Friday, February 16, 2007

The Conversion of England?

According to The Times, Roman Catholicism is set to become the dominant religion in Britain for the first time since the Reformation. This is occurring not because of Vatican rigidities on the prohibition of contraception, but because of the European Union’s ‘free movement of people’ policy which is permitting massive migration from the sclerotic, statist corporatism of the Roman Catholic countries to the vibrant, free-market capitalism of this Anglo-Saxon Protestant realm.

The article refers to a report referring to this growth as ‘the Catholic community’s greatest opportunity’. Greatest opportunity for what? Why is The Times presenting this story as the triumphal culmination of the centuries-old objective of the conversion of England?

The reality of the situation is not quite as The Times portrays. There are 4.2 million Roman Catholics in England and Wales, 25 million baptised Anglicans, and around 2 million Muslims. While it may be true that attendance at Mass has increased, this is due more to a Polish perception of the Catholic Church being an institute for welfare than it is a sudden new-found faith. Anglican worship is stable, not diminishing, and a truer picture of the status of Protestantism in the UK is only achieved when one adds to the Anglican figures those of the Free Churches. There are no firm statistics for these, but the Evangelical churches have been experiencing considerable growth over the past two decades, and such growth is far more to do with Sola Scriptura than it is the Catechism.

In a media age, however, perception is everything. While the Church of England is perceived to compromise on just about everything, it is Rome which is counter-cultural, and perceived to make a stand for the apostolic traditions of the Church. The Times asked a few years ago: ‘As the new papacy reaffirms Catholic dogma, why is the Anglican Church so lily-livered?’ It is simply the lack of effective leadership, which can only be a direct result of decades of third-rate prime ministerial appointments of bishops and archbishops. Just as politicians appear to be obsessed with apologising for the sins of yesteryear (most recently for slavery, and the potato famine), Cranmer awaits the prime minister who will apologise for the Reformation.

Yet all of this is of secondary concern to the spiritual health of the nation. While Anglicans and Roman Catholics are obsessed with counting the faithful on Sundays, Muslims are filling their mosques on Fridays, and growing exponentially. In terms of regular attendance and loyal devotion, this is the group that the media should really be focusing on, for they challenge not merely the achievements of the Reformation, but they herald the end of Christendom.

35 Comments:

Anonymous Voyager said...

Having Polish friends it is interesting to hear the comments of the wartime generation about their new wave Polish speakers in Tesco etc. They point out the degraded language full of americanisms and foul-mouthed expletives and remonstrate with the new wave that their behaviour insults those Poles who settled here post-1946.

In fact I have met few Poles who attend even the Polish Catholic Church nearby - these are the childrenm of Communist Poland and post-Communist Poland and are very materialistic as opposed to very pious.

Those who fail to understand that the Catholic Church in Poland fulfilled a role akin to Mosques in England - ie they are refuges from the secular world and meeting places to facilitate jobs, contacts, accommodation

The way Poles are being used in iconic fashion by our media is peculiar. They must have their motives but I am not clear whether they are uniform. Poles are not some wonderful nation of poets and nobles,but have all the graces and flaws of Post-Communist societies.

The wartime generation of poles gave a very good example - even though they faced horrible treatment from The Guardian and New Statesmen in 1946-47 when they refused to return to Communist Poland but without ay favours beyond permission to stay, they integrated well but they were very different people from those coming here today.

The Catholic Church will never be more than a second-string to the bow in England. It simply does not appeal to English temperament which is more Protestant, but if Poland and Ireland are now the only source of Catholic priests maybe they will not need to close down as many Catholic Churches and Schools as they are in the North of England

16 February 2007 at 09:42  
Blogger Steven Bainbridge said...

I'm sure David Cameron will be relishing the opportunity when he can apologise for the Reformantion...!


Steven Bainbridge
A View from the Right
http://stevenbainbridge.blogspot.com/

16 February 2007 at 11:53  
Anonymous Colin said...

His Grace has posted an important observation leading to an interesting question:

"Muslims are filling their mosques on Fridays, and growing exponentially. In terms of regular attendance and loyal devotion, this is the group that the media should really be focusing on, for they challenge not merely the achievements of the Reformation, but they herald the end of Christendom."

The question is which religion will become the dominant force in Europe after the end of Christendom: Islam or Leftism?

My impression is that Islam is incorporating those elements of Leftism which are helpful for its growth such as state funding etc. The intellectuals of the Islamic world are already producing a merger of ideology, i.e. Islamosocialism.

16 February 2007 at 12:20  
Blogger Newmania said...

End of Christendom...oh come on thats over egging the pudding a bit isn`t it ? It is all to tempting for the state to convince us we are on a quasi war footing so as to justify chucking us into chokey without trial and putting CCTV in the bedroom.I would not want to make their job any easier .


BTW I see My chum Istanbultory is linked and I note you promise to link to anyone who links to you. I have linked to this site for ages and visit frequently . Have I so offended your Grace as to be an exception to the stated rule.

Hope not .

16 February 2007 at 14:37  
Anonymous Miss Jelly Bean said...

The question is which religion will become the dominant force in Europe after the end of Christendom: Islam or Leftism?

Whatever happened to Judaism? Will Israel ever join the EU?

16 February 2007 at 15:16  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Whatever happened to Judaism? Will Israel ever join the EU?

NO. It would certainly find aligning its non-written constitution with the EU Charter and other EU requiremets inimical to its future as a Jewish State

16 February 2007 at 15:48  
Anonymous Observer said...

Interesting article on this theme for Your Grace

The Spectator

16 February 2007 at 16:13  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

You Grace,

If you will allow, a few appropriate thoughts, cribbed from another blogger whose opinion I find refreshing and am in agreement with on this subject, which I know is dear to you heart:

First, the huge influx of Catholics from Eastern Europe shows the universality of the Catholic Church. When committed Catholics like the Poles travel they turn up at church. Catholics may be divided by culture, language, economic status and perspective, but there is more, much more that unites them than divides.

Second, all the doomsayers moan about the 'Islamization' of Europe. They rightly point out the declining birth rate amongst Europeans and the increase of Muslims. What they haven't counted on is the influx of Eastern Europeans that is coming with the expansion of the European Community. This article highlights just one aspect of the new immigration. We may not see the re-evangelization of Europe from within, but we may see a new springtime of Catholicism in Western Europe as Catholics from the old Iron Curtain countries surge West.

These Catholics are used to living in a materialistic, atheistic, anti-Christian state. They should feel right at home in Western Europe, and with any luck they will keep the faith and exercise the same subversive influence there that they did in Eastern Europe twenty years ago.

Finally, people continually overlook the greatness of Poland and the Polish people. They were the ones who, from time immemorial have stood bravely against aggressors--even when they failed to overcome their spirits were never overcome. The Poles gave us John Paul the Great. the Poles were the lynch pin in the overthrow of communism. Perhaps it will be the Poles who, by their migration west, help to save Europe from the Islamicization that threatens Europe.

Our Lady of Czestecowa pray for England. Our Lady of Walsingham pray for Poland.

16 February 2007 at 17:40  
Anonymous Observer said...

Perhaps it will be the Poles who, by their migration west, help to save Europe from the Islamicization that threatens Europe.

I thought they were fleeing all the new mosques springing up around Warsaw

16 February 2007 at 18:00  
Blogger Cranmer said...

I have linked to this site for ages and visit frequently . Have I so offended your Grace as to be an exception to the stated rule.

Mr Newmania,

His Grace does indeed have an automated something-or-other which tediously trawls the www in search of sites which link here, and forms a reciprocal link without His Grace having to do anything at all.

He shall investigate the omission of your site, but he assures you that no offence has been caused.

16 February 2007 at 18:11  
Anonymous Observer said...

I think this might brighten your day.....

Mosques Guide

16 February 2007 at 18:35  
Blogger Steven Bainbridge said...

As the issue has been brought up, I also have not been linked on your website (which, may I say, is brilliant!)

16 February 2007 at 19:32  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Newmania,

His Grace has resolved the issue of your non-appearance on his list of referrers.

His Grace has set those visible to the top 20. Your blog is currently at No 35. The climb up the scale is dependent on the number of distinct referrers your link produces. To put this into perspective, Mr Iain Dale, who consistently tops the scale, has so far produced 1024 potential communicants. You have yielded 15.

Mr Bainbridge,

As excellent as your blog is, your link has not yet yielded even one potential communicant, hence it does not register on the scale at all. His Grace will see what he can do to chivvy things along for you.

16 February 2007 at 20:44  
Blogger Steven Bainbridge said...

Ah, that is a shame! I use the link however, does that not count?!

Well, sorry for bothering you!

16 February 2007 at 20:52  
Blogger Newmania said...

Small but perfectly formed you Grace. Many thanks. That 15 is dues to a technical misunderstanding on my part and will now soon rise.


To return to the subject while I saw the Times piece and immediately wondered if your Grace might be interested , there is , as you say , far less to it than meets the eye.Really it is an immigration headline not a religious one and reminds me of the sort of thing you see when Muhamed overtakes John in the popular names list.

16 February 2007 at 20:59  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Bainbridge,

No bother at all, dear chap, no bother at all. His Grace is always disposed to discussing even tecnical trivia with those of a Thatcherite inclination.


Mr Newmania,

The piece was somewhat over-egged (if the metaphor may be applied to journalism). The immigration of Roman Catholics into the UK is proving to be a social nightmare for the Roman Catholic Church, and a distinct financial and pastoral drain. This is hardly likely to produce the church's 'greatest opportunity' for the 're-catholicisation' of the United Kingdom.

16 February 2007 at 21:26  
Anonymous John Fisher said...

"O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England thy dowry and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the chief Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen."

16 February 2007 at 22:39  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Poor John Fisher, I can see why his end was not one he might have wished. I do find this mariolatry to border on worship of the goddess Diana but what emerged from Ancient Rome no doubt accreted the paganism of that place...but please recall that God of the Christians is the God of the Jews and once you move beyond Jesus as Son of God some arcane complexities arise.

I take your post as essentially blasphemous

17 February 2007 at 06:22  
Anonymous bob said...

Those who fail to understand that the Catholic Church in Poland fulfilled a role akin to Mosques in England - ie they are refuges from the secular world and meeting places to facilitate jobs, contacts, accommodation

I think you fail to understand that Catholics actually go to church to pray, and to worship God. Social contacts, such as they are, are secondary. You seem to be reluctant to acknowledge that Catholics do actually worship God.

17 February 2007 at 09:24  
Anonymous Curly said...

I'm sure it will not have passed your Grace's attention that the Prime Minister elect, that Scottish man of the manse, has been spotted have an audience with the Pope, as he prepares his new team for the future.

17 February 2007 at 10:43  
Anonymous Voyager said...

You seem to be reluctant to acknowledge that Catholics do actually worship God.

That you know to be untrue Bob. Shame on you.

However if you look at Church attendance in Poland it is falling since the Communists went..the youth of Poland is not full of piety and devotion as our media try to make out. They have a very warped perception of Poland and Poles based upon incomplete knowledge of what kind of society it is.

Karol Wojtyla is a Polish national hero - the fact that he was a Catholic Pope did not undermine his appeal as a national hero to Polish Protestants.

I think approaching matters by imbuing Poles with attributes they do not posess is a path to great disappointment. I think you will find Poland has many of the same social problems as here

17 February 2007 at 11:13  
Anonymous bob said...

I wasn't taking issue with your sociological analysis. I was taking issue with the fact that you didn't seem to acknowledge the possibility that the Catholic Church could be anything other than a social networking club. I know a few Poles who come to church regularly. I don't assume they're coming to network. I assume they're coming to pray. I have no doubt about the social problems affecting Poland. My point was that your sociological analysis allowed no possibility for spirituality.

17 February 2007 at 11:39  
Anonymous Miss Jelly Bean said...

john fisher said...
By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world.

Isn't it the 'Father' who's your saviour rather than his 'Son' becasue according to the Gospel of John chapter 5 verse 30, Jesus claimed "I of my own self can do nothing"
So out of curiosity, why do you praise a powerless God? (go on voyager, I know you're dying to call me an ignorant twat) Hope I've caused no offence. By all means, enlighten me upon this rather intricate and obsucre matter; this 'hypostatic union' as they call it.

17 February 2007 at 12:39  
Anonymous Voyager said...

My point was that your sociological analysis allowed no possibility for spirituality.

That was not the intention so I apologise if that was your inference.

My point was simply that talking to Poles here in their 20s I find few who visit the local Polish Catholic Church unlike those who arrived here in 1947.

Interestingly enough those Poles who came to Britain in 1945-47 were largely from Eastern Poland - areas now part of Belarus and Ukraine. Many had been deported by the NKVD to Siberia and released haltingly through Kazakhstan into Iran when Churchill said he wanted them - these were the Anders Poles who fought in N Africa and Italy and whose officers had been murdered at Katyn.

The Poles coming to Britain today are often from Western Poland and know little of the history of the wartime generation. Ironically many of those who were forcibly relocated to Western Poland in 1945-1950 to occupy homes where ethnic Germans had been expelled under the terms of the Yalta Agreement, were themselves refugees from areas of Eastern Poland the USSR retained from the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

17 February 2007 at 12:48  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

miss jelly bean,

The devil too can quote scripture to his own purpose; I would be surprised if Mr Voyager rises to your bait. The Trinity is a mystery but your inquiry is a mischief and not worthy of attention.

17 February 2007 at 13:45  
Anonymous Miss Jelly Bean said...

The Trinity is a mystery but your inquiry is a mischief and not worthy of attention.

Hardly so! it was merely a speculation. But I guess we'll allow it to slip if you have a problem with answering my question. i guess I'll just have to accept that Christianity is a religion full of 'mysteries' whenever any Christian fails to answer.
i apologise with sincerity if I've offended anyone.

17 February 2007 at 13:54  
Anonymous bob said...

Voyager - apologies if I got my wires crossed about your intentions. I had a long day of travelling yesterday which shortened my already short fuse.

17 February 2007 at 14:21  
Anonymous Oiznop said...

Is Jelly Bean a Muslim or a Jehovah's Witness?

17 February 2007 at 19:52  
Anonymous Miss jelly bean said...

Indeed! a very profound and thought provoking question asked by oiznop. jelly beans are very mysterious creatures(especially the green ones).

17 February 2007 at 21:25  
Anonymous Observer said...

In the semiconductor industry, a jelly bean component is one which is widely available, used generically in many applications, and has no very unusual characteristics

We have been apprised

17 February 2007 at 21:44  
Anonymous Miss Jelly bean said...

Observer, I see that you're very gullable. Don't always believe what you read. You must master the art of the jelly bean in order for the doors of the celestial to be opened before you. Then the knowledge shall be bestowed upon you; the knowledge of what it truly means to be a JELLY BEAN!

(o.k. so this is sounding a tiny weeny bit tedious. I guess we can move on now)

17 February 2007 at 23:14  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Green. Must be a Muslim. Inform His Grace. She must be welcomed and encouraged to participate intelligently. Muslims tend to leave this blog after a few weeks.

17 February 2007 at 23:16  
Anonymous Miss Jelly bean said...

now now oiznop.lets not jump to such conclusions. for all you know, I could be some Buddhist monk. And what's wrong with liking the green ones?
What's your preference?

17 February 2007 at 23:22  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

We've spent decades apologising for the potato famine here, and look where it's got us. Every apology leads to demands for more apologies. From potatoes we move to apologising for Paisley, Cromwell as well as the whole Reformation. What do the Catholics apologise for? I haven't heard one apologise for Sinn Fein, the IRA, or any 'republican' agenda.

18 February 2007 at 13:03  
Anonymous bob said...

I've never heard anyone from Ulster apologise for the famine, Ian Paisley, Cromwell or the Reformation - so if there are apologies they're exceptionally well kept secrets.

And for what it's worth I desire no apologies as such things simply perpetuate a mentality of victimhood.

19 February 2007 at 17:14  

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