But the best part, and the reason I have a separate post, is the three quotes Michael cites from Bishop Fulton Sheen about how patriotism is possible for Catholics in a secular state:
Patriotism is not just a negation of anti-American activities; it is above all the affirmation of a love of country as a reflection of our love of God. When the roof leaks the householder may become so concerned with its repair as to forget the happiness of himself and his family under that roof. So it is with America. Because our national structure has such economic leaks as unemployment and dust storms we are apt to forget the joys of living in the house called America. It is about time we stopped talking about our aches and pains and began to think of the happiness of being Americans. ---Freedom and Peace, 1941This (me) is a Briton and a Scot speaking; I know what political anti-Catholicism is (and even so, I will not turn against my native country over it). Bishop Sheen says that while Americanism is a heresy; America is not. Therefore, and this is more relevant to the likes of Iafrate, conceptualizing America so as to reduce it to Americanism is, at best, spectacular bad faith.
Love of country needs once more to be revived, otherwise we shall perish for no other crime than because we refused to love. Patriotism has a negative aspect and a positive aspect and one cannot be divorced from the other. Negatively, patriotism implies for us strong opposition to all anti-American activities; positively, patriotism requires that we be so grateful to God for the blessings that we enjoy in America that we dedicate our lives to preserve those blessings to the end. (Freedom and Peace, 1941)
It is our solemn duty as Catholics, therefore, to be conscious of our duty to America , and to preserve its freedom by preserving its faith in God against that group which would identify revolution with Americanism...But as we talk about patriotism, it might be well to remind ourselves that in a crisis like this even devotion to the Stars and Stripes is not enough to save us. We must look beyond them to other stars and stripes, namely the stars and stripes of Christ, by whose stars we are illumined and by whose stripes we are healed! ---Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, 20Feb1938
UPDATE: Read the comments to this post. First of all, "doubting thomas" puts up the question to Thomas's Summa that I was tearing my hair out earlier trying to remember, which definitively put the lie to the notion that love of country is contrary to love of God (in fact, if love of country were contrary to love of God, so would love of family and love of other men, on the very same "logic"). Also, the reply prompted me to remember where in the Catechism that the discussion of patriotism and civic duty occurs (here, from 2234 to 2246).
Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country.This is not incompatible with pacifism as an act of personal witness or a particular calling (even hard-headed Victor admires it when it is coupled, though it usually isn't today, with acceptance of exile from the political community). But Church teaching IS incompatible with pacifism as a general moral demand upon all or upon the state.
Second, Christopher alludes to more links at his site (get thee there), giving particular mention to one I feel constrained to put up here -- the Catholic Encyclopedia article on civil allegiance, which covers the matters pretty exhaustively.