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Daily Catholic Question

Are the symbols on the dollar bill anti-Christian?

What do the pyramid and eye on the back of our one-dollar bill mean? Are they anti-Christian?

The symbols to which you refer are the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States: the triangle and eye atop an unfinished pyramid with the words Annuit Coeptis above them and the date 1776 in Roman numerals below with the words Novus Ordo Seclorum. We are more accustomed to seeing the front side of the seal with the American eagle clutching 13 arrows in its talons.

The Department of State, keeper of the seal, says the pyramid symbolizes strength and durability. The 13 layers of stone represent the original states. The fact that the pyramid is unfinished means the United States is always growing, building, and improving.

In Christian symbols a triangle represents the divine Trinity and an eye the all-seeing eye of God. It suggests the importance of divine guidance. Annuit Coeptis can be translated "He [God] has favored our undertakings" and Novus Ordo Seclorum, "A new order of the ages," meaning the new American era.

There is nothing inherently anti-Christian in any of these symbols.

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Monday, February 18, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 2/17/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 2/19/2013


Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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