Richard North’s link with the Jesuits
Dr North frequently and unashamedly berates politicians (and others) for missing ‘the elephant in the room’. He has little time for those who focus on the minutiae while failing to acknowledge the real source of the problem. Thus his eminent EU Referendum blog has talked of the folly of European economic governance; exposed the Galileo satellite system for the covert intelligence-gathering, anti-American project that it is; detailed how the EU is not good for agriculture, fisheries, or the environment; destroyed the notion that the EU is about freely-cooperating nation states; identified the lack of democratic accountability; and poured scorn on the notion that the EU is responsible for keeping the peace in Europe.
His research has drawn on thousands of books, papers and official documents, many of which have only become publicly available in the past few years. He has been assiduous in tracing the EU vision to its source of a handful of determined visionaries, yet he himself misses an elephant in the room, and quite a significant one. What these visionaries all had in common was a faith, an inspiration to do ‘the work of God’ in Europe. It is the principal source of the EU’s woes, and the main reason why nothing in the EU seems to change. It is simply that these visionaries constructed the ECSC/EEC/EC/EU on the bedrock of inviolable, immutable Roman Catholic social doctrine, which constitutes the ‘infallibility’ at the heart of the EU edifice. As a reward, the Vatican was reported to be considering the beatification of the ‘Founding Fathers’– yes, politicians on the path to sainthood. Does that not send out a message to the faithful that the EU is possibly a design of God?
The Vatican has made consistent efforts to influence and dominate the whole process of European integration, indeed, not only the Pope but also leading Jesuit Cardinal Maria Martini of Milan addressed the European Parliament on the crucial importance of unification. The agenda has been on-going, expressed in their recent demands for 'God' to feature in the EU Constitution. Dr North has done no analysis of the implications of this, nor has he understood why the inclusion of ‘God’ would confirm that the EU is a ‘design of God’, for whom the Vatican claims to be the sole interlocutor for communicating truth to the world. What does the Pope seek to gain by addressing the EPP? Why is he invited to address the entire European Parliament? What are the threats made against Catholic scientists and politicians who do not toe the Vatican’s line? Why does the Vatican oppose the admission of Turkey into the club? Dr North has done no detailed analysis of these issues.
There is presently an ages-old battle going on within the EU, with the re-emergence of the ancient conflict between Church and State. The Frankish Enlightenment vision is presently on the ascendancy, and Cranmer found the treatment of Rocco Buttiglione an appalling consequence of amoral secularism. Indeed, faith is presently being so marginalised in the EU that Babel is once again seen to be arrogantly rejecting God. But such developments and persecutions do not deter the Vatican, nor persuade the Pope that the EU as a political project is anything but a force for good. The Vatican has consistently supported ‘ever closer union’. Pope John Paul II lauded the single currency - 'the first since the Roman Empire' – and was credited with swinging the referendum on Poland’s accession: ‘The Holy Father hopes that... Poland can make a contribution with its moral and spiritual values and its religious convictions’, said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, at a crucial point in the campaign. It is noteworthy that voting picked up on the Sunday, as many churchgoers went from the political message of the mass to the polling booths.
Does Dr North not realise that when the leader of the EU’s Roman Catholics speaks, that his words have political as well as spiritual significance? That if the Pope says the EU is a good thing, then the overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics may be persuaded to believe that this is the case? Of course. there are divisions within Catholicism on the EU as there are within all faiths, but Cranmer is talking here of significant majorities, not the notable or eminent exceptions. The population of the EU is more than 60% Roman Catholic, which means that when His Holiness declares the EU to be a design of God, however subliminally, his words and allusions may sway almost 300 million European citizens. No other individual in the Union has such power, authority, or potential influence. No wonder Boris Johnson perceives an element of the Roman Empire in the construction.
Cranmer has asked the EU Referendum blog about this, and was dismissed. He was told: ‘The Pope has expressed certain strong reservations about the European Union. I don't mind people re-fighting ancient battles - that is what history is all about - but some accuracy is required’. Cranmer enquired as to what these ‘strong reservations’ were, and when they were expressed. He received no reply. He asked again, and still nothing was forthcoming. When Dr North and Dr Szamuely dismiss Cranmer as ‘fighting ancient (ie irrelevant) battles’, or demand ‘accuracy’, the least they could do would be to provide proof of the Vatican’s ‘reservations’ of the process of ‘ever closer union’. But the truth is, there are none, beyond expressions of disquiet when the Church’s traditional teachings are set aside.
Cranmer has wondered why a man with such insight as Richard North has never acknowledged the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the whole EU process; indeed, he has not only ignored this dimension, he has specifically rejected it. But the answer may lie in a recent posting on his blog, in which he reveals: ‘Being brought up as a good Catholic boy - by Jesuits, no less’.
What was it the Jesuits said?
Give me the boy until the age of seven, and I will give you the man.
Even people of considerable insight retain their blind spots, and although the shape and colour of elephants tend to remain the same, they come in all sizes, and the clever ones may hide behind very, very large pieces of furniture…