Likewise, the Church? She's been around a while. She's not something new. She's not "ours." Our fathers and mothers in the Faith have a lot more claim to being Her founders than anyone of us and they didn't have the hubris to think She was their creation, nor dedicated to them and their wishes.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
The Liturgy the Church has received from Her Head? She can't improve it, she can't make it more "meaningful." All She, in the persons of her many members, can do is to strive to have greater comprehension of its meaning inherent and unchanging and unchangeable, the meaning already contained therein, to more completely fulfill what has been prescribed.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
As it is for us to be formed by the Mass, not to try to form it; to be the missionaries we are sent to be - missa est.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us
And the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her.
-- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.