An $11,000 Prize in Switzerland and a Consecration in Costa Rica

According to media reports, Switzerland has announced it will hold a national competition that will search for a new national anthem to replace its current one, which government officials say “has too many references to God and is too old-fashioned.”1

The text of the current anthem, which was officially adopted in 1981, dates back to 1841. It “includes references to God, prayer, mountains and sunshine” whereas officials now want a new text which will “include values enshrined in the Swiss constitution, such as democracy and solidarity,” clarifies BBC News.2

The competition to find a new Swiss national anthem will begin in January 2014 and will run for six months. The winning lyrics will receive a prize of 10,000 Swiss francs, the equivalent to $10,834.3

The “Problem” Is the Text
This will be not the first time the Swiss anthem has changed. In 1981, When You Call, my Fatherland, was replaced by the current anthem, Swiss Psalm, to avoid confusion when played without the lyrics, because it was set to the same tune as the British national anthem ─ God Save the Queen.4

Now, the “problem” is not the prayer nor the need to avoid confusion, but the appeal of “political correctness.”

In fact, Lukas Niederberger, who is directing the competition, told the BBC: “The real problem is above all the text.”

“Officially the anthem is a psalm, a prayer, but of course we have an open society, religiously neutral. We have atheists, no single god, so this anthem is a difficulty.”5

The mention of God did not seem to bother the Swiss in 1981. In fact, it was already used on patriotic occasions before it became the official anthem of the country. “The choice of it as the national anthem was not a medieval option, but a decision of the era of color television and credit cards.”6

While this is happening in a country in Europe, there is an edifying example of an opposite governmental move in the New World.

Consecration and Request for Forgiveness
On August 2, a Mass was celebrated in Cartago, Costa Roca in honor of the country’s Patroness, the Virgin of the Angels. On that occasion, President Laura Chinchilla, along with the assembly president, Luis Fernando Mendoza, and Supreme Court chief justice Zarela Villanueva, consecrated the government, people and nation to God and the Blessed Mother.7

“I, Laura Chinchilla, President of the Republic of Costa Rica, with the authority bestowed upon me hereby consecrate myself, my family and the Republic of Costa Rica to the love and protection of Almighty God through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Angels, placing in her loving hands my Government with all its officers, employees and citizens who are under my responsibility. […]

“Upon making this consecration, I ask God forgiveness for all the transgressions perpetrated in our country in the past and for all decisions that may have been made against His commandments, asking His help to change everything that separates us from Him.”8

After the President, the heads of the Legislative and the Judiciary read the text of the consecration and request for forgiveness, adapted to each of their institutions. [Full text below]

This is undoubtedly a beautiful example of a profession of faith by a country’s rulers, one that should fill every Catholic heart with joy in these days of growing secularism, indifference and relativism.

It is well to recall that Costa Rica is one of the few countries whose Constitution (Article 75) establishes Catholicism as the official state religion.9

Looming Shadows
Unfortunately, this bright picture is not without its shadows…

Three days earlier the government, yielding to pressures from international agencies,10 had sent the Legislative Assembly, projected bills on in vitro fertilization and so-called “cohabitation partnerships” (“sociedades de convivencia”) ─ an euphemism for same-sex “marriage.”11

Costa Rica is one of the only countries to ban in vitro fertilization: the Constitutional Court ruled that this technique violates the right to life.

Consistency
Will Costa Rican rulers be consistent with the serious commitment they made before God, His Blessed Mother and men?

One should fear they will not, for Communications Minister Carlos Roverssi said the government will maintain its support of the two projected bills.12

Nonetheless, whatever the outcome of this matter will be, the fact is that the act was done and has value before God and History.

May the Virgin of the Angels give Costa Rican rulers strength to resist all pressure, and persevere in the good resolutions stated in their act of consecration and also help the Swiss people to avoid the sad path of secularization that is leading Europe to become an ex-Christian (or even an anti-Christian) continent.

Act of Consecration of the three branches of government of the
Republic of Costa Rica to the Virgin of the Angels

“I, Laura Chinchilla, President of the Republic of Costa Rica, with the authority bestowed upon me hereby consecrate myself, my family and the Republic of Costa Rica to the love and protection of Almighty God through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Angels, placing in her loving hands my Government with all its officers, employees and citizens who are under my responsibility.

I offer Almighty God my thoughts and decisions as President of Costa Rica to use them for the good of this country so that in my governance I will always keep the Ten Commandments in mind.

I pray God, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Angels, to heed and accept my act of consecration and cover this country with His special protection.

Upon making this consecration, I ask God forgiveness for all the transgressions perpetrated in our country in the past and for all decisions that may have been made against His commandments, asking His help to change everything that separates us from Him.”13

Footnotes

  1. Cf. Stoyan Zaimov, “Switzerland to Replace ‘Psalm’-Like National Anthem With a Secular One,” The Christian Post, Aug. 7, 2013, http://www.christianpost.com/news/switzerland-to-replace-psalm-like-national-anthem-with-a-secular-one-101744/
  2. Cf. Laurence Peter, “Swiss to launch national anthem competition in 2014,” BBC News, Aug. 2, 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23550915?print=true
  3. Ibid. Cf. Alex Marshall, “Swiss launch competition to find new national anthem,” The Guardian, Aug. 14, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/14/swiss-competition-new-national-anthem;
    Cf. Pablo J. Ginés, “Suiza dará 10.000 dólares a quien quite a Dios de su himno y lo sustituya por ‘la democracia,’” Religión en Libertad, Aug. 11, 2013, http://www.religionenlibertad.com/articulo.asp?idarticulo=30612
  4. Cf. Alex Marshall, “Swiss launch competition to find new national anthem,” The Guardian, Aug. 14, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/14/swiss-competition-new-national-anthem
  5. Cf. Laurence Peter, “Swiss to launch national anthem competition in 2014,” BBC News, Aug. 2, 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23550915?print=true
  6. Cf. Pablo J. Ginés, “Suiza dará 10.000 dólares a quien quite a Dios de su himno y lo sustituya por ‘la democracia,’” Religión en Libertad, Aug. 11, 2013, http://www.religionenlibertad.com/articulo.asp?idarticulo=30612
  7. Cf. “Los presidentes de los tres poderes de Costa Rica piden perdón ante la Virgen de los Ángeles,” La Nación/InfoCatólica, Aug. 4, 2013, http://infocatolica.com/?t=noticia&cod=18128;
    “Gobierno profundiza el estado confesional: Costa Rica ‘consagrada’ a la Virgen de los Ángeles,” Informa-TICO, Aug. 2, 2013, http://www.informa-tico.com/2-08-2013/gobierno-profundiza-estado-confesional-costa-rica-consagrada-virgen-angeles;
    Esteban Oviedo, “Presidentes de los tres poderes hicieron acto de consagración a Dios y a la Virgen,” La Nación, Aug. 2, 2013, http://www.nacion.com/nacional/Presidentes-consagracion-Dios-Virgen-instituciones_0_1357464326.html?print=1
  8. Cf. juandiegogm “Acto de Consagración de los tres poderes de la República de Costa Rica a la Virgen de los Ángeles,” Radio Actual 107.1 FM, Aug. 5, 2013, http://www.radioactualfm.com/consagracion-poderes-4/
  9. United States Department of State, “U.S. Department of State Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 2005 – Costa Rica,” Nov. 8, 2005, http://www.refworld.org/docid/437c9cf42f.html
  10. Frank Rodríguez, “Costa Rica debe permitir la Fertilización in Vitro, ordenó la Corte Interamericana,” Amelia Rueda, Dec. 20, 2012, http://www.ameliarueda.com/costa-rica-debe-permitir-la-fertilizacion-in-vitro-ordeno-la-corte-interamericana/
  11. Cf. “Los presidentes de los tres poderes de Costa Rica piden perdón ante la Virgen de los Ángeles,” La Nación/InfoCatólica, Aug. 4, 2013, http://infocatolica.com/?t=noticia&cod=18128;
  12. Ibid.
  13. Cf. juandiegogm “Acto de Consagración de los tres poderes de la República de Costa Rica a la Virgen de los Ángeles,” Radio Actual 107.1 FM, Aug. 5, 2013, http://www.radioactualfm.com/consagracion-poderes-4/

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