Author Daniel Schwindt has released a new book titled “The Papist’s Guide to America.”
Schwindt’s central thesis is that Catholics are necessarily alienated from the American political context. He also believes that this alienation not new or even surprising.
Using the work of Alexis de Tocqueville, he argues that the principles adopted by the Founding Fathers, combined with the individualistic philosophy of Americans in general, created an atmosphere of intellectual arrogance and general ignorance, since men learned to trust their own opinions as the most reliable source of truth.
This dangerous mentality he groups under the term “liberalism,” and according to Schwindt everyone in American politics is a liberal of some sort. Republicans are “Right liberals” and Democrats are “Left liberals.”
Due to these circumstances, Schwindt believes that religious people can only participate in American politics by leaving their faith at home. Since this is not possible, believers are then forced to adopt a form of hypocrisy if they wish to be active in public life. Clearly, if Schwindt’s thesis is correct, this puts American Catholics in a state of serious tension with their political structures.
The analysis gets interesting when Schwindt turns to the person of Pope Francis. You might expect a self-declared “traditionalist” to take up a position of hostility toward the modern Magisterium, which is sometimes accused by traditionalist circles of compromising itself in the face of modernity. Not so with Schwindt! He argues that the appearance of Francis is precisely what is called for at this moment, and he offers an interesting interpretation of the Second Vatican Council to justify this conclusion.
Pope Francis is a model for believers, and the animosity he receives from both the Right and the Left is shown to be nothing but the open expression of the latent anti-Catholic sentiments which have always been present. Now, thanks to Francis, these tensions are manifesting themselves as outright hostility toward the teaching Church.
In these circumstances, how should Catholics understand their situation? In The Papist’s Guide to America, Daniel Schwindt offers an answer.
Copies of the book are available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle editions.