European Union

The blessing of the Nativity of the European Parliament


The Crib has been solemnly blessed in the European Parliament – that Brussels temple dedicated to the cause of ever closer secularity now has a discordant Nativity scene located in one of its large public spaces. And it’s not a very subtle crib either, adorned, as it is, by fir tress and fairy lights, all flanked by the symbolic flags of the European Union. The immutable Rights of Man meet the immanent Son of Man.

It is curious that, while France seeks to ban all representations of a child in a stable with a cow and a donkey, the European Parliament is trying to salvage what remains of its Christian inspiration. More curious still is the choice of the prelate they invited to give the blessing – not André-Joseph Léonard, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and Primate of Belgium (who must have been busy), but Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of Society of St Pius X; a traditionalist Roman Catholic group which rejects the modernising reforms of the Second Vatican Council and for whom Pope Francis is the Antipope if not the Son of Perdition, heralding certain schism and the coming Apocalypse. In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI decreed that the SSPX “does not have a canonical status in the Church (and) its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church”.

So, has the EU Crib actually been blessed or not? May a sacramentally-unlicensed bishop who rejects the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes bestow a true blessing upon a Nativity scene? Does it matter? And who cares?

The thing is, this blessing is not as innocuous as it might appear.

What confrontational anti-secular message is the Civitas Institute, which initiated the Crib, trying to send to the European Parliament? What Neo-fascist message is Italian MEP Mario Borghezio (Lega Nord), who extended the flattering invitation to Bishop Fellay, trying to send to the peoples of Europe? And what Jesuitical schismatic message of hermeneutic discontinuity is Bishop Fellay trying to send to the Successor of Peter? Or to the Successor Emeritus?

The (illicit) service was attended by MEPs from France, Greece, Portugal, Italy and the UK (as well as sundry parliamentary staff and EU officials). Have they all (unwittingly) participated in an extra-ecclesial Apostolic blessing? Surely, if a bishop who is forbidden or suspended from exercising his ministry presumes the authority to administer the sacraments and thereby deceive the flock, he is excommunicated latae sententiae?

In his speech, Civitas president Alain Escada quoted Pope St Pius X:

“The civilization does not need to be invented, it was and remains, it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic society. It merely requires them to restore and renew ceaselessly on their natural and divine principles. Civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City . It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants.”

And Bishop Fellay said in his speech:

“There in the manger is where it all started. So it is quite normal that Europe’s governments give God Himself glory, which comes among men to save them – He, the King of Kings. Let us remember what Cardinal Pie said: ‘If the moment for the lordship of Jesus Christ had not come, then the time has not come for governments to endure.’ By the blessing of this Crib, the Church is a connection between this place and the grace of the love of God. This little place is a Sacramental for the benefit of all who come here to meditate.”

None of this would matter very much if the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams of Oystermouth had not waded into the debate over Britain’s continuing membership of the European Union. He is of the view that withdrawal would be “deeply regressive”, not least because the UK would have almost nothing “distinctive” to offer the world outside it, other than becoming some sort of “offshore financial facility”. He also said that hostility towards the EU was being fuelled by an increasingly assertive sense of English identity:

“There is also – this is very nebulous but not unreal – a feeling that with the Scottish independence agitation and all the questions about a federal UK quite a lot of people feel we need to affirm now what we are, what we distinctively are as English even more than British and that imperceptibly I think strengthens some of this unease about that mysterious entity called Europe which is over there.”

And none of this would matter very much either if Lord Williams were speaking on his own behalf, but he articulates what are essentially also the views of his successor at Lambeth, and, indeed, of all bishops in the Church of England, for whom the case for UK membership of the EU is not only compelling but unarguable. To demur is to be nationalistic and xenophobic, if not racist and bigoted.

It is curious – is it not – that the Crib of Christ can be flanked by the flags of Euro-nationalism and blessed by a traditionalist Roman Catholic bishop, and that is progressive and enlightened, for Europe has a soul, and that is its religious and cultural heritage. But flank that same crib with the Union Flag or (worse) the Cross of St George, and have it blessed by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali or (worse) a bishop of the Church of England (Continuing), and we are dealing with the sinister forces of nationalism and risking global isolation: all we will have to offer and all we will be is an “offshore financial facility” dedicated to the worship of Mammon.

In the pursuit of economic stability and political unity, the bishops of the churches of England and Rome are united in their belief that the answer to our narrow materialism and national inclination toward moral chaos is to be found in the humanity and goodness of the European Union, which is the effective agent of our reconciliation with each other. They seem to forget, or appear purposely to ignore, that the freedom to proclaim Christ and his gospel is being incrementally subsumed to the rights of those who choose to be offended by crosses and cribs and every symbol of Christian community. Why did the European Parliament not invite the Archbishop of Canterbury to bless its Nativity scene? Why did they not invite the Pope – since he was there only a few weeks ago – or even the local Ordinary?

Could it simply be that the EU is no longer in communion with the traditions which shaped its institutions and formed its values? Could it be that, starved of the word of truth and devoid of the bread of life – seemingly with the indifferent complicity of the reigning princes of the Church – only a schismatic bishop could enter the lion’s den to bless the symbol of the mystery of the incarnation and redemption?

  • len

    As I have said on another thread if humanity can get anything wrong then they almost certainly will!. The Christian message was given to us by God revealed through Christ who gave it to men.Then the problem begins……..splits, divisions,disagreements.

    We must go back to roots of the Gospel to discern the Truth as God`s Word is Truth and Jesus Christ revealed Truth to us .I AM the Way the Truth and the Life…
    Meanwhile back here on planet earth …..who blessed this crib!…

  • bluedog

    Your Grace, as ‘Mahommed’ rises inexorably to dominate the ranking of EU boy’s names this all seems somewhat irrelevant.
    A progressive, culturally sensitive and inclusive organisation like the EU should have both eyes on the future. A nod to the past with a Nativity scene, fair enough, but one anticipates proper observance of Ramadan and Eid next year as a quid pro quo.
    Remember too that the Ummah have their own methods of ensuring compliance.

  • DanJ0

    Before the thread descends into “atheists, this” and “secularists, that” and “liberals, the other”, I’ll put my stake into the ground and point out that this a-theist liberal and advocate of a secular state is happy to see nativity displays throughout village, town and city centres at Christmas, and that none of the traditional Christmas stuff we see at this time of year offends me in any way. I’m happy enough for it to be publically funded too, provided it’s not to bolster Christian influence.

    • Inspector General

      There is some good in you DanJ0…

    • dannybhoy

      Ahhh nuts!
      You just go which way the wind blows…… 😉

      • His implicit reasons for not objecting, highlighted by his qualifier, actually strip Nativity scenes of Christian significance. He wants these to be meaningless symbols of an indifferent Yuletide celebration.

        • dannybhoy

          You mean he’d be happy to see nativity scenes sponsored by Tescos or Kwikfit or even Wonga??

        • CliveM

          It is the viewer who give any symbol it’s meaning. DanJo and anyone else, can’t strip the meaning from a believer and I believe he understands that. Likewise we can’t impose a significance on those who choose not to believe.

          For me then it is enough that the symbols are allowed so all can enjoy them. Therefore it isn’t DanJo who is the problem but those who go to court in an attempt to remove these symbols.

    • “I’m happy enough for it to be publically funded too, provided it’s not to bolster Christian influence.”

      Glad “nativity displays throughout village, town and city centres at Christmas” don’t offend you in any way. However, the point of doing so is to honour God, to remind people of the coming of Christ and to encourage the growth of the faith. Directly and indirectly, this must increase Christian influence.

      What would be the point otherwise? Just a cute, *harmless* little tradition that means nothing?

  • dannybhoy

    Who cares whether a corrupt, bureaucratic, anti Christian, anti Democratic European version of the USSR has a crib or not?
    It’s a joke.

  • David

    Well this is all rather unexpected and confusing. But I think it may be unproductive to place too much emphasis on one rather plasticky and tacky outpouring of what may be a sort of racial memory, or maybe sentimentalism.
    Let us not be fooled. The Constitution deliberately ignores Christianity, the very basis and foundation of all the European nations. It Europe is anything, it because of its Christian origins, and the laws and freedoms that were created by societies’ shaped by Christianity.
    It is because of the profoundly anti-Christian nature of the Beast of Brussels , that I am implacably opposed to the EU.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I agree. I’m taking no comfort from this small seasonal gesture. Even the Nazis payed lip-service to the Cross. The EU and it’s member states are on a Christophobic crusade to deny their own cultural and moral heritage in favour human “enlightenment”. I take a little comfort from the fact that many are simply refusing to buy this attempt at social re-engineering. The more the EU tries to vandalise the Christian heritage, the more people are becoming outraged and defiant.

      • David

        Yes indeed, and well said. More power to their elbows, as we cast off the yoke of EU imperialism.

  • Inspector General

    Bugger. This bodes ill. Those swine have it there for a reason. Is Turkey, who have been trying to sponge off the EU for years, imminently about to see their dream come true.

    There’s 76 million of them, and they’re nearly all muslim, (Just shows you what a bit of ethnic cleansing can achieve through the ages). Their standard of living is one third that of the UK.

    So, how many will pack their bags and arrived here. We’ll start the bidding. Does the Inspector have 1 million. Yes, he has 1 million. 2 million, that man there. 3 million, anyone for three million. Come on, there’s 76 million all wanting a ‘better’ life at any bodies expense. Yes, do we have 4 million. That Turk with the phone, 4 million sir. No, 3 million is as far as we go. 3 million once, 3 million twice, 3 million it is then. 3 million to add to our 62 million at the moment. That would be 62 million and rising…

    • CliveM

      Rest easy Inspector, Turkey is never going to join the EU. To many money suckers already in the EU won’t want to see their funds transferred East and will veto. Germany will take fright at the thought of another basket case to bail out and already worries about the numbers in its Turkish community.
      France has in the past said Non and you’d only need to whisper about the possible effects on CAP for it to get all muscular over the subject. Officially the UK Govt is for it, which should ensure that any EU waverers will vote against it!!

      So put away your gravel and serve yourself a decent Scotch.

      • Irish, please.

        • CliveM

          Tills more Dew

      • Inspector General

        You fail to reassure Clive. The EU has taken on a life of its own. It is superior to the wants of not just one country, but a crowd of them. One can illustrate this by informing you that Romanian gypsies now have the King’s Square, Gloucester, Big Issue concession. The same ‘ideal’ that has seen these gypsies on the make in the UK will most surely see Turkey in the EU.

        We couldn’t say no to the gypsies. We’re not going to be able to do anything about the Turks coming in. Nothing. One’s wish is to bring it on, if its inevitable. Perhaps the announcement could be made in election week next May. Cameron’s glum face will be a treat, as he deceives himself he can negotiate with the beast,

        As one has implied. If the EU put up a nativity scene, something bloody awful is soon to happen. So what else can it be…

        • CliveM

          Did I mention the Greeks……….!

          Actually I think Turkey is wavering as well. I think its current leadership is looking eastward more and I wouldn’t bet against a military coup sometime soon. And then they would never be allowed in.

          I still feel the odds are against it.

          • dannybhoy

            The Turks will cast in their lot with ISIL one day..

          • CliveM

            I’m not sure ISIL is an organisation any Govt will voluntarily throw their lot on with.

          • dannybhoy

            Well their current leader is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s not impossible that the whole Muslim world will turn against the post Christian West…

          • CliveM

            Well that’s a whole different question.

        • CliveM

          The right to raise their own direct taxes?

  • When all’s said and done, tacky or not, a Catholic Bishop, who may or may not be a “schismatic” (this is disputed), blesses a Nativity scene. At least there is one small symbol of Europe’s Christianity in place in this centre of all things secular and atheist.

    “From small acorns …”

  • carl jacobs

    So, I did a little searching about this story, and discovered two things:

    1. This story has no existence in the mainstream media. Only Catholic weblogs mentioned it, plus one complaint from something called “The Humanist Federation.”

    2. The MEP responsible (Mario Borghezio) was expelled from a European Parliament group that contains UKIP. This occurred at the behest of Nigel Farage because Borghezio had made some allegedly racist comments.

    So this doesn’t seem to be an act of the EP but rather an act of a MEP. He by virtue of his office invited some people to bless this nativity. This MEP chose SSPX to give the blessing in order to give SSPX the platform. So this story says nothing about the place of Christianity in Europe at all. It says something about the MEP who organized it.

    Have I parsed this correctly?

    • Inspector General

      You see to have parsed old chap, with full marks…

    • Uncle Brian

      Yes, Carl, it was the Lega Nord MEP who took the initiative, apparently acting on behalf of the SSPX, but the European Parliament as an institution must have given him the green light. Not even an MEP can just put on whatever display he likes, where and when he likes, on EU premises. Not without getting it okayed by the appropriate authorities.

      • carl jacobs


        So I was interested to know why the nativity was there in the first place. It seems the EU would have to give permission for the Nativity scene to be set up. But if the building is open to the public, why would an MEP need permission to perform what is essentially a private act? I’m asking. I don’t honestly know the answer.

        I will say this, however. I can’t conceive of this occurring in any other way. My mind cannot accept the EU sanctioning this event by SSPX.

        • Carl, surely if it wasn’t sanctioned it could not have taken place and the crib would be removed?

          • carl jacobs


            The Nativity was sanctioned. That does not mean the blessing ceremony was sanctioned. Is the building open to the public? Then people could just show up at the right time. The whole event could be organized outside the authority of the EP. Electronics being so portable these days, there would literally be no infrastructure required.

          • Jack doubts the security guards which must be in place in this building, would have just let this go-ahead without more senior and political approval. A bishop in full regalia would attract attention. Sometimes the maxim “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” holds in warfare.

          • Uncle Brian

            I agree entirely, Carl. And let me say, for a start, I have no more knowledge than you do of the background to what’s going on. But a hallway in the European Parliament building is only a public space in the sense that an airport departures lounge, for instance, is a public space. Joe Public is allowed to be there, but only as long as he abides by the rules and regs. He isn’t allowed to do whatever he pleases. I look forward to reading more about this, and not only on Christian websites, but in media outlets where the default reaction would be one of whining and whingeing that bigoted religionists are being shown such unmerited deference.

          • Jack believes the French are bound to object, unless they judge this statement against their Court rulings about Nativity scenes in France pointless and best ignored. One hopes they do too as it could backfire. France is volatile at the moment and an assertion of Christianity there could be on the cards.

    • From Happy Jack’s research it seems the initiator of this event was one Alain Escada, president of the French Civitas Institute. He needed the support of the MEP Mario Borghezio, who has, let’s say, an interesting background. It was intended to make a statement about the enforced removal of cribs from public places in France and against the increasing secularisation of Christmas in Germany. It was intended to remind people of the Christian basis of European culture and society.

      According to the European Humanist Association this was the act of “an unholy-alliance of far-right, homophobic and racist individuals.” and
      “The inauguration of the nativity scene by the ultra-conservative ‘catholic’ far-right should be a cause for concern for all secularists and moderate religious people across Europe.”

      According to these Humanists its all about …. yes, you guessed it …. *equal marriage*. The Civitas Institute has led protests in France against *equal-marriage* and the St Pius X Society also holds *ultra-conservative anti-LGBTI views*.

      • carl jacobs


        “Equal marriage” is a stalking horse for the real issue:

        1. The sovereignty of man over his own life.
        2. The autonomy of man over his own behavior.
        3. The right of man to re-create himself after his own image.

        This is the modern religion of the West. To deny these things in the name of a sovereign Creator God who established man in a created moral order is to commit heresy most foul. This is a religious conflict about man and his place in the universe. It is not about homosexual marriage.

        • Well yes, Jack knows that Carl.

          There is a cultural and spiritual war going on and *equal marriage* is one of a number of frontlines. Jack hopes the European Humanist Society is correct and that what they have labelled a “Shameful inauguration of nativity scene” gives “secular moderate religious people across Europe” cause for concern. Maybe it will stir their consciences. It’s one small victory.

          • carl jacobs


            Well, you said…

            According to these Humanists its all about …. yes, you guessed it …. *equal marriage*

            I would hate see this thread pre-empted onto that subject.

          • Agreed. It’s more important than one issue.

  • carl jacobs

    I wonder if there aren’t two mutually exclusive streams of thought playing out in the EU.

    One the one hand, you have the realists who understand that Europe must be created if the nations of Europe hope to stand as legitimate peers of the US and China. One might call this the French vision of France standing on German shoulders to resume France’s rightful place in the world. Or so a cynic might say. No nation has managed to unite all of Europe into one political entity. The EU is an effort to create the European Empire by acquiesce instead of sword. Europe can then exert united force in its own interest.

    And then you have the idealist vision of European Union as the post-war model of reconciliation among the nations. It is the perfect laboratory for exploring the political integration of Nations divided by language and history and culture and religion and ancient animosity. It is the Quixotic hope of liberal man to reverse the Judgment at Babel. He sees in Europe not a nation but a remade world. The ultimate purpose is not the emergence of Europe but its eventual abnegation. It is a vision doomed to irrelevance because it will be opposed by the realists who deal in the currency of money and power.

    Both perspectives however will see allegiance to the current nations of Europe as the primary obstacle to be overcome. So paradoxically both should view the devolution of those nations as a good thing. The separation of (say) Scotland from England makes both weaker and pushes the need for integration at a higher level. The natural reaction among the populace is to defend one’s group because of this emerging weakness. What needs to be managed is the painful transference of loyalty from nation-state to Europe. This natural reaction has to be faced down lest it abort the birth of a new continent.

    Of course, there is no evidence this shift of loyalty can be brought about. The elites running this game are taking a terrible risk. If it goes bad, it will be bloody.

    • There’s nothing to bind Europe together now that it is denying its Christian heritage and roots. Jack remembers Pope Benedict being critical of the EU for excluding any reference to God and Europe’s Christian heritage in its declaration in 2007 marking the 50th anniversary of its founding.

      The Pope accused Europe of abandoning God and the Christian faith and warned of the consequences.

      “If on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome the governments of the union want to get closer to their citizens, how can they exclude an element as essential to the identity of Europe as Christianity, in which the vast majority of its people continue to identify. Does not this unique form of apostasy of itself, even before God, lead it to doubt its very identity?” Pope Benedict warned that the EU was heading towards indifference. “A community that builds itself without respecting the true dignity of the human being, forgetting that each person is created in the image of God, ends up doing good for no one.”

      Wise man, Benedict.

    • bluedog

      Carl, much of what you say above, in particular the second para commencing ‘And then…’ could equally apply to the United States. To date the US has been the most successful multi-cultural and multi-ethnic entity created since the Catholic Church.

      A citizen of the USA is either born or immigrates and is baptised into the ways of the American Republic. But to the non-US observer, what is alarming is that there are very few ‘Americans’ these days. It seems that every American is hyphenated and self-identifies as a descendant of an earlier immigrant or formative ethnicity. The only exception is that there are not yet any Euro-Americans, although non-Euro Americans seem to describe any Euro-Americans as Anglos. May be there are differences in this self-identification between the red states and the blue states. One could hardly imagine a Bostonian describing him/herself as ‘White’, although in West Virginia to fail to do so would be exceptional.

      One can also see the US starting to reflect clear ethnic division, with Hispanics emerging as a majority in a number of south-western states. How long before this polarisation results in separatist politics is anybody’s guess. That JEB Bush can be praised for his ability to gain Hispanic support because of his Mexican wife throws the matter into sharp relief.

      In summary, the US seems to have become increasingly ‘European’ and we’re not just talking about the social democracy of Obamacare. Another of Obama’s dreams, a post-racial America, seems to have evaporated too. With the enduring division between Black and White, one could argue that the US contains as much centrifugal potential as the EU.

      I hope I am wrong, it would be a very dangerous world if the US were to fail.

      • Considering they depended on the French to establish their deist, secular nation, is it any wonder the chickens are now coming home to roost?

        • bluedog

          Indeed. ‘ It is the Quixotic hope of liberal man to reverse the Judgment at Babel. He sees in Europe (or the USA) not a nation but a remade world.’

          • The EU may have Europa and Babel as symbols but look at America’s. The All Seeing Eye on its dollar and the goddess Libertas, with suggestions of Juno, the queen of the goddesses, plonked in its harbour welcoming all-comers.
            Ever get the idea someone somewhere is taking the p*ss out of Joe public?

          • carl jacobs

            You forgot the black helicopters, Jack. And the Skull & Bones Society. And the Masons. No doubt, all part of that Great Conspiracy of the Illuminati to overthrow the Knights Templar.

          • No, no, the Knights Templar are baddies too. That’s just a false flag, Carl. Jack knows about these things – the voices have told him. (Where is my tin foil hat).

          • CliveM

            Well they were meant to spend their leisure hours kissing Satans bum. At least according to Pope Clement V, when he decided to divest them of their wealth, torture them and have a few burnt!

      • carl jacobs


        If you read the Federalist Papers, you will see that the Founding fathers went to great trouble to avoid the creation of Europe in the New world. The States are not a collection of Nations. All of the divisions that make European Union impossible are missing in the US. It is true the US culture is becoming more European – because it is becoming more secular. But the US will never be Europe. We are one country and not 50.

        • bluedog

          ‘The States are not a collection of Nations.’ Agreed, but the states evolved from colonies that shared a common demos – the majority populations were of British stock. The blacks were still non-voting slaves, the Indians were separate nations and there was no Hispanic demographic until the conquest of Texas in 1824. What interests this writer is that the US seems to be reverse engineering itself towards a European degree of demographic complexity, and I do understand how a federal constitution works. The 2008 presidential election was a land-mark event in that one demographic, the blacks, voted 94% in favour of one candidate who said he was black. We both know that two things are absent from the US constitution, the racial identity of citizens and the political affiliation of citizens. The question therefore becomes, if political parties are re-aligned on a racial basis, does this circumvent the underlying intent of the Constitution? What are the practical implications? We have already seen the failure of Mitt Romney being described as the last chance of a white Republican president. It’s a different argument, but we can already see a condition of almost perma-gridlock in the US legislature and as Obama rightly says, the US seems to have evolved into a vetocracy. Everyone knows what they don’t want and is in a position to stop it.
          All this is of particular interest because the foundational precepts of the UK have been over-turned by the partial devolution of the constituent entities, all of which are highly nativist. A federation has seemed to be a possible solution. However, the Scottish vote in September does not seem to have settled the Scottish independence matter and the GE next year may see a Scottish Nationalist voting bloc emerge in the UK parliament. If this were to eventuate, a British federation could potentially be nullified before it gets off the ground. It’s a worry.

    • dannybhoy

      Had Europe been allowed to develop naturally from a trading bloc (as we Brits thought it was) to a democratically evolving political bloc as well, all might have worked out fine.
      But you can’t superimpose a superstate on a collection of ancient democracies with widely differing economies without it starting to resemble the USSR with centralized powers…
      It’s an abomination sez I! Away with it, before it swallows us all up.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,
    The EU is like;
    My grandchildren were round today and a cartoon was on the TV. The cartoon character was getting involved and drawn into a computer game. The games main character hand developed a power of it’s own and had eliminated is programming authors and was taking control of the cartoon character playing the game.

    Thus is the EU; It’s creators have lost control to the players who have turned the game to their own self perpetuating creation that can’t be controlled by any external influence.

    Who remembers ‘The village of the dammed’. As the ‘special’ children could read minds. it took a determined effort by the teacher to control his mind so as not to think of the bomb he had planted. Drastic measures for drastic times.

    • Careful, Shadrach. Special Branch monitor internet traffic and the words EU aside “bomb” and “planted” will be flagged for attention.

  • Albert

    Bizarre but somewhat hilarious in parts.

    May a sacramentally-unlicensed bishop who rejects the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes bestow a true blessing upon a Nativity scene?


    Surely, if a bishop who is forbidden or suspended from exercising his ministry presumes the authority to administer the sacraments and thereby deceive the flock, he is excommunicated latae sententiae?

    I’m not a defender of schismatics, but I wonder if you would make such a fuss if it was an Anglican bishop?

    while France seeks to ban all representations of a child in a stable with a cow and a donkey

    Perhaps we should stop using the word “secularist” to describe such people. They are clearly modern day nihilists.

    Regarding Rowan:

    Britain would have almost nothing else “distinctive” to offer outside it. Going it alone could turn the country into an “offshore financial facility”, he added.

    Very odd – Britain is only distinctive when it is subsumed within the EU.

    And he suggested that hostility towards the EU was being fuelled by an increasingly assertive sense of English identity, partly as a response to Scottish nationalism.

    No Rowan, it’s to do with the democratic and economic deficit. If the EU was a right-wing organisation, then I’m sure Rowan would oppose it for precisely those reasons. The EU needs to be held to account, but it has made it impossible to do this, and so has lost legitimacy.

    • CliveM

      “, but I wonder if you would make such a fuss if it was an Anglican bishop”

      Wouldn’t happen, is their a basis to excommunicate an Anglican Bishop!!

      Regards should we actually refer to secularists as nihilists instead? Yes absolutely. They have nothing to offer, simply a vacuum.

      • DanJ0

        Certainly in a liberal democratic environment, not offering anything is part of the beauty of it. There’s no centrally controlled master plan. If there’s an ideology then it’s an ideology about the environment in which we live, not about humanity itself. No homogeneity to insist upon. No priestly caste to manage the hegemony and to sheppard the sheep and herd them along the chosen way. We can just get on with our own lives for the most part. That sounds quite attractive to me.

        • William Lewis

          “If there’s an ideology then it’s an ideology about the environment in which we live, not about humanity itself”.

          That’s probably because the only reality that a secularist can claim to be objective is the material. It then gets stuck in the leap from “is” to “ought”.

          • DanJ0

            [insert usual comment about secularist vs atheist]

          • DanJ0

            I can’t say I get stuck at all with ought stuff, and I realise that ought doesn’t follow from is.

          • William Lewis

            Clearly secularism and atheism are not the same, but if secularism is an absence (or removal) of religious assumptions in certain situations and atheism is the absence of God in all situations in theory, then one can see why they would have common characteristics. Secularism is usually backed by atheism and there appears to be much overlap in their assumptions and metaphysics. I think that my, albeit spare, analysis of your description of secularism is not too wide of the mark. Now that’s not to say that a secular model of government cannot be better then a theocratic one. There are, of course, perils in all forms of government .

          • DanJ0

            I think the secular idea is that people can have whatever rich, fulfilling, god-oriented private life they like in private or in public, subject to the usual restrictions of a diverse society. The State arbitrates between conflicting private interests, including a-theism, without using its power and reach to promote and favour one over another. Of course, I realise it’s not that clean and simple in reality.

      • Albert

        is their a basis to excommunicate an Anglican Bishop!!

        In theory, yes. In practise, I think not.

        Regards should we actually refer to secularists as nihilists instead? Yes absolutely. They have nothing to offer, simply a vacuum.

        It’s not the having nothing to offer that is the problem to me, it’s the imposition of nothing that is the problem. I mean, what is the matter with people who want to block a nativity scene in a town hall? The judge shouldn’t entertain that kind of plea, but simply ask what’s wrong with these people.

        • CliveM

          Yes you are right. But doesn’t this highlight a truth. We are continually told by secularists that they are not anti religion, simply that they want to remove it from the public sphere. But with these petty and vindictive actions we see the truth. They don’t simply want to remove religion from the public sphere they want to eradicate it.

          They are happy to replace with empty slogans and empty symbols, but that which is meaningful (even to those without faith) and has cultural significance, this has to be removed.

          What we will be left with will be empty, totally commercial and devoid of meaning and then I feel even the secularists (or at least a significant portion of them) will feel the loss. Even if they don’t understand why.

          • Albert

            Good analysis. As Carl says, there is the secularism of the US revolution and the secularism of the French Revolution. People who want the public sphere to be open to everyone of all religious beliefs and none represent the former – and most religious people would agree with that. But when you get around to banning things like nativities, which local communities have set up, then you move into determining which opinions are acceptable in the public sphere and which are not. A movement of freedom and inclusivity becomes a kind of confessionally secular state. And from there…well we’ve seen enough from the 20th Century to have concerns about the future.

            People who pretend to be US type secularists while being French type secularists are either dishonest or stupid.

          • CliveM

            Personally I have no problem with the traditional US version of secularism (although it does seem under threat from the secular fundamentalists), but I suspect it is the French model that people wish to impose.

            It’s the joyless, bigoted emptiness of it that annoys me most. These symbols are rich in meaning and give pleasure to the vast majority. And then we get the secular Taliban, petty, ungenerous and intolerant.

          • Albert

            Quite it’s sort of spiteful somehow. Like a child who finding he doesn’t have something another child has, but finding he cannot steal it from him, breaks it. This sort of behaviour shouldn’t be indulged, rather such a child should be told to restore what he has broken and to grow up. Beyond that, you end up with a vacuum, as you say, and nature abhors a vacuum, so what, in the end, fills it? All terribly wrong, but all entirely predictable.

          • CliveM

            Yes, spiteful is the right word. It’s a ‘I will because I can” attitude.

          • Albert

            Which is another way of noting the lack of moral content.

          • CliveM

            What will fill the vacuum? An empty materialism or a false spirituality (“oh yes I’m a spiritual person, I like to light my Celtic Candles, whilst communing with a crystal. It’s spiritual innit?)

            Whatever it will be it won’t satisfy.

          • carl jacobs

            The fascination with things spiritual should not surprise. Men struggle with empty meaningless life in the absence of God. Few are they who have the courage of their convictions, and fewer still those who would maintain said convictions in the face of serious distress. So men seek out meaning in ghosts, and spirits, and crystals. It’s a soft non-threatening spirituality – non threatening because devoid of judgment. Other than the self-imposed judgment of Jacob Marley’s chains.

            The occult is the harbinger of the return of paganism.

          • CliveM

            I find it fascinating listening to people who claim not to believe in any divinity, or life after death etc who claim to be spiritual or that spirituality is important to them. They clearly see a gap in their life, but believe candles, incense, ambient music and a ‘spiritual’ feeling (whatever that is) will satisfy.

            What also amuses me about this new paganism (at least in the UK) is they all whitter on about it being the ancient faith of the islands, whilst most of what they believe is a Victorian or post Victorian invention. It has as much depth as Scientology.

        • carl jacobs


          It’s not the having nothing to offer that is the problem to me, it’s the imposition of nothing

          That is an insightful and useful distinction.

          To the Materialist, nothing is the ultimate truth. If the state therefore imposes nothing in the name of religious neutrality, its actions become indistinguishable from a state governed by Materialism. Which is of course the point.

          • Albert

            But to say that would give the game away, hence the use of ambiguous (and potentially good) term “secularism”.

  • Inspector General

    The BBC have a scalp. Or at least they think they have. UKIP man’s private
    conversation taped and broadcast.

    Well, he can call the Inspector a thick mick from bogland for all yours
    truly cares, IF HE CAN HELP GET US OUT OF THE EU !!!

    Might even kiss the fellow’s behind on that. Despite his rather obvious
    aversion to homosexuality…

    One doeth believe those who are going to vote UKIP will in no way be put
    off from supporting the party when the time comes…

  • David

    I recommend a very thoughtful book, regarding the EU and its denial of Europe’s Christian heritage. It is entitled, “Why we should all call ourselves Christians’, by Marcello Pera, an Italian pro-EU politician and Professor of Political Philosophy at Rome University. He is a committed Catholic. His book has a foreword by Pope Benedict (Inspector and Happy Jack, please note).
    His premise is that for the EU to succeed it must acknowledge and embrace the Christian origins of Europe.
    Whilst I want the EU to fail, as it will, there being no ‘demos’, only an unelected bureaucracy plus the Commissioners. Nor is there a single people (genos ?), but many, all speaking different languages.
    But there is a continent called Europe which is the inheritor of Christendom. All of what is truly Europe, including European Russia, is underpinned by its Christian origins and culture. Deny it to ourselves and we cease being European nations. So I find in part common cause with Marcello Pera. It is a good read.

    • Happy Jack would like a Christian family of nations in Europe bound together by our common interests and Christian faith.

      However, as in Jack’s own family of families he would not want his relatives turning up expecting to move in and eat all Jack’s food. Neither would he permit them to lay down the law and insist on telling Jack how he should run his personal family affairs. And he certainly wouldn’t tolerate them removing Jack’s possessions. We help one another in times of need, we celebrate successes and share disappointments. If we ran a business together we would cooperate in this sphere but still lead independent lives.

      Somewhere Europe went badly wrong and it now seems to be on a roll into an abyss.

      • David

        A Christian family of nations is an attractive, almost poetic way of saying what I have long thought. Namely we should seek cooperation, based on mutual respect and equality, but with each country remaining self-governing, with its own laws, and having a different expression of democracy to reflect its own culture, traditions and wishes. And yes the cooperative grouping simply must, if it is to have any connection to reality, recognise its own essentially Christian underpinnings. So yes indeed, an extended family of nations, recognising its Christian origins. Individuals within each country will of course be free to be practising Christians or not.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Is there any comparison between the EU and Nineveh? Jonah was told, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me” said God.

    Would our reaction be like Jonah’s if the EU repented and turned to God? He was annoyed because he wanted God to destroy Nineveh as it was the enemy of the Israelite s.

    • Well Happy Jack hopes if God does destroy the European Union and/or its nation states, that He gives Britain sufficient time to leave before doing so. The European Union is wicked and its member states are compelled to dance to an anti-Christian tune.

  • preacher

    Can their be any doubt about the basis of belief or ambitions of any group who adopt as a symbol a building that is a reproduction of a painting of the tower of Babel, with a pagan statue placed in a prominent position in front?.

  • Inspector General

    Getting back to Turkey. As you all know, the UK has been wagging its tail in front of Uncle Sam for some years now. (God knows why, its all led to grief thus far…)

    Anyway, Turkey is a staunch NATO ally and a genuine pal of the USA. Hence, the UK’s official ‘encouragement’ of Turkey joining the EU.
    You mark the Inspector’s words. He knows….

    • Good deals on turkeys this weekend. Jack purchased two. Having relatives over on Boxing Day. Now looking around for a Christmas ham.

  • Well said YG especially the penultimate paragraph. And might I say what
    an eyesore that display is, looks like an encampment in the Norwegian
    forest not the Nativity. Bit of an insult to Christians really.

  • I am quite sure that no Bishop of the Church of England (Continuing) would go anywhere near a crib, much less bless it. What is the purpose of blessing a little collection of lego figures and plastic trees anyway? Golly! Ian Paisley would have had a field day with it all.
    The E.U. is a secular organization and it will remain so whether it has a crib as some sort of wretched sop to religious people or not.
    The fact is that the modern Christmas resembles nothing so much as the scene in Revelation 11:7-10. True Christian witness lies dead in the street while the people rejoice and send each other cards and presents to celebrate the absence of Christ from the nation for another year.
    I’m sorry to be so gloomy, but I’ve just come back from an open-air carol concert which featured local sea shanties and some hand-bell ringers. I spent some time trying to offer free copies of the New Testament to the spectators. No interest.

    • Come now, Martin. Do read Revelation11:11. Be the Christmas you want to see in the world … as some say. Christ isn’t absent from the nation. No good being gloomy in such a joyous season. Nativity scenes are important and not just bits of Lego and plastic.

      • It’s very kind of you chaps to rally round and cheer me up. Thank you. Certainly if we have read to the end of the Book, we know who wins (and it isn’t you, DanJo- sorry!).
        Interestingly, last time I and some Gideon colleagues did a street distribution at Christmas, we did it at one of these strange German-style Christmas markets. We gave away 300 in two hours.
        It seems that people are more receptive to Christian things when they shopping than when they’re at a carol concert. Strange!

        • CliveM

          You know as a further bit of re-assurance, many of them may already have had the Bible and didn’t feel the need for another copy.

    • DanJ0

      “I spent some time trying to offer free copies of the New Testament to the spectators. No interest.”

      With respect, why would there be? People are there for the atmosphere. If they wanted a bible then no doubt they’d go and buy one from Amazon, delivered to the door.

    • carl jacobs


      There is no reason to be discouraged. God is in his heaven and all is right with the world. There are yet 7000 knees that have never bowed to Baal. And even if there weren’t, God would still be God and the end would still have been predetermined from the beginning. It can’t be changed.

    • len

      ‘There is a time for everything,
      and a season for every activity under the heavens:'(Ecclesiastes 3)

      As the World gets darker so the Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will shine brighter. We are not seeing this in the Europe at the moment but the Gospel is going out in places where communism has failed, also where Islam is seen as the cruel and oppressive religion that it is .People are coming to Christ because they see that all systems set up by man have failed or are failing.
      God is revealing the corruption that is wide spread throughout our society all that has been concealed is being revealed.
      Europe has embarked upon an experiment to set up a system which’ throws of the shackles ‘of God`s Moral Law which is an experiment from which we are already suffering the fruits which are a broken dysfunctional society.

      As our society further breaks down (which it inevitably will) there will be those seeking the Truth and the Love of God revealed as in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and there will also be those who will curse God and blame Him for the ills which they have bought about by their rebellion and their lawlessness.

  • preacher

    The Church in the West is suffering because in many cases the gospel is not preached & the place of God & Christ is not paramount among His people.

    Next year this Nation has the opportunity to choose a government & the candidates are squabbling to be elected.

    God does not have to stand man’s scrutiny, He has no need to promise & bribe the electorate to choose Him – He is the supreme ruler. Always has been, Always will be. The choice is do we accept His rule, or go our own way ? either way will not affect His position, but it will affect us.

    The Church grows & is growing in places where it’s people stand for the gospel, despite opposition & persecution, even martyrdom. It has always been this way.
    These Brethren value & trust Christ completely. We are called to stand shoulder to shoulder with them & to proclaim the truth of the gospel.
    Christ said that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword of separation between those that accept Him & those that reject His sacrifice for them. To raise an army of spiritual warriors that would oppose Satan, destroy & tear down his strongholds.

    The choice for Christians in the West is between a righteous God & his love for mankind that cost Him dear & will demand our total love for Him.
    Or a safe State sanctioned run Church that will impose it’s rule despite the fact that it is contrary to the Word of God, (As has happened in many Communist countries).

    I wonder what choice we will make?.

    • CliveM

      “Or a safe State sanctioned run Church that will impose it’s rule”

      I’m at a loss to understand how it is imposing its rule?

      • preacher

        Surely Clive you must be aware of the way that the Governments in the U.K & wider European countries have introduced legislation that seeks to restrict Christians from standing for the beliefs that they personally hold dear, or push through laws that penalise believers & leave them open to prosecution? I believe that this is the thin end of the wedge & unless the Church stands for God’s laws, it will grow worse with the progress of time.

        • CliveM

          We have a state sanctioned church, it seems incapable of imposing its will on itself, never mind anyone else? It’s not what the various Govts are doing, it’s specifically your comment on the Church that confuses me.

          • preacher

            You are right Clive, but not all Christians belong to the C of E & indeed there are many good believers in the Anglican Church, but often the people who should be standing as their voice are not speaking out. This leaves the Christian Church in general in a vulnerable position & open to more state interference both here & in Europe, & if we cease to be salt & light then darkness will encroach in society & greed & sin will increase as political leaders take advantage of the vacuum to claim more power.
            Many people are content to exist in a safe undemanding state, not realising what is at stake & the peril that lurks at the door waiting to enter.

  • gillibrand

    My Lord entereth onto deep waters in matters of jurisdiction and communion. Like my Lord, Bishop Fellay was ordained a Catholic priest. Bishop Fellay and yourself were both excommunicated. Bishop Fellay has never subsequently attempted matrimony, his sin was to be on the receiving end of irregular consecration. The orders of the SSPX are licit but irregular, while your successor, Justin Welby are illicit and irregular by defect of form and intention in the Anglican ordinal. The excommunication of Bishop Fellay was subsequently lifted. He is neither schismatic and certainly not heretical. His irregular situation is maintained by supplied jurisdiction which is justified by the state of crisis which exists in the Church, thanks in part to an ordinal not dissimilar to your own.

  • Leacock

    This is but the pot calling the kettle black. I don’t really care that much for the Society but are they truly more schismatics than the Church of England? They are sincerely trying to follow Christ in the way they believe. I’d think they are no further than more than one Anglican bishop.