My son, Nikolai, wrote this article, which was posted on Catholic Online, a few months ago. In light of all the media banter over who they think Pope Francis I needs to be, I thought it was a relevant reflection to ponder. I added a few extra thoughts of my own to his wise words.
Many people know the basic story of Rome’s legacy. However, many would be surprised at how similar it is to the story of the United States.
It has been said that America is the “New Rome.” Indeed, the United States is increasingly similar to the great nation of the past. However, the similarities are not only in our successes, but also in the downward slope toward collapse. Many people deny that America will collapse like Rome did, but, at least in my eyes, the signs are increasingly apparent. Let us remember to hope, not that America as a country will be spared correction (although we can pray for that), but that God never betrays His promises and he promised that the gates of hell will never prevail against our Holy Mother Church, the Catholic Church.
Rome was probably founded around 800 B.C., however, it did not appear in history until 510 B.C. , when they overthrew the Etruscans who had been ruling over them. This is similar to our United States. Settlers lived in “America” for around 200 years before it became the United States, the founding fathers declaring the USA independent of any other nation’s rule. When it became independent, Rome, just like America, was a republic.
The United States has expanded a lot over its years. It started from 13 colonies and has since expanded to 50 states as well as gained control of other territories. Just like our country has over its years, Rome expanded its own territories greatly through conquests and expansion. By 100 B.C., Rome was the most powerful nation on the Mediterranean, just as our country is believed to be.
On the subject of culture, America is, again, very similar to Rome. After 100 B.C., Rome started on a downward spiral with its culture. The negative way of life matches ours exceedingly. Homosexuality became a norm. Drinking to excess was hardly even looked down upon. The birthrate dropped considerably. If a person did not want their baby, they could abort it or even leave it to die on the street. Prostitutes were also common. Overall, sexuality became less and less sacred until it was simply a pastime. People found entertainment in killing. Though not on such a wide scale as gladiator games, killing has taken a huge niche of our entertainment industry. Need examples? The Hunger Gamestyped books, Call of Duty and similar video games, a huge variety of action films, and countless others. How many of these things do we see in our country?
Though Rome was originally pagan, worshiping gods like Jupiter and Mars, God’s chosen people, the Jews came to Rome. There, they were rejected by the majority of Roman people. How many people today in America reject the Church or God altogether?
Eventually, the great system of rule became corrupted in Rome. Murder and assassinations were used as political weapons, unfair taxes made government officials wealthy while citizens declined. Roman senators bought up land, driving farmers out of business. Who can deny these things happening in our country today?
In the 40’s B.C., Julius Ceaser became a great leader. He came to Rome after fighting war in Egypt and declared himself dictator for life. Despite philosophers, such as Cicero, denouncing him as a tyrant, the people of Rome adored him, for he was a great talker. After he declared himself dictator, he changed the governing system of Rome from a republic to an empire. America has not come to this point yet. However, we can see our own president breaking the rules set out before him, denounced as a liar, a communist, and other things, but still popular for his personality.
As history tells, the Roman Empire, the strongest force in the known world at the time, collapsed. It fell on its face and died. What was the one and only human institution left to survive the collapse of the Roman Empire? The Catholic Church. Even though it had been persecuted, made illegal, and many of its members martyred, the Catholic Church lived on to spread throughout great parts of the known world. Please note that while the Jewish people also survived, at the time they were a chosen people and not an institution in the same sense as the Church.
Maybe our country will not follow in the footsteps of Rome, but from the look of things, America is on its way. They say, “Those who do not know history are damned to repeat it.” How many people know the history of the world and really take it into perspective with our world today? People have told me that God will not let America die, America will simply evolve and move on. People overlook something; God has already sent His message to the world. Our Lady of Fatima told the world through children, “Communism must be stopped. If communism is not stopped in Russia, it will spread throughout the world,” and “Pray the rosary.” What reason does God have to let live a nation of sinners and pagans who deny Him? Are we so full of ourselves to think that God owes us our existence? No, we are made to serve God, not to be served by Him.
All in all, if we do not want to follow down the path of Rome, a great power toppled by its own negligence, then we already know what we must do. “Repent, repent!” We are in need of Divine help to save ourselves. However, we must know that help comes to those who help themselves. We can do our part in converting America. As Christians, it is our duty to carry out God’s will. Let us repent and,, like Moses, let us pray with sincerity and persistence for the conversion of our brothers and sisters.
And pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis I as he does the work of our Father, like his patron St. Francis did, in rebuilding the Catholic Church. Rebuild it not to the depraved standards of the world as in Rome, but rebuild it on Truth for the glory of Her Creator.