I guess I’m on a Pope Benedict XV kick. Check out this interesting article, “Snubbed: Pope Benedict XV and Cardinal James Gibbons.”
“Cardinal Gibbons never made it for the papal conclave in which Giacomo della Chiesa became Pope Benedict XV. Arriving just hours late, he did become the first to have an audience with the new pope. Yet on his return from the trip, he began immediately a course of politics that, while publicly deferential to Benedict, was in opposition to the pope.”
“As April of 1917 and the U.S. entrance into the war drew near, Gibbons stepped up his campaign to be a public voice on behalf of President Wilson. Despite criticism, he endorsed a plan for universal military service. (It is significant here that in September of 1917 Benedict lobbied for a ‘general boycott in sanction against any nation that might attempt to reestablish obligatory military service.’) Gibbons also publicly backed, in the New York Times, Wilson’s ‘preparedness campaign”’of military build-up. And so, even a day before the formal declaration of war on Germany came, Gibbons was ready with a prepared statement. The statement, of course, made no mention of Benedict’s condemnation of the proliferation of the war. Yet he didn’t need to make mention of this; it was clear how Gibbons expected Catholics of American stripe to proceed during this time of national crisis. Far from obedience to the words of the pontiff, who had taught in Ad beatissimi that “[t]here is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism,” Gibbons had other instructions for U.S. Catholics. “The primary duty of a citizen,” Gibbons taught, “is loyalty to country. It is exhibited by an absolute and unreserved obedience to his country’s call.”
Alright, Gibbons, sorry but reading about your militaristic antics has just landed you on my new “Catholics For Militarism” Pinterest board (alongside Gemelli)!