The best part of Francis 1's visit to America will be his departure. Then we'll regain our freedom. I don't like seeing millions of people inconvenienced because of his presence here. I like less having to live in a veritable police state by having to show ID to enter my own house. St. J.P. 2, in stark contrast, would never have wanted such stringent security. Being far less provincial, neither his message nor his ministry required it.

But the presence of so great a security cordon strongly suggests that people may welcome Francis 1 but if they cannot be trusted to use their freedom responsibly, then they do not welcome Christ. For if we don't respect the rule of law, we do not do His will. Without it, there is no freedom and without freedom, there is nothing. Lamentably and indelibly, the finer part of our heritage and ourselves are gone now. As people have dignity, so do laws and through their observance, we mark our superiority as individuals and exceptionalism as a nation. They are the means by which we set the example and thus earn freedom -- from the chains of communism and from the bond of relativism, sin itself.

The Church understood this once. Now it seems farther removed than ever before. If Creed and Church are to endure, then the pope's presence must come to mean far more than a chastisement of American ideals. Honor and its accoutrements of independence, industry and prosperity are what the folks want. Still more, they want leaders who are straight up, who don't spin and deflect and justify their own failings and shortcomings with those they can find in others. They don't want to be set upon by obstreperous partisans or pay dreadful confiscatory tribute to social justice socialists who promise much, tax more but return nothing. They are justifiably angry and it's not hard to understand why. They want to be treated honestly and fairly but are not.

In an increasingly divisive and dangerous world, St. J.P. 2's messages of comfort and courage, promise and purpose are urgently needed. But so is a sense of accomplishment. Hard-working people should feel proud of who they are because of what they've done. But our work has a second meaning. It is the means by which we assist in God's great creative process and pursue real success. When we realize big dreams of the heroic and dramatic, we become unique aspects in the life of of Christ and the reason for His Church. The primacy of papal and parental responsibility must be the cultural and moral grandeur to which we as Americans are capable.