The American Revolution, which institutionally separated Church and state while affirming the transcendent origins of the “truths” on which democratic politics had to be based, was an entirely different matter than its French counterpart. Thus “1776” helped compel the development of doctrine that eventually led to Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom (a point that might be pondered, not only by Lefebvrists, but by Communio contributors convinced that America is, at bottom, an ill-founded republic).
This is a point that George Weigel "teases" from Pope Benedict's Christmas Address. Oddly enough, it is four times longer than the Pope's actual sentence about America: "It was becoming clear that the American Revolution had offered a model of the modern state that was different from that theorized by the radical tendencies that had emerged from the second phase of the French Revolution."
Weigel, you're such a tease!
Using one line from a papal speech to launch an attack on Lefebvrists, who deserve it, and Communio scholars, who do not deserve it, is downright slimy. Every human regime is ill-founded, otherwise the Kingdom of Heaven could be rendered redundant. Weigel's probably a John Courtney Murray fan, and one can modify Murray's take on America to make an apt summary of the Communio school: "The founders built stronger--and weaker--than they knew."