Saturday, February 10, 2007

Gordon meets the Pope – the next king is anointed

Gordon Brown has become the first Chancellor of the Exchequer to be granted a private audience with the Pope. The honour is usually reserved for religious leaders, monarchs, and heads of state, and the audience is largely perceived as Pope Benedict’s recognition that the next leader of the United Kingdom will be a latter-day John Knox – a Scottish puritan.

The visit to Rome was officially to promote a scheme to provide life-saving vaccines to children in the developing world. Very laudable, and just the sort of high-profile global initiative Mr Brown uses to affirm his presence on the world stage. The Chancellor gave the Pope a book of sermons by his father, who was a Church of Scotland minister (though Cranmer doubts very much that this will end up in the Vatican library), and he also reiterated the invitation given by Mr Blair last year to visit these Protestant shores.

The timing couldn’t be better for the Chancellor. Labour has alienated much of its core Roman Catholic electorate in recent arguments over faith schools and gay adoption. Mr Brown needed a media coup to reinvigorate his campaign and affirm his own traditional Labour values, and he has found it in Pope Benedict XVI.

The Scottish Presbyterian may be more a theological soul-mate of the Pope than the Anglo-Catholic Blair. Conveniently, Mr Brown has failed to vote on every occasion that issues of ‘gay rights’ have come before the House of Commons. He failed to support (among other things) the abolition of Section 28, civil partnerships, and the Government's Equality Act. He is not therefore tarnished with Mr Blair’s ‘anti-Catholic’ equalities agenda.

The Chancellor will therefore be content to let this run its course. He will sit and watch passively as the dying months of Mr Blair’s premiership are marked by the desertion of hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholic voters, and the humiliation of Labour in some of its traditional heartlands. And then he will enter No 10, and the Holy Papa will arrive on the shores of the United Kingdom, and the Papists shall return to their Labour home - just in time for the General Election.


Anonymous Voyager said...

is usually reserved for religious leaders

but Brown is a religious leader - of the Etatisme Cult.

I very much doubt Pope Benedict will visit Britain. In his audience at Castel Gandolfo last year he said he had limited scope for travel but would want to visit the Holy Land.

I very much doubt Britain is as important to him as visiting Jerusalem and Bethlehem

10 February 2007 at 12:49  
Anonymous dexey said...

Voyager said...
....last year he said he had limited scope for travel but would want to visit the Holy Land.
I very much doubt Britain is as important to him as visiting Jerusalem and Bethlehem
12:49 PM

But England is the Holy Land .... "and was Jerusalem builded here in England's green and pleasant ... "

10 February 2007 at 13:58  
Anonymous Voyager said...

"and was Jerusalem builded here in England's green and pleasant ... " .

William Blake never left London and his poem was not set to music (Parry ?) until c 1910

10 February 2007 at 15:51  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

It will be a cold day in hell before this Papist votes Labour, with or without a Popes Visit, but as usual voyager has his finger on the pulse. The Holy Father has not even hinted at visiting the UK, (he heard we sold the Pope mobile), he is to visit South America later this year and would like to visit Jerusalem at some time, but I don’t think that will happen. I think his energies are directed to restoring full relations with the Orthodox Church. Still who knows, in a few years maybe? Then Your Grace can build up a real head of steam.

10 February 2007 at 19:46  
Anonymous Andrew in Rome said...

Actually, Pope Benedict XVI didn't receive the Chancellor of the Exchequer in a private (i.e., one-on-one) audience; rather, the Pontiff met him at the end of an audience granted to the finance ministers of various states on the occasion of the presentation of the Advance Market Commitment project. It is common practice for those present at such an audience to be presented to the Pope at the end of it. As for the Pope's 'blessing' of Brown as Blair's successor, the Vatican has - at last - learnt from its long involvement in Italian politics not to get involved with party politics in a foreign state -not least because it has nothing to do with it. That's why its emphasis is on moral rather than party political issues, such as the current dispute about adoption agencies in the UK and PACS in Italy. You are right in saying that this spat could well affect the number of Catholics voting Labour at the next election, although something tells me that this will be long forgotten by then...

10 February 2007 at 21:27  
Anonymous Observer said...

the presentation of the Advance Market Commitment project

sounds very Vatican II

11 February 2007 at 08:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Pope's man in Scotland wants us to split from the UK. The break up is in line with the attacks by Sf/IRA and the RCC in Ulster.

The Vatican is always involved in politics as the pope claims to ruler in all things as God's direct representative. You are either deceived or trying to deceieve others by your comments.

11 February 2007 at 14:19  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The Vatican is always involved in politics not just The Vatican....

11 February 2007 at 16:31  
Anonymous religion of pieces said...

Maybe the Pope takes the long view...



"One historical note lost thus far in the discussion of Benedict's Regensburg lecture is the symbolism that the city of Regensburg represents for Muslims and Christians alike in the history of anti-jihad.

The first is that during Suleiman the Butcher's push into Europe to lay siege to Vienna in 1529, Regensburg was the place at which his calvary was finally stopped in their advance into the European heartland.

As the main body of Suleiman's Ottoman army advanced towards Vienna, his troops massacred, tortured, enslaved and killed Christians all along the way. As his calvary approached the city walls, his soldiers carried on their pikes the severed heads of their Christian victims. The city was defended by only 16,000 troops led by Nicolas von Salm in the face of Suleiman's 250,000 troops.

After three weeks of an unsuccessful siege, and the inhabitants of Vienna continuing to hold fast against Suleiman's vast army, Suleiman declared victory, murdered all of his Christian captives, and set about his return to Istanbul with Vienna unconquered, raping, pillaging and enslaving all along the way as is the custom of the Religion of Peace™ ....

Thus, Regensburg represents the highwater mark of the European conquests of Islam's greatest jihadi, Suleiman the Butcher."

The second historical tidbit related to Regensburg is that in 1545, it was the birthplace of Don Juan of Austria, hero of the Battle of Lepanto in 1572.

On October 7, 1572, with the Ottoman ships in sight, Don Juan shouted to his men, "We are here to conquer or die! In death or in victory, you will win immortality!" By the end of the day, the Holy League had won by God's grace a decisive victory: the Turks had lost 210 ships and 25,000 Muslim soldiers and sailors, including Ali Pasha, as well as 8-10,000 Christian slaves that drowned chained to their oars.

The Christian fleet lost 12 ships and 7,500 men, but freed 15,000 Christian slaves from their defeated and dead Muslim masters.

Only bad weather prevented Don Juan and the fleet from striking deep into the heart of Ottoman territory in the Dardanelles. Rising from an ignoble birth in Regensburg would come one of the greatest Christian heroes fighting victoriously against the Ottomans and halting one of the most ambitious expeditions of the perpetual campaign of jihad in history, thus protecting the mainland of Europe.

In light of these tasty tidbits from history, one is given to wonder whether Benedict chose Regensburg for its historic and symbolic value in the 1,400 year Christian defense against jihad.

By his lecture was he drawing a line in the sand at Regensburg, much like in 1529, and telling the modern day forces of jihad, "Here we push back"?

12 February 2007 at 01:10  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Regensburg is a very nice city and well worth a visit....Turks are welcome in (very) small groups

12 February 2007 at 07:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Regensburg represents the highwater mark of the European conquests of Islam's greatest jihadi, Suleiman the Butcher."

Small comfort, now that we have a mosque in every British town and village.

12 February 2007 at 21:42  

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