Saturday, June 25, 2016


Europe In normal places most congregations were split at more or less 50% for Brexit, 50% for Remain. In Brighton we seemed to follow, as we do on most issues, the ‘London trend’. Brighton voted remain.

Catholics have always been looked on with a certain suspicion in Britain because it is our nature to look beyond national borders, to not only Europe but to the rest of the world, 'Catholic' means, in its broadest sense, 'Universal'.
In the sixth century the Christianisation of England brought with it union with the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and the then Christian world, not only of Europe, but beyond it. In a sense, the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century brought with it England’s withdrawal from the European Union. The pre-Reformation Church in England was European with at least one Greek Archbishop of Canterbury and most of our clergy were educated in the great universities of the continent.

Even after the Reformation, many Catholics were educated abroad, in Flanders and France, as well as Italy. Catholics had a sense of being not only English or British but also European. Immigration too, not only from Ireland but the rest of Europe, has been a mark of English Catholicism.
Today the vitality of many of our parishes comes from its members who are not just immigrants from Europe but the rest of the world.

The post-war founders of the European Economic Community were more or less a group of Catholic intellectuals (at least three are having their causes explored for Canonisation). The European flag’s twelve gold stars on a blue background is actually a Marian badge. Much of the early legislation of the Community was heavily based on the Catholic Church’s social teaching, in the beginning its leaders were devout Catholics.

One essential understanding they had was one of ‘subsidiarity’, which often appears in documents of the Pope’s, it simply means that power is exercised at its most local level, essentially by the individual, the family or the local community, and central government only comes into play where strictly necessary.

The English Catholic concept of ‘distributionism’ (Belloc, Chesterton etc), which goes back to Pope Leo XIII was very much at the heart of their vision. It said that everyone had a right to enough of a share of wealth and common goods that were necessary for the support of family life and a secure childhood and old age, in sickness and in health. For them excessive wealth in the hands of a few was inimical and contrary to the Gospel.

Pope Francis described today’s Europe as “an elderly, haggard grandmother”, though he stresses the importance ‘unity’ and ‘brotherhood’, the huge numbers of unemployed in many parts of Europe, the gulf between the poor and excessively wealthy, the numbers of homeless and hopeless people, the absence for many of effective justice, is far from the vision of the Catholic founders of the EU.

Pope Benedict spoke of a union that is merely based on ‘wealth creation’ as being bound to failure and ultimate collapse. I am not sure what the future of our country outside of Europe is and neither am I sure what Europe’s future will be. Its failure to have children and the consequence necessity of immigration has made its own future unclear. What I am certain of is the necessity to have truly Catholic voices, familiar with the Gospel and the Church’s teaching in the coming months and years.


Delia said...

Here is a petition asking for a second EU referendum, with a 10% majority necessary before implementing change:

I don't normally have much faith in these things, but 2 million signatures already!

Paul Hellyer said...

Delia. Your side lost. Get used to it.

Tony V said...

Agree with Paul. This referendum was not nearly as close as it looks. Many people told me their hearts wanted to leave, but they were afraid of all the apocalyptic scenarios Cameron, Osborne et al kept trotting out. The real margin was closer to 2-1.

Many of us would love to belong to the Europe we signed up to: a common market with easy travel and robust trading. What we don't want is an increasingly non-democratic superstate that can impose its rule on this country, levy its own taxes, redistribute wealth as it sees fit, concoct its own foreign policy and (on the horizon) raise its own army. It's no coincidence that those Remain voters who haven't appreciated this threat to democracy and sovreignty are now trying to undo the referendum! That's the EU way.

Personally, I'm still flabbergasted this country had the bottle to do it. The Establishment will of course still try to take over--notice how they continue to marginalise Nigel, who deserves the credit for this more than anyone, and are ready to anoint the Grand Opportunist, Boris.

So we've taken our country back--can we now take our culture back? Just yesterday one of Cameron's cronies announced she's lesbian, and Cameron and Osborne immediately tweeted their "congratulations". The 'ordinary people' who turned out for the Referendum find this disgusting. Cameron may be gone, but his evil legacy remains in persona Boris et al.

Jacobi said...


Nor do I but I'm going to sign. However, surprise, surprise, the site on 27th June at 0730 is still crashed !

As a Scot born, brought up and now again resident my ghastly rainy dark little part of the world, ( 8/8 outside ), I voted in. Any alternative is just daft.

We Catholics have a difficult two or three decades ahead of us. There will be enormous problems to deal with but withdrawing from either the EU or Europe will only make that worse.

What worries me is the emergence of English Nationalism to add to those two evils we already have, Irish and Scottish Nationalism.

Apologies to Father if this is too political but then so are times!

Sadie Vacantist said...

@Tony V

Was the BBC your source of the Osborne tweet as it was mine?

My interpretation of this is confirmation that the BBC has not conceded defeat in the culture war.

The so called victory by Brexiteers is nothing more than a minor setback and may yet rebound against ordinary people in general and the Catholic Church in particular.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher's 'hot air' declaration on the subject, which received much media attention, should have been treated with the gravity it deserved (I even discussed it with interested non-Catholics). My response was not to vote. In so doing I defied Murphy-O'Connor's call to participate but considered Gallagher's intervention more significant and he did not press for participation.

BobBrookes said...

What is the point of a referrendum if you immediately then clamour for another one because yoiu don't like the result! Sometimes we have to rely on Divine Providence and simply work and pray for the best in whatever situation we are in NOW. - The same would have applied whatever the result.

CraigS said...

Tony v - genuine question - do you seriously believe that homosexuals shouldn't be government ministers? How is that possibly 'just discrimination'?

As to Europe ,from Scotland where I am, I have never seen such palpable anxiety as I did when at work on Friday, people are genuinely scared about what is to come. I don't buy the apocalyptic senario outlined by Caneron but I don't think it's going to be easy. And I will be surprised if Scotland is not independent within 4 years, the political gulf between Scotland and the rest of UK seems unbridgeable.

Patrick Sheridan said...

Delia, that petition is phony. I read that some 30,000 signatures came from the Vatican City, which has a population of 800. A second referendum is out of the question. It would severely compromise the value of referenda, and the whole democratic ideal. If people can't vote responsibly, then why bother staging another costly, nasty campaign in the immediate aftermath of the one we've just seen? The people have spoken, on a 72% turnout (greater than any general election since 1992). That's it.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

It seems just anyone can sign, from anywhere. No checks on addresses etc. So, what is the point ? Does anyone actually believe it has the slightest chance of success ? Would Cameron cancel his resignation ?
Dream on, never mind reality.

Vincent said...


That plea is a joke and you should know better! (I'm not being confrontational, but this is about so much more than a single vote). Democracy only works because we all accept the decisions; I've never yet voted a government into power, but I have to accept when other people have over-ruled me. That's democracy. We don't get a second go.

Truly Russia has spread its errors when even Catholics cannot accept actual democracy and want an 'ersatz' version that is reminiscent of the horrors of the last century. Even if we're turkeys voting for Christmas, even if we disagree with the decision made by our fellow people, we cannot just decide that when the vote doesn't suit us, we should overturn it. It's childish, and it undermines our already fragile democracy. As Catholics we now have to remember our European ties, which are born out of so much more than the "European Union" and we have to spread peace and goodwill to heal the rift that has been created in society.

The Liberal Democrats have just announced that they will go to the polls at the next general election to return to the EU. So be it, that would give them a mandate, and that is proper democracy in action - if you want to go back, then vote for them in 2020.

The final point to be made is that if there were to be a second vote, and it ended 1/1 to each side, there would have to be a third decider.

You talk about daft, but that's really daft!

John Fisher said...

The deciding issue is immigration. Face it ethnic displacement through war, invasion or Eu membership is the same thing in the long run. In our world opportunism to exploit weak peoples and nations is called free trade and open borders. Those that want wealth and rule of law are attracted to places that have or can easily give these things. They forget they are part of the reason their own countries are not so attractive. They have a obligation to stay put... Or are we to say the age of colonialism is over. It is not. It's just renamed as free markets and refugees. Ultimately Africa, India, Easter Europe will never prosper or develop if their professionals and workers are pillaged. I think it's unatural to immigrate to places where there is no common ethnicity, language, culture, religion. In anthropology it's called hegemony and ethnicities and nations via to gain this. As for Scotland and Ireland wait until there is a mosque in Scone or Blarney Castle is a mosque. They define themselves by seeking to make decisions based upon being contrary to the England. It's understandable. I am not against very small levels of immigration. The U.K. Is overpopulated. I wonder if there is any need for immigration and wish abortion ceased. All wrong the world those of British heritage are being disenfranchised and displaced. Please don't let the mother country fall.

Jacobi said...


I have already said that a profound political change which will lead to the
break-up of our country and cause confusion and chaos for decades should not be made on a simple majority decision.

Tony V said...

@ Craig Smith, do you seriously believe that homosexuals shouldn't be government ministers? How is that possibly 'just discrimination'?

The tenor of my comment was that it was absolutely despicable for Cameron & Osborne to congratulate someone for being involved in a homosexual relationship. Your question is a bit different--but if forced into a yes-or-no answer I suppose my answer would be yes. Homosexuality is a mental illness and is often a constituent part of a larger syndrome that includes other disorders that might impair judgment. Not the sort of person who should be in the cabinet. Although perhaps not as dangerous as teaching children.

Does that help?

Tony V said...

@Jacobi: then what you're saying is that the next Scottish referendum should have a higher threshold. Last week's referendum was not about break-up of our country, but of re-claiming sovereignty.

Personally, I think that if the Scots want to go, let them. They never voted to join the UK in the first place, did they? And really they're just a drain on the rest of us. Good luck to them. If they had a Scottish independence referendum south of the border, I'd definitely vote Go in Peace.

Physiocrat said...

Distributism? The map of who voted in and who voted out is a stark indication of the distributist gap. There are islands of yellow, mostly on the bottom right, in a sea of blue. Scotland presumably voted to stay in because of the EU money that goes there.

In the present circumstances it would be madness for Scotland to go it alone as an EU member with, presumably, the Euro. There would be customs and immigration control at Berwick and Carlisle. With no economy to speak of, once the oil money stops coming, Scotland will end up like Greece. What kind of a future is that? The previous Scottish referendum was unfair as only those currently resident in Scotland were entitled to vote. There must be nearly as many people born in Scotland who are not living there.

The England-Scotland parliamentary union dates from 1707 when the country ran out of money due to an ill-conceived colonial venture and the Scots asked England to bail them out.

It was EU membership that was the last nail in the coffin of Scottish industry. A shift in focus to trade with Europe meant that Clydeside lost the competitive advantage of having a deep water port for its world trade.

Anita Moore said...

To say that the U.K. is now outside of Europe suggests that Europe and the Eurocracy are identical. Surely this is not true.

Highland Cathedral said...

David Cameron called the Referendum. Let's just bear that in mind. Although those advocating withdrawal have wanted a Referendum for some time, it wasn't them who actually decided to have one. It was the pro-EU Government who decided that we should have a Referendum. So the bleating, whining, moaning losers should recognise that fact. It was the pro-EUers that decided to have a Referendum. It’s no use them now whining about its outcome and asking for a second one. Talk about poor losers! But it’s significant that the folk who praised an institution run by unelected bureaucrats should now be refusing to accept the freely expressed view of the people. They don’t like democracy. They are also the same kind of people who think that democracy is a bad thing when it comes to tackling (almost non-existent) climate change. I remember reading an article in Liberal Democrat News some years ago in which the author expressed the view that the people should not be trusted to have any say on human rights issues. If the Lib Dems want to make a commitment to return to the EU as part of their manifesto that’s fine. With 8 per cent of the vote and 8 MPs nobody much takes any notice of them any longer. They can promise what they like and the vast majority of people will still ignore them.

Nicolas Bellord said...

If the Scots go for independence within the EU I fear they will end up like Greece but without the sunshine.

They are subsidised by England. Are they sure they can replace that subsidy with one from the EU?

Deacon Augustine said...

If the EU had remained in any way faithful to its founding principles, then I am sure that many of us who voted "Out", Fr., would have voted "In." Unfortunately the organization has become nothing more than an anti-Christian tool of secularist globalization and we should have realized the writing was on the wall when they rejected BXVI's appeals for them to acknowledge the Christian roots of Europe in their constitution.

I voted "Out" with full cognizance that I and my family would suffer financially if Brexit came about. But some things such as freedom, democracy, "no taxation without representation" and the right of a nation-state to govern itself are more important than money.

The rest of Europe are quite welcome to build their nation-annihilating superstate if they want to. However, I suspect that if democracy was allowed a voice in many other EU countries, their citizens would also vote to leave or alter their relationship to the EU monster.

As for those who are appealing for another referendum, this is just as crass as appealing for a General Election to be re-run if you don't like the result. I think they must have been infected by the anti-democracy virus which afflicts the EU and which has seen Ireland and Denmark re-vote on constitutional issues when their poplaces did not produce the "right" result first time round.

The Scots voted to be part of this democratic nation in full knowledge that a referendum on the EU was in the offing - it was one of the flags which was waved in their faces by the nationalist campaigners for independence. They and everybody else should stop whinging that they have lost this democratic vote and knuckle down to making this thing work as best as possible. As the liberati love to tell us on every occasion: "You can't turn the clock back!!!"

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Well, there we have it –“One or two” siggies appear to be a touch on the dubious side, to put it mildly. I had no idea the population of Antarctica was nearly 3,000 and that so many ice-cold Antarctic voters (it’s winter down there, I can explain) were eking out a living in sub-zero conditions. We live and (sometimes) we learn.

As for the 25 thousand “Remainers” from North Korea who want another referendum in the UK … I just wonder who could have persuaded them to do that ?

Jacobi said...

Tony V
Yes, the Scottish referendum should have had a higher acceptance level. I said so but the nationalists, ensured otherwise, just as it seems the emerging English nationalists are happy with the same.

It was obvious to anyone with anything between their ears that a vote for exit would give Sturgeon what she wanted. I said so 8 years ago although then it was Salmond. The Scots agreed to be part of the UK. That was in 1707. We are a drain on the UK now. Not always so. Clydeside, Grangemouth and Ardeer were the basis of much of UK shipbuilding, chemical, steel, and armaments industries and the Clyde and Forth of our defence. Then memories are short these days, ten years?

Now that's it. Last word to you.

This is a religious site and my real concern is the decaying Church and what it will have to deal with over the next 5-50 years!

Liam Ronan said...

@Delia, et. al.,

So people with a computer in Gabon or Tajikistan or Guatemala can sign the petition? Get serious. The petition has no force of law and is riddled with so many fraudulent signatories that merely to entertain it as legitimate is sheer 'snow-flake generational' thinking.

The people have spoken. Period. What is worrisome to me; however, is Brexit now has an eerie echo of the war waged by Mr. Cameron (the very proposer of this referendum) and his fellows against Libya and Mohamar Khaddafi. What happens if and when Khaddafi goes? Mr. Cameron apparently didn't himself overmuch what might result.

In the end, I remain for Brexit notwithstanding the media have characterized my wife and me as 'older voters' i.e. "over 30" and not as 'mature' adults with some experience of life. The media reports that 75% of 'younger voters', i.e. 18 - 30 year olds desperately wanted to remain in the EU. [Just as an aside, I wonder how many of the altter group still remain at home.]

Even so, I believe Brexit was a very 'Catholic' choice. As you have written, Father:

"One essential understanding they had was one of ‘subsidiarity’, which often appears in documents of the Pope’s, it simply means that power is exercised at its most local level, essentially by the individual, the family or the local community, and central government only comes into play where strictly necessary."

The largely unelected and untouchable elite who rule the EU were the furthest thing from the Catholic principle of subsidiarity.

Liam Ronan said...

Thomas Paine, an English-American political leader, was born in Thetford, Norfolk, Great Britain, and died in New York City, NY in 1809, and was one of the great political forces of the American Revolutionary War for Independence.

He wrote these words:

“THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated”

CraigS said...

Thanks Tony, I don't agree completely but clearer about where you were coming from.

And I see the Holy Father has made more... plane press comments on same topic

John Fisher said...

"In the UN International Law Commission, Article 21 of the Draft Code of Crimes against Peace and Security of Mankind describes displacement of people from their ancestral home as an especially grave breach of human rights and an international crime. In Article 23 of the Code, displacements and collective punishments of the civilian population are named as especially severe war crimes. Here, demands such as this are listed: “Every person has the right to remain in peace, security and dignity in one's home, or on one's land and in one's country… Every person has the right to return voluntarily, and in safety and dignity, to the country of origin and, within it, to the place of origin or choice.” (Art 4 I and Art 8 in the Final Report of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, headed by Awn Shawkat Al Khasawneh E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/23)" In the UK British people are being displaced by alien peoples. Enough is enough! I have no problem with tourism but citizenship and residency must be hard to get unless there is an ethnic linguistic religious link to the UK. These are the same standards used by first nation Peoples all over the world. Self determination led to the expulsion of British all over the world. Those who wanted to preserve their identity in India, Pakistan and elsewhere have no moral or logical claim to live in the UK. In Fiji and Malaysia the British brought division and conflict as opportunistic Indians were imported as cheap labor and never went back to India. In Fiji the Fijians have lost their land to Indians which caused a constitutional crisis. Colonialism is over. Think of the Poles taking East Prussia and expelling 12 million Germans from their lands. European history is full of smaller examples and the Roman Empire fell because borders could not be defended and assimilation of invaders achieved. The UK faces this same issue and leaving the EU will help reverse this.

Pelerin said...

This is beginning to get quite surreal. I see from the Argus website that there is now a petition for Brighton and Hove to breakaway and become 'the Monaco of the UK!' They even have 1500 signatures.

The old film 'Passport to Pimlico' comes to mind. Even though I admit to being extremely disappointed about the Leave vote and worried about all the implications in the future I would not go as far as suggesting our city leave the UK.

David O'Neill said...

Have 'Delia' et all read that the petition has been referred to the committee for fraud? Evidently we have MANY UK passport holders in places such as North Korea. The 'Remainers' have to accept that the British people have spoken. Just because they don't like the answer doesn't mean that the question can be asked time after time until the get the answer they like.
Little Madame Sturgeon in Scotland is of this ilk too. She is now seeking another referendum but the EU has told her that they would have to start from scratch to be accepted into the EU (& that takes years). If Scotland REALLY wants independence then, perhaps, they should allow the English to vote too!

Mary said...

EU is filled with LGBT propaganda, technology, control etc.
The new constitution that they intend to sign, contains more restrictions for public religious speech or religion in public. They kill people with nervous breakdown in Holland at demand.
Getting out of this ORGANIZATION (which isn't necessarily... Europe...once called "The Christian World" - look at medieval maps, but hm they're ... medieval) is I think a bit closer to God than insisting on staying in.
Barnevernet in Norway gets kids out of poor families and sends them to adoption to gay couples. There are also such instituted courts in UK also.
The history of God (in the Bible) shows that He helps those on His side rather than those against Him. I pray God helps UK and the threats go to nothing. Bruxelles and Juncker said that they want to precipitate the Brexit, faster than 2 years.
Marine LePen wants the same type of referendum in France, who knows what the French want because she's quite extreme and not a norm really.
Now EU is creating hysterics so that people do get their money out of British banks. This moment is quite constructed, it's not the natural way of economy that the pound would fall, or Scotland would leave. I wish people came to their senses and see beyond the gaystapo propaganda.
Now EU needs to punish UK somehow to make it a bad example for others not to leave. If they weren't atheists in Bruxelles I swear they'd be calling it now "whip of God!" whatever trouble happens to those who leave.
BUT, but, despite their esoteric attempts to trick people in, Switzerland retrieved their request to be part of EU before the Brexit, and we know... as it has always been.. that is where the gold is...
And... it's EU not going well, not Europe, the organization, the institution, not the actual continent.

Liam Ronan said...

I should like to mention another delusion of our present snow-flake generation: the presumption that every mug who is interviewed on the television and presented as suffering from "Brexit Regret" did in fact (a) vote and (b) vote to remain!

The specific identity of individual voters and how they voted individually on any given issue is a matter of the strictest governmental privacy restrictions.

So we have nothing more now than an exercise in our own personal penchant for credulity when we rashly credit the so-called "Brexit Regret" voters trotted out before the eager media so as to spin thier tale of woe.

People have suspended their common sense. I am sure all of those North Korean voters who signed the "Second Referendum E-Petition" would agree.

Tony V said...

@Craig Smith...yes, I see the Pope has been saying silly things again.

@ Jacobi...the Scots didn't have a referendum in 1707--that was the Scottish Parliament, which somehow I don't think represented the masses. The closest they had to a referendum on the Union was in 1745.

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