Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Bill 'to remove remaining legislative discrimination against Catholics'

With a hat tip to Mr Fawkes for the graphic, Cranmer notes that the Rt Hon John Gummer MP is jumping on the anti-Protestant bandwagon which is also being pursued fervently by a meddlesome Cardinal, and even by a few bishops in the Anglican Communion. Mr Gummer has introduced a Bill into Parliament ‘to remove remaining legislative discrimination against Catholics; to make provision for the independence and freedom of operation of Catholic institutions; and for connected purposes’.

Cranmer is fully aware that this cause is shared by some of his communicants, who also wish to repeal the Act of Settlement 1701. In his speech to move the Bill, Mr Gummer states variously that the Act is ‘insulting’, ‘uncivilised’, ‘intolerable’, ‘shameful’, ‘ridiculous’, ‘unacceptable', and ‘insidious’.

And he further states that Roman Catholics are ‘the largest worshipping community in this country’. He conveniently fragments Protestantism into its manifold denominations for his statistical purposes, and he also argues for the Roman Catholic Church to have ecclesiastical and legal parity with the Church of England.

He explains for us all what he understands to be the manifest evil. He says: ‘We must go back beyond that and consider what discrimination is about. Discrimination is about saying, "I am better than you are because my views are right and your views are wrong." It is the opposite of toleration.’ Yet, interestingly, he refers to Scientology as being ‘intellectually difficult and religiously rubbish’, which doesn’t, to Cranmer, sound much like tolerance. He equates this ‘religion’ with his own Roman Catholicism, which is ‘intellectually difficult and religiously correct’. So that’s alright then; nothing subjective in that assertion at all. Mr Gummer even appealed to the personal faith of the Speaker (who is the first Roman Catholic to hold the post since the Reformation), which is a murky muddying of the office bearer with the office if ever there was one.

Mr Gummer’s grasp of the British Constitution is alarmingly superficial. Cranmer has covered the vast complexities of this before, and this explains why the Prime Minister has not even entertained the possibility of amendment, let alone repeal. But it might assist Mr Gummer if he consulted the teachings of his own church in order to be better informed of the constitutional implications for politicians and any potential Roman Catholic monarch.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his previous incarnation as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, published in 2003 an illuminating document, entitled: ‘Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life’. This sets out quite clearly how the ‘Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals’. When one considers that the Roman Catholic Church perceives itself to be sole interpreter of these morals, and the sole educator of that formative conscience, it is easy to see how repeal of the Act begins to imperil the status of the Monarch as head of State.

The document also states: ‘For Catholic moral doctrine, the rightful autonomy of the political or civil sphere from that of religion and the church - but not from that of morality - is a value that has been attained and recognised by the Catholic Church and belongs to the inheritance of contemporary civilization’. Some ethical principles, however, are ‘non-negotiable’ because they form part of a ‘true and solid foundation’. This foundation is ‘Christian moral and social teaching’, of which the Pope is not only the guardian and advocate, but also creator. Those Roman Catholics who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a ‘grave and clear obligation to oppose' any law that attacks human life. The document states: ‘For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.’ Basically, Roman Catholic politicians are ordered to obey the Pope. This is not some medieval notion; it was reiterated in the 21st century. When one moves the doctrine of ‘infallibility’ into declarations on faith and morals, those liberties which were acquired for us by our Protestant forebears rapidly begin to fade away.

Cranmer does not negate the responsibility of Christians to ‘contend for the faith’, but the Protestant way to do this is from the bottom up; by a politician’s conscience being seared by the Lord, and by him having direct access to God. When a politician’s duties are articulated and codified in such a document, with all the implicit anathemas in cases of failure or rejection of those duties, the top-down nature of Roman Catholicism is seen to be antithetical not only to our Protestant religious tradition, but also to our laws and customs which have developed over centuries.

Rome’s religio-political saint par excellence is Thomas More, because, ‘although subjected to various forms of psychological pressure, Saint Thomas More refused to compromise, never forsaking the constant fidelity to legitimate authority and institutions which distinguished him; he taught by his life and his death that man cannot be separated from God, nor politics from morality’. God forbid that John Gummer should see too much of himself reflected in his appointed role model.


Anonymous The Clarendon Code said...

If the Stuarts had not tried to overturn the Constitution with their foreign Catholic wives the threat of a second Civil War might not have required The Act of Settlement without which no Act of Union with Scotland.

When The Vatican elects a Protestant Pope we can consider trusting Catholics near The Throne - so far letting Blair exercise Royal Prerogative has produced an Archbishop of Canterbury who was not even a member of the C of E and a catastrophic mess in every constitutional aspect.

There is no reason to think this bunch of blundering Scotsmen could not bring the country to the brink of Civil War as effectively as the dimwit Stuarts from the Northern Kingdom.

Gummer was a Member of the Synod of the C of E and kept quiet about such matters then and stuffed Cordelia with BSEburger when she remonstrated - but now he has his instructions from Vatican Central and like a clockwork soldier toddles into The Chamber.

If this continues we shall have to recall Oliver Cromwell to restore order and Colonel Pride to purge The Commons

22 February 2007 at 18:01  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Thomas More was a happy little lawyer burning followers of william Tyndale at the stake. You must have found him quite irritating Your Grace.....

22 February 2007 at 18:18  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Voyager,

Irritating, without doubt.

Yet he and his ilk never managed to deflect His Grace from higher purposes. His Grace crafted two editions of the Book of Common Prayer, which went on to have an enormous impact on the English language; More just left us with Utopia. His Grace was burnt alive, and More was beheaded. Protestants always were more merciful.

22 February 2007 at 18:34  
Anonymous bob said...

This foundation is ‘Christian moral and social teaching’, of which the Pope is not only the guardian and advocate, but also creator.

This gives the inaccurate impression that Catholic moral teaching is decided on a pontiff's whim rather than being developed intellectually and theologically over time. The Pope does not create Catholic morality, he merely enunciates it. Cranmer seems to have as poor a grasp of Catholic theology as Gummer has of the British constitution.

As to the mercy of Protestants, please do tell that to John Fisher.

22 February 2007 at 19:27  
Anonymous John Fisher said...

Don't I know it Bob.

Your grace, Catholics do recognise the authority of governments - "so long as the law of Christ permits".

And, one of your communicants has rightly pointed out, it is up to his Vicar on earth to enunciate them. In the middle ages, in the twenty first century - semper eadem.

22 February 2007 at 21:04  
Anonymous Fred said...

Your Grace, lets get to the very essence of this argument, because otherwise we will be left in politically correct "waffle-land".

This another part of the jihad already being waged by other persons who have no allegiance to the Crown. Both of these false religions are trying to impose external controls on the actions of Her Majesty's government, on the one hand by bullying, and on the other by misrepresentation of fluffy "Christian tolerance".

It must surely be clear to all Protestants that the Church of Rome lost its way when Constantine required the Christians of the day (who must have got a bit flabby round their beliefs by then) to accept the worshipers of Mithra as members of their church. At the same time, he changed to rites, sacred days, and teachings in order, it would seem, to make Mithra's worshipers feel more at home in this self styled "Christian church". It was only the diligent study of the Scriptures by the Reformers that enabled Christianity to return to the message preached by Christ.

Yes, the Protestants and bible believing Christians generally will be a beleaguered body in this endeavor. But is that not what our Lord promised for these days at the end of the age?

We must fight this evil, for when we see two of our attackers working to the same end then we surely know that what we have is true.

22 February 2007 at 21:06  
Anonymous Fred said...

"John Fisher" conveniently forgets that Jesus said "Call no man on earth 'father'". Is that not precisely what the Church of Rome requires its adherents to do?

Just why does the one true God require a substitute ("vicar") on Earth "to enunciate" anything? He sent the Holy Spirit to minister to us.

People who make such changes to the teachings of the one true God should be reading Revelation 22 vv 18-19.

22 February 2007 at 21:13  
Anonymous John Fisher said...

Mr Fred, did you call your own father, "father"?

Also, haven't you just "taken away" from Holy scripture by denying the authority of Christ's Church as set out in numerous passages in the Bible that you use so selectively?

"Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

22 February 2007 at 21:42  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Ah your Graces un-deflected ilk indeed, it has been a while. I wonder if your memory is getting a little inclined to forgetfulness these days, perhaps you don’t recollect the SIX recantations given of your many, many heresies signed after alas, supporting Lady Jane Grey (oops). Would you care to revisit each or shall we, in charity pass over the unfortunate details of said documents (they are rather damning).

Its Moore by the way, Thomas Moore not More, an easy mistake to make for a twenty three score and seven year old man. In you absence you may also have forgotten Thomas Moores other works beside Utopia

• "Luciani Dialogi . . .compluria opuscula . . . ab Erasmo Roterodamo et Thoma Moro interpretibus optimis in Latinorum lingua traducta . . ." (Paris, 1506);
• "Here is conteigned the lyfe of John Picus, Earle of Mirandula . . ." (London, 1510);
• "Historie of the pitiful life and unfortunate death of Edward the fifth and the then Duke of York his brother . . .", printed incomplete in the "English Works" (1557) and reissued with a completion from Hall's Chronicle by Wm. Sheares (London, 1641);
• "Thomae Mori v.c. Dissertatio Epistolica de aliquot sui temporis theologastrorum ineptiis . . ." (Leyden, 1625);
• Epigrammata...Thomae Mori Britanni, pleraque e Graecis versa. (Basle, 1518); Eruditissimi viri Gul. Rossi Opus elegans quo pulcherrime retegit ac refellit insanas Lutheri calumnias (London, 1523), written at the request of Henry VIII in answer to Luther's reply to the royal "Defensio Septem Sacramentorum";
• "A dyaloge of Syr Thomas More Knyght . . .of divers maters, as of the veneration and worshyp of ymages and relyques, praying to sayntys and goyng on pylgrymage . . ." (London,1529);
• "The Supplycacyon of Soulys" (London, 1529[?]), written in answer to Fish's "Supplication of the Beggars";
• "Syr Thomas More's answer to the fyrste parte of the poysoned booke . . . named 'The Souper of the Lorde' " (London, 1532);
• "The Second parte of the Confutacion of Tyndal's Answere . . ." (London, 1533); these two works together form the most lengthy of all More's writings; besides Tindal, Robert Barnes is dealt with in the last book of the whole;
• "A Letter impugnynge the erronyouse wrytyng of John Fryth against the Blessed Sacrament of the Aultare" (London, 1533);
• "The Apologye of Syr Thomas More, Hnyght, made by him anno 1533, after he had given over the office of Lord Chancellour of Englande" (London, 1533);
• "The Debellacyon of Salem and Bizance" (London, 1533), an answer to the anonymous work entitled "Salem and Bizance", and vindicating the severe punishment of heresy;
• "A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation . . ." (London, 1553).
• An unfinished treatise "uppon those words of Holy Scripture, 'Memorare novissima et in eternum non peccabis' ", dated 1522;
• "Treatise to receive the blessed Body of our Lorde, sacramentally and virtually both";
• "Treatise upon the Passion" unfinished;
• "Certein devout and vertuouse Instruccions, Meditacions and Prayers";
• some letters written in the Tower, including his touching correspondence with his daughter Margaret.

So, not much there then. On mercy Catholic inquisitors used the rack up to the point of confession, Protestant inquisitors used if after confession to extract names of accomplices; did you ever tell Henry about the wife and kids by the way?

22 February 2007 at 22:10  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Could I invite you to read the fifth commandment, now what does it say? Matthew 23:9 is Jesus’ instruction against idolatry, in a time when Caesar was considered divine it was an instruction not to think of him (or anyone for that matter) as a God as there is only one (God that is not Caesar, there were plenty of those, some even ended up in the salad). What do you think Jesus as a boy, called Joseph? Hey Joseph, Jo, Pops or Old Man, part of being Christian is having an informed intellect, your attempt at divine inspiration exemplifies why the Catholic Church hesitated giving the Bible to itinerant minds to read.

22 February 2007 at 22:43  
Blogger The Hitch said...

This has all gone a bit over my low forehead but where does Rome stand on feeding BSE infected meat to children and getting free garden ponds from margarine manufacturers?

22 February 2007 at 23:26  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Its Moore by the way, Thomas Moore not More,

Obviously another denominational divergence - we spell his name More as in Sir Thomas More, son of Sir John More, Judge. He lived 1478 - 1535 just so we can be clear we speak of Sir Thomas More and none other

23 February 2007 at 06:44  
Anonymous Voyager said...

What do you think Jesus as a boy

Aramaic is not my living tongue, but no doubt you will enligten us? As for the fact He was a Jew he would be unlikely to address God by name so this issue would not arise

23 February 2007 at 06:50  
Anonymous Observer said...

did you ever tell Henry about the wife and kids by the way?

Celibacy was abolished once His Grace had the Six Articles modified. There was a fascinating programme on the Knights Templar and Philip IV of France and the way he dealt with Pope Clement V as a French Pope..........the very interesting part was the French Chateau still owned by direct descendants of The Pope rather invalidating notions of celibacy and eschewing worldly wealth methinks.

I do wonder how the monastic order of the Knights Templar suffered torture at the hands of the French King when they were directly accountable to The Pope ?

23 February 2007 at 06:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Germany calling. More on homeschooling

23 February 2007 at 10:02  
Anonymous The Recusant said...


Har Har, yes, very good Voyager, Jesus never spoke English. Abba is Aramaic for father, we use a contraction of the word for places like Westminster Abbey or House of Fathers at Westminster, and well I'm sure you get the idea. No my Point is that Jesus, as a boy would have called Joseph Abba, Not some form of 'significant male parental unit set in authority', just to avoid use of the word. He was the boys Father for all intents and purposes not his God, who was God, just like His self, of one union etc (don't go there, I can't take any Moore).

23 February 2007 at 10:45  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Then again he would have said Adonai perhaps thus the word he used for "father" would not have been quite so confused as the Bible translations which use "lord" or "king" or such in place of "wise men" and to affix earthly terms of status to ethereal and divine beings.

We should not get too worked up about these errors in translation

23 February 2007 at 11:38  
Blogger tim said...

Well, as to the particulars of calling no man "father," of course that's not an absolute, as calling our own fathers "father" is not what He was talking about.

Taking that passage in context, Jesus is admonishing the Apostles not to put on airs. Don't go for glory in being a preacher. Don't have people call you by titles like "father" or "teacher." Nor should you be called leaders. Don't take the seats of honor at meals or in the synagogues. Etc.

The admonishments are to remain humble and be servants. They should not put on a show of being holy, and they should not take the earthly benefits of being religious men. All these words were contrary to the acts of the scribes and Pharisees, who liked to be honored and addressed with titles of respect and given the places of honor at banquets and in the synagogues.

Now, the original criticism still stands--despite this rather specific example of what not to do, we've still got priests being called "father."

Now, admittedly, we can share some blame on this in spots on the Protestant side. In the Episcopal church here in America, priests are also often called "father." Well, maybe not always, but I've heard it done.

I've got to commend the previous pope, John Paul II, for getting rid of many of the worst examples of religious ostentation carried on by his predecessors, like wearing that crown and being carried about in the litter. Those were exactly the kinds of things Jesus said not to do. These changes are religious reforms, and I hope they'll stick.

Still plenty of other things that could be improved, but this is progress.

P.S: I'd do poorly in this regard, if I were a preacher. I've got a Ph.D., and I *do* enjoy being referred to as "Doctor" (="teacher"). Well, I'll eventually get over this hurdle.

23 February 2007 at 12:39  
Blogger Cranmer said...

(Cranmer) gives the inaccurate impression that Catholic moral teaching is decided on a pontiff's whim rather than being developed intellectually and theologically over time. The Pope does not create Catholic morality, he merely enunciates it. Cranmer seems to have as poor a grasp of Catholic theology as Gummer has of the British constitution.

Mr Bob,

His Grace has a most sound knowledge of Catholic orthodoxy, and begs to point out it that it is you who have imposed your own hermeneutic upon one word.

You seem to have a problem that His Grace used the word 'created', and expounded from its usage a sense of doctrine 'decided on a whim'. Did God create the earth and heavens on a whim? Was the culmination of creation - mankind - in any sense formed on a whim? His Grace is bemused by your inference that 'create' implies capriciousness. Insofar as God creates, he spoke forth words - 'And God said..." - from which declaration came forth creation ex nihilo. It is through words by which the Pope declares articles of faith and morality. In that sense, he 'creates', insofar as he articulates and codifies what had previously been 'theologically embryonic'.

23 February 2007 at 17:27  
Anonymous bob said...

Theologically, as far as I know, creation is always ex nihilo - bringing something into existence where before there was nothing. So, in theological terms, to say a moral doctrine was created is to imply that before it's "creation" there was nothing, which is inaccurate. Before the enunciation of Catholic doctrine, there was reflection, discussion, development. In my view your use of the word is incorrect, although I accept that this is not a view shared by all or even most.

23 February 2007 at 17:52  
Anonymous Voyager said...

creation is always ex nihilo

That is a Miracle Bob because it refutes physical laws of the universe. The First Law of Thermodynamics suggests creation cannot be ex-nihilo bit is an act of transformation

23 February 2007 at 18:43  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Theologically, as far as I know, creation is always ex nihilo

Mr Bob,

His Grace is concerned to hear that all the theological alternatives to 'ex nihilo' are not, according to you, theological. One wonders what the eminent theologians who have considered the alternatives over many centuries would make of their anti-theological musings. If God be omnipotent, he must be just as capabale of creating from something as from nothing. The internet is replete with explication of the multitudinous theories, many of which may be considered to be acutely theological. His Grace exhorts you to seek and consider.

23 February 2007 at 19:15  
Anonymous bob said...

God is the only un-created being. Therefore, God created things not out of preexisting matter but ex nihilo (out of nothing).

To say God creates ex nihilo is to say that God's creative act is the source of every created being and every element in every created being. He created things neither out of anything else nor out of his own substance. He called into existence that which previously had no existence whatsoever.

To say that God creates ex nihilo is to reject all forms of divine emanationism. It is also to reject the belief that the world has always existed. To say that God creates ex nihilo is to affirm that God is transcendent from his creation.

23 February 2007 at 20:16  
Anonymous Voyager said...

To say that God creates ex nihilo is to affirm that God is transcendent from his creation.

Bob, I am confused as to how one makes morality and matter one and the same.

23 February 2007 at 21:34  
Anonymous bob said...

Voyager - I was saying that in a theological sense the word "create" has implications. To say that Catholic doctrine is created is to theologically imply that it was plucked out of thin air. I may be reading too much into this, but I assumed because Cranmer is a man of theological substance who generally chooses his words with care, that this word was equally chosen with care nd with full awareness of all it's implications.

23 February 2007 at 21:47  
Blogger tim said...

What were we talking about, again?

But while we're on this, have any of y'all noticed that the newer Jewish translations of Gen. 1:1 are going to, "When God began to create the heavens and the earth..."

I've cringed a bit to read that, because it sounds so unconventional and seems to go against creation ex nihilo. As I understand, the traditional understanding in both Christianity and Judaism has always been ex nihilo.

Anybody else seen this?

23 February 2007 at 22:08  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Yes Tim if I may quote you from The Stone Edition of The Tanach

In the beginning of God's creating the heavens and the earth...

Now the footnotes

The Hebrew phrase is commonly rendered as above...indicating the Torah is giving the sequence of Creation that created the heaven, the earth, darkness, water, light etc. However, Rashi and Ibn Ezra maintain this view cannot be chronological; our translation follows their view


There are two kinds of creation. there is the creation of mountais and valleys, of solar systems and brain cells - and there is the creation of the people who give meaning and purpose to the universe they inhabit

If you recall the carol Adeste Fideles with its lines

Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine,
Gestant puellae viscera,
Deum verum, Genitum non factum.

The last line showing the distinction between Creation as in human birth; and Creation as in manufactured

I know what Bob is trying to say, but he has fallen for the red-herring His Grace decided to provoke him with; because Cranmer's phrase can work both ways. Bob can take umbrage at what he sees as the imputation of wilfulness and capricious individualism by The Pope; or he could read it as the Pope being a mere cipher of Catholic doctrine believed to emanate from the Mind of God.

It depends on whether you see Pope as Saint or Sinner; for me he is no Moses, Elijah or Elisha, and having read some of Cardinal Ratzinger's works in German, I have no doubt he is a philosopher of note and intellectually superior to the man in Lambeth Palace; yet he is still a man.

24 February 2007 at 06:37  
Blogger tim said...

Thanks for the reference, Voyager. My old college Hebrew professor's written a book on Biblical interpretation. He says that the phrase's construction in Hebrew doesn't work out easily, no matter what, and so you've got a few ways of trying to resolve it in English.

And on the Pope--amen. Let's not forget Peter the Apostle telling the one who prostrated himself before him, "Rise. I, too, am a man."

24 February 2007 at 13:43  
Anonymous Voyager said... has a very good selection - but they say Stone Edition is one of the best....mind you reading from back to front is a bit strange !

24 February 2007 at 15:06  
Anonymous Nicholas Bennett said...

I don't understand the objection your Grace has to the priciples espoused in the 'Doctrinal Note on Some Objections Regarding the Prticipation of Catholics in Public Life'.

"Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political programme or an indidvidual law which contradicts the fundemental contents of faith and morals".

You translate this (rightly in my view) as 'some ethical priciples' however are 'non-negotiable'. Absolutely true.

The Catholic Church has always warned about the danger of what Pius X11 called 'situation ethics' whereby it is argued that 'times change' and that a teaching is 'out of tune with contemporary society'.

As a Cathoilic, ex Minister of Health I refused to deal with any policy which would have sanctioned Abortion. As a backbencher I voted against the Human Embryo and Fertisation Bill. I did so, because as a Catholic, I accept and believe the Church's teaching to be correct. Had I not so believed I would not be a Catholic.

It is not a question of being 'ordered by the Pope'. If one is a Catholic and believes that the Church's teaching on matters of morality are correct it would be irrational to then support legislation which runs counter to that moral view.

This may be a difficult position for some but it is entirely logical. The One True Church cannot say this is immoral, but hey, do as you please chaps.

24 February 2007 at 16:43  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Nicholas Bennett,

His Grace thanks you for your contribution.

As already indicated, he has great sympathy with the principles espoused in the document. Where he takes issue, rejecting what is latent, is with the source and assertion of authority. The Church of Rome's stated function is 'to instruct and illuminate the consciences of the faithful'. Instruction is indeed one of those 'sole' rights it reserves unto itself. This leads to the statement, when considering in Parliament legislation that may be considered 'immoral', that 'for them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.'

The word used is 'impossible' - ie, those who vote for such legislation have their very faith called into question.

Mr Bennett, in our liberal democracy, with a Monarch who is Head of State, with a constitutional settlement that has evolved often precariously over centuries, what would happen if the UK had a 'faithful Catholic' king or queen?

Consider your own conscience on abortion. Either the Monarch, as a 'good Catholic', refuses Royal Assent, creating a constitutional crisis, thus hastening the end of the institution; or the Monarch grants Royal Assent, and is plagued by accusations of being a 'bad example', a 'lapsed Catholic', or other such terms which would bring both institutions into disrepute.

His Grace wishes to preserve the Monarchy. If it should end, it must not be by re-enacting the three-hundred-year-old scenario of 'papal interference'. The Monarch must be free, and the Protestant Christian is most certainly free, to exercise his or her own conscience on matters of morality. One does not have to agree with everything the Queen has done in her capacity as Head of State, but one may at least be sure that she has done so 'on the advice of her ministers', not on the instruction of the Head of State of the Vatican.

24 February 2007 at 17:24  
Anonymous bob said...

I think the document was actually hoping that politicians would exercise their consciences rather than, as Vaclav Havel once said, confine them to the bathroom, ie, that conscience is something only to be exercised inprivate life; in public life the party line must be followed at all costs.

By you own example of a monarch's conscience in regard to an issue like abortion it would seem to me, at least, that you advocate the suppression of personal conscience if it threatened the institution.

24 February 2007 at 21:04  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

The scenario of a Catholic Monarchs Royal Assent is another one of your Graces devices, because the government would be well aware beforehand, as you yourself once were, of any hot spot said Monarch may have.

Now providing parliament did not renege on their "Oath of Fealty" (again), and chase the Monarch out of the country (again) and invite in a Dutchman (again) they would simply pre-empt any crisis by altering the constitution thus alleviating the necessity of having the Monarch give accent, alternatively pass an act abolishing the need for Royal Assent whilst retaining the Monarchs Reserve Powers Act. After all this is effectively what this government has been attempting to do via reforms of the House of Lords for the past ten years, they just haven’t said it in so many words, yet.

If I may contend, your Graces argument lack substance because if it were the case that faithful British Catholics deferred to Rome in all things then surely faithful British Catholic service men and women would be refusing to go to Iraq, because the Pope said the conflict did not meet the standards of the "Just War" doctrine (CCC). As we see not a single serviceman has refused to serve for this reason. I know this is not regarding the role of a Monarch but it is a propos the principal of having an informed conscience (or as you would have it: Reserves 'sole' (very droll) rights of instruction) and that is binding on every Catholic.

24 February 2007 at 23:51  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Can we be clear that The Monarch has nothing to do with Royal Assent. The Monarch does not read Acts of Parliament like a Revising Chamber, and the Royal Assent is simply a seal or Letters Patent which are administered by The Govt like much of The Royal Prerogative.

The Monarch is not a President and does not have the political powers of a president; but is a Monarch imprisoned in a golden cage whose key is held by the Prime Minister and Privy Council

25 February 2007 at 08:13  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Indeed Voyager it is the Lords Commissioners who in turn announce Royal Assent,hence my comment about trying to remove House of Lords. However it is still (in theory at least) the prerogative of the Monarch

25 February 2007 at 09:28  
Anonymous Voyager said...

invite in a Dutchman (again) they would .

under William & Mary it was a Joint-Monarchy for the first time in history.....I believe each was eligible to ascend the throne in their own right by rules of descent.....since Cromwell had proposed a merger of The Commonwealth and the Dutch Republic just 30 years earlier I find the notion of stating Dutch as if it were somehow alien peculiar

You may also recollect that this same William received the blessings of The Pope when he fought the French in Ireland

25 February 2007 at 11:03  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Oh now Voyager come on, the reason (and I suspect you know it) Cromwell sued for peace with the Dutch was because their Navy had blasted ours apart twice in the Second Anglo-Dutch War. This was in no way a Dutch Entente Cordiale; it was Cromwell with troubles of his own at home avoiding another foreign conflict. The foreign Dutch rejected his merger offer but did agree peace terms at the Treaty of Breda.

However you cut it, inviting a foreign prince to invade your country with his army and depose the lawful Monarch is treason, treacherous disloyalty and sedition. Parliament had given their assent and their oath to James irrespective of whether he was a good or a bad King, and these Englishmen broke their oath in the most craven, perfidious and underhand way. However James II was weak, inept and cowardly and he ran for his life, deserting his lawful right to the throne he deserved to loose it.

William entered London but the crown is offered only to Mary. William said he would leave Britain unless he became King. Parliament had no choice but to crown both Mary and William. William reigned 1689-1702. By this action England effectively became a Dutch colony until 1714.

But looking at the Glorious Revolution we do have parallels. Quisling, interestingly enough the son of an Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway, pastor. The Vichy regime in France under Marshall Pétain and Anton Mussert of the Dutch Nazi party to name but three all had their own similar Glorious Revolutions and had Germany been victorious so it would have stayed, however history shows a different outcome. Had Charles Edward Stuart (who had a better claim to the English throne than either William or Mary) carried on to London and not turned tail at Derby our own Glorious Revolution would have been a damp squib but again history is full of what ifs.

William and Mary were opportunists; their gamble paid off big time but didn’t solve the problem of a protestant succession because they were childless as was Anne, Mary’s Sister. The question of who had the better claim to the British Throne was again up for grabs and parliament had to find an obscure Hanoverian German princeling to offer the throne to. In a desperate bid to bypass numerous Catholics with superior hereditary claims it was offered to a German whose claim was that his grandmother was the sister of Charles I. Proof if proof is needed that the victors write the history

25 February 2007 at 23:00  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I agree that James II should have been executed, and to let him lose The Great Seal of England in The Thames was an outrage.

Cromwell sued for peace with the Dutch was because their Navy had blasted ours apart twice in the Second Anglo-Dutch War. This was in no way a Dutch Entente Cordiale; it was Cromwell with troubles of his own at home avoiding another foreign conflict. The foreign Dutch rejected his merger offer but did agree peace terms at the Treaty of Breda.

I understood Oliver Cromwell to have died in 1658 and do not understand what involvement he could possibly have had with either the Anglo-Dutch Wars or the Treaty of is highly unlikely he rose on the third you have a Counter-Factual History Book ?

26 February 2007 at 05:56  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Ahh Voyager, yes, Glad you spotted that deliberate rouse, that I intentionally put in there for you to find, just testing! (Capt Mainwaring would have been proud). Did I say Second Dutch War Hurrumph, So anyway Referring to the FIRST Anglo-Dutch War (come on, there were four of them), the one I was talking about all along (really I was) and the defeats I also really referred to were the English defeat by Dutch Admiral Tromp in the Battle of Dungeness 10 December 1652 and the Battle of Leghorn in 14 March 1653 by Commodore Johan van Galen.

The Dutch had effective control of the Channel, the North Sea, and the Med, with English ships blockaded in port. Cromwell (not dead yet) made secret peace contacts with the Dutch culminating in that The Treaty of Westminster signed on May 8, 1654 (anyone can see this can easily be confused with Breda , there were three of those treaties as well). Now I hate one-upmanship especially when I loose but points to you Sir I got a few wires crossed. The rest is still valid; the treasonous parliamentarians carried out a coup d’état, treacherous scum.

26 February 2007 at 10:16  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Not really because the Act of Seclusion would have suited your purposes....however Cromwell's irritation was with Dutch duplicity in harbouring royalist renegades around the family of Charles I - and the French seeking to use them to invade Ireland or Scotland.

The First Anglo-Dutch War did not go too well for the Dutch and they had to let Brazil go to the Portuguese once more and face English blockade.

The essential point was that an Act of Union between Holland and England would have been very prescient and would have changed the history of Europe....after all William's desire for the English throne was as an ally against Catholic Absolutist France and he had been specifically mentioned in The Act of Seclusion.

I am pleased to see you noted your errors as a deliberate "ruse"...I had thought perhaps those dog-eared pages of your school textbook might have had ink blots where words once lived

26 February 2007 at 10:27  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

I am not sure that the act of seclusion mattered a great deal one way or another to the Stewart cause; France would have received them if Holland had not and Cromwell was trying to avoid foreign wars whilst busy cancelling Christmas at home. On the surface it seemed to be an argument over power between a protestant republican oligarchy and a Protestant Monarchy. William was an entrepreneur; he took support where he could find it, at various times from the Holy Roman Emperor, the Elector of Brandenburg, and occasionally from the Spanish. I think the Northern Irish Protestants (hat tip to Ulster Man) are a little too enthusiastic thinking he was an ardent anti-Catholic, he was just defending his new back garden from the French, a bit like Tony Blair, if he could make use of a situation he would. The Stewarts were useful at a time when he, a Prince was dealing with a regicide in England, nothing more.

In all likelihood such a union would have ended up preceding the EU and we may have had the Treaty of Maastricht a lot earlier than the treaty of Rome. A United States of Europe in place 100 years before the USA, perhaps but I think we Papists would have had a reckoning from any new northern protestants confederacy. Still, as I said history is full of what ifs, in the end we have to accept that the plan is unfolding as it should.

26 February 2007 at 13:44  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The Act of Seclusion was directed against The House of Orange and not the House of Stuart.

No Cromwell was more allied to Johan de Witt and it was he who wanted The Act of Seclusion because of fears that the House of Orange would abolish the Stadholder

You are to keen to view it all through a Catholic prism that you end up distorting the facts which were far less tidy

26 February 2007 at 15:37  
Anonymous The Recusant said...


I know that the A of S was against William, but I was trying to address the point you made that it suited my purposes ie the Jacobin (Stewart) cause. I know it prevented him being head of state and Head of the Army/Navy or an absolute Monarch with absolute power. Its just been a day of misunderstandings.

Funny about being too pro-Catholic I though that I was trying to be at least fair, I suppose I ought to say thanks for the compliment though. Oh well back to the inquisition I suppose.

26 February 2007 at 16:58  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Now you know "the recusant" that the Inquisition never held sway in England....

26 February 2007 at 17:54  

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