Cliff