Leo The Great On Washington

A nice post on the Father of our country and his relations with Catholics, occasioned by the anniversary a few days ago of his ban on the celebration of Guy Fawkes day in the military. Excellent stuff, but this was entirely new to me: did you know Leo the Great called Washington "great"? And in an encyclical no less, so it might be an infallible judgment.
Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion.

Take that, all you Catholics who think America was born as the love child of the Enlightenment! I am embarrassed to say I had no notion of there being an entire encyclical on catholicism in the US. This afternoon's reading, I guess.