I get quite emotional when someone talks to me about England. Just show me some pictures of medieval churches with their relics of pre-Reformation religion, the Malvern Hills, Sherwood Forest, my native Lake District or the City of York, and countless other favourite places – and play me something that had been composed by Vaughan Williams before the horrors of the Great War destroyed his faith and wounded his soul! I then inevitably have to wrench myself back to reality by realising that the pastoral English reverie is really the long dive towards Orwellian darkness with New Labour and the politically correct brigade.
It appears that the latest thing is an electronic detector in your household trash bin so that you pay as you throw away. England is possibly the most policed country in the world, other than perhaps North Korea and China. Am I like a Russian in 1917, condemned to take an increasingly greater distance from my native land, or might we really be at the beginning of that new spring?
A Cardinal for Canterbury? This is the title of an article here. Someone seems to be wildly hyping and having romantic notions. But that is not in the character of the streetwise and pragmatic Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster. Does he really think that England is going to be as Catholic as, say, Poland in the nineteenth century or the countries of the Hapsburg Empire in the really old days?
We can lament that the Reformation ruined England, as the 1789 Revolution ruined France to the core. But, will the English people and political institutions really forgo secularism and return to Catholic Christendom? Perhaps this is not the idea for some in the Magic Circle.
We are still getting a good dose of 'London fog' when we hear of the Apostolic Constitution associated with the old ecumenism, as if everything was going beautifully in the Church of England (no one is reminding us of the inconvenient facts of women’s “ordinations” and same-sex “marriages”), and the Queen was about to bring the whole of England into communion with Rome. It isn’t happening like that! These myths were exploded as Anglicanorum Coetibus came into existence without interference from Cardinal Kasper. I really am surprised to read this stuff still coming from conservative Catholic sources.
It does not suffice to go on with secularised “religion” and kid people that it is moving into communion with Rome. The former Archbishop of Westminster said:
So, the English Church is a Church united and strong. It is out there in the areopagus, the market place of our diminished secular society which is looking for meaning and hope. This English Church would speak to the nation of true belief, of the dignity of the human person from the beginning of life to its natural end.
Uh? Sorry, I need a new pair of glasses and a hearing aid, or he does! The Cardinal dreams of
… this Church as one that would speak for life, the poor and all those without a voice. It would be one that defends the family and that "would continue to respect and dialogue with those who differ from us, people of other faiths, people with no faith, the agnostics and atheists. The English Church would be a strong voice, witnessing to all that is good and true. It would be a Church, sustained not only by Scripture, tradition and reason favoured by the Anglican Church but, crucially, by Scripture, tradition, reason and teaching authority. It would encapsulate that authority in teaching the truth and the beauty of the Christian faith."
These are strong words indeed, but from a source I wouldn’t trust further than I could throw him! We have already read reams about an English Catholic Church that was doing everything to stick its heels in, promote the liberal Tablet line and keep ignoring “inconvenient” directives from Rome when it came to cleaning up the town.
Nice try, Your Eminence, but you will have to do better to convince this sceptical Englishman.
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