congratulationsIn typically modest manner, Bruvver Eccles forgot to mention that his ‘spiritaully nuorishing blogg’ is now two years old – and all those who ‘get’ him will wish him a happy birthday and many happy returns thereof.  Another Catholic site Mundabor’s Blog, has just reached its millionth view.  As with Eccles (but in a different way) it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if it were, I think Mundabor would assume he was doing something wrong; so congratulations to him too.  It is also the birthday of the always interesting and certainly very spiritually nourishing, Catholicism Pure and Simpleif you don’t know, do try it, I always read it and always find something there to make me think. And to show there is something in the air at this time of the year for great catholic blogs, it is also the first anniversary of the wonderful Laura, whose blog, Catholic Cravings is celebrating its first birthday. I would only embarrass Laura by saying what I think of her blog – but marvellous, readable and spiritually uplifting come to mind with no effort.  A final congratulation is due to one of my contributors, the irrepressible and sturdy Geoffrey Sales, who has just passed the 200 mark in terms of the number of his posts here: thank you Geoffrey – and I somehow feel you won’t mind the Catholic company you keep here.

Then of course, it being 4th July, there is the matter of wishing all my many American readers a happy Independence day (and to note that I am sure many of you will be celebrating it when the current incumbent of the White House departs). We hear much criticism of America, quite a bit of it, it seems, from the President himself, but for so many of us it remains that rarest of things – a country which embodies an ideal – a shining city of a hill. If we all feel disappointed when America fails to live up to its ideals, that’s because unlike most countries, we think the USA should do so, indeed, perhaps naively, we expect it to.

Without it, who knows whether Europe would be free now? Without it, could the USSR have been defeated?  If it was not there, what state would Christianity be in? It contributes so much to the intellectual and cultural life of the world; some of that is bad, much more is good.  It remains a country where men and women expect to be able to make their way without too much reliance on the State, and the attempts by the latter to take a bigger role, are met with far more resistance there than anywhere else on earth. Freedom is more than a word to the American.

I was brought up to admire America, and I still, if pushed, think of America as a kind of cross between John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper (so you can see the films I was brought up on). So, on its anniversary – HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA – and my prayers for the great Republic, and thanks that it is there.

God Bless America!