.....but here is another good excerpt from the book I just finished, Catholic Matters:
The great thing to discover is not what it means to be an American Catholic but what it means to be a Catholic American. One might think the noun is more important than the adjective, but that is not necessarily so. The adjective qualifies, and in qualifying, controls. To say I want to be an American Catholic assumes that I know what it means to be an American but am uncertain about the Catholic part of "American Catholic." The goal, rather, is to be a Catholic American; to be a person who knows what it means to be Catholic and is working on what it means to be a Catholic in America.
We hope that being Catholic and being American are compatible, even mutually reinforcing. And most of the time that may be so. But, in the event of conflict, there should be no doubt in my mind that my identity as a Catholic takes priority. After all, it is the Church that embodies the story of the world, including the story of America. The American story is part of the Catholic story, and not the other way around.
Now, that's an interesting thought in this election year, isn't it?