Archbp. Carroll’s “Prayer for Government”

According to the barest reading of Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution,

“[The President] shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”,

Pres. Obama could just buy Congress a subscription to the Wall Street Journal.

But nooooooo… that’s not how these things are done these days.

Can we doubt that this is going to be more of a campaign speech than a true recommendation of necessary and expedient measures?

On the day when the POTUS is slated to give his State of the Union Address, and I am filled with less than lofty thoughts in anticipation thereof, I also have in mind not only this, but also the prayer was composed by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, in 1791.


We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name. We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation. We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty. We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state , for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability. We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal. Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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6 Responses to Archbp. Carroll’s “Prayer for Government”

  1. wmeyer says:

    I shall pray for the conversion of our president, and more urgently, for the future of our republic.

  2. Theodore says:

    Thanks for posting this wonderful prayer, Father Z. When I contemplate what has happened since Geo Washington I want to weep.

    Ellen was right on the other thread. The reading of the State of the Union address is a recent phenomenon. I’d rather the Senate spent their time getting a budget together since today marks the 1000th day that the Federal Govt has not had one.

    Rather than watch the show I will go to kendo practice and take out my frustration on my fellow kendoka.

  3. Alexis says:

    Father, you are undoubtedly correct in your estimation that this will be more campaign speech than a recommendation of important and needed measures, but it is an election year, after all, and therefore entirely to be expected, whomever the sitting President happens to be. There’s no reason to think President Obama will break the mold.

  4. rollingrj says:

    What a wonderful prayer for a fledgling country, conceived with inalienable rights by the Creator. 235 + years later, we are still a fledgling country, conceived with inalienable rights by the Creator.
    We still need this wonderful prayer.

  5. Sword40 says:

    The sooner the president is out of office the easier I’ll breath. His works border on Treason.

    I have zero respect for him. This prayer is one that I can pray without compromising my beliefs.
    I will not bother to watch the address tonight.

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