Theresa May - launch 2
Conservative Party

Theresa May could be poised for real political greatness

 

“Brexit means Brexit, and we’re going to make a success of it,” proclaimed Theresa May, just hours before she was unexpectedly declared the new leader of the Conservative Party, and two days before being invited by the Queen to become the 76th prime minister of the United Kingdom. The Conservative Party moves with ruthless haste when it needs to: its appetite for power is ravenous. “There will be no attempts to remain inside the EU,” Mrs May emphasised. “There will be no attempts to rejoin it by the back door: no second referendum,” she banged on. “The country voted to leave the European Union and as Prime Minister I will make sure that we leave the European Union.”

She couldn’t be clearer.

Theresa May is a vicar’s daughter: the Rev’d Hubert Brasier infused his daughter with the spiritual wealth and riches of the Church of England. “I think it’s right that we don’t flaunt these things here in British politics,” she said on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2014 (for which she chose two hymns: ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’ and ‘Therefore we, before him bending’). “But it is a part of me. It’s there, and it obviously helps to frame my thinking and my approach.”

We don’t know how much her Anglican faith frames her thinking about politics and her approach to policy because she doesn’t really talk about it. We can only consider her speeches and examine her record in office. She is apparently a Zionist with authoritarian, illiberal instincts. She hails the benefits of sharia law, and likes to snoop and monitor our use of the internet. She is also inclined to pursue some “bonkers” immigration policies, irrespective of justice, fairness, compassion and common sense. She made lots of Brexit-like sovereignty noises, but eventually backed Remain in the EU Referendum campaign (despite knowing that free movement of persons meant that she could never fulfil the Conservative Manifesto pledge to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands), and then swiftly U-turned on her ECHR views when the path to Downing Street became apparent.

She has presided over a largely “dysfunctional system” in the Home Office: yes, she got rid of ‘hate preacher’ Abu Qatada, but on her watch some 758 foreign criminals were released from police custody without checks, and thousands more were gifted UK citizenship. She also volunteered the UK back under the jurisdiction of the European Arrest Warrant, which permits British citizens to be extradited to another EU country, incarcerated in a foreign prison, denied Habeas Corpus and trial by jury, refused an early appearance in court and, contra the presumption of innocence, required to prove that you have not committed the offence of which you stand accused (ask Ben Herdman).

This is Theresa May’s record in the Home Office. There is a certain epistemic distance between what she says and what she does. And yet..

Brexit means Brexit, and we’re going to make a success of it. There will be no attempts to remain inside the EU. There will be no attempts to rejoin it by the back door: no second referendum. The country voted to leave the European Union and as Prime Minister I will make sure that we leave the European Union.

There is a sense in which all that preceded may be overlooked if this pledge is fulfilled. Yes, the foundation of the ECSC/EEC was profoundly Christian in inspiration, with a trajectory toward peace and reconciliation. But the EU has become a sanctified bureaucracy of elitist forces and anti-Christian creeds. It has deified centralised state power while emasculating nation-state subsidiarity. Its coercive, corporatist social order is antithetical to centuries of Protestant notions of individual liberty and economic liberalism. While subsidising its own farmers to leave their fields fallow, poor African farmers are doomed to starve. The loss of national sovereignty (or ‘pooling’ thereof) has rendered the UK Government impotent to pursue righteousness and justice.

For the good of the British people and the betterment of the world, the UK must leave the EU: “Brexit means Brexit.” If Theresa May takes us there, she will go down in history as a truly great prime minister who understood the true essence of the Christian commonwealth, restored the balance between governmental powers and private rights, and set the nation back on its course of liberal constitutionalism. If she does not, she will go down in history…

Let’s not go there. Politic conspiracy comes too easy. There is much joy to be had in the thought that the UK will soon be liberated from the EU by the low-Church daughter of a humble Anglican vicar, steeped in the spirit, ethos, method and attitude of the ever-compromising and reconciling via media. Her instinct is toward balance, restraint and moderation. But she has vision, passion and is not at all risk-averse. Pray for her. Brexit means Brexit. It is her vocation.

  • IanCad

    “– its appetite for power is ravenous.”
    More meat on Brexiters than Remainers. Give it a year and the hope of liberty will be devoured.

  • Uncle Brian

    Will Theresa May lead the Conservative Party to its third successive General Election victory in 2020? That would be quite an achievement, even though Scotland has made it a bit easier for her by pulling out the rug from under the Labour Party.

    And what about Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish majority for Remain? I don’t think we’ve heard the last of that subplot, have we?

    • Dreadnaught

      There has to be a new alliance forged between Westminster and Holyrood. Campaigning must begin now and there is no better Conservative voice and match for the Sturgeon in Scotland than Ruth Davidson; she has to have a seat at the table and be given maximum attention and support.

      • CliveM

        Yes agreed. I saw her being interviewed on Newsnight by a snide Jeremy Paxman wannabe. She was very impressive in the way she handled him.

      • Anton

        Call their bluff, tell them they are free to leave if they want. I for one, while preferring the Scots to stay, would not be bluffing.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      “what about Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish majority for Remain?”
      What about it?

      In 2016 1,661,191 Scots voted to stay in the EU, in 2014
      2,001,926 Scots voted to stay in the UK.

      So there is no evidence to support the idea that Scotland wants to stay in the EU outside the UK.

      • Uncle Brian

        That’s quite a difference. A net 340,000 Scottish voters sent their message to Comrade Sturgeon. I hope she read it.

  • Coniston
  • “Brexit is Brexit”
    Cameron lost all credibility over his “cast iron promises” which never happened, will this phrase do the same for Mrs May?

  • Pray for her

    We would do better to pray for ourselves when a spiritually enriched vicar’s daughter has no qualms about bearing false witness on national television. Cringe as the personification of shiftiness dismisses the plain truth that membership of the European Union is wholly conditional on being a signatory to the ECHR. Watch from 1:00.

  • Erik Dahlberg

    “It has deified centralised state power while emasculating nation-state subsidiarity. Its coercive, corporatist social order is antithetical to centuries of Protestant notions of individual liberty and economic liberalism.”
    This gave me goosebumps for, your grace, I could hardly agree more. I do not think it far fetched to compare the EU with the Holy Roman Empire/Papal system and its war on the Protestants. I won’t go into detail but these two quotations I recently read stuck out to me as poignant to today’s events. Hollings, M. A. (1918), Europe in Renaissance and Reformation, London, Methuen and Co.
    “In mediaeval Christendom Church and State were so closely bound up together that acceptance of the Reformation by an individual meant also a revolt against the State; while its acceptance by a state meant a revolt from the European system.” (116)
    “Whether for a nation or an individual, acceptance of the Reformation at first meant isolation; and self-chosen isolation generally means some degree of courage.” (118)

    • Terry Mushroom

      Isn’t the C of E “closely bound” to the state?

      • Erik Dahlberg

        Very arguably yes, however, it was not a pan-European power as the Papacy represented.

        • Terry Mushroom

          Arguably? It is by law established.

          Didn’t Beckett stand up against the state.

          • Erik Dahlberg

            Beckett was before the time of the C of E or the worst excesses Papal imperialism. He did, nevertheless, represent the Catholic church, and therefore the Papacy not the C of E (it didn’t exist). You are quite right that the C of E was closely bound to the state, but, in contrast to the Papacy, the C of E made no pretensions at European authority. The Papacy claimed authority through Thomas Beckett and, only a generation later, actually placed England under interdict and then made it a Papal state (in name) for Rome had shifting political interest in the Capetian Angevin wars. It wasn’t just England that became nominally a Papal state but Denmark and Portugal too for example. The C of E has not, to the best of my knowledge, attempted to exert such an imperial authority for it is the church of England run by the English and not the church of Europe. This “European system”, which I mention from Hollings and the “centralised state power while emasculating nation-state subsidiarity” mentioned by his grace, I consider to be very much comparable to the Papal imperial system back then hence my original post.

  • CliveM

    There seems to be a lot of blaming of Remainers and (that old chestnut) the MSM. However personally it’s not them who I feel have let the Brexit voters down. It is clear there was neither a common vision or a plan as to what was to happen in the event of the Leave vote. So such basic questions as ‘what does Brexit mean in reality’ where never explained and it is clear, meant different things to different people. Did it mean Norway style agreement, but with an acceptance of free movement, or a total break, with trade tariff’s but no free movement of peoples?

    I bet the former if you were to ask Boris, the latter of you were to ask Ian Duncan Smith.

    This is all made worse by the disappearance of the Brexit leadership. Farage resigned. Boris, stabbed in the back (by a Leaver). Gove, by his own actions, unable to command trust and support. Leadsom imploding big style under the pressure of media scrutiny. Let’s be clear with regards the latter, this is the sort of pressure politicians have to put up with under normal circumstances. How on earth she would have coped, under the additional burden of international and domestic pressure to conclude Brexit negotiations, goodness only knows.

    So if the leadership has, for one reason or another, left the field of battle, unsure what to do with its victory, or even what the victory means. Don’t blame the ‘MSM’ or the ‘Liberal establishment’ if we don’t get the Brexit we want. If May takes a broad interpretation of what it means why shouldn’t she, it was up to Brexit to supply the details, unfortunately it didn’t and is now missing in action.

    • James60498 .

      Whilst I agree the Brexit leaders shouldn’t have disappeared so quickly, I nevertheless disagree that they are solely to blame for any unnecessary mess.

      David Cameron decided on holding the Referendum. He also stated quite clearly that he would not resign either way.

      He was therefore supposed to be in charge afterwards and should therefore have had a plan regardless of the outcome. Any of the “Brexit” leaders were campaigning for what they believed was right. Whilst expecting the Prime Minister to implement it, as he said he would. He wouldn’t even allow Leave cabinet ministers to speak to Civil Servants about the Referendum.

      Even the opposition get to speak to senior Civil Servants putting them in a better position to be able to take over the government should they win an election.

      • CliveM

        Hmm. I can’t help but feel if Cameron had tried to stay on, there would be a lot of anger by Leavers, questioning the credibility of him doing so.

        Rightly.

        By point about the Leavers is not simply they didn’t have a detailed plan, but neither did they seem understand amongst themselves what Brexit meant in reality and that doesn’t need the Civil Service.

        • James60498 .

          Maybe some, yes. Maybe even many. I can’t claim to know how each one would have felt.

          I saw through Cameron very quickly and
          whilst many of those who have since joined UKIP/ left politics altogether were voting for him as their leader I was trying to talk my Council colleagues out of it.

          The idea that when he resigned I would not have been cheering from the rooftops never crossed my mind.

          But he was the democratically elected Prime Minister. He had promised/ threatened to stay on. And should have done so, after ensuring that those leavers who were most capable were put in the best positions to ensure that it happened.

          What was the alternative? We would never get another chance for this. It needed to be done. It could have been better organised of course. But then what in government ever is?

          Brexit means leaving the EU. Precisely how that’s going to be done is detail. For which it is certainly very helpful to have Civil Service input. In the same way that new governments get and use that information to prepare their own detailed manifestos.

          • CliveM

            I simply reflect that if a ‘reluctant Remainer’ is viewed by many as unacceptable, what chance an enthusiastic one.

          • James60498 .

            I don’t disagree with a lot of what you are saying.

            But he was the elected PM. Elected both by the party and the country. However much I might dislike that fact.

            That should give him rights AND responsibilities that someone who has only been elected by her constituency and a small number of MPs shouldn’t have.

          • CliveM

            On a point of Constitutional fact, we don’t elect a Prime Minister, we elect a Parliament. The Queen then selects the Leader of the biggest party and ask them to be PM.

          • James60498 .

            Factually true. But it doesn’t change the fact the Conservative Party was elected into government with him as leader.

            It doesn’t change the fact that he had stated that he would carry on as PM whatever the result and be responsible for carrying out the wishes of the electorate.

            This change in leadership hasn’t even been approved by the Party. I saw one comment from a QC yesterday that stated that under party rules members had to be given two options.

            Perhaps someone will challenge it, though I would have thought it unlikely.

            If it is true that many are leaving, then why has it taken them so long? But many (not all, I agree) of those would have acknowledged his responsibility and expected him to carry it through, and would have given him a chance to do so.

  • Dreadnaught

    As much as I have respect for the character of TM I have no respect for her stance on her soft line on Sharia Law.
    Her refusal to admit Geert Wilders and Roberts Spencer while permitting any number of radical Islamist speakers was undemocratic in the extreme and a denial of freedom of speech on a subject she appears to exhibit ignorance or worse; denial. Respect for Islam as a religion of peace is of the order of Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

    Never mind the cliche of Rome burning; the world is on fire before our eyes. There is civil war in Islam that has been and is being stoked for the past 1500 years. Most British Muslims are Sunni but one small inoffensive (to British eyes) shopkeeper in Glasgow was brutally murdered by a brutal oaf from Bradford for being the wrong kind of Muslim.

    Islam, if not to be a hostile culture here, must be reformed from within and the Ahmadi faction to which the Glasgow man belonged, was of that reforming variety and that’s where it did for him.
    The cause of 6 years of civil war in Syria is because Asaad is Alawite but the population is majority Sunni.

    It doesn’t require the use of a crystal ball to predict that inherent factionalism amongst Muslims will deliver chaos and violence in Europe; it the nature of the beast.

    • IanCad

      Going soft on us in your old age Dredders?

      “ignorant oaf” You can do better than that. “Bloodthirsty Swine” would be more accurate.

      • Dreadnaught

        A turd by any other name will still smell as foul.

    • dannybhoy

      Islam must be reformed. Those who claim Islam is a religion of peace has to be ignoring the reality of what is happening all around the world.
      Those in the West who advocate some accommodation with Shari’a law must hate women, must hate homosexuals and must hate freedom.
      The only other explanation.

      • len

        Islam cannot be reformed it is what it is….There is’ the House of peace'( all who have submitted to Islam this is where the West has totally misunderstood Islam).
        And ‘the House of war.’.(against all who do not or have not submitted to Islam)
        So the West has not (totally) submitted to Islam so what follows is threats and intimidation to make the West submit to Islam

        • dannybhoy

          You’re right Len, it cannot be reformed without losing its authority.

      • Uncle Brian

        Be careful what you wish for, Danny. Islam already had a Reformation, a couple of hundred years ago. It gave us Wahhabism:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/11/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-islam-wahhabism-religious-police.html?_r=0

      • Albert

        This is an interesting suggestion. As I understood the Protestant Reformation, its purpose was zealously to return to what was perceived to be the original Christianity. I’m not sure I want to see a Muslim version of that.

        • Anton

          You’re seeing it on the news.

        • dannybhoy

          At the risk of inciting an outbreak of cyber fisticuffs,
          I would suggest that Martin Luther’s complaint was as much to do with the immorality he saw in the Church as it was theological disagreements..
          That does not mean of course that there are any other Churches without their scandals, but no other denomination is claiming to be the true Church.
          http://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-9389283#spiritual-anguish-and-enlightenment
          And for balance I include..
          “But now here
          comes Pope Benedict XVI, a fellow German, visiting his homeland and speaking to
          German Evangelical Christians, i.e. Lutherans, as we call them here. The Holy
          Father seems comfortable talking about Luther with Lutherans, even talking with
          obvious regard and sympathy for Luther. Shocking?”
          (read on if you dare ;0)

          http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/939/the_pope_martin_luther_and_our_time.aspx

          And for those Catholic Christians who reject the authority of this Pope…
          http://www.catholicbible101.com/luthersrevolution.htm

          All we know about our Lord and the Gospel comes from Scriptures. There is no other source.
          “No man cometh to the Father but by Me” said the Lord.

          • Albert

            I would suggest that Martin Luther’s complaint was as much to do with the immorality he saw in the Church as it was theological disagreements..

            I think that’s just wrong, I’m afraid. And I would defend Luther on that. If he really thought the Church was simply sinful, then leaving it was the greater sin.

          • dannybhoy

            Didja read the links Albert?
            here’s another..
            “To make a long story short, Luther began preaching beliefs that were in
            contradiction to the teachings of the Church. In an attempt to reign in
            his heretical teachings, Pope Leo X issued a Papal Bull called “Exsurge
            Domine” demanding that he desist. These are the first five false
            teachings of which he was accused:

            Some of these errors we have decided to include in the present document; their substance is as follows:

            1. It is a heretical opinion, but a common one, that the sacraments of
            the New Law give pardoning grace to those who do not set up an obstacle.

            2. To deny that in a child after baptism sin remains is to treat with contempt both Paul and Christ.

            3. The inflammable sources of sin, even if there be no actual sin, delay
            a soul departing from the body from entrance into heaven.

            4. To one on the point of death imperfect charity necessarily brings
            with it great fear, which in itself alone is enough to produce the
            punishment of purgatory, and impedes entrance into the kingdom.

            5. That there are three parts to penance: contrition, confession, and
            satisfaction, has no foundation in Sacred Scripture nor in the ancient
            sacred Christian doctors.

            The entire document can be read here:

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/L10EXDOM.HTM

            Luther burned the Bull and was excommunicated.”

          • Albert

            I didn’t read the links – I really don’t need to look at links to find out what I have spent a great deal of time studying. This post defends the view I was taking, against your position, as far as I can see.

          • dannybhoy

            My position is not as extreme as some, and as with Scripture context is all. In my understanding of the times Martin Luther was by no means the only Christian figure criticising the Church, and of course we have to recognise that were he so awfully wrong, no one would have supported him.
            But they did.
            I don’t agree with everything Martin Luther taught, but then I cling firm to the way of salvation as taught in the New Testament, and that includes the process of sanctification as a consequence of salvation, not as a means of obtaining salvation.

          • Albert

            In my understanding of the times Martin Luther was by no means the only Christian figure criticising the Church

            Quite. Everyone knew the Catholic Church needed reforming, especially the Catholics themselves.

            and of course we have to recognise that were he so awfully wrong, no one would have supported him.

            Couldn’t you say the same of Judas Iscariot?

            but then I cling firm to the way of salvation as taught in the New Testament, and that includes the process of sanctification as a consequence of salvation, not as a means of obtaining salvation.

            I don’t think that is the teaching of the NT.

          • dannybhoy

            Quite. Everyone knew the Catholic Church needed reforming, especially the Catholics themselves.

            So-oo, when one guy voices it, he gets the boot; the rest close ranks and the reformers within the Church bottle it?

            Couldn’t you say the same of Judas Iscariot?
            The Bible makes no mention of him having any supporters, although one Gospel mentions…
            “(He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)”
            John 12:6

            Other than that, I understand that he was posthumously deselected.

            I don’t think that is the teaching of the NT.
            Well that’s a crucial one, because our understanding of how we apprehend salvation is central to the faith.

            However, hopefully we can both at least agree that each one of us will one day give an account of ourselves..

            “So we aspire to please Him, whether we are here in this body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his due for the things done in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5>

            That’s it for me then Albert! That’s as far as I want to go on this issue.

          • Albert

            So-oo, when one guy voices it, he gets the boot; the rest close ranks and the reformers within the Church bottle it?

            Now that didn’t follow, did it? From the beginning, I made a distinction, and I think you started it, between doctrine and discipline. What needed reforming, from a Catholic point of view was discipline, what Luther did was to change the doctrine. Now if you’re going to attack Catholicism as “bottling it” you really need to know your history first. We didn’t bottle the discipline issue. We had a whole Council to deal with the discipline issue. It last for nearly 20 years. It turned the Catholic Church into colossally missionary oriented Church that means that over half of all the world’s Christians at this time are Catholic. While we went out and converted whole continents, Protestants argued and divided amongst themselves about the finer points of stuff that no one cares about. The Council of Trent also dealt with how best to express Catholic teaching, against the errors of the Protestants, and against misrepresentations of some earlier Catholic thinkers. In contrast, Protestants divided amongst themselves over theological minutiae.

            If that’s what the Catholic Church bottling it looks like, then how would you characterise Protestantism?

            The Bible makes no mention of him having any supporters

            When Judas went to the religious leaders, they supported him and arrested Jesus.

            Well that’s a crucial one, because our understanding of how we apprehend salvation is central to the faith.

            Indeed, this is what you said:

            I cling firm to the way of salvation as taught in the New Testament, and that includes the process of sanctification as a consequence of salvation, not as a means of obtaining salvation.

            and this is what the Bible says:

            Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness/justification?

            You see, according to the Bible, obedience (which I assume you would agree means sanctification) leads to righteousness/justification (which I assume you will associate with salvation). Thus the biblical teaching is:

            salvation as taught in the New Testament, and that includes the process of justification as a consequence of faith, as a means of obtaining salvation.

          • Anton

            Paul III began Rome’s response to the Reformation, and in 1545 convened the Council of Trent. He had, incidentally, been made a cardinal by Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), who was having an affair with his married teenage sister. Paul III had four children outside marriage and appointed his 14- and 16-year-old grandsons as cardinals within three months of his election.

            The Council of Trent met irregularly due to warfare. Paul III had earlier convened a committee to draft a report on the state of the Catholic church, upon which the Council could act. This document, Consilium delectorum cardinalium et aliorum prelatorum de emendanda ecclesia, was delivered to him in 1537. So embarrassing was it when leaked that one of its authors, after becoming Pope Paul IV, placed it on the Index of books that Catholics were forbidden to read. (The foul-mouthed and short-tempered Paul IV – see the description in Ludwig Pastor’s History of the Popes, based on the Vatican’s own archives, vol. XIV – had himself set up that very Index, in response to the Reformers’ use of printing.) When Savonarola had said the same as the Consilium a few decades earlier he had been put to death. The Council of Trent, which ended in 1563, further centralised the Catholic church. There would be no general council at which its bishops could express their collective will for another three centuries, and only then to acknowledge papal infallibility. Trent failed to deal with many abuses set out in the Consilium; entrenched interests ran too deep, although Rome did stop collecting the centuries-old ‘cullagium’ tax on priestly concubines, effectively protection money against enforcement of the celibacy rule. Between Paul III and Paul IV, Pope Julius III made a Cardinal of a teenage rent boy with whom he was having sexual relations whom he had adopted as Innocenzo Ciocchi del Monte). Paul IV’s 1555 bull Cum nimis absurdum required Jews in Rome and the Papal States to live in ghettos and wear something yellow and distinctive, and put further restrictions on them.

            Here are excerpts from the Rules on Prohibited Books approved by Pope Pius IV in 1564, following the Council of Trent: Since it is clear from experience that if the Sacred Books are permitted everywhere and without discrimination in the vernacular, there will by reason of the boldness of men arise therefrom more harm than good, the matter is in this respect left to the judgment of the bishop or inquisitor, who may with the advice of the pastor or confessor permit the reading of the Sacred Books translated into the vernacular by Catholic authors to those who they know will derive from such reading no harm but rather an increase of faith and piety, which permission they must have in writing. Those, however, who presume to read or possess them without such permission may not receive absolution from their sins till they have handed them over to the ordinary.

            In other words, you can’t read the Bible in your own language, even in a Catholic translation, without your bishop’s permission. Yet the New Testament was written in koine (dumbed-down) Greek precisely so that as many people as possible could read it; that was the passion of its writers and some of them say so. Just what was Rome so scared of in the scriptures?

            Also, following Trent, Rome’s teaching was that Christians who knowingly remained outside it (meaning, in context, protestants) would not find salvation. That is not its position today…

          • Albert

            I find your posts curious, Anton. On the one hand, you sometimes show an extraordinary ignorance of Catholicism, and yet, you write posts like this. As I’ve said before, I think you devote a lot of your time obsessively to reading against Catholicism, which I find a bit odd. It seems that contrary to scripture, you rejoice at wrong, provided it is done by members of the Catholic Church.

            With regard to the first couple of paragraphs, I think you completely misunderstand the nature of the Church. Christ is the Head of the Church. So although her ministers and members may be grave sinners, nevertheless, Christ manages to work good through the Church. It says in scripture: we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. So the fact that such a sinful Pope as Paul III (and I don’t need you to tell me what was wrong with him) called the Council of Trent, which created such a missionary Church, is precisely the point. Despite the extreme frailty of the ministers of the Church, nevertheless, a great reform was carried out. It was imperfect and incomplete of course, but then, everything that has a human element will be so – except for the human nature of Christ. So I’m unclear about your point here. If you are making a theological point, then it appears to me to one that flies in the face of charity and scripture. If you aren’t making a theological point, then what point are you making?

            Yet the New Testament was written in koine (dumbed-down) Greek precisely so that as many people as possible could read it; that was the passion of its writers and some of them say so. Just what was Rome so scared of in the scriptures?

            This is so confused. Firstly, the idea of every Tom, Dick and Harry just reading the Bible for himself and drawing his own conclusion, is plainly not the expectation of the NT. The early Church was clearly under apostolic supervision. Individuals were to remain part of the apostolic Church, abiding by that faith, as taught not only by letter, but also, primarily, in person. It is evident from the texts themselves that the NT was written to be read to whole congregations, or else, on some occasions, addressed to individuals who had already learnt the faith.

            Secondly, the document does not show the Church to be afraid of the scriptures. If it were, it would hardly be permitting the translating and reading of the scriptures, would it?

            Now I agree, that the document is a blunt instrument, but it is clearly protecting the faith from unapostolic attacks on it, which claim as their basis an unapostolic way of reading scripture. Scripture is there to teach the faith. It is not an idol or an end in itself. Therefore, if people are misusing it, the Church has to protect the faith for which it exists.

            Also, following Trent, Rome’s teaching was that Christians who knowingly remained outside it (meaning, in context, protestants) would not find salvation. That is not its position today…

            I would like to see the precise text, please. As you’ve put it though, someone who knowingly remains a Protestant could not be saved depending on the meaning of the word “knowingly”. Which document are you talking about?

          • Anton

            I do not consider myself ignorant about Catholicism. You do. I have made one or two errors in a large number of lengthy posts, but who hasn’t? To misrepresent that as you do shows youragenda. If you consider me obsessive and obviously mistaken then you don’t have to answer…

            “With regard to the first couple of paragraphs, I think you completely misunderstand the nature of the Church.”

            Oh, the capital C again. I believe it is you who misunderstand the nature of the church.

            “This is so confused. Firstly, the idea of every Tom, Dick and Harry just reading the Bible for himself and drawing his own conclusion, is plainly not the expectation of the NT.”

            Can’t have the people of God reading the word of God, can we?

            It’s not about drawing “conclusions”. Conclusions end. God’s words begin something in a man.

            The reference you ask for is Lumen Gentium. And Yes, I know we’ve done this before. This time I’m not going to let you get away with treating it as a document drafted by lawyers for lawyers.

          • Albert

            I do not consider myself ignorant about Catholicism. You do. I have made one or two errors in a large number of lengthy posts, but who hasn’t? To misrepresent that as you do shows youragenda.

            “Significant errors” was the expression you used of yourself. So I think this comment is harsh.

            If you consider me obsessive and obviously mistaken then you don’t have to answer…

            Except that if I don’t answer, then your obsessive and significantly erroneous comments are allowed to stand (unless someone else answers them). But scripture says, we should always be ready to give an account of the hope that is within us.

            Oh, the capital C again. I believe it is you who misunderstand the nature of the church.

            This is such a common and tedious Protestant style response. I give a defence of a position, and you simply reply with assertion, not argument.

            Can’t have the people of God reading the word of God, can we?

            Which is not of course what I said or think and neither is it entailed by what I said. On the contrary, this contradicts what I said. To quote your own words: “To misrepresent that as you do shows your agenda.”

            It’s not about drawing “conclusions”. Conclusions end. God’s words begin something in a man.

            So you haven’t drawn any doctrinal conclusions from the NT? E.g. the belief that we are justified by faith alone.

            The reference you ask for is Lumen Gentium.

            I don’t think that is the reference I asked for. What I asked for was a text that demonstrates your claim that following Trent, Rome’s teaching was that Christians who knowingly remained outside it (meaning, in context, protestants) would not find salvation.

            This time I’m not going to let you get away with treating it as a document drafted by lawyers for lawyers.

            Now this really does make me laugh. Usually, you eschew precision in understanding a text or idea correctly. This time, you’re not even going to offer a text!

          • Anton

            Because I’m a bit busy just now, Albert. You’ll get your reply, if next week. I’m happy to let readers decide which of us is the (more) obsessive…

          • Albert

            I see nothing wrong with obsession in these matters in general, after all, scripture says:

            We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

            What I find odd is the obsession of some Protestants with the sins of Catholics. I think it’s a bit weird to be honest. I don’t obsess about the frailties of Protestants.

          • Anton

            But the earthly head of your church claims to be the proper earthly head of all Christians (including me) and claims to be infallible whenever he says he is. That’s why.

          • Albert

            And the doctrine that you teach is claimed by you to be true for all, without which we will perish everlastingly. It doesn’t mean I obsess about Protestant sins.

          • Anton

            You are, happily, free to obsess or not about the sins of churchmen of any denomination. (Whereas Savonarola…)

          • Albert

            That’s kind, but I don’t need your permission, and neither do I share your obsession.

          • Anton

            I was not under the illusion that I was granting you permission. I was pointing out the fact of your freedom and contrasting it with the viewpoint that burnt Savonarola. In 1832 the Pope still referred to freedom of conscience as “an absurd and erroneous proposition” (Mirari Vos, para 14). As for obsessions, I’m happy for readers to decide for themselves.

          • Albert

            In 1832 the Pope still referred to freedom of conscience as “an absurd and erroneous proposition” (Mirari Vos, para 14).

            What is the doctrine of conscience he is rejecting? Have you read about that?

            As for obsessions, I’m happy for readers to decide for themselves.

            For someone who follows such an individualistic view of the Church, you’re remarkable quick to appeal to others.

          • Anton

            If you want to start claiming that freedom of conscience doesn’t mean what everybody understands it to mean then go ahead, although it won’t look good. Rome does not own the meaning of words.

          • Albert

            If you want to start claiming that freedom of conscience doesn’t mean what everybody understands it to mean then go ahead

            What does everybody claim it to mean? I find it odd that you don’t bother to check what I might be getting at before you respond. There are several doctrines of conscience. For example, is freedom of conscience freedom from truth or freedom for truth? Is it freedom to just make up the world as I like, irrespective of my duties to God, or is it freedom to search for God? And which doctrine of conscience was the Pope dealing with then? What have you read on this?

            Rome does not own the meaning of words.

            No. But Rome is entitled be critiqued only on what Rome means, rather than what others say Rome means. But I know being precise enough to let a person’s words mean what he means by them, rather than what suits you, is something that upsets you.

          • Anton

            The Pope himself thought the phrase sufficiently self-explanatory not to bother explaining it further in Mirari Vos. Is what’s good enough for the Pope not good enough for you?

          • Albert

            It is good enough for me. What was the theological and historical context and meaning of the expression?

          • Anton

            If you believe that readers need to know those things in order to make sense of the statement, why don’t you provide them here yourself?

          • Albert

            My question is rhetorical (obviously)! Your original point entailed a claim to know what the Pope meant. My point is to demonstrate that you don’t know that. But if you want some help on this, try reading Avery Dulles on the subject. You might also read Newman’s Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, which deals at length with the question of conscience.

          • Anton

            I’m content with my own understanding of the phrase and, more importantly, I trust readers of this blog to know what it means too. As for reading the author of Tract 90 on conscience…

            Going back a bit, my summary view of Trent is that, questioned seriously for the first time in centuries by people it was failing to silence by force, namely the Reformers, Rome turned many of its unscriptural practices into doctrines. That won’t work in the long term when held against the Bible. The Inquisition was also ramped up in lands where Catholic monarchs permitted it, such as Spain.

          • Albert

            I’m content with my own understanding of the phrase and, more importantly, I trust readers of this blog to know what it means too. As for reading the author of Tract 90 on conscience…

            So just a complete unwillingness to engage in the question you’ve raised in a scholarly or historical then. What a surprise. But let’s look at what the text says, as opposed to what you say it says:

            This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone.

            Now tell me. As that propositions stands, do you accept it?

            Going back a bit, my summary view of Trent is that, questioned seriously for the first time in centuries by people it was failing to silence by force, namely the Reformers, Rome turned many of its unscriptural practices into doctrines. That won’t work in the long term when held against the Bible. The Inquisition was also ramped up in lands where Catholic monarchs permitted it, such as Spain.

            Well obviously you’ll think that. What of it?

          • Anton

            You dispute that, following Trent, the Inquisition was ramped up in lands where Catholic monarchs permitted it (such as Spain)?

            Yes, I’ve better things to do than discuss the dictionary with you.

          • Albert

            Obviously, I don’t dispute that, that’s not what I was referring to, it was the rest of it that I was referring to. I regret things like the Spanish Inquisition, but if you want to talk about censorship, consider this, in England you couldn’t publish anything without a licence – there was total censorship. Under the index certain things were banned, but there was prima facie a right to publish. This is part of the injustice of your position, that you judge the Catholic Church much more harshly than everyone else. And that leads me back to your obsession of rejoicing in the wrong, when it is Catholics who are in the wrong.

          • Anton

            I do not rejoice in any wrong and I challenge you to state where. I do refuse the airbrushing of Catholic history by Catholics and I am from time to time proactive in pointing these things out, but that is not the same thing, of course. Let readers decide where the obsession lies.

            Do tell me what happened to anybody in Spain who exercised their legal right to publish theology that differed from Rome’s.

          • Albert

            I do not rejoice in any wrong and I challenge you to state where.

            It’s the amount of time you spend reading about other people’s sins – which is well beyond the amount of effort you spend trying to understand those with whom you disagree.

            I do refuse the airbrushing of Catholic history by Catholics and I am from time to time proactive in pointing these things out, but that is not the same thing, of course.

            But this is a great example of misrepresentation itself. You have made no effort to exp[lain what “freedom of conscience means” despite the fact that I have pointed out at least two different meanings. Secondly, you have quoted the passage incompletely. But if you quote the passage completely, probably even an anarchist would not disagree with it. So you’re not trying to avoid airbrushing, you are perpetrating misrepresentation.

            Do tell me what happened to anybody in Spain who exercised their legal right to publish theology that differed from Rome’s.

            It was rather less than what happened in Protestant England is someone tried to publish anything without a licence. A Catholic priest in England in the time of Elizabeth was automatically under a death sentence as was anyone who gave him shelter.

          • Anton

            So despite your words you CAN’T find any words of mine suggesting that I “rejoice in wrong” (when it is Catholics who do it). You are deceitful.

            You will – if you look hard – find words to the contrary, in fact. I can’t remember where, but I know that I have sided with Rome (specifically) on this blog against secularism and Islam from time to time. I am confident of this because I recall such matters as having come up and because I know very well i that I always side with Rome in such situations.

          • Albert

            So despite your words you CAN’T find any words of mine suggesting that I “rejoice in wrong” (when it is Catholics who do it). You are deceitful.

            I’m not deceitful and you have no evidence of that. If you want evidence of you rejoicing in the wrong, then I can cite whole posts of yours on any number of topics. You don’t bother to read about Catholicism to understand us, that’s obvious. You read about Catholicism to find fault. Now why would you do that? Because you hate Catholicism, it seems to me. And therefore, you take pleasure in finding fault with the behaviour of Catholics.

            You will – if you look hard – find words to the contrary, in fact. I can’t remember where, but I know that I have sided with Rome (specifically) on this blog against secularism and Islam from time to time.

            Of course you do, because you hate them even more. Churchill and Roosevelt sided with Stalin against Hitler. There’s nothing proved by it.

          • Anton

            “I’m not deceitful and you have no evidence of that.”

            You say that I rejoice in wrong and then when I ask where you can’t quote a single sentence of mine. The wrongs of Catholicism bring me no pleasure – quite the opposite – but I can see that a man so blindly committed to Rome as you might be unable to interpret my listings of those wrongs in any other way.

          • Albert

            You say that I rejoice in wrong and then when I ask where you can’t quote a single sentence of mine.

            I can quote whole posts.

            The wrongs of Catholicism bring me no pleasure – quite the opposite – but I can see that a man so blindly committed to Rome as you might be unable to interpret my listings of those wrongs in any other way.

            That’s another bizarre statement. I grew up as a Protestant. I know the basic outline of what is wrong. But where you show no understanding is of the universal human frailty that these things disclose, or of the exaggerations and misrepresentations that you accept.

          • Anton

            Go on then. Quote where you believe I am rejoicing in evil committed by Catholics. Given that protestants are at the wrong end of a lot of it, you must think very oddly indeed.

          • Albert

            Well, let’s just think back, for example, to the discussion we had about Mussolini. You seemed remarkable well versed on what you thought were Catholic errors in that period. Why? Why do you, as a scientist Protestant Christian, in an age of secularism, spend your time reading about the Catholic Church in Italy during the days of Mussolini? But you seem remarkably coy about similar Protestant errors. And if we take this thread, you joined when someone said:

            So-oo, when one guy voices it, he gets the boot; the rest close ranks and the reformers within the Church bottle it?

            And I pointed out that this was factually false, since the Catholic Church, whatever the human limits of the reforms of Trent, did reform. But no, rather than acknowledge that my interlocutor was mistaken, you decided to pick holes in the reform. And in this case, you showed a remarkable, even pornographic knowledge of the sins of the popes of the period:

            Paul III began Rome’s response to the Reformation, and in 1545 convened the Council of Trent. He had, incidentally, been made a cardinal by Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), who was having an affair with his married teenage sister. Paul III had four children outside marriage and appointed his 14- and 16-year-old grandsons as cardinals within three months of his election.

            You have a remarkable interest in the sex lives of the Renaissance popes – and you over-look the fact that the reforms they put in place must, therefore, have been authored by the Holy Spirit.

            In the next paragraph, you give wholly unnecessary information about one of the popes being “foul-mouthed” (perhaps if you read a little more of Luther you might not be so scandalised, but you would be less gleeful), and then you return to the sex lives of the popes (really, I would have thought a mature Christian would tire of so much sex-gossip).

            What about the sins of Protestants? Do they get a mention? In the context of this thread, perhaps something on the economic interests of those who chose Protestantism in this time. Not really a religious reason then. Think of all those who plundered Church lands. And did syphilis only affect Catholics? Ah…but of course, the Protestants who did these things, won’t be your kind of Protestant. That’s the advantage of being part of a minute body of Christians, you can maintain the impression that Already you are filled! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! Sin is the preserve of everyone else!

            Do I need to go on?

          • Anton

            That is up to you, but you are making untrue assumptions about my motivations. You assume I rejoice in Catholic iniquity. I rejoice in no iniquity whether Catholic, protestant or pagan. Certainly I do not rejoice in Catholic iniquity when its victims have often been protestants. My motivation is simply to prevent the airbrushing of Catholic history that Catholics indulge in – whether wilfully or through ignorance – and to set out Catholic iniquities so as to expose hypocrisy. It has not been my aim to write a systematic history of Catholicism.

            If you wish to critique protestantism as I do Catholicism, that is your privilege. If you grumble that I slip the punch by saying I am not Anglican (for instance) yet am still protestant, that is your problem, and you would do well to stop thinking in hierarchies.

            “You have a remarkable interest in the sex lives of the Renaissance popes – and you over-look the fact that the reforms they put in place must, therefore, have been authored by the Holy Spirit.”

            I have no interest in it. I have some interest in publicising it, for the reasons I have explained. If their sex lives are pornographic, whose fault is that? I do not agree that their reforms were necessarily guided by the Holy Spirit, of course.

          • Albert

            That is up to you, but you are making untrue assumptions about my motivations. You assume I rejoice in Catholic iniquity. I rejoice in no iniquity whether Catholic, protestant or pagan.

            If that isn’t what you are doing, then you have a strange way of showing it.

            Certainly I do not rejoice in Catholic iniquity when its victims have often been protestants.

            And when the Catholics have been the Protestants’ victims? Why not write about that? That’s less well known in the English-speaking world, because the victors write the history, so there’s far more need to read and write about that. Here’s a fact that you might like to write about: torture was more used in Elizabeth I’s reign than in any other reign in English history. And guess who were so often the recipients of that torture?

            My motivation is simply to prevent the airbrushing of Catholic history that Catholics indulge in – whether wilfully or through ignorance – and to set out Catholic iniquities so as to expose hypocrisy.

            But a lot of the work is done by non-Catholic historians, who are simply overthrowing the airbrushing of Protestant history, and the deliberate darkening of Catholic history.

            If you grumble that I slip the punch by saying I am not Anglican (for instance) yet am still protestant, that is your problem, and you would do well to stop thinking in hierarchies.

            Which group do you identify with, as far as 16th Century is concerned?

            I have no interest in it. I have some interest in publicising it, for the reasons I have explained.

            You can only publicise it, if you know it, and you know it because it interests you. I think you are deceiving yourself. And why have an interest in publicising it? The truth of Christianity does not rest on the sinlessness of her members. So why hold Catholicism to do another standard? It’s a just a cheap device to score confused theological points. I could do the same with Protestants if you like, but I wouldn’t follow the logic. The truth of Protestantism, does not rest, and is not claimed to rest, on the sinlessness of her members. Why not? Because Protestantism assumes the sinfulness of her members: simul justus et peccator. Catholicism too assume the sinfulness of her members, by our doctrine of original sin. But we also see Christ as the real minister. Do you not believe in that grace? Or if you do, why do you write as if you don’t?

            If their sex lives are pornographic, whose fault is that?

            Theirs’. Not Catholicism’s. If you wish to draw a theological point from the sex lives of the popes, that’s where the discussion needs to be. Simply spreading lurid information is not helping anyone.

            I do not agree that their reforms were necessarily guided by the Holy Spirit, of course.

            Which is a point that I made to you earlier! And I think the Protestant Reform was not guided by the Holy Spirit. But the statement that started this all off, that Catholics ignored the need for reform, is plainly historically false.

          • Anton

            Thank you for the advice, but I’ll write about what I wish to write about. I suggest you do the same. I have explained my motivation and I don’t doubt that a dedicated Catholic such as yourself finds it hard to understand.

            “But the statement that started this all off, that Catholics ignored the need for reform, is plainly historically false.”

            I don’t know if you are attributing that statement to me, but my position is that Catholics recognised the need for reform in the face of the Reformers and of printing – hence the Consilium document – but that Trent bottled it.

            “Which group do you identify with, as far as 16th Century is concerned?”

            Lollards under Henry; Puritans under Elizabeth.

          • Albert

            Thank you for the advice, but I’ll write about what I wish to write about.

            I’m not suggesting that you don’t. I’m just pointing out that until you’re even handed in these things, your defence looks unconvincing.

            I have explained my motivation and I don’t doubt that a dedicated Catholic such as yourself finds it hard to understand.

            I’m happy to believe you are sincere. But the evidence is that you are sincerely deceiving yourself. Why else are you so uneven handed?

            I don’t know if you are attributing that statement to me

            No I’m not, but that’s was the point I was attacking when you intervened. It’s always useful to keep in mind the context, don’t you think?

            Puritans under Elizabeth.

            Wow, that’s a lot of sin. Why not write about that, then?

          • Anton

            Thank you for the advice, but I’ll write about what I wish to write about.

            Puritans were marginalised under Elizabeth.

            The English Puritans were perhaps the most biblically committed Christians ever to govern a country, but come the 1650s they too ran into the problem that biblical Christianity by definition cannot be enacted by law, because it is about grace set in contrast to law.

            For perfect government we have to wait for Christ’s return. But we can still compare imperfect governments. Shouldn’t the Papal States have been heaven on earth according to Catholic theology, everybody churchgoers and the Pope as king? Yet by the 19th century they were wretched places with a ghastly civil rights record compared to lands where protestants were in government.

          • Albert

            Thank you for the advice, but I’ll write about what I wish to write about.

            To which I have already replied that I’m not suggesting that you don’t.

            Puritans were marginalised under Elizabeth.

            And?

            The English Puritans were perhaps the most biblically committed Christians ever to govern a country,

            Rot.

            but come the 1650s they too ran into the problem that biblical Christianity by definition cannot be enacted by law, because it is about grace set in contrast to law.

            That’s a nice way of evading responsibility.

            Shouldn’t the Papal States have been heaven on earth according to Catholic theology

            Again, if you read a little more about Catholic theology, instead of gorging yourself on Renaissance papal sin, you wouldn’t say such silly things.

            Yet by the 19th century they were wretched places with a ghastly civil rights record compared to lands where protestants were in government.

            I think it depends on what you look at. There was one law which prevented criminals being arrested if they were close to the Tiber. The fear was that they would try to throw themselves in, to kill themselves.

          • Anton

            Me: “Puritans were marginalised under Elizabeth.”

            You: “And?”

            You asked me with whom I would have aligned in the 16th century and I replied that, in Elizabeth’s time, I would have aligned with the Puritans. You replied, “Wow, that’s a lot of sin.” Kindly elaborate on the sins of the English Puritans in Elizabeth’s time.

            I wrote: “come the 1650s [the Puritans] too ran into the problem that biblical Christianity by definition cannot be enacted by law, because it is about grace set in contrast to law.” You replied: “That’s a nice way of evading responsibility.”

            What do you mean? I am not disputing that the Puritans were responsible for their actions. Are you disputing that a country cannot be made Christian by legal means?

            So why were the Papal States an impoverished region with poor civil rights compared to lands where protestants ruled? The Papal States had the Pope as their king, after all; how wonderful that should have been compared to other Catholic lands, let alone protestant ones, should it not?

          • Albert

            You asked me with whom I would have aligned in the 16th century and I replied that, in Elizabeth’s time, I would have aligned with the Puritans. You replied, “Wow, that’s a lot of sin.” Kindly elaborate on the sins of the English Puritans in Elizabeth’s time.

            When it’s popes, you think sin includes all sort of things, when it’s your own group, it should all include a lot of things. There were a lot of Puritans, therefore there was a lot of sin. It makes no difference that they were marginalised under Elizabeth.

            What do you mean? I am not disputing that the Puritans were responsible for their actions. Are you disputing that a country cannot be made Christian by legal means?

            I think that law can give voice to Christian beliefs and morals.

            So why were the Papal States an impoverished region with poor civil rights compared to lands where protestants ruled?

            Your assumption is that it is Protestantism that makes a state “enlightened” with civil rights is it?

            I don’t know enough about the Papal States to have that argument. As usual, you seem to read widely. Why not read and write about slavery in the Deep South in the US in the same period? But that would not serve your purposes, even though it would be even-handed.

          • Anton

            Ah, so you can’t pin anything specific on the Elizabethan Puritans despite your suggestive words to the contrary.

            “I think that law can give voice to Christian beliefs and morals.”

            The blueprint (not to be adopted unvaryingly in post-crucifixion non-covenant nations, of course) is Mosaic Law. What I am saying is that it is the inability of fallen human beings to keep godly laws that made the teaching and sacrifice of Christ necessary for us to come to God, but that the collective of believers is called the church, not England or Spain or Italy or any other nation.

            “Your assumption is that it is Protestantism that makes a state “enlightened” with civil rights is it?”

            No, and I didn’t say so either. The reader will observe that you used this response to duck the question.

          • Albert

            Ah, so you can’t pin anything specific on the Elizabethan Puritans despite your suggestive words to the contrary.

            Only because I haven’t spent all my time reading against the Puritans as you have against the Catholics (though obviously, if I extend this out to Cromwell’s time or the US, a few things might come to mind). And of course, the fact that the Puritans weren’t in power during Elizabeth’s reign, means they necessarily didn’t abuse state power. They abused it when they had power. But I think you are still thinking too much in terms of hierarchies. Any sin committed by any Puritan can be attributed to the Puritans: sexual immorality of all sorts, domestic violence, corruption, murder and so forth. It will all be there. Not of course because they are Puritans (any more than the sexual immorality of certain popes was because they were popes), but because they were human.

            The blueprint (not to be adopted unvaryingly in post-crucifixion non-covenant nations, of course) is Mosaic Law. What I am saying is that it is the inability of fallen human beings to keep godly laws that made the teaching and sacrifice of Christ necessary for us to come to God, but that the collective of believers is called the church, not England or Spain or Italy or any other nation.</i.

            I'm not going to disagree with that, but I think that is a long way from explaining why the Puritan state failed. I think your opposition to a Christian state is manichean frankly.

            No, and I didn’t say so either.

            So what precisely was your point, then? It’s not that Protestantism is better, so it can’t be that Catholicism is worse. So presumably you are making a socio-economic point. But I fail to see how that fits with your stated agenda.

            The reader will observe that you used this response to duck the question.

            I don’t think he will. He will use that comment of yours to observe how unfair you are. I said:

            I don’t know enough about the Papal States to have that argument.

            I said quite clearly that I am not informed enough to argue with you on those grounds. As always, your grasp of Catholic sin, far exceeds my knowledge of Protestant sin, and in this case, my knowledge of Catholic sin. That’s not ducking the question, it’s just being honest. For an example of ducking the question consider your response to my question:

            Why not read and write about slavery in the Deep South in the US in the same period?

            Some other questions you’ve ducked:

            But we also see Christ as the real minister. Do you not believe in that grace? Or if you do, why do you write as if you don’t?

            So why hold Catholicism to do another standard?

            And when the Catholics have been the Protestants’ victims? Why not write about that? That’s less well known in the English-speaking world, because the victors write the history, so there’s far more need to read and write about that. Here’s a fact that you might like to write about: torture was more used in Elizabeth I’s reign than in any other reign in English history. And guess who were so often the recipients of that torture?

            did syphilis only affect Catholics?

          • Anton

            O, what a load of waffle to state that you can’t pin anything on the Elizabethan Puritans! Readers may judge for themselves the context of this inability.

            Talk of my “opposition to a Christian State” shows misunderstanding. I’d love to see one! But it is impossible until Christ returns. Until then Satan is the lord of this world and politics is his realm. That is true whether the government is run by Catholics, Anglicans or Puritans. The collective of Christians is called the church and is called out from every nation. It is hubris to call any nation at any time in Europe’s history a Christian nation. In some places you have, by grace of god, a nation where a “few good men” of god have enacted godly laws, but even then those are only regularly obeyed by committed Christians, who are a minority.

            I call this view scriptural. Why is it manichaean?

            Some of your question I have ignored, because they were off-topic and I judged that you were not asking them in good faith. Christ didn’t answer such questions either. But when I answer a question of yours rather than leave it alone entirely I don’t try to divert the reader’s attention to another, as you did.

          • Albert

            O, what a load of waffle to state that you can’t pin anything on the Elizabethan Puritans! Readers may judge for themselves the context of this inability.

            Waffle really? You’ve decided to narrow down Puritan to a period when it was almost impossible for them to abuse state power (even if I spent extensive periods of time looking for evil amongst your lot), and then said “Look! Albert can’t pin anything on us in that period!” But I pointed to other periods when Puritans had power and to the sins they committed. And the moment we extend it out to non state sins, we can pin more or less any sin on the Puritans.

            But it is impossible until Christ returns.

            It is impossible for it to be perfect because of sin, but imperfection is part of our understanding of society, so that doesn’t really get us far. So yes, we can have a Christian society, only it will always need to be challenged and hopefully grow in perfection.

            Until then Satan is the lord of this world and politics is his realm. That is true whether the government is run by Catholics, Anglicans or Puritans.

            That is Manichean. Certainly any state, indeed, anything human, will be a blend of good and evil, but it is not true to see Satan as Lord of it.

            It is hubris to call any nation at any time in Europe’s history a Christian nation. In some places you have, by grace of god, a nation where a “few good men” of god have enacted godly laws, but even then those are only regularly obeyed by committed Christians, who are a minority.

            Or is it just that define “Christian” in such a narrow way, that many ordinary people are excluded (although you yourself are included, of course).

            I call this view scriptural. Why is it manichaean?

            Because it implies that certain created things cannot be influenced by grace. If you don’t think that, then I think your whole thought fails.

            Some of your questions I have ignored, because they were off-topic

            Of course they are off topic to you. You only want to show Catholicism in a bad light. But they are not off topic to me. My point remember is to show that you are unfair, gleefully so, at time. You are demonstrating your unfairness in this very sentence. You get to attack Catholicism, and I am supposed to defend it. The moment I say “Hang on, Catholics have done bad things, but that’s because they are human, hence we find all humans doing bad things including Protestants”, you say I am off topic. I say I am very definitely on topic.

            I judged that you were not asking them in good faith.

            On what basis do you judge that? And why shouldn’t I question your good faith when you refuse to answer any question that returns your favour of putting my religion in a bad light?

            Christ didn’t answer such questions either.

            Oh! So attacking one group of people, but hypocritically hoping no-one will notice the fact that other groups also commit sin, that’s Christlike is it?

            But when I do respond to a question of yours rather than leave it alone entirely I don’t try to divert the reader’s attention to something else, as you did.

            Perhaps we’re at crossed purposes. I thought your purpose was to show that Catholicism is a more wicked religion that Protestantism. That being so, I have tried to reply either by defending Catholicism from your particular charge and/or showing how Protestants are always wicked. I thought that’s what we were discussing. What are you discussing>

          • Anton

            Discussions go whither they will, as tacitly accepted by both parties. I am aware that you ask me what you consider catch questions. I value my time too much to reply to these. I don’t mind if you think I judge harshly that they are catch questions. Nor do I mind if you refuse questions of mine that you consider in bad faith; that is your privilege.

            “Waffle really? You’ve decided to narrow down Puritan to a period when it was almost impossible for them to abuse state power”

            Perhaps you have forgotten that the Puritans came up when you asked me with whom I would identify in the 16th century. I said the Lollards under Henry and the Puritans under Elizabeth. The 1650s, to which you obviously refer, are not in the 16th century.

            You say my view is manichaean “Because it implies that certain created things [politics] cannot be influenced by grace.” Obviously a good man in politics can do a lot of godly work, but such men are the exception rather than the rule until the end of this age. The NT says so; chapter and verse on request. What of the scriptural fact that the church is called out of every nation?

          • Albert

            I am aware that you ask me what you consider catch questions.

            I ask you equalising questions. I.e. questions which expose your one-sided attacks on Catholicism, as what they are.

            I value my time too much to reply to these.

            But not too much to spend a lot of time reading against Catholicism, or as in this post and as before, arguing about the argument.

            Perhaps you have forgotten that the Puritans came up when you asked me with whom I would identify in the 16th century. I said the Lollards under Henry and the Puritans under Elizabeth. The 1650s, to which you obviously refer, are not in the 16th century.

            My apologies – I was more trying to identify your Christianity in history, than being so specific to the 16th Century. I fail to see how my lack of clarity on that excuses what Puritans have done later. That’s my point.

            Obviously a good man in politics can do a lot of godly work, but such men are the exception rather than the rule until the end of this age.

            Do you assume then, that the Church only has good men in it?

            What of the scriptural fact that the church is called out of every nation?

            Quite! Obviously, if you have a universal Church, like Catholicism, then there is no problem.

            Christians can be found in congregations of every denomination (including yours for the avoidance of doubt). So can non-Christians.

            There’s a statement we can agree on (although I expect my definition of “Christian” includes more people in it, than yours).

          • Anton

            I have freely stated that my aim here is to prevent Catholicism being airbrushed by Catholics such as yourself and that I am not writing a systematic evaluation of Catholicism. If I did it would not be identical. By “catch questions” I was referring to your attempts to avoid issues of embarrassment to Catholics by seeking to mire me in the dictionary. And I’m not excusing the Puritans in the 1650s, by the way; I explained that they made the same mistake as the Anglicans and the Catholics before them, of trying to enact Christianity in England by law. Law doesn’t change hearts.

            The church, meaning the collective of the faithful, is called out of every nation. It is not identical with the Roman Catholic church or any other denomination – as you have effectively admitted in agreeing that Christians and non-Christians can be found in congregations of every denomination.

            If the Pope hadn’t cuddled up to Mussolini then there would be a rather less embarrassing book on the subject for me to read than the material I did. As it is, you are trying to play “shoot the messenger”.

          • Albert

            I have freely stated that my aim here is to prevent Catholicism being airbrushed by Catholics such as yourself and that I am not writing a systematic evaluation of Catholicism.

            So you admit your partiality here! You don’t think it would be worth dealing with the airbrushing of Protestantism (which is much more serious, because more usually believed in the English speaking world) or correcting the untruthful darkening of perceptions of Catholicism by Protestants. And when I try to ask a question which simply makes the comparison, you ignore it because you determine it to be a catch question or off topic. Obviously, it doesn’t fit your agenda. But why should you determine the agenda? And why have you picked such a hate filled agenda anyway?

            It is not identical with the Roman Catholic church or any other denomination – as you have effectively admitted in agreeing that Christians and non-Christians can be found in congregations of every denomination.

            Not necessarily. There is only one Church, and it is the Catholic Church. However, there are elements of this one Church to be found in certain communities outside of this one Church. Your position is too binary.

            If the Pope hadn’t cuddled up to Mussolini then there would be a rather less embarrassing book on the subject for me to read than the material I did. As it is, you are trying to play “shoot the messenger”.

            Fine. But why be so obsessed with the sins of Catholics in Italy in the 1930s? Why not take a few shots at Puritans in the 17th Century, or in the US? We know full well why. You have an agenda, and the agenda is to paint as dark a picture of Catholicism as possible, and to prevent a truthful comparison with your own position. And that’s what I call “rejoicing in the wrong.”

          • Anton

            I have told you my agenda: to prevent the airbrushing of Roman Catholicism by Roman Catholics. If you wish to critique protestantism then by all means feel free, and I might reply; but that would be a different issue. What I am doing is, of course, not equivalent to “rejoicing in the wrong”. Why should I take any joy in something that has brought so much suffering to protestants? Your distortion in asserting this equivalence will be apparent to any reader.

            What I read is my choice, and if you consider it an obsession then don’t reply. Nobody is forcing you to.

            “So you admit your partiality here!”

            Admit? You really should shed this delusion that you are my Inquisitor. If you look, you will see that I stated this aim several postings before you picked up on it.

          • Albert

            I have told you my agenda: to prevent the airbrushing of Roman Catholicism by Roman Catholics. If you wish to critique protestantism then by all means feel free, and I might reply; but that would be a different issue.

            I am entitled to point out the imbalance of your project.

            What I am doing is, of course, not equivalent to “rejoicing in the wrong”. Why should I take any joy in something that has brought so much suffering to protestants?

            Why do it? Why not simply go for balance and fairness?

            Your distortion in asserting this equivalence will be apparent to any reader.

            The fact that there are more Catholics than Protestants itself means there is unlikely to be equivalence. Beyond that, your comment here is eloquent of the fact that you have allowed yourself to swallow Protestant propaganda against Catholics, ignored correctives and not allowed sufficient evidence against Protestants. Just look at Ireland, look at torture under she who is called “Good Queen Bess”.

            What I read is my choice, and if you consider it an obsession then don’t reply. Nobody is forcing you to.

            But your obsession is then used in a partial way to harm my Church. Obviously, I am going to defend her.

            Admit? You really should shed this delusion that you are my Inquisitor. If you look, you will see that I stated this aim several postings before you picked up on it.

            I don’t see myself as an Inquisitor, I just find your statements virtually mutually exclusive. I see you more as a kind of Tudor Protestant spin doctor, blackening other people’s reputations for your own ends.

          • Anton

            You are welcome to your views. My agenda is simply to prevent the airbrushing of Roman Catholicism by Roman Catholics. If you don’t like that, it’s not my problem.

          • Albert

            Actually, I think it indicates you have a problem. I asked you why you don’t go for balance and fairness, and your answer amounts to saying that it is because you have it in for Catholicism. You have a bias against Catholicism, which although it does not cause you to tell lies necessarily, does cause you deliberately or otherwise to mislead. I think that’s indicative of a problem – you have a psychological problem with Catholicism. I don’t see why misrepresentations of history and my faith should go unchallenged because you have a psychological problem.

            So I will continue to point out the lack of balance in your posts, and if you choose not to answer my points, because they don’t suit your agenda (as if somehow, your agenda is the only thing that matters), then I can only assume that readers will assume that that is because you cannot answer the points I make.

          • Anton

            So to disagree openly with the Vatican is now to have a psychological problem, is it? It seems that you cannot take the attacks on Catholicism (not on Catholics!) that I launch even when you concede their accuracy, to the point that you now assert I have a psychological problem. That is just another form of “shoot the messenger”. If you wish to attack protestantism and defend Catholicism I have no problem with that, by the way.

            I have explained that it is the airbrushing of Catholicism by Catholics that I am responding to. If I did nothing other than grumble at Catholic doctrine and history then you would have a point. But that is far from my sole topic even on this blog, let alone the rest of my Christian life (or my research life as a scientist).

          • Albert

            So to disagree openly with the Vatican is now to have a psychological problem, is it?

            I never said you couldn’t attack the Vatican. On the contrary, I have agreed that there are things in Catholic history that are very bad. So how can you now say that I am saying that if someone attacks the Vatican they have a psychological problem? If that’s what you think I said, then I think you are confirming my reading of you – either that, or you are desperately trying to deflect attention from the arguments I have made (which is what you often do – after all, anything that does not paint Catholicism in a bad light is contrary to your agenda – how dare I challenge that agenda?!).

            As any reader can see, what I object to is your lack of balance, not the fact that you are making attacks. Of course there are things that are wrong with Catholic history – both our theologies predict that, not because it is Catholic, but because it is human. I object to the fact that any attempt to correct historical Protestant propaganda, even by non-Christian historians is characterised by you, quite falsely, as Catholic airbrushing (it is neither Catholic necessarily nor airbrushing). I object to the fact that you seek to present Catholicism as worse than others by trying to pretend comparisons have not been made.

            You do all this, by your obsessive reading about Catholic sin, which I think is psychological bizarre, and by doing your best to avoid any attempts by anyone to make comparisons with other communities. All this is despite the fact that in England the historical bias is clearly against Catholicism, so an honest historical approach would wish to push the pendulum back against Protestant propaganda (much of which is caught up with history – obviously, you can find dark and inaccurate stuff against Spain – we were at war with Spain!). But you don’t want that kind of justice, because it threatens something. But what does it threaten? You’re not threatened so it. You’re hardly going to be attacked for not being Catholic. So how are you threatened by it? That’s why it appears to be a psychological problem.

            I have explained that it is the airbrushing of Catholicism by Catholics that I am responding to.

            So you read a whole book on the Church under Mussolini, even though almost no one knows anything about the period, so there was no airbrushing going on. It’s not very convincing is it?

          • Anton

            You may think what you like of me.

            David Kertzer is a Jewish professor who has written entire, historical, critical, scholarly books on relations between Pius XI and Mussolini; on the Edgardo Mortara kidnapping (Spielberg’s next film, by the way); on the role of the Vatican in the rise of 20th century antisemitism; and on relations between the Vatican and the new Italian State between 1870 and the fascist era. Do you think he too is psychologically disturbed?

          • Albert

            No of course not – at least, not on that evidence. He’s a historian. Historians have areas of expertise and speciality. His is Italy in this period. He isn’t doesn’t even only write about the history of Catholicism in Italy, but it is reasonable that he should write about anything in this period, including the sins of the Church – not least because the Catholic Church features strongly in Italy. (Naturally, a balanced approach would wish to consider other writing on this. Even sticking to Jewish historians, it is easy to find historians taking other positions: Martin Gilbert and David Dalin for example.)

            You on the other hand are not a historian. You are interested in knocking the Catholic Church. You don’t have eras of expertise like Kertzer (unless we count science – an speciality that makes your obsessive reading about the sins of Catholics all the more bizarre). You have an interest: knocking the Catholic Church. You are prepared to read any book on any era which fulfils this need. It doesn’t matter which angle you take: from violence to sex to papal bad language, it all absorbs you. Kertzer does his history because it is his job, and he has an interest in Italy. You do your knocking of the Catholic for your own reasons, which, given that you are not a Catholic, and are not threatened by Catholicism, are hard to explain outside of psychology. So there is no comparison between you and Kertzer.

            You also engage in misrepresentation of writing on Catholic history. Anything that challenges centuries of anti-Catholic and often racist historical Protestant propaganda, you try to ignore, and when you cannot ignore it, you typically characterise as Catholic airbrushing.

            But Henry Kamen on the Spanish Inquisition is not a Catholic, as far as I can see, but he simply points out that the Protestant propaganda does not fit the evidence or the comparisons with Protestant tribunals and laws of the era.

            In contrast, Jessie Childs provides a useful corrective to the Elizabethan literature on religious persecution particularly of Catholics. Elizabeth she tells us used more torture than any other monarch in English history. Sure, Elizabeth burnt fewer Catholics than Mary (although she burnt plenty of people), but that’s because her government, having learnt from the mistakes of Mary, realised it is better publicity to say you are killing people for other reasons. But Childs is not a Catholic, she is secular.

            Rodney Stark writes about everything in this from science (in which Catholicism comes out much better than Protestant propaganda has allowed), to the burning of witches (Protestants are by far the worst, and Puritans are the worse of all, as I recall), to censorship (Protestant England is far worse than Catholic Inquisitorial Spain). But Stark is not a Catholic, he’s a Lutheran.

            All these people are just historians following the evidence. But rather than engage with their historical evidence, you wish to dispute their historical credentials by characterising them as Catholic apologists. But they are simply non-Catholic historians undoing years of Protestant lies and misrepresentation, misrepresentation you seek to perpetrate by characterising it as Catholic airbrushing. Much easier to supply a false ad hominem, than to answer their evidence, it appears.

            And readers will judge for themselves why you find that easier, they can also judge for themselves why you have such a need to find the worst in Catholicism, and to bang on about it, rubbishing, but not answer any attempt at balance.

          • Anton

            So many words to shoot the messenger… talk about obsession!

            David Kertzer obviously has it in for the Vatican. He is a professional historian of Italy, an area in which he has also written about more than the role of the Catholic church; yet critiquing that role is his main interest, judging by the intersection of his themes across Italy and across time and geography. You don’t accuse him of obsession, even though he has spent far more effort on it than me and even though you concede that many of my historical criticisms are factually accurate. You don’t criticise him for writing negatively about the Pope and Mussolini, but you criticise me merely for reading his book about it! You talk about my “pornographic” interest in the sex lives of the Renaissance Popes, when it is their sex lives which are pornographic. You ignore the fact that critiquing Catholicism is not the subject of most of my comments on this blog. All of this is why I talk about you shooting the messenger.

            So it is OK for professional historians to write history against the Vatican, but not anybody else? Is this an attempt at damage limitation, since there are fewer historians than protestants; or merely intellectual snobbery?

          • Albert

            So it is OK for professional historians to write history against the Vatican, but not anybody else?

            How many times do I have to say it? I never said you couldn’t attack the Vatican. On the contrary, I have agreed that there are things in Catholic history that are very bad. It is your lack of balance. Isn’t this the problem? You are incapable of reading evidence in any way that critiques you. This is why you look psychologically obsessed.

            David Kertzer obviously has it in for the Vatican. He is a professional historian of Italy, an area in which he has also written about more than the role of the Catholic church; yet critiquing that role is his main interest, judging by the intersection of his themes across Italy and across time and geography. You don’t accuse him of obsession, even though he has spent far more effort on it than me

            Again, it’s a question of evidence. What I said was: No of course not [I don’t think he is psychologically obsessed] – at least, not on that evidence. In other words, if you are going to supply evidence that he is psychologically obsessed, then clearly, that is a conclusion I will reasonably draw. But in order to do that, I will need more than just evidence that he writes critically of the Catholic Church, because, for the nth time, I do not think writing critically of the Catholic Church is a sign of psychological obsession.

            For a start, history is his job. For you, critiquing the Catholic Church is apparently one of your hobbies. In a world of such trouble and so many threats, you seem to devote enormous amounts of your spare time to reading about and then writing about the sins of the Catholic Church. Why? I have no evidence that Kertzer is like that.

            Secondly, you spend a lot of time knocking serious historians as being Catholic airbrushers, even though they are so often demonstrably not Catholic, and can simply point to new evidence and new techniques which drive their conclusions. You are yet to provide evidence that Kertzer does that, or if he does, that he does it by misrepresenting his peers (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t BTW, as if he did, he would probably not last long).

            Thirdly, whenever I provide a counter balance – a comparison which places evidence in its historical context, or provides or asks for precision, where you have misunderstood, you either try to avoid the evidence because they don’t serve your rhetorical purpose, or you critique my requests for precision – a strange thing for a scientist to do. I have no evidence that Kertzer does any of these things, and yet, these are the things that indicate you are psychologically obsessed, not the criticisms of Catholicism. If you start supplying all this evidence then yes, perhaps I will think he is psychologically obsessed.

            Your post is again a good example of your strategy of misrepresentation. In my last post, I made several comparisons, which you have simply ignored:

            1. The Spanish Inquisition generally compares favourably with similar courts elsewhere in Europe, including Protestant ones.
            2. Torture was used more often by Elizabeth than by any other monarch.
            3. Protestants were the worst at burning witches, and puritans the worst amongst the Protestants.

            Fairness does not seem important to you. Far easier to misrepresent me, as in the first quotation I give of this post. I’m sorry that you think my posts include so many words. There are so many things wrong with your posts that it takes many words to spell it out. And if you accuse me of obsession in defending my faith from misrepresentation, I wear that badge proudly. But your obsession with someone else’s faith looks bizarre to me.

          • Anton

            I used to think that when someone ran out of arguments they resorted either to silence or insults, but I have learnt from you that there is another alternative: attempt to psychoanalyse the other. Nevertheless the aim is the same: marginalise the opponent and his arguments. It is not a very good way to go about it, for the pre-eminent expert on my motivation is myself, I’d say, rather than you!

          • Albert

            I used to think that when someone ran out of arguments they resorted either to silence or insults, but I have learnt from you that there is another alternative: attempt to psychoanalyse the other. Nevertheless the aim is the same: marginalise the opponent and his arguments. It is not a very good way to go about it, for the pre-eminent expert on my motivation is myself, I’d say, rather than you!

            This paragraph is utterly lacking in self-knowledge.

            Firstly, in one field of this, I admitted quite openly that I didn’t know enough to engage you. I’m quite happy to withdraw from the field when I can’t continue the fight.

            Secondly, I admit that there are many things wrong with Catholic history.

            Thirdly, I plainly haven’t run out of arguments – I am providing all sorts of arguments that your bias against Catholicism is just that – bias. And that is my argument against you – that you misrepresent not only the evidence against Catholicism, but also the context – comparisons with similar groups. That is my argument.

            The psychological argument arose because I said you rejoice in the wrong – and, you admit quite freely that you are not interested in a balanced discussion, simply in promoting what you believe to be the evidence against Catholicism.

            Nevertheless the aim is the same: marginalise the opponent and his arguments.

            Which is of course what any reader can see you consistently do. When I try to make a comparison, you first ignore, and when you cannot ignore, say it is beside the point. Well it is beside your point, but not mine, and mine, remember is only fairness. Secondly, you make ad hominems of the type: Evidence putting Catholicism in a better light is just airbrushing by Catholics. But I have provided evidence that this is not the case, evidence, that you haven’t even bothered to try to answer. Thirdly, you have repeatedly misrepresented my position, trying to say that I am simply attacking you for attacking the Vatican etc. But I have repeatedly denied this, and the record shows that I am not attacking you for that, but for your lack of balance. Fourthly, you resorted to insults many posts ago:

            So despite your words you CAN’T find any words of mine suggesting that I “rejoice in wrong” (when it is Catholics who do it). You are deceitful.

            As you would say: the pre-eminent expert on my motivation is myself, I’d say, rather than you! And in any case, since you pressed me for examples, I was able easily to come up with examples. Now you can of course dispute that you are rejoicing it, but that would just indicate you have a morbid fascination in it, which, frankly, is much the same thing.

          • Anton

            I wouldn’t neglect your questions to me if we were speaking 1:1 in a bar, but a blog is a public forum and although I’m writing to you I’m not necessarily writing entirely for you. Often I aim to make points to the reader.

          • Albert

            Precisely, which is why you don’t want to give publicity to the comparisons and evidence that sheds different light on our history, and it is why I want to take you to task for that. It’s not just a discussion between you and me.

          • Albert

            It occurs to me, of course, that you didn’t answer the question about whether you agree with the Pope’ proposition:

            This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone.

            Now I wonder why that is. Do you hold liberty of conscience for everyone? What about Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel?

          • Anton

            He’s dead, and would soon be dead if he had lived and the legal system was well run.

          • Albert

            So therefore, even you agree with the proposition of the pope as he gives it!

          • Anton

            You do talk nonsense at times. Murderers should be put to death; Genesis 9:5. If you wish to relate that to liberty of conscience, you do the work.

          • Albert

            Do I really need to do the work? You’ve just done it for me.

            Murderers should be put to death; Genesis 9:5.

            But this fellow does not accept our scriptures. In his conscience he thinks they’re wrong. In his conscience he thinks what he did was not murder, but a just punishment decreed by God. Now of course you and I disagree with that. But it’s his conscience. He doesn’t accept our scriptures. Do we then have the right to impose our values against his freedom of conscience? Of course we do! And the same would apply to an anarchist or nihilist who took the view that as there is no God, freedom of conscience means he can create any moral values, regardless of the harm he may do to others in keeping those moral values. And if we needed any authority to defend our decision to prevent them acting according to their conscience, the Pope provides it:

            This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone.

            A statement which is consistent with liberty of conscience can be maintained for some – something you hold as dearly to as I do. Just as you hold as much as I do that that cannot be maintained for someone like Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel.

          • Anton

            Freedom of conscience is not identical with freedom of action, of course.

          • Albert

            That’s a very neat distinction. It doesn’t seem to be the one in play in the document, for the Pope’s concern about liberty of conscience, for some, is bad actions. Again, it’s a question of fairly listening to what is being said, rather than assuming the concepts you are using are those of your opponent from nearly 200 years ago.

          • Anton

            Everybody understands that there have to be laws proscribing complete freedom of action. That is not what the Pope meant. He wrote of liberty of conscience as a bad thing, just as he wrote in the same document of freedom of the press as a bad thing.

          • Albert

            Everyone who bothers to read about this subject knows that “freedom of conscience” has more than one meaning. What is the meaning here? Also, no one actually believes in complete freedom conscience for everyone. The idea that there should be some censorship in publishing is also not controversial. It is a prudential judgement what should be allowed and not allowed. That would reasonably vary from time to place, on the basis of perceived threat, perceptions that may or may not be correct. I’m sure that at that time, the Pope would be stricter than I would like, but I cannot argue with the principle, and I can accept that, given what was known at the time, the level of censorship may have seemed appropriate to defend the common good.

          • Anton

            I’m carrying it on for you below.

          • dannybhoy

            You won’t get far Anton, and I don’t mean that unkindly nor as an insult to Albert. Where we can agree we should agree; where there are more serious differences of opinion we should agree to respect the other’s deeply held convictions and live out our own.

          • Anton

            I respect people, not their convictions.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Are those 5 teachings of Luther himself, maybe among the 95 theses?

            Also: a tip (for Windows users). To avoid unwanted line breaks in paragraphs when copying from (for example) a web page into Disqus, copy the text into WordPad and from there, select again and copy into Disqus.

            We had a lot of time to discover those tricks while grounded during snowstorms during the Ice Age.

          • dannybhoy

            Thanks for that tip Nanders.
            (I hope you don’t mind the abbreviation, but Irish Neanderthal is a bit of a mouthful..)
            I spend AGES rearranging the lines of text!

          • dannybhoy

            Thanks ‘Nanders’,
            I didn’t think of doing that. I did it the hard way..
            (I hope you don’t mind the abbreviation, Irish Neanderthal is a bit of a mouthful..)

    • Anton

      As I recall Wilders was refused admission under Labour, but she certainly refused Spencer which remains a deep blot on her record.

      • Bernard from Bucks

        Yes, Jacqui Smith.
        “Mr Brown’s spokesman said the prime minister “fully supports the decision” taken by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.”
        “Mr Wilders was invited to the House of Lords for a screening of Fitna by the UK Independence Party’s Lord Pearson.”

      • Dreadnaught

        I take your point.

  • Albert

    There is much joy to be had in the thought that the UK will soon be liberated from the EU by the low-Church daughter of a humble Anglican vicar, steeped in the spirit, ethos, method and attitude of the ever-compromising and reconciling via media

    No. It will have been liberated by its own people in the referendum.

    • David

      Quite !
      Left to May we would still be vassals.
      Cranmer is getting carried away with the C of E connection.

      • James60498 .

        I think the CofE connection plus the Tories have a new leader.

        Most of what he writes is really good, but when it’s time for the Tories “to pull together”, he does take it a bit far. Conference. Elections. New leaders.

        Give him a few days. He will be back to his usual sensible incisive self.

      • Albert

        I think so!

    • Anton

      Yes, but the referendum inconceivable but for Nigel Farage.

      • Albert

        Love him or loathe him, Farage is one of the political giants of our time.

        • dannybhoy

          Political giant? More a man of principle and conviction with more than a dash of courage. An admirable Englishman.

          • Albert

            I was thinking more about his effect, than his person.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t think he was a great politician, he just stood for something and gathered people of like mind to himself. But I wouldn’t argue about it. I’m a Nigel Farage fan.

          • Albert

            If you measure political greatness by how well you achieve your goals taking into consideration how much power you have, I would have to say the Farage is in a league of his own.

  • David

    I have no respect for May.
    Her record in office is appalling. She slashed the budget for our already pitifully small Border Protection Force, and the Police.
    It is very clear that she is not prepared to confront Sharia law head on, which is what is required by this intrinsically biased legal system that regards women and non-Muslims as inferiors.
    During the Referendum debate, whilst the bullets were whizzing about she hid away, hoping to emerge as the “reasonable clean one”, without enemies, who could then lead. Such behaviour is I feel cowardly and represents a calculating cunning that knows no principles.
    In Westminster circles her tendency towards prevarication is summed up by “Maybe she will, Maybe she won’t”. That says it all I think. Beware the careerists who are the scourge of contemporary UK politics.
    May is the establishment choice and they hope to swing it to a Brexit-lite outcome. But they are not taking into account the real architects of Brexit – Farage and Ukip. If the Conservatives betray the will of the UK public then they will suffer heavy losses at the next election, which may be before Xmas. With a new funder and new leadership Ukip will have a spring in its step. Already social media tell of defections of the rank and file from the Conservative Party to Ukip. One way or another we will achieve full Brexit – depend on it !

    • Albert

      May is the establishment choice and they hope to swing it to a Brexit-lite outcome.

      I’m afraid this is true: my worry is that this is about the remainians clawing back the power they have had for 40 years. That’s why it was so important to trash Andrea Leadsom.

      • David

        Yes that is how most Leavers see it.

        We will of course leave the EU but I fear that May will attempt a Brexit-lite leaving.

        As usual Norman Tebbitt hits the nail on the head when he says that May will be “the best recruiting sergeant that Ukip could ever have”.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      That makes her sound like a Groucho Marxist:

      “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like ’em — well, there are others.”

  • dwmf

    “The Conservative Party moves with ruthless haste when it needs to: its appetite for power is ravenous.”

    Somewhat uncharitable, I feel. I prefer the analogy of surgery without anaesthetic. The operation must be brisk and very quick. Minimising exposure to the germs of doubt and confusion.

  • dwmf

    Before any major changes or even discussions regarding change, a radical cull of the Civil Service Humphreys needs to be done. I feel that many of TM’s initiatives were strangled in the crib by the Westminster Establishmentarians.

    • Redrose82

      Starting with the Cabinet Secretary.

  • dannybhoy

    “Theresa May is a vicar’s daughter: the Rev’d Hubert Brasier infused his daughter with the spiritual wealth and riches of the Church of England.”
    Okay…
    What I know of the CofE is that
    a) It is a very broad Church
    b) It seeks compromise before principle
    c)There are people in places of ‘spiritual leadership’ who don’t actually believe the basics of Christianity.

    • Dear boy, don’t you know it’s the spirit of the “ever-compromising and reconciling via media”? Without it we wouldn’t have such advances as contraception, abortion, divorce and ‘remarriage’, homosexual ‘marriage’ and women’s ordination. And, coming soon, probably, euthanasia.

      • Anton

        EUthanasia, please.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    If “greatness” means integrity, keeping her word, respecting the democratic will of the people, and not doing a Brexit stitch-up, then I hope she will be “great”. Sadly, scrutiny of her record in office has been largely overlooked by the media, who were too busy hounding the other candidate for holding motherhood in esteem. And what of the men? It seems that men are abrogating their leadership responsibilities and leaving it all to the ladies.

  • PessimisticPurple

    “Spiritual wealth and riches of the Church of England”? I’m saying nowt.

    • Albert

      Naughty.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Spiritual wealth of the Church of England buried so deep that no one has manged to find it yet.

  • Theresa May needlessly retracted her pledge to pull Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights. Why? What’s the point of being free of the EU bureaucracy if we are still prisoners of the anti-Christian thought police and our laws are subject to oversight by an unaccountable foreign Court?

    • chiaramonti

      The European Court of Human Rights is nothing to do with the EU. We drafted the convention after the second world war

      • They are intimately connected. One has to be a signatory to the ECHR to become a member of the EU.

        • James60498 .

          I was looking at the Council of Europe this morning. No doubt that too would claim to be an entirely separate organisation.

          It currently is attempting to bully Poland into loosening its anti-abortion laws.

          According to its website, its Human Rights Commissioner is “independent”. So that’s alright then. No doubt other countries will be receiving letters telling them to tighten their abortion laws. Ok. Perhaps not that independent.

          It’s HQ is in? You’ve got two guesses. If I tell you it’s not Brussels then there is only really one likely possibility left. It begins with Stras.

          • It’s a confusing tangle of organisations. The Council of Europe can enforce international agreements reached by European states, including the European Court of Human Rights.

          • Anton

            Enforce? How? Invade?

          • No idea. The ECHR can impose fines.

          • Anton

            And how does it enforce payment?

          • Who knows? Presumably, if one signs a treaty then one honours one’s word and this includes paying fines etc.

          • Anton

            But the issue is a withdrawal by the UK that might be unilateral if agreement cannot be reached.

          • Except we’re not planning to withdraw from the Council of Europe or to ditch the ECHR.

          • Anton

            With luck we’ll be booted out of the latter by the rest of the EU in the Brexit negotiations. I misunderstood your mention of the Council of Europe as one of the EU institutions of similar name.

    • len

      We are more or less in the position the disciples were in (not as bad in fact ) so onward and upward .The thought police cannot stop us unless we let them.Christians should be asking God to give them more courage to preach the Word regardless of consequences….

    • Anna055

      That’s what I would have thought too … but then I read this (July 8th) comment from Christian Concern:

      “Let’s not kid ourselves however. Whilst the EU has been the driving force for much of the Equalities legislation that has been used to silence Christian voices and discriminate against Christian witness, it is WE in the United Kingdom who have been the keenest in pursuing it; we have been the leading liberalising nation in Europe. And our courts, our elites, even church elites have not protected those that would seek to speak truth into the vacuum. Too often it has fallen to an agency like us at Christian Concern through our Christian Legal Centre, to defend harassed Christians in the Courts in the face of hostile legislation, or legislation that is interpreted in a hostile way. Ironically it has been the European Court of Human Rights that has delivered justice; delivered Christian freedom where our national courts have refused to do so; such is their blindness, so steeped in political correctness and fear.”

      Whether you agree with them or not, it’s an interesting view coming from an organisation dedicated to protecting our Christian (and christian) culture.

      • Interesting. The country should repeal the Human Right Act of 1998. It is this that brought the ECHR into British law.

      • Inspector General

        Don’t believe everything you read Anna…

        • Anna055

          I just thought it was interesting that they think this. I know a couple of people who work/have worked for the organisation, so I’ve no reason to disbelieve what they say about their experience of the human rights court, even though I was surprised to read it.

      • James60498 .

        I think that this is partly true.

        Britain was the first with abortion and
        Germany doesn’t have “gay marriage”

        Britain has nothing to be proud of here. (Incidentally Suzanne Evans of UKIP thinks we should be proud of both those things).

        However. The march of the world is all one direction. The same immoral/amoral politicians taking over.

        All moving in the same direction just some a little slower than others. As soon as Mrs Merkel is ousted in Germany there will be pressure to put “gay marriage” on the books.

        Poland’s politicians are fighting against the EU, but will slowly lose unless something major happens there. The Greeks rebelled against financial constraints. For about 5 minutes (openly at least).

        Ultimately everything with the EU is one way. Organisations like CI do a great job in fighting and sometimes winning cases. But wins, whilst great for the individual concerned are only ever going to be short lived for most of us as the screw turns ever tighter.

        Only a sea change in politics will move us back to a decent Christian based society and that will require people to wake up and reject the appalling rubbish that we are being told.

        That’s not going to happen in the EUSSR. It’s too big and the controllers have too much control. It will only start to happen in a small way in individual countries.

        Of course Britain gave in first. We always do exactly what we are told, whether it be feminist rights or H&S. In the EU we had no chance to change anything for the better.

        Outside we have a small chance.

    • Cressida de Nova

      You live in an anti Christian country anyway so what is the big deal?

  • Martin

    I think, perhaps, that we need a new political party that will seek Britain’s benefit, not just attempt to beat the other side.

    • sarky

      There’s no ‘other side’ to beat.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        For the political parties we have there is always the other side.

  • chiefofsinners

    Theresa May is poised for realpolitikal greatness.
    All her actions say that neither her faith not her morality inform her political decisions. She does what is expedient.

    • Anton

      Then we had better make sure that it is expedient for her to get us out of the EU.

    • Anna055

      I have a feeling that she simply puts loyalty very high on her list of priorities. I don’t always agree with the result, but I like her for it.

  • len

    Now that we are out lets just get on with it.Lets back Theresa May because she will need all our prayers for what lays ahead..

  • Inspector General

    Well put together, Cranmer. Your efforts today most appreciated.

    So, we have yet another Prime Minister without objectivity who is prepared to vacillate in the political wind. No bad thing then if she is with the country at the moment – but what happens when Article 50 is activated, and the EU turns nasty on us. Will she go running to Remainers and cry “help me! And I’ll see what I can do for you…”

    You see, women are just not cut out to be leaders. They lack resolve to see issues through. They are natural compromisers and even the uncompromising nature of the EU regime is not enough to convince them that attempted reform of the thing is not hopeless. So, what hope is there for Brexit. Well there is hope. Mrs May would no doubt like to come out of front line politics as one of the most successful Prime Ministers ever. Now, how can that be achieved despite herself…

    She needs to appoint at the earliest, a committed Brexiteer as Plenipotentiary Negotiator for exiting the EU. One suggest Gove. He’ll accept the poisoned chalice. For his own greater glory and, youngish man that he be, to set himself up as a future Conservative Prime Minister when May has had enough.

    If Gove can pull off Brexit, May will reap the adulation for appointing him, and be a safe distance from him should he fail. Most important that last bit…

    • Redrose82

      “You see, women are just not cut out to be leaders” I take it you think the blessed Margaret was an exception to the rule?

      • Ah, but was Margaret a man in a woman’s body? Just because she was a wife and a mother does not necessarily mean she was a woman.

      • Inspector General

        Thatcher? A leader? Don’t make this man laugh. She stood aloof from everyone. Cabinet included. They spent the time wondering when it was their turn to get pecked. She even told Hesseltine to get his hair cut!

        • dannybhoy

          Her greatest failing as the best Prime Minister in modern times, was a tendency to slip into Head Mistress mode…

          • Inspector General

            The original plan was simple and would have been very effective. Keith Joseph would have become Prime Minister and Margaret would have been his hatchet man, chief whip and deputy PM all in one. It all went bad when he decided not to stand, and she did in his place…

          • magnolia

            Sir Keith Joseph did not have the skill set to be PM. I guess he knew it if you didn’t. He had a tendency to find it difficult to gauge the level of vocabulary to use and ask school children questions they didn’t understand. But then I guess you think being a male biologically is a major factor.. Mrs Thatcher got Britain working again, helped achieve world peace with Reagan and Gorbachev, and got some improvements in our relationship with the EU.

            Yes she failed in some other respects, but her achievements were substantial. And she had enemies, not least the lesser seen ones.

          • dannybhoy

            She dragged our country kicking and screaming into modernity by facing down the Bolshie union leaders and by promoting a sense of pride and ownership through the sale of council houses. Not a popular move according to some,but by Golly there was no shortage of people ready to take up the opportunity.
            We owe her a great deal.

          • CliveM

            It is an article of faith of the Left, that they have the right to do what they deem to be for the good of you, even if that is not what you want. Look at the response to Vote Leave and also its opposition to Council House sales.
            I have a friend who is an advisor to the Scottish Executive on Public Health issues. A good man, however in an , err ‘robust discussion’ of freedom of choice he announced angrily that “freedom of choice has no place in decision making on public health”. Which frankly is an attitude that extends well beyond health into all areas of public policy.

            Mrs Thatcher stood against this at least.

          • dannybhoy

            I believe that Margaret had a lot of respect for Sir Keith’s abilities, but as you say he didn’t have the skill set to lead.

          • Inspector General

            Keith Joseph was an academic type, not a peoples man. His greatest accolade was that Thatcher was his devotee in matters economic…

      • Cressida de Nova

        The Inspector does not like heterosexual women. Britain needs a capable sensible woman to sort out the mess the men have made.

    • Inspector, we need to end all this old fashioned binary thinking. There’s no such thing these days as “men” and “women”.

      • Anton

        There is in the mirror.

        • dannybhoy

          :0)
          I’m no looker either Anton.
          ‘Ruggedly plain’

        • chiefofsinners

          There is in the Daily Mail.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          I don’t need a mirror

          • chiefofsinners

            You don’t have a reflection.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Yes, shaving is a particularly life-threatening activity

          • chiefofsinners

            Pubic hair is nothing to be ashamed of.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Maybe not… but I think you are overstating a point by wearing yours on your head.

          • chiefofsinners

            Awesome. I laughed a lot.

        • It’s not what you see; nor your hormones; not even having certain ‘bits’. It’s all in your mind.

          • Anton

            It’s all in my jeans (sorry, genes).

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Good thinking Inspector. Best thing she can do is to let the men go off and do the dirty work. She can stay behind and make them all a nice cup of tea.

      • Inspector General

        Women are amazing organisers, P_I. When the men do come back from the coal face, she’ll be there with a good hot meal as well as tea…

  • Anton

    Your Grace is an optimist. I hope you are right.

  • Jolly Roger

    I know hope is an eternal virtue. I do however bear in mind that we cannot know what Mrs May means when she says that Brexit means Brexit since she has not said what Brexit means.

    Nor has anyone else defined it. Does it mean rejoining EFTA? Does it mean when Britain is no longer subject to any clause of the Maastricht Treaty?

    There will be no rejoining the EU by the backdoor *of another referendum*. But, hey, by any other means…? And what if we’ve never left in the first place but through some legerdemain enter an arrangement that knocks Britain down to the lower tier of a two-tier EU?

    I don’t doubt Mrs May’s Christian faith and I will be praying in terms of the Book of Common prayer for the Queen’s counsellors to be endued with grace, wisdom and understanding. However I wonder what Washington wants.

  • chiefofsinners

    Angela Vulture’s wings have been clipped tonight.
    After circling for days to make sure the carcass of Corbyn was dead, she launched just as Leadsom quit and drew everyone’s attention back to the Tories. How excruciating to watch her at that deserted press conference.
    And now… the National Executive has decided that Jeremy gets to stand without nominations. Surely she took soundings? Believed they would vote the other way?
    For a chess player, she’s not looking like much of a strategist. Terry May is in for an easy ride over the next few years.

    • Inspector General

      Quite the expected, that man. And the Labour party innards shown up to be the old blood red of the victimised workers blood they always were. All this, and without KGB help too! It’s just like the old days…

      • chiefofsinners

        Are you going to ask Angela for your brick back?

        • Inspector General

          For a with it, Lesbian type, the Labour party are not as welcoming to her usurper-ship as one might expect. The old Bolshevik is much loved…And look, is that the hand of Clause 4 reaching out from its grave, covered in soil…

          • Anna055

            Wish we could add a “laugh” icon to these comments! I rather like the old bolshevik myself…. even though my political views are mostly completely opposite to his.

          • chiefofsinners

            …asking for its brick back.

            I thought she said she was from Lebanon.

          • Inspector General

            Whatever.

            But she’s not so loved on Pink News. The inmates therein consider her a back stabber. One just can’t understand the connection between Marxism and homosexuality. Unless both are out to corrupt the young and wish to pool resources. Surely not!

          • chiefofsinners

            Back stabber? I thought that euphemism was reserved for the male contingent at Pink News.

          • Inspector General

            You’re thinking of sh

            No. Sorry, it’s gone…

          • chiefofsinners

            Shadow cabinet?

    • Would the vulture have been the darling of the press had she not been upstaged? Would she now be the poster girl? Perhaps not, she’s no Eddie the Eagle. One thing seems certain – she would not be facing the hatchet job they did on Andrea but seems destined to crash to earth.

      • chiefofsinners

        When riled (which she often is), she speaks like Mr Punch. There’s also a passing resemblance.

  • bluedog

    One can only hope for the best, Your Grace. If Mrs May is serious in her statement that Brexit means Brexit, she has a great deal of persuading to do. Remain is the settled view of the vast majority of the members of the House of Commons, irrespective of the bench on which they sit. For a PM to carry the day against such an opposing majority will require a miracle that sets aside some very simple arithmetic.

  • Anton

    She’s dumped the climate change crap! Much is forgiven!

  • Manfarang

    Where is the TARDIS which will take everyone in the country back to the 1950s? We never had it so good.

  • ZZMike

    We across the pond felt that Ms May’s selection – added to the victory of reason in leaving the fold – was a good step. But today I read in the Telegraph of 26 May that “many British people “benefit a great deal” from the guidance offered by Sharia teaching and other religious codes.” There’s an inquiry “… lasting up to 18 months to investigate whether British law is being broken in the name of Sharia ideas.”

    Is she a wolf in ewe’s clothing?