paris statement
European Union

The Paris Statement: a true Europe (marked by Christianity) vs the false Europe (utopian and tyrannical)

In May 2017, a group of conservative scholars and intellectuals met in Paris…

No, don’t yawn.

They say they were “brought together by their common concern about the current state of European politics, culture, society and, above all, the state of the European mind and imagination. Through delusion and self-deception and ideological distortion, Europe is dissipating her great civilizational inheritance.”

Well, that’s true, isn’t it?

Unless your name is Nick Clegg, AC Grayling, or you happen to be a bishop in the Church of England (not Shrewsbury).

These fine conservative minds, which included our very own Professor Sir Roger Scruton, produced ‘The Paris Statement’, which kind of makes sense as a title because they were in Paris when they issued their tome, which might indeed be viewed as a statement because their words were issued quasi-authoritatively, as conservative scholars and intellectuals are wont to do. And ‘Paris’ gives the statement an aura of continental enlightenment in ways which, say, ‘The Slough Statement’ or ‘The Lewisham Statement’ probably never could.

The preamble continues:

Instead of simply wringing their hands in fruitless anxiety, or adding yet another tome to the ample literature that diagnoses “the decline of the West”, the Paris participants believed it was important to make an affirmation, and to do so publicly. They expressed their attachment to “the true Europe,” and did so with reasons that can be recognized by all. In doing so, it was first necessary to give an account of this true Europe, which lies hidden beneath the fashionable abstractions of our age.

The result is, “A Europe We Can Believe In.” This Paris Statement is a ringing call for a renewed understanding of, and appreciation for, Europe’s true genius. It is an invitation to the peoples of Europe to actively recover what is best in our tradition, and to build a peaceful, hopeful, and noble future together.

The Paris Statement is good, very good, contrasting, as it does, the false Europe of teleological superstition and utopian tyranny with the true Europe of nation-state cooperation based on Christian solidarity and civic loyalty. Consider:

Europe, in all its richness and greatness, is threatened by a false understanding of itself. This false Europe imagines itself as a fulfilment of our civilization, but in truth it will confiscate our home. It appeals to exaggerations and distortions of Europe’s authentic virtues while remaining blind to its own vices. Complacently trading in one-sided caricatures of our history, this false Europe is invincibly prejudiced against the past. Its proponents are orphans by choice, and they presume that to be an orphan—to be homeless—is a noble achievement. In this way, the false Europe praises itself as the forerunner of a universal community that is neither universal nor a community.

Good, that. And then this:

The patrons of the false Europe are bewitched by superstitions of inevitable progress. They believe that History is on their side, and this faith makes them haughty and disdainful, unable to acknowledge the defects in the post-national, post-cultural world they are constructing. Moreover, they are ignorant of the true sources of the humane decencies they themselves hold dear—as do we. They ignore, even repudiate the Christian roots of Europe. At the same time they take great care not to offend Muslims, who they imagine will cheerfully adopt their secular, multicultural outlook. Sunk in prejudice, superstition and ignorance, and blinded by vain, self-congratulating visions of a utopian future, the false Europe reflexively stifles dissent. This is done, of course, in the name of freedom and tolerance.

And it goes on an on with oodles of political wisdom, philosophical insight and theological truth:

The true Europe affirms the equal dignity of every individual, regardless of sex, rank or race. This also arises from our Christian roots. Our gentle virtues are of an unmistakably Christian heritage: fairness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, peace-making, charity. Christianity revolutionized the relationship between men and women, valuing love and mutual fidelity in an unprecedented way. The bond of marriage allows both men and women to flourish in communion. Most of the sacrifices we make are for the sake of our spouses and children. This spirit of self-giving is yet another Christian contribution to the Europe we love.

The true Europe also draws inspiration from the Classical tradition. We recognize ourselves in the literature of ancient Greece and Rome. As Europeans, we strive for greatness, the crown of the Classical virtues. At times, this has led to violent competition for supremacy. But at its best, an aspiration toward excellence inspires the men and women of Europe to craft musical and artistic works of unsurpassed beauty and to make extraordinary breakthroughs in science and technology. The grave virtues of the self-possessed Romans and the pride in civic participation and spirit of philosophical inquiry of the Greeks have never been forgotten in the real Europe. These inheritances, too, are ours.

It isn’t perfect in its analysis, by any means, but then conservative scholars and intellectuals never claim to be infallible: they leave that to AC Grayling. Consider this odd sentence in ¶31:

The nations need to cooperate to master the arrogance and mindlessness of global economic forces. We affirm the prudent use of government power to sustain non-economic social goods.

Such cooperation must necessarily be enforced, and who determines what amount of government power is ‘prudent’? Who defines ‘social goods’? How are these manifest and with what mechanism to amend? In this vacuum we are left with an echo of the very European political union which some would say is moderating “the arrogance and mindlessness of global economic forces” with social chapters and workers’ rights. But this may be nit-picking: the wealth and richness of The Paris Statement outweighs its smudged jots and tittles. Consider this:

The false Europe also boasts of an unprecedented commitment to equality. It claims to promote non-discrimination and the inclusion of all races, religions and identities. Here, genuine progress has been made, but a utopian detachment from reality has taken hold. Over the past generation, Europe has pursued a grand project of multiculturalism. To demand or even promote the assimilation of Muslim newcomers to our manners and mores, much less to our religion, has been thought a gross injustice. A commitment to equality, we have been told, demands that we abjure any hint that we believe our culture superior. Paradoxically, Europe’s multicultural enterprise, which denies the Christian roots of Europe, trades on the Christian ideal of universal charity in an exaggerated and unsustainable form. It requires from the European peoples a saintly degree of self-abnegation. We are to affirm the very colonization of our homelands and the demise of our culture as Europe’s great twenty-first century glory—a collective act of self-sacrifice for the sake of some new global community of peace and prosperity that is being born.

This is undoubtedly true.

But the Bishops would consider it to be xenophobic and Islamophobic, if not bigoted and racist.

In fact, they’d probably consider the entire Paris Statement to be a profundly un-Christian diatribe scrawled by right-wing ideologues and hateful zealots.

So read it, meditate upon it, and let it nourish your political soul.

  • Anton

    Your Grace, this blog has “Previous Article” and “Next Article” the wrong way round immediately above the comments.

  • Anton

    The Paris statement is an entirely accurate analysis, but it fails to recognise that a single culture is rooted in a single belief system. Europe’s was untiil recently a mix of the classical world and institutional Christianity. The things which Scruton et al. treasure came out of that. Nothing that has replaced these two has the depth to nourish and maintain those treasured things. Hence we are screwed.

    The implicit question for readers of this blog is: What should we do in the face of the situation? How *should* Europe be run? The answer inferrable from the New Testament is: “Christian, be a good citizen but the latter question ultimately isn’t your business. The former is. Just preach the gospel and stand against evil, unto death if necessary. Leave the rest to me and the timing to me.” I have as little wish to return to an era of compulsory so-called Christianity, whether Anglican under Elizabeth or Roman under Innocent III or Byzantine, as I have to live during the French revolution.

    I share the love that Scruton et al. have for Europe and its culture. I feel the tension and it is hard to bear at times. But for me, God must come first, even above the culture and history of the continent I love.

  • Manfarang

    Asia is rising.

    • Anton

      Yes, Genghis Khan saved Europe by weakening Islam. What will happen this time?

      • Manfarang

        Will China save Europe? Now that is an interesting question.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      But which Asia? India is so different from China.

      Interestingly, the motor company name Kia means “Asia is rising”.

      • Anton

        It might be an acronym for it, but I don’t believe you can get that much information in two syllables.

        • Royinsouthwest

          How do you know? Are you an expert on any Asian languages?

          • Anton

            If I were then I wouldn’t have phrased it with doubt. I have given a reason for my scepticism. Fancy a bet?

          • Pubcrawler

            Let’s see what Kia itself has to say, as they ought to know

            http://www.kia.com/dm/util/customer-center/faq/faq_010.html

          • Anton

            So “a” (as pronounced in ‘kia’) means “Asia”? It is also the sound that people make when they burn themselves, or lift something heavy, etc etc. It is a component of many words. I’d need a rule that it means “Asia” when preceded by a syllable of a certain category into which “Ki” falls.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            The Kia site is essentially gibberish as it talks about ‘Ki’ and ‘a’ having meaning in “the Chinese language” when the various Chinese languages are written in ideograms.

            Also in Korean they use Hangul and have done for centuries.

            I suspect that what they mean is that two Chinese ideograms that ‘Asia is rising’ vaguely look a bit like ‘Ki’ and ‘a’.

          • Anton

            Thank you. I don’t regret offering that bet yet!

          • O dear, Anton, bad wager. I thought you had a point. Still you say a lot that’s good even if like the rest of us you overstep yourself at times. Take care.

      • Manfarang

        Both South and East Asia.

  • ¶21 A lodestar of the European spirit has been the rigorous discipline of intellectual honesty and objectivity

    Amen to that. Inheritors of the European spirit yearn for the day when, for example, it will be possible to subject the Holocaust to intellectual honesty without fear of retribution. Our hunger for the absolute, unvarnished truth sets Europeans apart from other peoples and is, I think, one of the major reasons we have achieved so much.

    ¶27 Immigration without assimilation is colonization, and this must be rejected. We rightly expect that those who migrate to our lands will incorporate themselves into our nations and adopt our ways

    Expect away but it will not happen. As Horace said so elegantly, ‘Cælum, non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt / They change their sky, not their souls, who cross the sea.’ The Third World immigration Europe has suffered since the middle of the last century is specifically intended to destroy European civilization and replace Christianity by Islam.

    • Hi

      “it will be possible to subject the Holocaust to intellectual honesty without fear of retribution.”

      Well there’s factual history and pseudo history made up by antisemitic propaganda and holocaust denial. One is authentic scholarship and the other is just plain old Jew hate masquerading as such.

      • @ Hannah Out Loud—With respect, if what you call pseudo-history really is based on nothing more than anti-Semitism and Jew hatred, let the Holocaust be studied and investigated as freely as every other historical event and the pseudo-history will then crumble to dust. At present, with many European countries making it a crime to question the Holocaust, such ‘intellectual honesty and objectivity’ is simply impossible.

        • Hi,

          The Holocaust is well researched and it can easily be argued that deniers are either wilfully ignorant or liars or just mad ,bad conspiracy theorists who just cannot accept the evidence of history.

          I suggest you watch the critically-acclaimed 2016 film” Denial” which told the story of Deborah Lipstadt’s legal defence againt a libel suit brought by David Irving.

          Meanwhile:

          “I saw my first horror camp [on 12 April 1945]. It was near the town of Gotha. I have never been able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency. Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources. I am certain however, that I have never at any time experienced an equal sense of shock.

          I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that “the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.” Some members of the visiting party were unable to go through with the ordeal. I not only did so but as soon as I returned to Patton’s headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and the British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt.”

          —Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, 1948

          • @ Hannah Out Loud—An alternative point of view comes from a Jew who converted to Christianity, Brother Nathanael. In his video The Amazon Book Burning he says at 1:32, ‘I grew up as a Jew in the fifties and we knew nothing of a Holocaust. It was one of our own, Jewish historian Jacob Marcus, who stated in the Encyclopaedia Britannica that “thousands”—not six million—of Jews perished in German work camps. It wasn’t until the sixties that the Holocaust Industry emerged, with Elie Wiesel, the high priest of the lie, touting that six million died.’

            Eisenhower was no stranger to brutality. See Other Losses: An Investigation into the Mass Deaths of German Prisoners at the Hands of the French and Americans after World War II by James Bacque.

        • Anton

          Please state a significant proposition about the Holocaust that you believe is false but most people believe is true.

          • @ Anton—As a physicist you will know that belief plays no part in scientific investigation, which must proceed on the basis of observations made as accurately as possible. What I, or anyone else, believes about the Holocaust is irrelevant. It is the facts that matter but the present climate of fear prevents a dispassionate examination of the facts.

          • Anton

            Of which facts?

          • @ Anton—Every single fact, scientific and historical. According to Brother Nathanael (see my earlier comment), his Jewish community in the US in the 1950s ‘knew nothing of a Holocaust’. That strikes me as odd and makes me want to find out what’s going on, something today’s Jews are doing their best to prevent.

          • Anton

            Don’t be coy.

  • CliveM

    The statement is interesting and states many truths, but is it too late? HG is concerned that the Bishops will consider it “xenophobic and Islamophobic, if not bigoted and racist.”

    I suspect they won’t consider it at all. Indeed sadly I fear most people won’t even hear of it, or care.

    It may change, but I’ve just googled it and found nothing relevant. Few people seem to care and fewer still if they are young.

  • Mere whistling in the wind, I fear.

  • David

    A very useful and perhaps even inspiring statement. But how can it be published and promulgated, first throughout academia and then trickled out to the public. Therein lies the problem, as the long march through the institutions means that we conservatives have few friends in academic or media circles. Solve that problem and we stand a fighting chance !

    • CliveM

      I think this highlights the scales of the challenge. The left will sneer and attempt to undermine any and every demonstration of European cultural pride. Pretty soon remembering any achievement, victory or discovery will be seen as racist, neo colonial or patriarchal.

      • Mike Stallard

        Pretty soon?
        Balliol College banned the Christian Union from freshers’ week! And that ghastly woman who all but wrecked the National Trust is now their Master! Octavia Hill must be turning in her grave!

        • Dominic Stockford

          Exeter University banned the Christian Union totally a few years ago. Yes, it was eventually undone, but these things are occurring more and more, and they are a sign of ‘freedom of speech, as long as we agree with what you say’ taking over.

          • Mike Stallard

            And this at our top Universities! I am old enough to remember at Cambridge Union when Sir Oswald Mosely was invited to speak! How things have changed!

        • Royinsouthwest

          Perhaps graduates of Balliol and donors should start dropping hints that the college needs to guarantee freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and academic freedom generally. The National Trust did back-peddle somewhat when faced by a revolt by volunteers and by people cancelling their membership.

          What made Balliol think that Octavia Hill was a suitable person to become master of the college?

          • Anton

            Octavia Hill co-founded the National Trust and died a century ago. Helen Ghosh currently runs it but will leave and take charge of Balliol College next spring. Unfortunately for Balliol, which once boasted John Wycliffe as Master:

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/18/national-trust-boss-dame-helen-ghosh-steps-controversial-tenure/

            Add to her list of NT messes the recent insistence that volunteer staff wear LGBT rainbow badges until they refused en masse.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Thanks for putting me right. I have corrected my original comment and added a couple of lines crediting you.

      • David

        My hope, perhaps a vain one, is that the public becomes tired of Leftist drivel. But whilst they control the institutions does it matter that much what Jo Public thinks ? It is only on the rare occasion when the public voice their rejection of the leftist establishment rubbish that we see, almost visibly, the ever widening gulf between the hierarchy and Joe Average. The referendum was such an event. Oh how I wish we had a proper Peoples’s Democracy like Switzerland – and look what a successful nation that is !

  • Here’s tangible evidence of the author’s claims that to seek to preserve one’s Christian culture will attract scorn and abuse from liberals:

    Hundreds of thousands of Polish Catholics encircled their country with prayer Saturday, imploring Our Lady’s intervention to save Poland and the world.

    As Catholics lined the country’s 2,000-mile border for the “Rosary at the Borders,” progressives and compatible media deemed the national prayer gathering “controversial,” xenophobic, Islamophobic, or “not” representative of the Catholic Church.

    “Poland Catholics hold controversial prayer day on borders,” the BBC’s headline said of the event.

    Rafał Pankowski, head of the Warsaw multicultural understanding advocacy group Never Again, told the Associated Press, “The whole concept of doing it on the borders reinforces the ethno-religious, xenophobic model of national identity.”

    Krzysztof Luft, a former member of Poland’s largest opposition party, the liberal Civic Platform, tweeted, “Ridiculing Christianity on mass scale. They treat religion as a tool for keeping the backwardness in Polish backwater.”

    “Rosary to the Borders” was organized by lay Catholics and sanctioned by Church leaders in Poland, with some 320 churches from 22 dioceses participating in roughly 4,000 locations along Poland’s border with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia and the Baltic Sea.

    More than 90 percent of Poland’s 38 million citizens are Roman Catholic.

    The Catholic prime minister of Poland endorsed the rosary event as well. Beata Szydlo tweeted, “I greet all the participants.”

    ……..

    Some participants’ comments about Europe keeping its Christian roots or stemming the tide of Islam were framed in the media to paint the “Rosary to the Borders” as nationalistic or “Fears of Islam.”

    “Let’s pray for other nations of Europe and the world to understand that we need to return to the Christian roots of European culture if we want Europe to remain Europe,” Krakow Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski said at Mass on Saturday.

    “It’s a really serious thing for us,” Basia Sibinska told AP. “We want to pray for peace, we want to pray for our safety. Of course, everyone comes here with a different motivation. But the most important thing is to create something like a circle of a prayer alongside the entire border, intense and passionate.”

    Poland and Hungary have refused to take migrants under a quota system established by the European Union, causing controversy and threatening the two countries’ membership in the EU.

    Concerns over the secularization in Europe, however, exist independent of the current migration crisis and its various implications.

    The Times report said of the rosary prayer event that “Polish Catholics clutching rosary beads” had gathered for “for a mass demonstration” and called Poland “a nation moving increasingly to the right.”

    Villanova University theologian Massimo Faggioli used Twitter to criticize what he termed using the rosary from “anti-immigrant use.”

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/massive-turnout-for-rosary-crusade-in-poland.-liberals-furious

    • David

      Yes wonderful news wasn’t it ? Poland fortunately managed to maintain a strong Christian component party because of the oppression it suffered under Communism. When I was there five years ago it was heartening to see churches full of young believers.
      Poland is not multicultural and so its people, with their faith, are more united than in the west. Moreover because they lived for centuries with the threat of conquest by Islam, and crucially have retained that knowledge of their history, they are determined to keep Poland as it is. That is why with the rest of the Visegrad nations, especially Hungary, they are now at serious loggerheads with the EU centralised high command with its one size fits all philosophy. The EU demands that they take Muslim immigrants and they simply say NO !
      I seriously hope that Poland and Hungary cling to the culture, faith and beliefs even if they are, as a consequence, regarded as the bad boys of the EU.

      • CliveM

        At the moment I hope they can continue to withstand pressure from the EU. If they can, it will give them a fighting chance.

        • Anton

          The EU is a bullying organisation but it has no real guts. Poland and Hungary won’t face worse than economic sanctions from a zone whose currency is in deep trouble anyway. They aren’t going to take millions of bogus refugees.

          • CliveM

            Maybe, I hope you are right. Paradoxically Brexit may help Poland and Hungary as the EU may feel it has more important fights.

          • David

            I do believe you are right.
            The Visegrad nations are so wise.

          • Anton

            It’s just that they remember being under the Ottomans (Hungary) or fighting them (Sobieski’s Poland).

      • IanCad

        Neither – if it is true – should we forget the Russians. There are still Christians who value their faith with their lives.

        https://aleteia.org/blogs/deacon-greg-kandra/report-isis-kills-russian-soldiers-for-refusing-to-renounce-christianity/

        • David

          Totally agree Ian. We visited Russia about four years ago and it was heartening to see churches, closed during Communism, being reopened and refurbished. Putin makes sure that they have sufficient funds for this.
          Perhaps Russia always sets a different direction to the west. If our de-Christainisation continues we in the west will be pagan, with a few flickers of faith, whilst Russia and the Visegrad nations will a bastion of european, Christian civilisation. How times change !

          • bluedog

            You’re right. It is France and Germany which are now the epicentres of the secularist totalitarianism.

      • It’s the reason Jack voted to remain in the EU – break its grip from within and refuse to cooperate on red-line issues. Will they expel Poland and Hungary? Impose penalties? Send the troops in? What?

        • Albert

          It’s the reason Jack voted to remain in the EU – break its grip from within and refuse to cooperate on red-line issues.

          Really?! I’m astonished you think that’s possible.

          • We’ll never know.

          • Albert

            Know, perhaps. But we can be reasonably certain.

          • That’s what protestants said when they broke with Rome. Jack believes they were wrong too.

          • bluedog

            Look at it this way. The Polish crie de coeur is an appeal for a return to an over-arching Christendom, and a rejection of the secular super-state of the EU. Which do you support? If it’s the EU, you are backing the edifice which is a major contributor to the destruction of Christianity in Europe.

          • Of course Jack sides with the Polish nation – and with Hungary too.

          • Anton

            I’m sorry but I support neither. Please see my lengthy post at bottom.

          • bluedog

            ‘But, for me, God must come first, even above the culture and history of the continent I love.’ So, are you saying that God cannot be the Christian God in the form of Christ?

            You also highlight the difference between the Common Law and. implicitly, Roman Law. Given that the Common Law is based on the principles espoused by the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, isn’t that in itself a ‘virtual covenant’?

          • Anton

            No, I am saying that institutional Christianity is not authentic Christianity. It is based on law whereas gospel Christianity is based on grace.

            Common Law is a flexible system that derives from the Anglo-Saxon heritance.

          • bluedog

            It’s a familiar argument, one usually advanced by len, that institutional Christianity is not authentic Christianity. But it’s a counter factual proposition, in that unless Christianity had spread through the institutionally structured Roman Empire, at first informally and then formally, it would almost certainly have remained a minor Jewish sect. We don’t know for sure. But there is little doubt in the mind of this writer that the spread of Christianity in Europe has almost always been a function of institutional structures. Look at the late converts to Christianity in the Baltic states such as Lithuanian. Wasn’t it a project of the monarch, under pressure from the Teutonic Knights? Certainly Russian Christianity was a project of the monarch, inspired by the glory of Constantinople. Which brings us back to Constantine, whose influence cannot be overstated.

          • Anton

            I don’t care if it’s me or Len saying it, the point is to explain why it’s true. You can’t impose faith by law, or by decree of a ruler. You can impose conformity – and make people go to church, or make them not say heretical statements – but you cannot impose piety. What spread by those means was the advocacy of a particular form of morality, but the whole point of Christianity is that man cannot keep good laws unaided and if you love Christ then He will change you so you can. I reckon that only a minority in Byzantium or Rome loved Christ. The rest believed the gospel was true, but even Satan does that. Did they love Christ?

          • I agree with this though I would add to morality a worldview. Both flowing from Christianity created a culture broadly Christian. Though severely compromised and corrupted enough of what was genuinely Christian influenced the culture of Europe to create something superior morally and intellectually to what other world views offered. The barbarians were always knocking at the gates, however, in one form or another. Now they rule in the corridors of power and we move into a new age of darkness.

          • Are you then a Christian anarchist? Your overlooking the fact we all come to Christ in different ways and profess our faith in different ways and in experience it to different degrees. Some don’t come to Christ until late in life – often inspired by the lives of other Christians or exposure to religious services. The “soil” needs preparing. Live in a pagan nation and this will impose barriers on the receptivity of the Gospel. You really think the Gospel would have spread throughout the world without the organised Church supported by Christian rulers? Europe would have been conquered by Islam but for organised religion and Christian Monarchs. And it’s the height of arrogance to judge the depth and quality of love for Christ in other people.

          • Anton

            You really think the Gospel would have spread throughout the world without the organised Church supported by Christian rulers?”

            That’s how it spread throughout the entire Roman Empire – the most organised iron crushing machine in the world to that time (Dan 2) – isn’t it?

          • God either permitted this or willed it – and He brought good from it i.e. law and order to the known world and the Christian Gospel.

          • Albert

            Mmmm…but the EU is not the Body of Christ, it is not necessary to belong to it, and it is not guided by the Holy Spirit regardless of the failings of its leaders.

          • This Is true but Jack was referring more to a spirit of withdrawal when problems seem insurmountable. Rome was certainly corrupt in the 16th century and full of political intrigue and personal and national ambitions. Guess Jack believes good ultimately prevails in the end. He supported the idea of free, independent nations cooperating socially, economically and internationally to build a safer and more secure Europe based on Catholic principles of social justice and solidarity. It takes a lot for him to give up on his dreams. Leaving Europe isn’t going to free us from the tyranny of neoliberal intolerance or the imposition of an anti-Christian collectivist state.

          • I believe good will prevail in the end but not because good always triumphs over evil in the course of history. Actually, I think, in history, evil triumphs over good. This was the Psalmists perception in Psalm 73. It was the perspective of faith that gave him stability and hope; he saw their end. He saw the triumph of justice not in history but in history’s end. He saw the coming day of God, the day of the Lord. It is Christ’s return that brings hope. However, while before that event The Christian message will reach all nations, the cultures of these nations will be corrupt and opposed to God.Ironically, in fact, it seems as if the worst opposition be immediately prior to Christ’s coming.

          • But history suggests to Jack that evil does, in fact, eventually consume itself. It’s unsustainable. God’s ordinances are not just “rules” without temporal and personal consequences. They are there for the good of man in this life as well as the next. God, through His mercy and love, does for a time restrain evil and it’s worse effects but, left unchecked, ultimately it leads to chastisement and brings down civilisations.

          • Anton

            The evil is in man’s heart and that doesn’t go away when a civilisation crumbles.

          • Of course not. But if man’s evil is constrained by civil authority and the culture reflects Christians virtues, then good people have a chance to flourish and to spread the Gospel.

          • Albert

            I get all that Jack, but I would say that democracy is more important, and I don’t really see that the EU can be described as

            independent nations cooperating socially, economically and internationally to build a safer and more secure Europe based on Catholic principles of social justice and solidarity

            I think every point of that can be challenged.

          • Jack said he supported this vision, he didn’t say it had been realised – or indeed was now possible. It’s down to a question of how we left. As he said, Jack would have preferred we stay to forestall the EU Super state developing and forming alliances with similarly minded nations..

          • Terry Mushroom

            “Leaving Europe isn’t going to free us..” Slip of the pen or Freudian slip? We’re leaving the EU, not Europe.

          • Has England ever really regarded itself as part of Europe? Jack does wonder. When it gave up its aspirations of conquering France, it saw its role more as attempting to maintain a balance of power on the continent whilst built an empire.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Probably not since the so called Reformation when England forsook the Virgin Mother for the Virgin Queen. Or Shakespeare wrote of “this sceptred isle…a moat defensive against the envy of less happier lands”.

            However, Australians see nothing odd in participating in Eurovision. I’m one, although living in England for many years. I grew up with children of Greeks, Irish, Slovakians, Poles and Italians.

            As a Catholic, part of my interest in going to Mass anywhere in the world is sharing a faith not tied to culture, language or civil governance. The EU denies Europe’s past the way Protestantism sees ground zero in the 16th century.

            One mistake the Catholic Church made was rendering to Caesar by becoming too involved in temporal affairs. The EU’s mistake is not to render to God.

          • Anton

            It’s been different because the Anglo-Saxon tradition that government is there for the benefit of the people rather than the aristocracy manage to survive even the Norman conquest.

          • Government – through whomever God determines – is there for the good of the people, rather than their “benefit”.

          • Chefofsinners

            If the referendum were held today, how would you vote?

          • Like T.May, Jack doesn’t answer hypothetical questions.

          • Haha! I enjoy the repartee on this site.

          • DespiteBrexit

            Based on the last 40 years’ experience and the EU’s admitted ambitions, we can have a pretty shrewd idea.

        • Anton

          Seems to me you were thinking like a French politician rather than a British one with that attitude. A country ought to keep its word.

          Pragmatically, you are saying stay inside and influence it for the better, by fair means or foul. Britain has been *so* successful at influencing Brussels in the last 40 years, has it not?

          • Jack never suggested “foul means”. Non-cooperation with what are deemed to be illegitimate laws is the right of any individual or nation. They then have to suffer whatever sanctions this entails. The ball would have been in the EU court to respond. An alliance of like minded countries, headed by Britain, may have been able to halt the drive to the European super state. A project that Jack believes is doomed to failure in any event.

          • Anton

            It would be impossible for any nation to do what you want without it breaking EU rules to which it has signed up. A nation should keep its word. Ergo, we should get out.

          • Don’t you understand the concept of “passive resistance”, Anton?

          • Anton

            Yes I do. But in many areas of EU jurisdiction majority voting now prevails. Please don’t waste your time and mine by avoiding the point: to stay in the EU and to declare red lines for your nation will inevitably mean breaking EU rules to which your nation has signed up. Do you prefer that a nation should break its word (albeit to Brussels)? Better to get out.

          • The tactics of disruption can be very effective, and, yes, downright refusal to comply should a law or rule be so obviously threatening to a nation’s best interests. We stayed out of the EU and also and open borders for non-EU nationals too.

          • Anton

            Then you are French rather than British in your approach to the EU. Please go back five steps in this dialogue…

          • Probably a hangover from Jack’s days as a Trotskyist – rather than French.

          • Hi

            Apparently the French might have Europe’s “area 51”:The ESA uses French Guinea as a launch site..

        • David

          I believe you are deluded on that one. The EU doesn’t change, just like Communism didn’t, because at centre it is a political project, with its own rigid philosophy.

          • What’s done is done. No point in raking over it now.

        • dannybhoy

          I can’t see how that could possibly have worked Jack. Our politicians bar a few, were happy to continue being Europuppets and enjoy the perks that went with it.
          Think about it, you get to strut the political stage, appear on chat shows and at taxpayers’ expense enjoy all sorts of jollies –and all you have to do is deliver the scripts issued from Brussels!
          For example so inept have our politicians become that we now have one brand new aircraft carrier, but we won’t have any planes for it until 2020..

        • not a machine

          I think you make a reasonable point if you believe you could influence or correct what the EU builds in its attempt to become a total power , so far what we have considered as the UK view has been made a entertaining poodle ,why it has gone down this route has something about the necessity of opportunity as driver ,without much assessment or definition if the opportunity should have been something else .I am clear that the EUs grip has not worked well and it has shown ,it can deploy painful ignorance to those it professes to represent .If your a remainer you have to assess what the EU is doing and if it is doing it well ,I see it as a group think that is frittering away its respect for governance ,how it behaves as it assumes more of existence necessity , in my thinking will be realisation of what they got wrong .We have in fairness asked them ,numerous times , what we would like , I don’t know happy jack does it look like to you they see any faults ?

          • The E.U. is like the Hotel California.
            You can check out any time you like,
            But you can never leave.’

          • not a machine

            I don’t know if only one hotel has a budget surplus ,eventually the non surplus hotels will become shabby .

    • Terry Mushroom

      Seems like the Poles are getting uppity. The Polish patriot, Pope John II, attempted to get the EU to recognise Europe’s Christian roots. His predecessor, named St Benedict as Europe’s patron..

      Maybe the large monasteries of the past, with their great estates and highly regulated way of life, will be seen no more, but it is the genius of St Benedict to be interpreted afresh in every generation. His rule can still teach us.

      • Jack has carried a Saint Benedict sacramental medal for a many a year.

        • Terry Mushroom

          I trust you’re not praying to it….

  • Ray Sunshine

    It’s quite illuminating to contrast these two snippets from the Paris Statement:

    24. The work of renewal begins with theological self-knowledge. The universalist and universalizing pretensions of the false Europe reveal it to be an ersatz religious enterprise, complete with strong creedal commitments—and anathemas. This is the potent opiate that paralyzes Europe as a political body. …
    25. … The future of Europe must be liberal in the best sense, which means committed to robust public debate free from all threats of violence and coercion.

    with today’s news from Oxford that Anton linked to on another thread:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/10/10/oxford-college-bans-harmful-christian-union-freshers-fair/

    • Manfarang

      Oxford has new “Tests”!

    • David

      Yes incredible isn’t it.

  • Inspector General

    Mrs May apologises to whining BAME types in the UK for the indigenous population of the country to which their antecedents or even themselves migrated to being white.

    Has the Inspector missed something here. These people apparently being stuck here against their will and lacking the sorely dreamed opportunity to move back to the paradise they originated from…

    We don’t stand an earthly of retaining our culture…

    {Snort}

    • dannybhoy

      I agree Inspector. No civilisation can survive which treats its past with such disdain, shame even. And yet as the article points out ..
      “Paradoxically, Europe’s multicultural enterprise, which denies the Christian roots of Europe, trades on the Christian ideal of universal charity in an exaggerated and unsustainable form.”
      This is exactly the same pink, fluffy and vacuous social gospel espoused by many of our senior clergy.

      • Inspector General

        BAME activists no better than LGBT activists, Danny. both out to take control.

        Madcap ideas heard on the radio today include BAME individual on all interview panels. BAME representation at Cabinet level, and apparently trying young male blacks under a different law which doesn’t send them to prison.

        Bah!

        BAME types, know thy place. Same goes for you LGBT creeps too, what!

        • Royinsouthwest

          I agree that BAME types should be treated fairly but encouraging people to have a chip on their shoulder, or both shoulders, does not help to integrate people.

          The summary of the report claims that BAME people are more likely to be the victims of crime than whites. It skirts around the issue of who is causing crime by giving statistics for arrests, thereby conveying a subliminal suggestion of police bias but does admit that re-offending rates are higher among blacks.

          The whole tenor of the report seems calculated to promote a victim mentality among BAME people.

          • Inspector General

            A quote from a PN corespondent, albeit some time back. “If it wasn’t for Christianity, the 21st century in the West would be a gay playground.

            Don’t be alarmed. One doubts that even 50% of the wretches that place attracts could pass a sanity test …

            But it does illustrate that for the ‘activist’ there will never be contentment. There will always be “and something else we want “. We would be stupid indeed if we do not appreciate that BAME activists be the very same…

          • bluedog

            …and guilt among the hideously white British?

        • Anton

          Exercise for the Inspector:

          “What did the Empire ever do for us?”

          • Inspector General

            When the Romans arrived in Britannia, they found a disparate people living on the tops of hills in a heavily forested country who threw spears at each other while clothed in animal skin. When they left, the transformation was outstanding. In many ways too numerous to list, we are as they left us. We have been grateful to the Romans ever since.

            When the British civilised the countries of the former British Empire…

            …in many countries low down on the ‘desperate’ scale, they’ve never forgiven our civilising of them and probably never will.

    • Hi Inspector

      A ditty for you

      When Britannia comes marching home again
      Hurrah! Hurrah!
      We’ll give her a hearty welcome then
      Hurrah! Hurrah!

      It was fifteen hundred and eighty eight
      Hurrah! Hurrah!
      Francis Drake thrashed the Spanish Armada
      Hurrah! Hurrah!

      The men will cheer and the boys will shout
      The ladies they will all turn out
      And we’ll all feel gay
      When Britannia comes marching home.

      Eighteen hundred and fifteen
      Hurrah! Hurrah!
      Wellington defeats Napoleon at Waterloo
      Hurrah! Hurrah!
      The British Empire is born anew
      Hurrah! Hurrah!

      The old bell will peal with joy
      Hurrah! Hurrah!
      To welcome home our darling girl,
      Hurrah! Hurrah!

      In nineteen eighteen the Kaiser is defeated
      Hurrah! Hurrah!
      After four years of fighting for freedom
      Hurrah! Hurrah!

      The village lads and lassies say
      With roses they will strew the way,
      And we’ll all feel gay
      When Britannia comes marching home.

      Nineteen forty five and the third Reich
      Is destroyed by the allies
      Hurrah! Hurrah!
      It’s the Commonwealth that will last for a thousand years : later Israel is born anew
      Hurrah! Hurrah!

      We got ready with Queen’s Jubilee,
      Hurrah! Hurrah!
      We’ll give the hero three times three,
      Hurrah! Hurrah!

      Nineteen hundred and ninety
      The Soviet Union collapses
      Hurrah! Hurrah!

      The laurel wreath is ready now
      To place upon the royal brow
      And we’ll all feel gay
      When Britannia comes marching home.

      Twenty sixteen and the British people vote
      For the independence day against
      Another European tyranny
      Hurrah! Hurrah!

      Let love and friendship on this day,
      Hurrah, hurrah!
      Their choicest pleasures then display,
      Hurrah, hurrah!

      And let each one perform some part,
      To fill with joy the warrior’s heart,
      And we’ll all feel gay
      When Britannia comes marching home.

      • Manfarang

        You left out the 1997 Hands Up in Hong Kong.

        • Anton

          Just keeping our word, Man.

  • betteroffoutofit

    Interesting, Your Grace. And that’s a very pretty horse in the pic. . . . but the ?transgender thing riding it? That was our enemy. Or so they pointed out to me at school – though, of course, that was in a very Lefty place called Barnsley.

    Sigh. I think I’d rather follow the horse – and it has all my sympathy.

    • Joan of Arc – The Maid of Orleans – a heroine of France, is hardly a “transgender thing”!

      • Chefofsinners

        It’s Linus. I knew he’d be back.

        • carl jacobs

          You are just being Chef, of course. But your sentiment is correct. Linus will be back, or at least he will try to come back. He won’t surrender that easily.

          • Chefofsinners

            And you are just being Carl Jacobs, of course, but you are correct that I am correct.

          • Anton

            Jack is our best Linus detector. But it might be that banning extends to his IP address as well as the Linus identity. I don’t know, and I don’t even know if Cranmer knows (our host might just have hit a “ban” button without any small print of what it actually does). We might find out.

          • carl jacobs

            It probably extends to his MAC Address(es). He would need to hide his IP & MAC address and/or get new hardware and a new ISP.

          • There are ways and means. Jack has secret intelligence on these matters.

          • Chefofsinners

            Jack’s intelligence is a very well kept secret.

          • Jack does not care to be too ostentatious.

          • Ole Blowers, God Bless him, would enjoy the sport. Jack can imagine him loading his blunderbuss and donning his hunting cap.

            With apologies to HG – a tribute to a fondly remembered, much loved and missed dear friend:

            http://httpwwwmreman.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/defender-of-queens-english.html

            http://httpwwwmreman.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/stop-dodo.html

            http://httpwwwmreman.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/bwofeltian-wapsody.html

          • Anton

            If he contributed to your blog you presumably had an email address for him and know for sure what happened?

          • Jack wishes he did. However, Google blogs don’t work this way.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Jack, I think HG had his email address because I remember HG asking Ernstie to contact him because someone had bought him an electric wheelchair (or scooter)

          • Yes, but if Ole Blowers left no instructions with his family to inform HG and the blog about his death, it’s not really the sort of inquiry one can make. Jack has accepted Ole Blowers is no longer in this world. What’s sad is that we’ve been unable to mark his passing and contributions here in the way we did a deceased atheist some years back.

          • CliveM

            Still we’ll get to play our favourite game ‘Where’s Linus’!

          • dannybhoy

            Linus is gay, Linus is a sinner and in rebellion against God just as we all were.
            The fact that he keeps coming back here tells me that God is at work in his life, in his conscience.
            I look back on my of life and how much I resisted the voice of God through Christians, through their prayers, through my desire to do my own thing and enjoy what this world has to offer, and I say,
            “Let’s keep praying for Linus” because I think God is working in his heart, and He wants us to be a part of that..

    • dannybhoy
      • For dressing in male attire and cutting her hair short.

        • dannybhoy

          Personally I would honour her. She acted according to what she believed, what she had been taught.
          I don’t know that she is in Heaven, but I would not be surprised to meet her there..

          • betteroffoutofit

            Methinks I’d observe essential courtesies were I out of this world 🙂

            In this world and from a post-Hundred Years War pov, however, I prefer to keep my distance and hold to my opinion.
            She’s England’s enemy, and I’m no fan of her nation.

            As I suggest – the horse looks nice; it can’t help its situation. (Btw: I never met a bad domestic animal without realising that people had made it so.)

          • IrishNeanderthal

            But was not Shakespeare historically correct when he had Henry V say “No king of England if not king of France”?

            I watched the excellent series on the Hundred Years War by Janina Ramirez, and came away with the impression that had the victories at Crécy or Agincourt been permanent in their effect, England would never have been able to develop freely as a nation separate from France, but might have remained as the back legs of a pantomime horse.

            England owes a lot to Bertrand du Guesclin and Joan of Arc.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Yes. Those Plantagenets were quite keen on holding onto their Norman possessions without being subject to french kings. God works in wonderful ways, though, and the Lancastrians’ years in England seem to have worked for us in other ways. I love that we owe Henry V for the restoration of English as our official language.

          • Pubcrawler

            “we owe Henry V for the restoration of English as our official language”

            Begun under Edward III half a century before (Statute of Pleading).

          • Anton

            Ask the Lollards – heroes of mine – about the wonders of the reigns of Henry IV and V.

          • Anton

            But the victories at Crecy and Agincourt could never have been permanent; we had the men to win military victories but never enough to occupy and hold the land potentially won.

          • dannybhoy

            Good stuff.
            Danny believes that God split up the unity of Adamic humanity into cultural diversity at the Babel Incident..
            So I believe in cultural diversity with Israel as the lodestone, the covenant people of the one true God, who created the wondrousness that is the universe.
            We then have to wrestle with the mystery of humans responding to God’s laws as interpreted through their tribal understanding of God…
            We therefore are not in a position where we can judge Joan of Arc; we can only respect her for acting on what she understood to be the will of God for her..

          • “She represents England’s enemy, and I’m no fan of her nation anyway.”

            My country right or wrong?

            She represents the independence of nations through resistance of English claims to the throne of France and is also a symbol nationalism and independence.

        • Rhoda

          That would solve the problem of female clergy too.

  • carl jacobs

    Europe is dominated by an aimless materialism that seems unable to motivate men and women to have children and form families.

    Yes, everything else is pointless if the culture dies for lack of interest. Having children used to be an obligation of adulthood. Now it’s an option the fits into the interstices of adult actualization.

    • Chefofsinners

      Having children used to be an economic necessity. Someone to support you and care for you in old age. In the UK the welfare state has removed self-reliance and destroyed the motivation not only to work but to reproduce. Children today are just another consumer good, one the consumer often gets bored with after a couple of years.

      • Anton

        It’s increasingly an economic impossibility. The government is culpable for that.

    • Anton

      It used to be an obligation of marriage rather than adulthood.

      Today the only women having lots of children in Britain are secular singles whose children have a multitude of fathers and who live off the taxpayer via the State, and Muslim wives. Demographics is destiny, as Mark Steyn put it.

      • betteroffoutofit

        Yes – an obligation of marriage, the family and, ultimately, the state.. Having children meant that someone continued the family and took responsibility for its property – as well as for the contintuity of its culture. Families, of course, had their loyalties to larger groups, via e.g. kings.

        Now . . . hedonism is king.

  • not a machine

    “An EU we can believe in” unfortunately this appeal as far as I can tell does not appeal to those who see only mental calculations ,as someone trying to live a Christian life ,I am happy that those who see mental calculations ,and who may see Christianity as limited or narrow ,do not see judgement or consequence.
    I remember one highly intellectual left winger /atheist telling me , well of course its all very well but religion (Christianity included) is an opiate for the masses. It takes a little time to recover and consider where such thoughts come from ….mmm so basically I am the deluded and drugged and my high minded atheist is not .Upon reflection of course despite being a high minded intellectual ,he hadn’t realised or had refused to entertain ,that his rejection of religion , could also be an opiate, which even now many years from that encounter still troubles me, I mean when you look at what may be termed social science theories ,much has not turned out well , and there is probably a reason for this ,my own feelings on the matter is the restlessness or peace when you encounter Jesus/God compared to doctrines that do not .
    However this answer has been unsuitable for intellectuals for some time and the atheist believes that the perception of God is just a brain pattern that can be replicated or re missioned ,this is the dry unproductive landscape that most intellectual discussions can end in,in my experience, with no conclusive moment.
    The cyber upgrading of thoughts is an interesting concept and yet the resultant outcome is only having those who can contain the upgrade, or afford it and then there is non compliance . So there is some problem for me in these alleged social science constructs , even though they may be intellectual attractive and elaborate in the places they may visit .
    I think I have a question for the social science theorists ,the Paris Statement makes some appeal to the values that have been built and worked with , through our Christian faith , and Prof Roger Screwton has held some complex thoughts in an order that explains very well , I am quite sure that an error in the godless construct is within there own intellectual route , I am still working it through ,but am trying to understand if this cyber pre to a godless society is a denial in itself of sorts .If I can get my question then will post it.

  • David

    Off topic slightly, or perhaps not ?
    Feeling peaky at present I decided to have a restful evening. So for the last hour or so I have been listening to the plainsong Gregorian chants of the eight century, recently collected from monasteries all over France. It is wonderful to be taken back to the early roots of our civilisation. I know just enough Latin to understand most of what is being said, although the real beauty is in the music. The eight century was a period before unBiblical doctrines like purgatory were in place, most scholars arguing that it was a 11th addition. Also for the first thousand years priests could marry, and with all that that implies.
    Anyway setting aside Protestant and Catholic differences to the question of the atonement, anyone with a brain, who cares to look, can see that the bedrock of western civilisation really is the Christian faith. We Christians are a beleaguered small minority now surrounded by a sea of relativism. Unless the west returns to faith in Christ I see no hope for our cultural rebirth. Fortunately Russia and the Visegrad nations are upholding their traditions. Let us all pray for a revival. If it comes, God willing, I doubt whether the Holy Spirit will spark it off from within the large institutional churches.

    • Chefofsinners

      It sure ain’t going to be sparked off by the EU.

  • bluedog

    An important post, Your Grace, and thanks for the link to the full Statement. A sound philosophical basis for arguments in defence of the traditions of Europe is essential if the Marxist tide is to be resisted and then defeated. The long march through the institutions must be reversed, and this can only be done if a new generation is able to see the flawed vision and lies that they are being taught. It’s getting late, and as schools are increasingly becoming vectors for the propagation of the anti-family lifestyle, one anticipates an overwhelming parental revolt.

    • not a machine

      How can you reason in a new generation , when the new generation believes its understanding is correct ? or has no understanding of the value of what went before ?.That is the basis of what is termed progressive in my view. As for what convergence may mean is something I am pondering at the moment .

      • bluedog

        At some point the misled generation, at least those with enquiring minds and the strength of character to challenge the post-modern consensus, will start to de-construct the history of the West. When they do, and when they start to rebuild the inheritance in their own minds and on their own terms, they will be in awe of their legacy.

        • Anton

          Optimist!

        • not a machine

          I think deconstruction of history in general has been going on for a while mainly as generations could look at post cold war and the fall of communism .However your second sentence is more troubling for me as you have to consider what may be termed as “there own legacy” , my own view is that minds have been changed , by the way we live , we do not construct narrative in the same way , narrative to feed faith is being erased and that may well cause something ,the modernisers did not see and perhaps live to see to regret .

    • Busy Mum

      I wish……I am a parent in revolt but as far as I can see, I am the only one.

      I may seem overwhelming to my husband and children, possibly to a few teachers too, but that is as far as it goes 🙂

      • bluedog

        Be patient.

        • Busy Mum

          It’s often been said that leadership is a lonely business, but then again, somebody has to take the lead…..

          • bluedog

            One has to spread one’s bread upon the waters and then wait very quietly for the fish to bite. When they do, you congratulate them for their brilliance, never claiming credit for their epiphany.

    • IanCad

      A cheerful post bd, But, Alas! A TV and sports addicted parentage is unlikely to stir itself to any great degree.
      Democracy works for only so long.

      • bluedog

        Maybe, maybe not. There’s always an inflexion point at which half-formed thoughts suddenly coalesce. This writer thinks that transgenderism and the concurrent attack on traditional marriage are that inflexion point. Communicant Marie 1797 senses the same mood change.

        • IanCad

          I too detect a mood change but am not convinced our people are yet disturbed enough to do anything about it. The charge of contradicting myself may be justified as I have previously stated that if good folk get fired up enough change could be rapid and brutal.

    • David

      I would welcome a cultural revolt. Traditionally these things tend to originate in Universities where the young rediscover their own past and its cultural richness. There must be many young people in these institutions heartily sick and tired to the thought police, safe spaces and young men virtually accused of being rapists. It just needs some gutsy group to spark revolt and clever, perhaps older, leadership. It might work something akin to the way Luther sparked off a tide of popular dissent, by scratching the surface of a vast underlying seething sea of discontent, leading to great change.

      • Which ultimately resulted in 30 years of religious wars, famines and plagues, resulting in between 3 and 11 million dead across Europe.

        • Anton

          Because the Pope thought he ruled a kingdom of this world.

          • Protestants fought against protestants as well as Catholics.

          • Anton

            Meanwhile Francis I of France cut a deal with the Turks against his fellow Catholic Charles V.

            It was an unholy mess and all due to politicised and therefore bastardised Christianity: Catholicism, political since Constantine; protestantism, originally a spiritual movement but one that lamentably soon went political.

          • This is the fruit of populist revolutions. All of them. Injustice provokes discontent and it only needs a spark to set alight the fire of chaos. “Spiritual” movements that challenge the religio-political foundations of a society with intemperate language and a denial of the legitimacy of authority, are really no different to Marxist inspired revolutions.

          • Anton

            It is the fruit of politicised Christianity and fallen man.

          • No, it’s the fruit of all populist uprisings against injustice, real or perceived, directed at those with power and wealth by those who believe they have little or nothing to lose.

          • Anton

            Luther himself wrote for several years after 1517 purely as a theologian against churchly abuses. At the time the German peasants’ uprising broke out he had never called for a populist uprising and when it happened he wrote strongly against it.

            That uprising happened because of the combination of callous exploitation of the peasantry by the wealthy and powerful – whose relatives packed the church hierarchy in Germany – and a low enough morality among the peasantry, due to poor teaching of the gospel to them by the Catholic church. I’m sure you’d love to pin it all on Luther but it’s not that simple.

          • As Jack said, injustice creates the conditions for revolt and all that is needed for an uprising is a spark that justifies an uprising. Not Luther’s “fault” but he provided the spark and it was seized upon by others.

        • David

          Irrelevant !
          I am talking about a “cultural revolution” not a military
          one !

          • The religious wars were triggered by a “cultural revolution”.

          • David

            True but comparison of the two situations hardly seems realistic.
            But what other solutions do you advocate for us to stop the ever advancing clanking PC monster from totally sweeping aside our collective grip on reality ? Obviously we’d both favour a religious revival but apart from that what do you suggest ?

          • Jack doesn’t believe “revolt” is God’s way. We, as individuals and as a Christian community cooperate with God in whatever station He has placed us and follow His commands. In our daily lives with family and friends and in our neighbourhoods we conduct ourselves according to the Gospel. In our working lives we do not compromise with evil. And in our role as citizens we do all we can to expose the catastrophic effects of abandoning revealed truths by reasoned arguments and the use of evidence.

            God’s governance encompasses everything in the universe, from the creation of the world to its consummation, inclusive of every aspect of human existence and destiny. His Providence guides all things toward their divinely predetermined end. This divine, sovereign, and benevolent control of all things by God is the underlying premise of everything that is taught in the Scriptures.

            The Wisdom of Solomon identifies the providence of God with his will and wisdom and assures us that one can embark on even the most perilous journey with assurance because God is in control. It also speaks of the inscrutability of God’s providence and the vain attempts of the wicked to hide from the control of God.

            The scriptural principles are:

            First, God is sovereign in this universe and in complete control of all things. Nothing is able to stand up to him, defy him, or do that which will defeat him in the end.

            Second, the one and only God created the world; hence, it is his and subject to him. It is impossible that anything or anyone, whether in heaven or on earth, whether supernatural being, king, or simple peasant, should imagine that they are self-sufficient or answerable only to themselves.

            Third, the God who alone is God and who made and governs this world has an eternal plan for it. This plan is not just what he desires will be done but is in fact the very essence of this world’s existence and the explanation of it.

            Fourth, God’s will and purpose are realised in and through Jesus Christ. God’s will is not the outworking of some impersonal abstract principle but the personal, saving will of a heavenly Father. God is involved directly in our affairs and we have learned through revelation that he became one with us through the incarnation of his Son for our redemption. This was part of an eternal purpose that existed before the world began and was effectuated in time at the moment of God’s own choosing. He decided when the time had arrived and brought it all to pass. On the basis of this God has spread his beneficence throughout all the ages and will someday draw all things together in Christ.

            Fifthly, although the plan of God has been partially revealed to us, in its totality it remains an ultimate mystery. We are not capable of grasping what it ultimately means because God himself is ultimately beyond us. This limitation on our part is not designed by God to humiliate us, but to humble us, to help us realise our creaturely status and find our appropriate place in his scheme of things. We will never understand the depths of God. This calls us to faith and trust in him and teaches us to obey him, whether we discern what God intends or not.

            Finally – pray, pray, pray and pray again – for ourselves, our families and friends, our nation and for the world. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. There are spiritual forces at play here and spiritual weapons need to be used.

          • David

            Thank you for your explanation.
            I think our differences revolve around the meaning of the word “revolt”. I see a “cultural revolt” as a non-violent process involving a rapid communicative assault on the forces of PC and moral decay. That keeps it well within God’s expectations that Christians should be good citizens and not be the source physical rebellions.

          • Perhaps “cultural restoration” then?

  • IrishNeanderthal

    I am listening at the moment to the overture to Verdi’s “The Force of Destiny”. I hope this is not ominous, in the Roman sense.

    In the early 20th century, there was in Italy a movement called the Futurists, who wanted to junk the past. Maybe they wanted to speed up evolution? If so, this video from Italy (you need only watch a few seconds) might indicate the probable outcome had they succeded.

    Gigione – Zi Nicola

    • Chefofsinners

      The Futurists are so last year.

  • Chefofsinners

    Lest we forget, Europe has also been the place where the greatest slaughters in history occurred and the vilest dictators have ruled. For all its achievements, it is a continent soaked in blood.
    There are two cities in God’s eternal purposes: Jerusalem and Babylon, neither of them European. Tolkien pictured Europe well as Middle Earth. A place whose flourishing and withering are momentous, but are neither the beginning nor the end of history.

    • Pubcrawler

      That’s not why he called it Middle-earth.

      • Chefofsinners

        I know. But it is, essentially, Europe. The Shire is England and Hobbiton is Oxford, which currently seems to be under the influence of Mordor-like forces.

        • Anton

          The Shire is certainly England but Hobbiton is a regular English village, not a town associated with a major centre of learning.

          • dannybhoy

            You wouldn’t be living there then..

          • Chefofsinners

            That explains the hairy toes.

            Map by Tolkien showing Hobbiton on same latitude as Oxford:
            https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/weston/news/2016/may-03

          • Anton

            And on the same latitude as some fine villages near Oxford too, I expect. Hobbiton is just too rustic to be a university town.

          • Chefofsinners

            Thus speaks the university lecturer with the hairy toes.
            Put the ring down. You know it’s not good for you.

          • Anton

            Preciousssssssssssss!

            Tolkien really should have had Frodo fall down the crack with the ring and Gollum when Gollum rushed him as Frodo yielded to temptation and claimed the ring. The horrible ice-cold literary critics overdid their criticism of Tolkien as being sentimental, but they would have been right at that point.

          • God’s Providence and grace at work. Frodo yielded to temptation – Gollum was possessed and consumed. Study the early accounts of how each came by the Ring.

          • Anton

            I am familiar with them but am making a point about good literary drama.

          • Good literary drama causes one to pause and reflect on insights the author provokes.

            As Jack reads it, Frodo not going into the fire is consistent with Tolkien’s Christianity. Frodo voluntarily took on an unbearable burden on behalf of Middle Earth and suffered an attack on his own self in carrying the Ring. Giving up yourself this way in the service of others is the very essence of heroism – and Christianity. Frodo managed to resist the Ring’s lure right up until the end and it is the greatest act of heroism in the work. Him not going into the flames can be understood as an act of Divine Mercy by Providence. Gollum rushed Frodo for selfish reasons and sealed his fate. Apart from understanding how temptation works and resisting and yielding to it, one also has to consider the very different motivations for the carrying the Ring.

            Gollum’s selfishness, malice and greed, after being possessed by the RIng for so long, destroyed it. Evil finally consumed itself. It was an excellent conclusion to the work.

            [This is not an infallible interpretation]

          • Anton

            It’s a dramatically weak moment is all I’m saying. Which is a pity because it’s also a key moment.

            Tolkien insisted that The Lord of the Rings was not allegory, although in a letter he called it a fundamentally Catholic work in which “the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.” An omnipotent God creates the world. His character is good. With him are his angels, some of whom rebel against him; their leader is Melkor. So far, so Biblical. But Iluvatar gave humans the fate of death from the start; there is no Fall of a human ancestor which stains all men. There are no Covenants, no Incarnation, no Trinity. There is no organised religion or priesthood, and characters do not pray or offer sacrifice before battle or at other important moments. Once in The Lord of the Rings men observe a ritual silence before a meal (in the chapter The Window on the West). The Elvish-language rhapsody A! Elbereth Gilthoniel to a female Vala (angel) echoes the ‘Hail Mary.’ Also, the release from unrest of the Army of the Dead, who had broken their oath on earth, may echo Tolkien’s Catholic belief in Purgatory.

            Tolkien’s tale, like scripture and mythology, is full of the supernatural, of sacraments (such as the sustaining bread, lembas, which echoes manna or the Catholic ‘blessed sacrament’). It is, overall, a triumph of good over evil on the grand scale, written in a way which suggests this triumph is inevitable given sufficient valour and self-sacrifice – a Christian viewpoint that contrasts with the gloomy worldview of Norse and other pagan mythology which partly inspired him. A theme common to The Lord of the Rings and Christianity is a diverse group called out of their normal lives to join together in the only way to fight evil. (In Christianity the world has already been redeemed by the Crucifixion, whereas in The Lord of the Rings the crucial action – destroying the Ring – is the quest.) Temptation is ever-present – to seek to use the Ring against Sauron; but anybody who tries will be bent to his will, for evil cannot be fought with evil. (Boromir’s fate makes that clear.) Those with least interest in worldly power, the hobbits, are best suited to transport the ring; the small and the meek bring victory. Gandalf’s comments in the scene-setting second chapter, about the consequences of the hobbit Bilbo having taken pity on the treacherous, ring-obsessed Gollum and shown him mercy, point to something like the Christian notion of grace. Gandalf is in effect crucified and falls to the innermost depths of the earth before being resurrected in white. Aragorn, like Christ, appears first to the world as a man of lowly rank with a mission against evil, but the reader finally comes to see him as the king of men. The final part of the trilogy, The Return of the King, echoes Christian eschatology in which Christ returns in power to put the world aright. One chapter covers the restoration of the hobbits’ own land (the Shire), which was being industrialised. Tolkien obviously detested industrialisation, and had seen slaughter in World War I; the ‘Dead Marshes’ were inspired in part, he said, by the battlefield of the Somme.

          • The ending was perfect. The climb up Mount Doom has symbolism galore. Just imagine if Frodo had been dragged into the pit in a vain attempt to regain the Ring from Gollum.

          • Anton

            To put it at its most simplest, not enough of the goodies get done in. Check them out. It would have been more poignant, ie dramatically stronger, if one or two more had.

          • Maybe …. but not Frodo.

          • Anton

            Rescued by Sam grabbing his heel perhaps, but claiming the ring for himself warranted more than the loss of a finger, dramatically speaking.

          • God’s Providence and intervention to overcome evil, Anton. He loss far more than a finger and suffered the consequences of the Ring’s influence for the rest of his days.

          • Anton

            He suffered only the loss of a finger for claiming the ring for himself. He would have suffered the the consequences of the Ring’s influence anyway by then.

          • Then there would be no thinking about the actual message of the backstory – the struggle between supernatural forces. The showdown had to be between Frodo and Gollum; between Eru and Sauron. Yes, for dramatic purposes, Sam could have intervened and grabbed Frodo’s heels, for Jack, it would have missed the point. In the end, it is only Eru/God who saves.
            Let’s consider the author’s intent:

            Frodo deserved all honour because he spent every drop of his power of will and body, and that was just sufficient to bring him to the destined point, and no further. Few others, possibly no others of his time, would have got so far. The Other Power then took over: the Writer of the Story (by which I do not mean myself), ‘that one ever-present Person who is never absent and never named’ (as one critic has said).</blockquote?
            (Tolkien Letter 192)

            Tolkien has stated that it was God's/Eru's influence that brought these events to their climax and "caused" Gollum to slip. Nobody could make the choice to destroy the Ring in that place.

            The influence of the Ring increases with proximity to Sauron's forge where it was created. At that point, the willpower required to willingly cast it away to its destruction becomes impossible. In the end, it was only destroyed because of the mercy and pity of many people along the way, up to and including Samwise just moments prior to Frodo's failure at the Crack of Doom – Gollum was never killed when it would have been convenient/expedient to have done so. He was there to take the Ring from Frodo by force and then, by "chance" (the will of Eru/God manifesting in mysterious ways), slip and fall to complete the mission that Frodo failed.

            Tolkien says that Frodo's achievement is to be admired, and it is extraordinary, but without God/Eru, he would never have been able to do it himself. Within the Cracks of Doom, The One Ring's power was absolute. If you could be even slightly tempted by The Ring, then within that place, where it was forged, it would dominate you if you even touched it.

            Consider this:

            “You have not seen him (Gollum),” Gandalf broke in.

            “No, and I don’t want to,” said Frodo. “I can’t understand you. Do you mean to say that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.”

            “Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of judgment. For even the wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many – yours at least.”

            [One must consult the Letters of Tolkien – held by the “Magisterium” – to understand the written text. It’s not given to everyone to just pick up the book and fully comprehend its depths. It takes study and “tradition”.] ;o)

            http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Category:The_Letters_of_J.R.R._Tolkien

          • Anton

            I wouldn’t run with that analogy, Jack. The material outside LoTR contains many contradictions!

            Given that the problem I am asserting is that Tolkien is being too sentimental, any comment of his is not going to resolve that.

          • dannybhoy

            I have to admit that I have wondered about that…

            Danny cheerfully admits to having been born a mutant; with two webbed toes on each of his three feet (hence my nickname ‘Yardie’)
            OK, not true, two feet, two webbed toes on each…
            But I have this theory…
            People who for whatever reason feel rejected or inferior, or even a disappointment will try to make up for it by excelling at something.
            I think it has to do with our tribalism and the need to project perfection or at least attractiveness.
            If your parents wanted you to be what they weren’t, they may communicate to you that their love and joy in you is conditional on your achievements…

          • Anton

            On reflection, if Hobbiton is not associated with a major centre of learning then it could indeed be Oxford.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      “Europe has also been the place where the greatest slaughters in history occurred”

      Really? What about the Warring States period in China, the An Lushan Rebellion, the Manchu conquest of China, the Mongol conquests, the Conquests of Timur, the Taiping Rebellion, the Russian Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese Civil War, the Second Congo War.

      “and the vilest dictators have ruled.”

      Obvious candidates for just from the 20the century include Mao, Lenin, Stalin & Pol Pot.

      • Chefofsinners

        Lenin and Stalin ruled from Moscow, which is in Europe.
        According to http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/deadliest-battles-in-human-history.html eight of the ten deadliest battles in history were on European soil and were between warring European nations. I’m not claiming the rest of the world is innocent, I am saying beware of idealising our history.

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          “Lenin and Stalin ruled from Moscow, which is in Europe”

          100% irrelevant to your point that “Europe has also been the place where the greatest slaughters in history occurred“. Occurred, not were directed.

          “According to http://www.worldatlas.com/a… ”
          They don’t say how they define ‘battle’ but it must be very narrowly. Several of the cases I listed killed more people than those 10 combined:
          – The Manchu conquest of China is estimated at 25 million.
          – The Mongol conquests are estimated at 30 to 40 million.
          – The An Lushan rebellion is estimated at 13 to 30 million.

          Also that site must have a very narrow definition of ‘killed in battle’. One example, it lists Operation Barbarossa as only killing 1.4 million people.

          In the first few battles the Germans captured c. 3 million PoW the majority of whom died through illness, malnutrition, etc. So that figure alone exceeds what they give for the whole campaign.

          • Chefofsinners

            My comment about Lenin and Stalin relates not to battles but to the comment which you quoted “and the vilest dictators have ruled”. You quoted this and then gave Lenin and Stalin as examples of non-European dictators. Read your own writing. Nothing could be clearer.

            The point about slaughters could be debated endlessly depending on how you define a start and end point, of course. My point is that we should not idealise European civilisation or history. It seems to me that this ‘Paris Declaration’ is in danger of either doing that or of being interpreted in that way.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Technically you are correct that Lenin & Stalin ruled from a place near the edge of Europe. The fact that the country they ruled is mostly outside Europe and many of their atrocities occurred outside Europe makes this a somewhat grey area.

            I notice that you have not commented on the other two examples I gave. And of course the leaders of the sides involved in the other mass death tolls I listed were all outside Europe.

            “The point about slaughters could be debated endlessly depending on how you define a start and end point, of course.”

            That comes across as you being wrong but not willing to admit it.

            “My point is that we should not idealise European civilisation or history. ”

            No that is not true. Your point is that Europe is the worst place, “greatest slaughters”, “vilest dictators” can only admit that reading.

            If you now want to say that you are changing your point then that is what you should do.

          • Chefofsinners

            I have not commented on the other two dictators you named because they were vile, but not European. Perhaps they were worse than Hitler, Stalin or Nero. You choose.
            When I wrote ‘slaughters’ I had in mind the holocaust, the Somme, and the sieges of Moscow and Leningrad. Again, if you want to say other events were worse, I won’t argue with you.

            My personal failings may be fewer than yours, or more. I’d prefer to describe myself as the chief of sinners than focus on the failings of others. My point is that academics should do the same when assessing their own continent.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “I have not commented on the other two dictators you named because they were vile, but not European.”
            But you said that they European dictators were the vilest. Unless you at least look at non-European examples that is meaningless.

            “Perhaps they were worse than Hitler, Stalin or Nero.”
            Or the Mongol leaders, or the Japanese, or the leaders in Rwanda or the Congo, or …

            “You choose.”
            Well you said the European ones were vilest. That makes it up to you to make a case that substantiates your viewpoint.

            “When I wrote ‘slaughters’ I had in mind the holocaust, the Somme, and
            the sieges of Moscow and Leningrad. Again, if you want to say other
            events were worse, I won’t argue with you.”
            It is not me saying this, these are accepted historical facts. Albeit that the precise numbers are not known.

            “My point is that academics should do the same when assessing their own continent.”
            That may be the point that you tried to make but you built it on a foundation of Europe being the worst continent. As that foundation was sand …

      • David

        Russia west of the Urals, which includes Moscow, is firmly within the continent of Europe – that is the long established physical geographical position.

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          So? I don’t think that there was an agreement that the Russian Civil War would not kill anyone of the Urals.

          And the Russian Civil War was only one of the 10 cases that I listed.

          • David

            Red herring ! What’s history got to do with geographic conventions ?
            Geographers have always maintained that the logical eastern extremity of the continent of Europe are the Urals. West of the range is European Russia and east is Asiatic Russia. Moscow lies firmly within European Russia.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “Red herring ! What’s history got to do with geographic conventions ?”
            I have no idea what you mean by that.

            Of course Moscow is in Europe. That does not mean that massacres in Russia / the USSR were limited to the European part.

            And that is all nit picking. Chef said that Europe had “the greatest slaughters” and “the vilest dictators”. I listed 10 cases of mass slaughter only one of which was partly in Europe. I listed four 20th century dictators, two non-European and two ruling a Eurasian country.

            Chef’s contention was wrong, mine was merely poorly worded.

          • David

            I refuse to become dragged into all that. Have your historical arguments elsewhere !
            My simple point is that the Urals mark the eastern extremity of Europe.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            And you are still not making a clear point in this context. Chef made a historic point and I showed that it was not true. To do that I had to give historic information.

            I have already said that Moscow is in Europe, meaning that I understand the geographic convention.

    • CliveM

      I think you make some excellent points.

  • Nobody’s mentioned “That Hideous Strength” in the comments yet? The struggle between Logres and Britain? Reading the statement, I couldn’t help thinking that C S Lewis wrote it (not just in that work, but others) long ago. But where is Merlin?

  • Hi

    Apparently even extra terrestrial types are reported to be worried about Europe after Brexit , according to Junkie :

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QM-KVAXY7Gs

  • She dressed as a warrior. Should she have gone to war in the dress of a French peasant, left her hair long and carried no weapon into battle?

    • Darter Noster

      Well, fortunately for her the Bishop of Beauvais hadn’t attended the mandatory transgender inclusion seminar, and been trained to refer anyone who even slightly deviates from a set of gender stereotypes Bernard Manning would approve of to a brainwashing – sorry, specialist child gender dysphoria – clinic.

      Although I can’t help think that a mediaeval burning bishop would approve of transgender activists who claim that “effeminate” boys must actually be girls and prepared for castration ASAP.

  • The Duke of Umberland, England

    This is the one insight in the document, which should alarm all those who defend liberty, security and freedom:

    ‘They wish to build supranational institutions that they are able to control without the inconveniences of popular sovereignty. It is increasingly clear that the ‘democratic deficit’ in the European Union is not a mere technical problem to be remedied by technical means. Rather, this deficit is a fundamental commitment, and it is zealously defended.’

    • bluedog

      There would seem little doubt that within an EU military structure, British troops would not be stationed in Britain, but in other imperial provinces. Thus, native populations could never call on support from their own kith and kin, and troops from other provinces would have no inhibition against brutal repression of dissent.

      • The Duke of Umberland, England

        That’s the policy Imperial Rome exercised.

        • bluedog

          Top marks!

      • betteroffoutofit

        Yes. I understand that’s how the Romans handled their distribution of troops, too.

        • IanCad

          Also a great help in spreading Christianity.

  • Busy Mum

    For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. Romans 11

    But…… maybe the times of the Gentiles have been fulfilled? Luke 21

  • Len

    Bit off thread I know but;
    I can get on ‘Cranmer’ on IE but not on Chrome.

    • Anton

      Shows it’s a local problem. Clear your cache!

    • Chefofsinners

      As Anton says, this will be cookies related. Delete them and you’ll be fine. I had the same on my ‘phone.

  • CliveM

    One of the main problems is that too many people expect everything to be made easy for them. They expect childcare to be made easy. Learning to be made easy. Work, death, life to be made easy. As some of things in life can never be made easy and that to be done properly they will always require effort, sacrifice and putting others before self, large sections of society have become ever more selfish. Support for the welfare state, isn’t motivated by morality, or caring for others, it is motivated by fear of what lies ahead in the future.

    Thing is, that which is easy, isn’t valued. It loses in the eyes of many its moral impact. So contraception, abortion, euthanasia, cease to be a question of morality, the become simply a question of utility. Indeed in the eyes of society, destroying human life through abortion becomes a public good, the selfish over use of contraception becomes a virtue. The culling of our old, useless or simply ill is seen as a kindness (but for who?).

    This cult of ‘easy’ has infected the church. We have ‘easy’ redemption open to all, simply based on the promise of being nice, or worse still, simply based on the fact that a person exists. We have theology made easy (we must all be nice to each other) and worship made easy (Praise bands, vapid ‘choruses’ and the exclusion of anything that provokes thought and contemplation).

    It’s the cult of ‘easy’ that is undermining our traditional, Christian and western values and it’s insidious. It promises the good life for all and all we have to sacrifice is our humanity.

    • David

      An excellent, thoughtful contribution Clive.

      • CliveM

        Thanks!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I agree with every word, Clive…as David says below, a very thoughtful piece. Thank you for posting.

      • CliveM

        Thank you.

    • A very fine post.

      • CliveM

        Thank you.

        • Cressida de Nova

          I just saw a program on t v suggesting that examinations were too stressful for
          high school students and should be removed from the curriculum.

          • CliveM

            One thing I didn’t make clear is that the ‘easy life’ is snake oil. It lies. By sacrificing our humanity we damage not just society but also ourselves. We peddle cheap loans, easy mortgages, we discourage planning for tomorrow , it’s about instant gratification. And it’s extremely damaging and our young are paying the price.

    • Chefofsinners

      Easy, tiger.

    • Maxine Schell

      Most of my generation were self-supporting about three years before we were allowed to vote…now many of the young can vote at about six years before they leave the nest.

  • Len

    Europe is a mixture of different people, different races, different ideologies , different religions, as it ever was.
    Caesar Constantine looking for a way of binding his people together chose a paganized version of Christianity and it worked for him, for a while. The Popes took over where Constantine left off.
    The only form of Christianity which will be permitted by the EU will be the ‘tolerant ,non judgemental,’ sort so loved by the C of E and Pope Francis.
    ‘Religious fundamentalists’ will all be grouped together as ‘dangerous’ and ‘divisive’ ,enemies of the EU .Peaceful Christians who remain faithful to scripture will be seen as part of this group.

    • bluedog

      It was Constantine who was the instigator of Trinitarian Christianity. Is that what you mean by paganised?

    • Anton

      I’d say that Constantine chose an *institutional* version of Christianity, which the people melded with paganism. And I don’t blame Constantine, but the bishops of Rome who took the covenant with the world which Constantine offered. He knew no better at the time, for he was basically a sun-worshipper despite his Christian mother.

      • bluedog

        ‘Constantine knew no better at the time, for he was basically a sun-worshipper, his Christian mother notwithstanding.’

        So what? You’re as bad as len, who seems to have scurried away with his tail between his legs after accusing Constantine of sun-worship. If you look at what Constantine did, his achievements in structuring Christianity are remarkable. If you accept the possibility of the Holy Spirit, it must surely be the driving force behind Constantine’s genius. Bear in mind when Constantine ruled the entire population was illiterate with the exception of a tiny elite and that most people never travelled. Given those limits, how was Christianity ever going to expand without a) an agreed format, b) a vector for its transmission? The answer to those questions is that it could not, within the structure of society in late Antiquity. It was of course Constantine who commanded the drafting of the Holy Bible, on which your own arguments invariably depend. Would you prefer that he had not done this? Where would you be without this initiative? Your criticism is strangely anachronistic in the opinion of this writer.

        • Pubcrawler

          “when Constantine ruled the entire population was illiterate with the exception of a tiny elite and that most people never travelled”

          Huh?

          • bluedog

            Possibly. But one can scarcely imagine high levels of literacy outside Romanised towns. Again, in terms of percentages, the numbers who routinely travelled further than say ten miles, would have been very small.

        • Anton

          That’s quite unfair to Len.

          I suspect that Constantine grew in faith, but I am extremely sceptical that he was more than a syncretist at best at the Milvian Bridge battle in AD312. Please see Harold Drake’s book “Constantine and the Bishops” for a scholarly study from which emerges very clearly the fact that Constantine saw in Christianity a new factor that might unify the disintegrating Roman empire, of which he had taken control. That – not Christ – was his primary purpose. The problem was that the bishops took the deal, and pretty soon Constantine was telling the church how to run itself despite being either half-Christian or a new Christian; the former is intolerable and the latter contrary to 1 Tim 3:6 about ‘overseers’, which is what he was (let’s not have any nonsense about him not being a consecrated bishop so the verse doesn’t apply). He offered the church a covenant with this world and the church, to the lasting shame of the bishops of the era, took the deal and committed adultery with the world. It became fashionable, wealthy, class-ridden and corrupt. Constantine’s victory at Milvian Bridge was in AD312, supporters of rivals for the papacy brawled in the streets of Rome in AD366, Christianity became the only religion approved in the Roman Empire in AD381, and the first execution for heresy was in AD385. Persecuted became persecutors, and religious dissent (Priscillian was certainly a heretic) was treated as treason, punishable not by excommunication but execution. Yet Jesus valued freedom to refuse him more highly than coercion to assent to him. In one lifetime the church had moved from seeing its members put to death, to having people put to death. Which example did Christ set?

          Are you seriously saying that the Bible was drafted in the 4th century? The New Testament’s components were drafted in the first century and the general understanding of which books were canonical were rubberstamped in the Church Councils subsequent to Constantine. (Incidentally there is no record of any discussion of the canon at Nicaea.)

          • bluedog

            But you’re being unfair to Constantine. Perhaps he did grow in faith, as you say you have done. People do. There is no doubt that he saw Christianity as useful to his role as Emperor, but so what? We should congratulate Constantine for his judgement in conferring the benefit of Christian witness on his subjects, rather than declaring him not to be a true Christian in terms that we determine to be evidence of true Christianity from a modern perspective.

          • Anton

            I described events I disapprove of but where did I criticise Constantine? I said explicitly, two posts above, that

            I don’t blame Constantine, but the bishops of Rome who took the covenant with the world which Constantine offered; Bishop Sylvester above all. Constantine knew no better at the time…

          • bluedog

            ‘The problem was that the bishops took his deal, and pretty soon Constantine was telling the church how to run itself despite being either half-Christian or a new Christian; the former is intolerable and the latter contrary to 1 Tim 3:6 about ‘overseers’, which is what he was (let’s not have any nonsense about him not being a consecrated bishop so the verse supposedly doesn’t apply). ‘ Scarcely fulsome praise.

            On a further point, is it not true to say that Eusebius, a contemporary and beneficiary of the patronage of Constantine, was the prime collator and categoriser of the NT?

          • Anton

            I am indeed not praising Constantine, but neither have I criticised him. What I’ve said is that some regrettable things happened that involved him but for which I put the blame on the bishops of the early 4th century. Now, you might take a Roman Catholic view that Constantine’s vision at Milvian Bridge was from God not Satan, and that the making of Christianity into the religion of State of the Empire was a wonderful thing. In that case I would disagree and we could discuss it, but you cannot accuse me of any internal inconsistency or shift of viewpoint in what I have said. (Well, you can, but I would challenge you to find one!)

            I take the view that by the 4th century Christians had a fairly good and uniform knowledge of what Christian writings were canonical, and that the church, once it had become the religion of State, wanted to get everything tidy and formal and insisted on rubberstamping the accepted usage. The discussions that took place at the councils that considered it were not cutting edge ones like the crucial Athanasius vs Arius battle at Nicaea.

          • “I put the blame on the bishops of the early 4th century.”

            Best argue this out with God. Constantine’s embrace of Christianity was the beginning of the transformation of the Roman Empire from paganism to Christianity. Your antipathy to Catholicism leads you to see Constantine’s conversion as the beginning of the end of real Christianity. Christianity is the Christianity of the early Church, the Church before it became favoured and hence entangled with the empire, the pure Church, the Church before Constantine, the Church of the martyrs.

            It’s a romantic vision of a pure early Church that wasn’t shared by the early Church. Look at it from their point of view. If you think about what early Christians actually endured at the hands of the pagan state, you will realise with what jubilation, what extreme thankfulness to God, what declarations of it all being miraculous, Christians 1,700 years ago greeted the news of Constantine’s conversion.

            Christians today should celebrate the conversion of Constantine. Rarely has Divine Providence achieved so much in so short a time. With Constantine’s favour, the Church blossomed and was free to spread out all over the Western, and then Eastern, parts of the Empire, thereby shifting civilisation from pagan to Christian moorings. This was no small shift, It entailed a vast moral and political transformation that laid the foundation and built the structure of Christian civilisation.

            The pagan Roman culture affirmed contraception, abortion, infanticide, suicide, homosexuality, homosexual marriage, euthanasia, pornography, prostitution, concubinage, divorce, pederasty, and the mass killing of human beings for entertainment in gladiatorial combat. Once the emperors became Christian, both the Church and the Christian imperium engaged in the moral transformation of pagan society, and the Christian moral understanding was incorporated into law in the various imperial codes. And also, quite unlike Rome, both the Church and Christian state began to care for the poor and destitute, the widows and orphans.

            The beneficial effects of Constantine’s conversion are coming undone. We are falling back into a pagan society where Christians are no longer welcome. You probably want to “put the blame on the bishops of the early 4th century” for this too.

            October 28, 312, is a day to celebrate – not denigrate.

          • Anton

            You celebrate October 28th then. I’ll celebrate October 31st.

            The critique that you always fail to repudiate is that you cannot enact Christianity by law or social pressure. You can force people to conform and obey and go to church but you cannot enforce belief by law. That is what Islam attempts where it can. What you get if you try is not gospel Christianity. You get a State-advocated morality which might well be a good morality but in that case it is the very morality that men cannot conform to without the inner change that only Christ can effect in a private decision to love and follow him. You get a totalitarian system (the word means that every aspect of life is covered by government).

            When Eusebius and Lactantius ascribed to God Constantine’s vision or dream, before the battle at the Milvian Bridge, they were guessing. More likely it came from the powers of darkness. Before a battle a pagan or a syncretist – Constantine was far from fully Christian at this time given his interest in the sun god – would consult diviners, opening a door to forces of darkness (just as King Saul had: 1 Samuel 28). Did the “lord of this world” change his tactics against the church, from persecution (under which it had grown) to an older trick, temptation – corrupting it from the inside, spiritually, rather than attacking it physically from the outside?

          • bluedog

            ‘The critique that you always fail to repudiate is that you cannot enact Christianity by law or social pressure.’ That’s not the point. Constantine was a corporate strategy genius who saw in Christianity a superior set of values that could cement his own position. In this, he was undoubtedly influenced by his mother, St Helena. Constantine seems to have had a clear vision of what was needed in late Antiquity to propagate a moral code. Consequently we have the Council of Nicaea in 325 and subsequent iterations that define Christian doctrine around the Trinity, the start of a formal institutional structure for the transmission of Christian ideas and practices down to village level, and the commissioning of a theologian, Eusebius, to draw up a compilation of biblical stories, epistles and letters to support the campaign in the form of the New Testament. It matters not in the least whether Constantine was a sun-worshippper, a part-Christian or anything else you may care to call him. He established a structure which survives to this day, long after the collapse of both the western and eastern empires of Rome. Give credit where it is due. When you next read the New Testament in your house church, thank Constantine for giving you the blueprint that enables you to reject his institutional structure, and to claim, along with len, that yours is the only true belief in Christ.

          • Anton

            I’ve been explicit here often enough that there are genuine believers in Christ in all denominations including the institutional churches. Please don’t misrepresent me. I think they fail to get the point, though, that gospel Christianity is counter-cultural (just as Christ was) and will always be so until Christ himself returns. For “the culture” is what the New Testament calls “the world”, and the (true) church is opposed to the world. That you cannot enact Christianity by law or social pressure was my reply to Jack specifically, but I’m rephrasing it here to you in a hopefully clearer form.

            The blueprint that enables me to reject an institutional structure for the church is the New Testament, for which I give thanks to its writers and to God in Jesus Christ. Nothing to do with Constantine.

            If, though, we are going to discuss Constantine, I’d say that his vision didn’t work very well. He sent the Empire Christian and within a few generations its heartlands had crumbled into a Dark Age.

          • “That has nothing to do with Constantine, but if we are going to discuss him then I’d say his vision didn’t work out very well.”

            Let’s put it this way: God used him to achieve His purpose in consolidating Christian orthodoxy and spreading the Gospel throughout the world. Rome fell but not Christianity. Indeed, it spread beyond the borders of the Roman Empire and into lands that had never been under it.

            All told, a remarkable achievement in such a short period of time. Constantine’s vision may not have worked. God’s plan most certainly did.

          • Anton

            Really? Christianity spread like wildfire throughout the Roman Empire and to the east before Constantine, and seems to have spread very little further for many centuries after. Don’t you have it backwards?

          • Christianity, in all its heretical and distorted forms, may have spread within and beyond the Roman Empire. It was mercilessly persecuted by Rome. This, and the various cocktails of disparate beliefs being preached, would have resulted in a disunited group of marginal sects.

          • Anton

            You reckon I slander the institutional post-Constantinian church? I reckon you are slandering the pre-Constantinian church here!

          • Unlike you, Jack sees it as one Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

          • Anton

            It filled with nominal believers seeking advantage once it became the religion of State. It continued to contain true believers, of course, but it was grieveously diluted.

          • Was it “filled with nominal believers”? How was it “grievously diluted”? What’s your evidence for these bold assertions?

            That her members no longer faced persecution and martyrdom and Christine worship became mainstream, doesn’t diminish Constantine’s astonishing achievements or the spiritual progress or sanctity of the Church. You seem to have some romantic ideal of the Church being filled exclusively with Spirit filled believers free from sin and all singing from the same hymn sheet. The Holy Spirit appears not to work according to your expectations.

          • Anton

            And you seem to think that the Holy Spirit is at the beck and call of the Bishop of Rome.

            Constantine’s victory was in AD312, supporters of rivals for the papacy brawled in the streets of Rome in AD366, and execution for heresy began in AD385 (with a man named Priscillian). What a declension!

          • bluedog

            Thank you for making your position clearer and I don’t believe I have misrepresented you. In fact your position does seem to have shifted from your apparent dismissal of Constantine as a force for good to what I perceive to be grudging acceptance of his achievement. However, to the extent that as a part of his package of reform, Constantine was instrumental in the construction of the New Testament in the form we recognise, this sentence of yours stands out, ‘The blueprint that enables me to reject an institutional structure for the church is, specifically, the New Testament.’

            In short, Constantine provides you with the tools that you now use to reject his institutional legacy! This, in a nutshell, is where I find the position taken by yourself and len so disappointing.

            HJ has made the right point about this sentence, ‘He sent the Empire Christian and within a few generations…’. One is left wondering what you think about the role of Christianity within a modern liberal democracy.

          • Anton

            Re the NT I’ve said that by the 4th century Christians had a fairly good and uniform knowledge of which Christian writings were canonical, and I meant *before* Constantine. All that his State church did was rubberstamp the accepted usage. That’s why I don’t think I owe him much.

            Neither of us knows what would have happened had the 4th century bishops not taken the deal he offered, but by faith I believe history would have been better.

            In lands where it is possible, eg democracies, Christians should use the mechanisms of democracy to further godly laws. I do not believe that the church *as a corporate body* should be in politics, however.

          • Once again, best ask God those questions. The fact is, like it or not, His Providence spread Christianity through the world by way of Constantine and the Roman Empire.

            Of course one can’t “enforce” belief by law. What you can do is enact laws consistent with natural law and God’s revealed will. Belief or not in Christ, a nation will only thrive morally, socially and economically if it lives according to God’s design and is compatible with the way His creatures have been made. And belief in Christ doesn’t come universally to everyone at the same time. Faith will be weak and strong, or non-existent among a nations members. However, a society based on natural law and with Christianity woven into its fabric will present generate greater receptivity to the Good News.

            Frankly, this is astonishing speculation on your part and quite ridiculous: “When Eusebius and Lactantius ascribed to God Constantine’s vision or dream, before the battle at the Milvian Bridge, they were guessing. More likely it came from the powers of darkness.” How God choses men and women to further His plan is His business and its not for you or Jack judge.

          • Anton

            In which case it is not for Eusebius or Lactantius either.

            Christianity spread throughout the Roman empire as a counter-cultural force, as it is doing in China today. These are concrete demonstrations that it does not need the Constantinian vision of church to grow and flourish.

          • Who first planted the Gospel in China?

            Umm ….

            It’s early roots seem to have been heretical Nestorianism and Manichaeism but by the end of the 10th century it was virtually extinct. The Ming dynasty decreed that Manichaeism and Christianity were illegal, to be wiped out from China, while Islam and Judaism were acceptable and judged to be compatible with Confucian ideology.

            It was the Jesuits who first evangelised China during the 16th century. No Constantine, no organised universal Church with agreed dogma, no Creedal statements, no orthodox Christianity. Russian Orthodoxy was introduced in 1715 and Protestants began entering China in 1807.

            The spread of Christianity really went to pot during the first 140 years of Protestant missionary work there with circulation of Chinese translations of the bible causing all sorts of difficulties. It resulted in persecutions, culminating in the bloody Taiping Rebellion when one loon, exposed to scripture, claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus. He attained control of significant parts of southern China, ruling 30 million people at one point, and putting in place a theocratic and militaristic regime ( the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace) enforcing a strict separation of the sexes, land socialisation, suppression of private trade, and the replacement of Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion by his form of “Christianity”. Interestingly, he is held in high esteem by Communists. The Boxer Uprising was also, in part, a reaction against a heterodox form of Christianity.

          • Anton

            Thank you for a very one-sided view of the history of Christianity in China! Jenkins’ book The Lost history of Christianity gives a more balanced view.

          • Without Constantine and the Catholic Church, it’s unlikely we’d be discussing Christianity in China at all, or anywhere else for that matter. The word would have no meaning. Instead, there’d be a whole host of heterodox, syncretic faiths using different labels. Just think, there’d be no Church for you to purify.

          • Anton

            I believe that is factually untrue. Mao eradicated almost all all traces of Christianity and the Chinese church and its schisms inherited from the West went into the melting pot of persecution. What came out of it was a movement centred on the Bible that loves Christ rather than merely acknowledges his existence. Someday the church will undergo the same purification throughout the whole world.

          • Yes but how was the flame of faith in China kept flickering? It is a Christianity purified of heresies that can be traced back, through Constantine and the Catholic Church, to the Apostles.

          • Anton

            Please see the next thread. We have no idea what Muhammad heard of Judaism and Christianity. There is some evidence that he was mocked by the local monotheists (either Jews or, more likely, ethnic Arabs who had accepted a form of Judaism) and this suggests that he was making up his own monotheism rather than faithfully transmitting a heresy he had heard. But we really don’t know and we should not pretend that we do.

    • Anton

      That’s a prediction. Why do you think Islam won’t take over?

      • Len

        It is becoming a fact.
        If you don`t believe. Try preaching the full Gospel in your local shopping centre.

      • Where’s Len gone?

        • Anton

          Good question.

          • Has the rapture happened?

          • CliveM

            Nope I’m still here!

          • Might be a test run.

          • CliveM

            His disappearance is a bit odd. I wonder if his IT problems have anything to do with it?

          • Chefofsinners

            I told him to delete his cookies. Looks like he’s gone the whole hobnob.

          • IanCad

            You may be one of the “Left Behind”

          • Anton

            Left buttock? That’s about how good a theology the pre-tribulation rapture actually is.

    • Have you read Pope Francis on women priests, contraception, homosexuality, abortion, transgenderism and contraception? No. Didn’t think so.

  • Methusalem

    Europeans should, first of all repent, before they get back to The soon-coming Lord — whom they arrogantly betrayed. REPENT now!

  • Anton

    Astray? It was always intended to be that. Read Christopher Booker and Richard North’s magisterial history of it, The Great Deception.

    • CliveM

      Anton i sadly dont have enough time to read aĺl the books i want to read.

  • Subsidiarity is the Catholic principle – not central micromanagement. It was the abandonment of this that started the problems. And infallibility, dear chap, does not apply to temporal affairs.

    • CliveM

      I was (I think the Americanism is) yanking your chain!