Monday, June 30, 2008

Hereditary peers voted overwhelmingly against ratification of Lisbon Treaty

The Daily Telegraph speculated last week that, were it not for Tony Blair cramming the House of Lords with his cronies and apparently palming off peerages for profit, that their Lordships would not have voted to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon, and so Her Majesty would not have been required to grant her Assent, and so the United Kingdom would have come to the aid of Ireland. A sequel article proves this to be the case.

In short, New Labour not only rigged the make-up of the upper chamber to ensure the safe passage of its legislation; it has elevated it financial backers who are overwhelmingly Europhile, and in so doing neutered the revising chamber by eradicating most of those who owed their peerages to hereditary independence.

Parliament is increasingly subjugated by those whose agenda is subjugation. This is the only conclusion one can draw from a House which voted to hasten to terminate its legislative raison d’être. It is significant that the overwhelming majority of the surviving hereditary peers voted to defend the sovereignty of the people and the preservation of Parliament. Of the 90 who were eligible to vote, 64 participated, and they voted 50 to 14 against ratification. Of the 50 against ratification, 40 were Conservatives.

If there was ever a justifiable democratic case for removing all the hereditary peers, then a fortiori is there now now a case for expelling all the life peers. They are no better defenders of democracy than the hereditaries allegedly were not, and at least the latter had a profound understanding of and respect for the ancient rights and liberties of the British people. There needs to be an urgent reconsideration of the constitution of the House of Lords and the titles bestowed, if only because it is incomprehensible to Cranmer that someone with the gravitas and experience of Baroness Thatcher is now ranked equally with Baroness Warsi, and that Lord Owen is ranked equally with Lord Levy.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A via media schism

As only the Anglican Church could, it is a schism which is not quite a schism, consistent with its founding principles, consonant with its entire history.

GAFCON (has anyone told them that 'unium' is not a Latin word?) has formalised the conservative wing of the Anglican Communion and issued the Jerusalem Declaration which effectively creates a church within a church, or, for Cranmer's Roman Catholic communicants, yet another 'ecclesial community' in an already deficient ecclesial community. It has severed its links with the liberal wing in the US and Canada, and intends to 'combat modern trends' in the Church, like the ordination of homosexuals, and will also counter the 'false gospel'. Contending against the shifting sand of postmodern relativism, they seek a return to biblical orthodoxy.

Good luck to them.

Significantly, the group rejects the ecclesial authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and will express its own statement of theology and form its own council of archbishops. It will operate independently whilst remaining within the Anglican Communion.

When will they learn that one cannot pour new wine into old wineskins?

Cranmer reproduces the declaration below, but it is important to note that none of this is new. Longstanding divisions precipitated the formation of the 'Church of England Continuing' about 20 years ago, and this group is led by its own bishop - the Rev Dr David Samuel. And the group 'Reform' has also expressed this agenda since its foundation.

STATEMENT ON THE GLOBAL ANGLICAN FUTURE

Praise the LORD!
It is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. (Psalm 147:1-2)

Brothers and Sisters in Christ: We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, send you greetings from Jerusalem!

Introduction
The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which was held in Jerusalem from 22-29 June 2008, is a spiritual movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it. The movement is global: it has mobilised Anglicans from around the world. We are Anglican: 1148 lay and clergy participants, including 291 bishops representing millions of faithful Anglican Christians. We cherish our Anglican heritage and the Anglican Communion and have no intention of departing from it. And we believe that, in God’s providence, Anglicanism has a bright future in obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and to build up the church on the foundation of biblical truth (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:20).

GAFCON is not just a moment in time, but a movement in the Spirit, and we hereby:
• launch the GAFCON movement as a fellowship of confessing Anglicans
• publish the Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of the fellowship
• Recognise GAFCON Primates’ Council.

The Global Anglican Context
The future of the Anglican Communion is but a piece of the wider scenario of opportunities and challenges for the gospel in 21st century global culture. We rejoice in the way God has opened doors for gospel mission among many peoples, but we grieve for the spiritual decline in the most economically developed nations, where the forces of militant secularism and pluralism are eating away the fabric of society and churches are compromised and enfeebled in their witness. The vacuum left by them is readily filled by other faiths and deceptive cults. To meet these challenges will require Christians to work together to understand and oppose these forces and to liberate those under their sway. It will entail the planting of new churches among unreached peoples and also committed action to restore authentic Christianity to compromised churches.

The Anglican Communion, present in six continents, is well positioned to address this challenge, but currently it is divided and distracted. The Global Anglican Future Conference emerged in response to a crisis within the Anglican Communion, a crisis involving three undeniable facts concerning world Anglicanism.

The first fact is the acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different ‘gospel’ (cf. Galatians 1:6-8) which is contrary to the apostolic gospel. This false gospel undermines the authority of God’s Word written and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the author of salvation from sin, death and judgement. Many of its proponents claim that all religions offer equal access to God and that Jesus is only a way, not the way, the truth and the life. It promotes a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behaviour as a universal human right. It claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions over against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony. In 2003 this false gospel led to the consecration of a bishop living in a homosexual relationship.

The second fact is the declaration by provincial bodies in the Global South that they are out of communion with bishops and churches that promote this false gospel. These declarations have resulted in a realignment whereby faithful Anglican Christians have left existing territorial parishes, dioceses and provinces in certain Western churches and become members of other dioceses and provinces, all within the Anglican Communion. These actions have also led to the appointment of new Anglican bishops set over geographic areas already occupied by other Anglican bishops. A major realignment has occurred and will continue to unfold.

The third fact is the manifest failure of the Communion Instruments to exercise discipline in the face of overt heterodoxy. The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada, in proclaiming this false gospel, have consistently defied the 1998 Lambeth statement of biblical moral principle (Resolution 1.10).

Despite numerous meetings and reports to and from the ‘Instruments of Unity,’ no effective action has been taken, and the bishops of these unrepentant churches are welcomed to Lambeth 2008. To make matters worse, there has been a failure to honour promises of discipline, the authority of the Primates’ Meeting has been undermined and the Lambeth Conference has been structured so as to avoid any hard decisions. We can only come to the devastating conclusion that ‘we are a global Communion with a colonial structure’.

Sadly, this crisis has torn the fabric of the Communion in such a way that it cannot simply be patched back together. At the same time, it has brought together many Anglicans across the globe into personal and pastoral relationships in a fellowship which is faithful to biblical teaching, more representative of the demographic distribution of global Anglicanism today and stronger as an instrument of effective mission, ministry and social involvement.

A Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, are a fellowship of confessing Anglicans for the benefit of the Church and the furtherance of its mission. We are a fellowship of people united in the communion (koinonia) of the one Spirit and committed to work and pray together in the common mission of Christ. It is a confessing fellowship in that its members confess the faith of Christ crucified, stand firm for the gospel in the global and Anglican context, and affirm a contemporary rule, the Jerusalem Declaration, to guide the movement for the future. We are a fellowship of Anglicans, including provinces, dioceses, churches, missionary jurisdictions, para-church organisations and individual Anglican Christians whose goal is to reform, heal and revitalise the Anglican Communion and expand its mission to the world.

Our fellowship is not breaking away from the Anglican Communion. We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words: The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal. We intend to remain faithful to this standard, and we call on others in the Communion to reaffirm and return to it. While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Building on the above doctrinal foundation of Anglican identity, we hereby publish the Jerusalem Declaration as the basis of our fellowship.

The Jerusalem Declaration

In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit:
We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth. We express our loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace his command to proclaim the reality of his kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity.

1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.

2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.

3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.

5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.

6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.

7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.

8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.

9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.

10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.

11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.

12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.

13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.

14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives.

***

The 'Primates’ Council' is a significant structural development, and although it has yet to define its working relationship with other Primates' gatherings, it is unlikely that non-believers will look upon representatives of either and wonder at how they love one another. To refer so blatantly to 'churces under false leadership' is refeshing, and it will be interesting to see if the Archbishop of Canterbury makes any (comprehensible) response to this at Lambeth.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

GAFCON, Lambeth, and the Bishop of Rochester

Cranmer has been silent hitherto on this matter, not least because the Jerusalem side-show is something of a distraction from Lambeth, which will itself be as carefully stage-managed as any party political conference. Whether one is batting for the GAFCON team, or fielding for Lambeth, or spectating in the hope of somehow supporting both, the reality is that the Anglican Communion is in terminal decline. Even if the schism is not formally declared, the geographic distance between Jerusalem and London is symbolic of the epistemic distance between the bishops on both sides, and there is no hope of reconciliation when the need for it is not even acknowledged.

There is, however, one particular element of this saga which Cranmer does wish to talk about, and that is the position of The Bishop of Rochester, who will be the only English Bishop* not to attend the Lambeth Conference. He explains his predicament with commendable clarity and brevity, in stark contrast to the reams of verbiage and unintelligible waffle which emanates from certain others. He says: "I agree with the Windsor Report’s recommendation that those who have gone against the Church’s teaching should not attend representative Anglican gatherings."

It is a curious isolation, given the Church’s previous acceptance of the Windsor Report - a document which merits reading at this time.

The Report’s authors attempted to address the difficulties of potential schism with a nuanced approach which avoided any attempt to close the debate whilst making clear that those who had precipitated the crisis - by the election of Gene Robinson and the blessing of same sex unions - ought not to place the Communion in greater peril by attending meetings of the wider Communion unless they had first offered signs of reconciliation.

These were summarised at para 134: ‘Mindful of the hurt and offence that have resulted from recent events, and yet also of the imperatives of communion - the repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ - we have debated long and hard how all sides may be brought together. We recommend that:

The Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire, and for the consequences which followed, and that such an expression of regret would represent the desire of the Episcopal Church (USA) to remain within the Communion;

Pending such expression of regret, those who took part as consecrators of Gene Robinson should be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion. We urge this in order to create the space necessary to enable the healing of the Communion. We advise that in the formation of their consciences, those involved consider the common good of the Anglican Communion, and seek advice through their primate and the Archbishop of Canterbury. We urge all members of the Communion to accord appropriate respect to such conscientious decisions.


If Windsor stands as the last agreed position within the Communion, then the attendance of those to whom these calming appeals were directed would seem to represent a deliberate and provocative rejection of that wisdom. Their invitation, participation and warm welcome are indeed significant.

The setting aside of the Windsor approach which is implicit in the silence of the Archbishop of Canterbury is equally telling. Doing nothing about the attendance of those who have placed, and continue to place, the Communion in this difficult position is not a neutral stance. The Communion needed time and space and Windsor offered that opportunity. The American and Canadian churches could have adopted a self-denying Ordinance. But their rejection of the temperate is an embrace of the contentious, and they damage the Church in the process.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali may be forgiven if he worries about the ability of the Communion to hold fast to its historic texts when it cannot sustain adherence to one of its own documents for a few short years.

His isolation is shameful, and his voice must not be lost to the Communion.

*There are also possibly two or three others, but attendance may be determined at the gathering itself.

Friday, June 27, 2008

EU flag flies above UK government department


It is perhaps apt that the EU flag flies alongside the Union flag over the Department of Children, Schools and Families. The department long since ceased to have any interest in the education of children, the quality of teaching, or the state of the nation's schools. It is not only symbolic of 'pooled' sovereignty; it is testimony to the millions of euros the EU pumps into the nation's schools each year, under the guise of 'information' or the promotion of EU 'exchange' projects like Comenius.

Cranmer wonders if the department will be ciculating this useful piece of information about our EU masters. All in the interests of education, you understand:



He rather suspects not.

Labour’s anti-Catholic attitudes

Labour MP Jim Dobbin has already written to the Prime Minister expressing his concern about the ‘anti-Catholic attitudes’ of some party members. His letter follows the resignation of Conor McGinn, the Roman Catholic vice-chairman of Young Labour , citing the ‘anti-Catholicism’ which surfaced around the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. And now the theme continues on LabourHome.

Mary Honeyball sounds like a character straight out of the pages of Roald Dahl, and she also looks like one. In reality she is a Labour politician who finds herself at the centre of a storm for daring to question the right of Roman Catholic cabinet members to ‘undermine’ the authority of the Prime Minister.

In her article for The Guardian - Cardinals' sins – she observes that ‘politics and piety are becoming increasingly entangled’ and posits that ‘democracy and religion do not mix’.

Cranmer has rarely come across such ignorant drivel from a politician, but one must remember that Miss Honeyball is an MEP.

She accuses the Prime Minister of ‘kowtowing’ to ‘three Catholic government ministers - Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy – and this has ‘undermined his strength’.

Well, after the result in Henley, it would appear that the world and his dog have more strength than Gordon Brown at the moment, so it is convenient that Miss Honeyball can blame the Catholics. The wonder is she has not blamed Margaret Thatcher.

She refers to the ‘vice-like grip of Catholicism’ across parts of the Continent, and singles out the ‘meddling cardinals’ of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland for particular reproach. She is particularly disapproving of anti-abortion campaigns which have ‘been led from the pulpit’.

One wonders what Miss Honeyball thinks the pulpit is for.

She then pours her invective upon the Roman Catholic faith:

Catholicism has never taken a back seat; it has always actively interfered in democratic politics. In 2006 Pope Benedict castigated Catholic politicians in Canada for voting for gay rights and Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of Scotland's Catholics, is alleged to have compared same-sex relationships to paedophilia. The same Cardinal O'Brien is now accusing the human fertilisation and embryology bill of challenging "standards by which we have lived throughout our lives and by which Christians have lived for the past 2,000 years".

And she lauds the enlightenment of her European masters for confronting these medieval attitudes head-on:

The European parliament has, fortunately, made a stand against some of this Christian fundamentalism. In a dramatic exercise of power in 2004, MEPs opposed the appointment of Rocco Buttiglione, nominated as a European commissioner by Silvio Berlusconi. Set to take up the justice, freedom and security portfolio, Buttiglione enraged the European parliament justice committee with his views on the role of women and his belief that homosexuality is a sin put forward during his confirmation hearings. The Italian government eventually withdrew his nomination as commissioner, due in large part to pressure from MEPs.

And this is the reasoning behind Miss Honeyball’s suggestion that Roman Catholics ought to be excluded from elected office. She asks: ‘Should devout Catholics such as Kelly, Browne and Murphy be allowed on the government front bench in the light of their predilection to favour the Pope's word above the government's?’

And she concludes:

Politicians are voted in to represent their electorates. People who vote for me and my colleagues expect us to further the interests of the public at large, not those of any particular religion, church, mosque, synagogue, temple or indeed any other interest group. We go against the democratic foundations of our country at our peril.

Cranmer is aghast at the level of naïveté and ignorance which Mary Honeyball manifests. He shall not waste the time of his readers and communicants with the historic role of the Protestant Christian faith in the development of democracy. And neither does he have any problem with raising the issue of ‘Parliament or Pope?’, since there are democratic concerns raised by the question of allegiance. But it beggars belief that an MEP has not considered that, in an age of non-discrimination and equality, her reasoning would exclude politicians of every and any faith from holding public office. And then she will be left to justify why only atheist secularists are fit to hold office, and what this would mean for the democratic majority who choose to adhere to a faith.

It might further be observed that if she were to replace ‘Catholic’ with ‘Muslim’ (against which religio-political construct every word of her reasoning could be equally applied), all hell would break loose, possibly with one or two bombs.

If there is to be no place for Catholics in non-religious political parties, it will lead to the formation of an exclusively Catholic party (probably called, in line with the continental tradition, the ‘Christian Democratic Party’). It is not without reason that many Roman Catholics endorsed The Christian Party candidate in the recent Mayoral elections in London. But as sure as night follows day, there will arise a Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jedi Knight party.

There will be no Anglican party, for the vast majority of Anglicans shall feel very much at home in any of the above.

What Miss Honeyball’s comments establish is that British Catholics should have no affinity with the Labour Party. It has turned away from its working class roots and its concerns with social justice. New Labour has no time and makes no place for religious conscience. The ‘Catholic vote’ has been loyal to Labour since its foundation, and this loyalty has been tested to breaking point. One can only pray that traditional Labour-supporting RCs will have the good sense henceforth not to vote Labour. Their allegiance has been taken for granted for too long, and they will find a warm welcome in the broad church of Conservatism.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

French Europe Minister: Europe has 'powerful enemies' in US

It is just a pity that Barack Obama and John McCain are not two of them, for both support ‘ever closer union’, and Mr McCain is on record as expressing a desire for the Conservative Party to remain in the EPP.

According to France's Europe Minister, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the intervention of certain neocons ‘played a significant role in the Irish rejection of the Lisbon treaty’. In Le Monde (via EUobserver), M. Jouyet said: ‘Europe has powerful enemies on the other side of the Atlantic, gifted with considerable financial means. The role of American neo-conservatives was very important in the victory of the “No”.’

Well, good. The US came late into both World Wars, so it is about time they were as pre-emptive in liberating Europe from tyranny as they are in their incursions and invasions to limit the threat of Islamist terror.

Opposition Fine Gael MP Lucinda Creighton has stated that the businesses of Declan Ganley, who spearheaded the ‘No’ campaign, ‘are heavily dependent on contracts from the State Department, the Pentagon and US government agencies’. She concludes that he is ‘a lot less concerned about Irish sovereignty than (he is) about the potential hit to (his) own personal business interests’.

But Libertas dismisses this as ‘absolute lunacy’, stating that its funding ‘came from entirely within Ireland’.

So, let us see the accounts of the ‘No’ campaign. But let us also see the sources of the funding for the ‘Yes’ campaign, for Cranmer rather suspects that Ireland had ‘powerful enemies’ in the EU who were also ‘gifted with considerable financial means’. Let us see how much the Irish government contributed to the ‘Yes’, and how much the EU subsidised it with ‘information’, sweeteners and bribes. And let us see how much more the ‘Yes’ campaign was funded in proportion to the ‘No’, and how the whole referendum was rigged from the outset with disproportionate media coverage and overwhelming political support.

And let us then wonder that the Irish still voted ‘No’, and they did so simply because they meant it.

And let us pray that they vote ‘No’ again, for another referendum is now certain, and the likely date is next March, lest the Euro-elections become a de facto referendum on the Lisbon Treaty across the entire Union....

Now, there’s a thought.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mugabe stripped of knighthood

At long last, Her Majesty the Queen has acted on the advice of her Ministers and has revoked the honorary KCB awarded to Robert Mugabe on the recommendation of John Major in 1994. It is unacceptable that the Government has continued to permit this tyrant to revel in the delusion that the United Kingdom honours him at all.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that Mugabe has 'mutated into something that is quite unbelievable', and that he has 'turned into a kind of Frankenstein for his people'.

The Foreign Office states that the action is for President Mugabe's 'abuse of human rights' and his 'abject disregard' for democracy.

Since the former has been known for years, it must be the latter which has persuaded David Miliband of the need to act.

Cranmer wonders who else at this time might be deserving of public rebuke, humiliation and the withdrawal of privileges and honours for their abject disregard for democracy.

A response to Daniel Hannan MEP

It is curious that a man of such towering intellect, oratorical eloquence, political insight and manifest common sense should trivialise and dismiss one of the most obvious and enduring themes in the whole European Union song and dance. It is even more disappointing that he should purposely misrepresent Cranmer, who not only happens to agree with him on just about everything, but who has readily leapt to Mr Hannan’s defence on more than one occasion when he has been unjustly treated by man or vilified by the media.

In his article for The Catholic Herald, Daniel Hannan MEP states that ‘Catholics in the pews have clipped the EU’s wings’, with a strap line which reads: ‘Ireland's “No” to Lisbon has revealed a gulf between bishops and lay people’.

All of which is undoubtedly and undeniably true.

But Mr Hannan then proceeds to accuse His Grace of ‘anti-Catholic prejudice’ for daring to point out that Roman Catholic bishops stopped just short of issuing guidelines on how the faithful should vote on the matter, and also that the Pope himself had entered the fray on the eve of the referendum. Merely to state this, apparently, revives ‘the oldest of anti-Catholic prejudices: the notion that priests were leading their flocks to the polls’.

But first, let us deal with the accusation that His Grace is ‘acerbically Protestant’.

It is curious that ‘acerbic’ should prefix ‘Protestant’, for Mr Hannan would never talk of ‘acerbically Muslim’ (If he wished to keep his job under Mr Cameron’s increasingly over-sensitive regime) or even ‘acerbically Catholic’ (if he wished to go on writing for the Catholic press). Like the BBC’s ‘Protestant terrorists’ (never ‘Catholic terrorists), or Tony Blair’s ‘Protestant bigots’ (never ‘Catholic bigots’), there is something convenient and easy about sullying Protestants and the Protestant faith with negative prefixes and detracting suffixes. Of course, the comment is ad hominem, but Cranmer is hard-pressed to find bitterness in his spirit or sourness in his soul. He much prefers to deal with irony and bring a wry smile to the faces of his readers and communicants.

That aside, how can it be ‘anti-Catholic’ to state a fact? How can it be ‘prejudice’ when one adduces evidence and reasons systematically?

In their pastoral letter Fostering a Community of Values, the Roman Catholic bishops praise the European project as one which has brought peace and stability to Europe since the Second World War, and which is founded on the actions of three devout Catholic leaders: Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi and Robert Schuman. They emphasise that it is the duty of every citizen to study the contents of the Lisbon Treaty and to vote: ‘It is not a referendum to assess our views on membership of the European Union or to register a protest vote’, they say, but is prompted by the need for institutional reform to equip the union to continue to play ‘a positive role in a rapidly changing world’.

They continue: ‘There is a need for institutional reform that both promotes democracy and contributes to greater transparency and accountability on the part of the EU institutions’. The Lisbon Treaty attempts to address the democratic deficit by strengthening subsidiarity and promoting active citizenship, but the extent to which it manages to address these challenges ‘is open to question’. They conclude that Europe is ‘a civilisation of values’, and that those values are inherently Catholic.

All of that, to His Grace, sounds like an attempt to sway a vote.

Mr Hannan conveniently omits to mention that Cranmer’s sources, all hyperlinked, were The Daily Telegraph, the BBC, and Dr Richard North, all of whom are, of course, well noted for their ‘ant-Catholic prejudice’. The Director General of the BBC is Catholic Mark Thompson; The Daily Telegraph is owned by the Catholic Barclay brothers; and Dr North was Jesuit-educated. And it was he who observed that ‘the Vatican and the EU have a lot in common’ under the provocative headline, speaking of the Pope: ‘Ex Nazi supports Irish “yes”’ (to which His Grace demurred).

Why is it that when a member of the Church of England draws attention to the intervention of the Roman Catholic Church, he is ‘prejudiced’, but when the BBC/Telegraph/Dr North do so, there is no such accusation? Why, when Lord Shore asserts that the manipulating Brussels Commission behaves ‘like a priestly caste’, this is reasoned discourse, but when His Grace quotes this, he is reviving a prejudice?

The reality is that nowhere in the article to which Daniel Hannan refers does Cranmer state ‘priests were leading their flocks to the polls’. This is a convenient caricature, which doubtless brings much pleasure to his commissioning editor, but it is not what His Grace said. The expressions of Treaty support issued by the bishops and the timely sermon by His Holiness on the eve of the referendum were clearly designed to sway the faithful. That is what His Grace said, and that is what the BBC implied when they said the intervention of His Holiness ‘was not accidental’.

Thankfully, many Irish had the good sense to ignore the meddlesome priests, but that does not negate the attempt to religiously influence a political outcome.

It is axiomatic that all quotations are taken out of context, but Mr Hannan chooses to ignore Cranmer’s conclusion which encapsulates the very gulf between the magisterium and the laity to which Mr Hannan refers. Cranmer’s final statement is clear in this discrepancy:

And so His Holiness affirms the anathema and perpetuates the dogma that on the seventh day God created the EU. This is curious, given that it is a distinctly secular, utterly Godless and increasingly anti-Christian construct which is antithetical to all that St Columbanus might have held dear.

Was this point too subtle? The bishops may splutter that Europe is ‘a civilisation of values’, but those values are manifestly not the Catholic ones envisaged by the Founding Fathers. That millions of ordinary Roman Catholics recognise that the EU is antithetical to all that they value and revere is self-evident. Does Mr Hannan think that His Grace does not know of Bill Cash, Edward Leigh, Iain Duncan Smith or Ann Widdecombe? Fine upstanding Catholic Eurosceptics all, actively resisting the authority of their magisterium. And then there are Catholic journalists like Charles Moore who are also nobly opposed to the emerging European Empire. Does Mr Hannan really believe that Cranmer believes they are being led by priests?

It is evident that the Catholic hierarchy perpetuates an inexplicable and wilfully blind adherence to the EU project. His Grace’s article was manifestly about the division between the bishops and the pews, yet Mr Hannan quotes a small section of text and cries ‘prejudice’.

Of course, he has probably collected his 30 pieces of silver £500 for telling The Catholic Herald what it wished to hear about His Grace, which is very nice for an MEP on an already overly-generous salary. But it is a slur against a fellow Eurosceptic, the consequence of which is that rational argument is diminished in the public sphere, and ‘religion’ is added to ‘race’ as a no-go area of legitimate enquiry.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gordon Brown: Margaret Thatcher is to blame for social immobility.

Here we go again.

Yesterday Britain’s woes were blamed on the ‘credit crunch’. Then they were blamed on global oil price. And today it is all the fault of Margaret Thatcher.



Tomorrow, it shall all be the fault of Benjamin Disraeli, and the day after it will be Julius Caesar.

After more than a decade in power, nothing, it seems, is the fault of New Labour or Gordon Brown.

Cranmer is incredulous that the Prime Minister’s latest ‘initiative’ (if that isn’t a misnomer) is a promise to get Britain ‘upwardly mobile again’, with talk of a ‘vision of fairness and social mobility’. And the reason they have not attained this in 11 years is because of Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies which created a ‘lost generation’.

This is the most absurdly facile reasoning, and only a complete idiot would be persuaded that the lack of social mobility may be blamed on a prime minister who has been out of office for 16 years. If her reforms were so bad, why have they not been repealed in over a decade? If she wreaked so much damage, why consort with her?

Child Poverty Action Group chief executive Kate Green states that Britain is ‘in the grip’ of a ‘damaging culture of inequality’. It beggars belief that a party that has been in power for almost as long as Margaret Thatcher has been unable to undo the ‘damage’ she inflicted.

New Labour pledged is to halve the number of children in poverty by 2010 and eradicate it by 2020. But last year the number actually rose by 100,000 to 2.9 million.

This must be Margaret Thatcher’s fault.

The number of adults living in relative poverty has also increased, including pensioners who are struggling to meet the rising costs of council tax, food, gas and electricity.

This must be Margaret Thatcher’s fault.

Some areas of the UK suffer 55 per cent unemployment, with all the attendant benefit traps, drugs, anti-social behaviour, and family breakdown.

This must be Margaret Thatcher’s fault.

Inflation has risen over 3%, and is expected to hit 4% by the end of the year.

This must be Margaret Thatcher’s fault.

Today, 6000 council employees have decided to strike over below-inflation pay increases, which amount to a pay cut.

This must be Margaret Thatcher’s fault.

And doubtless the great lady is also to blame for the woeful state of the Church of England, the schism in the Anglican Communion, and the decidedly average summer we have had hitherto.

If today it is sunny, that will be thanks to Gordon Brown.

And while he spins his fiction, let us dwell on the reality that Margaret Thatcher helped to make Britain great once again, and she did it by restoring aspiration. The daughter of a working class greengrocer from Grantham was the embodiment of social mobility, and was acutely aware of the plight of the working and middle classes. She fought for them against an establishment populated by the elite; a woman against an entrenched patriarchy who showed that women may not only aspire to the top jobs, they can actually do them better than many men. Her economic legacy permitted an upwardly mobile mindset to permeate into levels of society never before reached. She created wealth and encouraged thrift and charity; she sold off council houses in order that more might share in fruits of economic success. She confronted head-on the over-mighty unions and restored the rights of the ordinary union member.

Social mobility under Margaret Thatcher was a success story, and was based on the foundational Conservative principles of liberty and individualism. These were the building blocks of her vision of society, and it is one which so captivated New Labour that they absorbed much of it into their ‘third way’ thinking. By putting people in control of their own lives, the powers of the politician and the interference of the state are diminished, and this is intrinsic to social mobility.

Gordon Brown has failed to understand the meaning of the concept. Only when people are free to aspire, free to create, free to associate and free to choose are they able to be socially mobile. And only a true Conservative will understand this, and only a true Conservative will have the conviction to bring it to pass.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Archbishop: 'We don't need a referendum on Lisbon'

Cranmer had been wondering how the Lords Spiritual had voted in last week’s debate on the Lisbon Treaty, and, sure enough, they have disappointed at every turn, as only the Established Church can. The Archbishop of York, here most gaily clad like a Christmas tree in EU blue which is only lacking 12 yellow stars, asserted that there is no need for a referendum, for Parliament was the best place to decide.

While the Crossbench peer Lord Ramsbotham insisted that the referendum matter was ‘a question of trust’, the Archbishop issued his swift riposte that the promise of a referendum at the last general election ‘was about a constitution’. He continued: ‘If you want to persuade me that the Treaty is the same as the Constitution then you have to do better than simply say: “The element of trust is important”. Of course trust is important. As a man of the cloth, I believe in trust; I believe in honesty and fairness. But let us put that trust in a context which is actually important.’

Cranmer is somewhat puzzled by the meaning of Dr Sentamu’s last sentence, and exasperated that he cannot see what just about every politician on the Continent is admitting, namely, that the Treaty is indeed the Constitution.

But the Archbishop explains: ‘I believe that parliamentary democracy is the answer. If you ask anybody if they want to vote on any subject, and we see this quite a lot in the Church of England, they do. But does that mean that that is always the right question?’

Cranmer cannot be bothered to extract any meaning from this, so he shall cut to the Archbishop’s central thesis:

‘If you ask whether the Queen will still be supreme in Parliament under the new Treaty, will the answer be yes? Will this Parliament still be the highest court in the land? Will foreign policy, defence policy and law and order still be governed by this country?’

Apparently, after each question, there were shouts of ‘yes’ from peers, and so the Archbishop asked: ‘Then why are we making this fuss?’

Sadly, the Archbishop of York has plunged to the lowest level of credibility on Cranmer’s religio-political compass and on his politico-religious satnav. One might expect a theologian to be able to grasp the reality beneath the symbol, and be wise to the EU’s modus operandi which ensures that skimmed milk masquerades a cream. The Queen may be sitting upon her throne, but as a citizen of the Union subject to the aims and objectives of the Union, to whom does she owe her allegiance? If Parliament is the highest court in the land, why are the judgements of the European courts superior to her judgements, and why can these courts force Parliament to amend legislation? How can foreign policy be made in the British Parliament when the EU is creating a High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs to speak on behalf of all member states? And what of the global EU diplomatic service? The emerging European army? The European police force? Corpus Juris?

The Archbishop of York may have had his ego stroked by admiring peers jealous of his rhetorical flair, but his analysis is utterly superficial and completely devoid of any intellectual engagement with the issues.

In a few years the British Parliament will have only two functions – to raise taxes and to authorise war.

Cranmer can foresee only one war in the prosecution of which the British people may ultimately be prepared to be taxed, and that will be a war of secession.

If the Irish referendum has established anything, it is that all that may be said by the demos is what the Commission wishes to hear. There is no alternative, and dissent will be crushed.

The European Union has the constitution of a dictatorship and the laws of a police state.

And the Church of England is complicit in the deception and betrayal.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Politics and Religion – 'The Open Debate'


A little art for this Lord’s Day – a painting entitled The Open Debate by Philip Bouchard, 1997-8.

It hangs in Portcullis House and contains many themes, but central to the painting is the idea that ‘politics is like a never-ending game of chess’. It explores the religio-political tension at the heart of Parliament, which has not only been a recurring theme throughout British history; it has been evident in recent debates over the time limit for abortion, faith schools, the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill, or the effects of the Sexual Orientation Regulations upon Roman Catholic adoption agencies.

The painting depicts a bishop and a knight in conversation on the edge of a chess board facing the Palace of Westminster. Bouchard says: ‘The Bishop symbolises the Church and spiritual values and the Knight, the State and temporal values.’

The positioning of the chess pieces is according to a famous end-game study called the 'Saavedra Position' which ‘has a very curious history with a number of twists and turns’.

One wonders what the final twist and turn shall be, and whether the Church-State relationship is approaching its endgame.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Brian Cowen on the Lisbon Treaty referendum

Irish taoiseach Brian Cowen is living proof that politics is showbusiness for ugly people. That said, although he 'regrets' the outcome of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty, he makes 'no apologies' for the result.

That is kind of him.

However, he states: 'The Irish people made a sovereign decision and it must be and is being respected.'

This is an interesting choice of tense. If something is presently being respected, there is an indication that it will not remain so. One would expect to see the future tense deployed, since the referendum result has a bearing upon the future condition of the country. But perhaps Brussels has already limited the time for this 'respect' to be manifest, for they have given Ireland four months to sort out the situation.

How very generous of them.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Reverend Professor Henry Chadwick KBE

Cranmer is profoundly saddened to report the passing into glory of his good friend the Reverend Professor Henry Chadwick, KBE, the distinguished theologian and historian of the Early Church. He died peacefully in hospital in Oxford, aged 87.

He was the brother of the equally-distinguished Reverend William Owen Chadwick, OM, KBE, FBA, FRSE. A former chairman of the board of Hymns Ancient & Modern, Henry Chadwick was educated at Eton and Magdalene College, Cambridge, trained at Ridley Hall in Cambridge, and was ordained deacon in 1943. He was Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford 1959-69 and at Cambridge 1979-83, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, 1969-79, and Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1987-93.

For more than 30 years, he edited the Journal of Theological Studies, and was a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission 1969-81 and 1983-90. His seminal writings on church history include Augustine (1986), and The Church in Ancient Society (2002).

His funeral will take place at Christ Church, Oxford, on Wednesday 25 June at 11am. A memorial service is planned for the autumn. His Grace's spirit shall be present at both.

Royal Assent given to the Treaty of Lisbon

'La Reine le veult', proclaims the Royal Assent in Norman French. It passed by with scarcely a mention, and with little understanding of its significance. While the show ran for weeks on the House of Commons, and notable Peers spent a few days in the limelight, strutting and fretting their hour upon the stage, they are now heard no more, for the Royal Seal has been bestowed, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has given her assent to the Treaty of Lisbon - the EU Constitution - which will come into force on 1st January 2009.

One of the most significant aspects of the treaties of Rome, Maastricht, and Lisbon concerns the constitutional position of the Monarch. During her reign, Queen Elizabeth I stated: ‘To no power whatsoever is my crown subject save to that of Christ the King of Kings.’ Section Three of the Treason Felony Act of 1848 asserts that condemnation is incurred ‘If any person whatsoever shall, within the United Kingdom or without, compass, imagine, invent, devise or intend to deprive or depose our most gracious Lady the Queen...from the style, honour, or royal name of the imperial crown of the United Kingdom.’

The Treaty of Maastricht made the Queen subject to the European Union and a citizen of that Union. As a citizen of a different political entity and being subject to past and future judgements of the Court of the European Communities in Luxembourg, from which there is no appeal, her role as a constitutional monarch has been put into doubt. By the treaty, this Court was confirmed in authority over her courts, in which she was not previously arraignable. Her status as a citizen of the EU has rendered her, like the rest of the British people, ‘subject to the duties imposed thereby’.

The Privy Counsellor’s Oath, to which all prime ministers are sworn, is a promise ‘To bear faith and allegiance to the Crown and to defend its jurisdiction and powers against all foreign...persons...or states.’ While there is no doubt that this oath was breached at Maastricht, the situation over Lisbon is somewhat more grave because Lisbon is a constitution.

A country cannot have two constitutions. The laws and constitution of the United Kingdom are diametrically opposed by European laws and the European Constitution. One has to submit to the other, and, as is observed and clearly stated, the Lisbon Treaty ‘takes primacy’.

If the EU Constitution is superior to the British Constitution, at the point the Treaty was given Royal Assent the British Constitution was abolished. Since the EU is a military union, it has the means at its disposal to carry out its objectives.

The politicians are, of course, to blame. And so are the Lords – temporal and spiritual – and so is the judiciary.

But let us be clear.

Her Majesty the Queen has received petitions from the Lords, thousands upon thousands of letters from her subjects, and sworn affidavits withholding and withdrawing allegiance and obedience to Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, until such time as she is free to exercise her lawful authority.

And still she gives her assent to a Bill about which she can be in no doubt with regard to its contentious nature, the illegality of its implementation following the Irish rejection, or its illegitimacy under our Common Law birthright.

Is Her Majesty a committed Europhile? Is she complicit in this whole sordid agenda of ‘ever closer union’ to create a country called Europe? Is she guilty of placing her people in bondage to a foreign, unelected and unaccountable power?

And if not, why does she not follow the example of David Davis and abdicate on a point of principle, and thereby precipitate a constitutional crisis, the outcome of which would be a referendum to let the people decide?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Barack Obama’s Islamophobia

And please note that ‘Islamophobia’ is not in inverted commas, for this is a real and genuine fear of being juxtaposed with Muslims and of being tarnished with Islam. It is an appalling act of prejudice in ‘the land of the free’, and one which all Muslim democrats must address at the ballot box in November.

It is reported that two Muslim women were removed from sitting behind the Democrats’ presidential candidate at his rally in Detroit on Monday. They were barred from sitting behind the podium in order that their hijabs would not appear in photographs or on television.

This is not only offensive; it belies any notion that Barack Obama is the ‘unity candidate’ who will ‘bring America together’. Cranmer fully understands that the human backdrop to such a high-profile political candidate is always ‘a delicate exercise in demographics and political correctness’, but he has never heard of the purposeful eradication of the visual representation of an entire faith group. Presumably, men with Islamic-looking beards or headwear would also have been ejected.

It is a good job that circumcised penises are concealed.

Of course, all of this has everything to do with Mr Obama’s sensitivity to accusations that he is a closet Muslim, although he ‘means no disrespect to Islam’ in the increasingly vehement denials.

As if to emphasise his point, Barack Obama's half brother Malik is reported by The Jerusalem Post as confirming that, if elected, his brother will be ‘a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background.’

This would be the ‘Muslim background’ that he denies ever having.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Bishop of London responds to the Rev Dr Martin Dudley

Cranmer has been sent a copy of the letter sent by the Bishop of London to the Reverend Dr Martin Dudley, following his decision to officiate at the Church of Englands first 'gay marriage'. There have been a few unintelligible mutterings from Canterbury, and a bit of hot air from York, but nothing amounting to a formal rebuke. The final paragraph is incisive and damning, and far more strongly-worded than Cranmer ever expected to emanate from London or Canterbury:





The Reverend Dr Martin Dudley,
St Bartholomew the Great Parish Office,
6 Kinghorn Street,
London,
EC1A 7HW.

Dear Martin,

You have sought to justify your actions to the BBC and in various newspapers but have failed more than two weeks after the service to communicate with me.
I read in the press that you had been planning this event since November. I find it astonishing that you did not take the opportunity to consult your Bishop.

You describe the result as "familiar words reordered and reconfigured carrying new meanings." I note that the order of service, which I have now received, includes the phrase "With this ring I thee bind, with my body I thee worship".

At first sight this seems to break the House of Bishops Guidelines which as I explained in my letter of December 6th 2005 apply the traditional teaching of the Church of England to the new circumstances created by the enactment of Civil Partnerships.

The point at issue is not Civil Partnerships themselves or the relation of biblical teaching to homosexual practice. There is of course a range of opinion on these matters in the Church and, as you know, homophobia is not tolerated in the Diocese of London. The real issue is whether you wilfully defied the discipline of the Church and broke your oath of canonical obedience to your Bishop.

The Archbishops have already issued a statement in which they say that "those clergy who disagree with the Church's teaching are at liberty to seek to persuade others within the Church of the reasons why they believe, in the light of Scripture, tradition and reason that it should be changed. But they are not at liberty simply to disregard it."

St Bartholomew's is not a personal fiefdom. You serve there as an ordained minister of the Church of England, under the authority of the Canons and as someone who enjoys my licence. I have already asked the Archdeacon of London to commence the investigation and I shall be referring the matter to the Chancellor of the Diocese. Before I do this, I am giving you an opportunity to make representations to me direct.

Yours faithfully,

The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres DD FSA


Of particular note is the Bishop's valediction. It is customary to sign off letters 'Yours sincerely' when the recipient is familiar to one and addressed by name: it is considered a more friendly form of address, while 'Yours faithfully' communicates distance or formality.

He is evidently not amused.

David Davis for Freedom


The campaign website for David Davis is up and running. Mr Davis explains:

On 11 June, Gordon Brown forced through a vote on the extension of 42 days pre-charge detention - a draconian infringement of the citizen’s fundamental freedom not to be held in police detention for prolonged periods without being informed of the charges against him. This marked a watershed in the erosion of British liberty, but it is only the most recent in a long list of repressive measures introduced by this government over the last decade.

We will soon have the most intrusive ID card system in the world. There is a CCTV camera for every 14 citizens - despite growing evidence of their ineffectiveness as deployed. We have the largest DNA database in the world, larger than any dictatorship, with thousands of innocent children and millions of innocent citizens on it.

The Government has attacked the jury system, that historic bulwark against unfair law and the arbitrary abuse of state power. Shortcuts with our legal system have left British justice less firm and less fair. The Government hoards masses of personal data on insecure databases, opening up our private lives to the prying eyes of official snoopers, but also exposing personal data to careless civil servants and criminal hackers.

The state has security powers that clamp down on peaceful protest, and so-called hate laws that stifle legitimate debate - while those inciting violence get off scot-free. A 15-year-old boy was recently charged on the spot for holding a banner describing scientology as a "dangerous cult", but extremists such as Abu Hamza are left free for years to incite violence and vitriol against this country.

There are now 266 state powers allowing officials to force their way into the home. Six hundred public bodies have the authority to bug phones and emails and intercept the post. Forget the security services: councils and quangos conduct 1,000 surveillance operations every month, using powers that ought to be the preserve of law enforcement agencies. Officials in Poole spied for weeks on a family taking their children to school, to check that they lived inside the catchment area. Even our rubbish can now be examined by neighbourhood spooks.

None of this has made us any safer. Violent crime has doubled in 10 years, and the Government continually briefs blood-curdling assessments of the terrorist threat. It is a myth to believe that we can defend our security by sacrificing our fundamental freedoms - one I intend to puncture over the next few weeks.

I am fighting this by-election as the Conservative candidate, but on vital national issues that transcend party politics. I hope to attract support from across the political spectrum, and the country at large. I look forward to taking on those who say the British public do not care about liberty - this campaign will be about leading a national debate, not pandering to polls. At stake is my own career as a Member of Parliament, but more fundamentally a long overdue debate on the preservation of liberty in our great country.


Cranmer wishes Mr Davis well with his campaign. His only regret is that nothing, absolutely nothing of the EU's egregious contempt for democracy has ever inspired any member of parliament to take such a stand, and it is the EU 'issue' which truly transcends party politics, and which constitutes the real threat to liberty in our great country. Politicians with conviction are rare. Politicians who have eyes to see and ears to hear are rarer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

St Anthony - the patron saint of things lost

His Grace is most disappointed that none of his loyal Roman Catholic communicants or his readers from the Republic of Ireland noticed this most interesting coincidence on the Lisbon Treaty referendum:

A happy coincidence and just deserts (sic)!

Friday, June 13, the Feast of Saint Anthony, Patron Saint of Lisbon!

Despite his Italian reputation, Anthony was in fact very Portuguese and is the patron saint of Portugal's capital city. Anthony also doubles as patron saint of things lost!

Lisbon, no longer the treaty city, its reputation restored, a wonderful capital perched on its seven hills along the banks of the Tagus, a city with 2,000 years of history and the odd non- treaty-related earthquake.

Why take so much delight in a failed referendum?

Because the democracy-loving Irish Government has consistently refused to give the vote to Irish citizens living in Lisbon, in Portugal and throughout the European Union.

Ireland, the only country in Europe who disenfranchises its own citizens, the very citizens daily and directly concerned by the European Union.

Maybe they might give us the vote the next time ?

CIARÁN MAC GUILL


Notwithstanding the intervention of St Anthony, here is a chilling assessment from New Europe:

‘The EU has now accumulated significant (bad) experiences with referenda. It was very delicately yet effectively communicated by the Romanian social-democrat MEPs: “The referendum in Ireland has demonstrated that direct democracy (by way of referendum) cannot ensure the progress of the European process. The security, liberty and prosperity of hundreds of millions of European citizens ask for complex leadership actions, which cannot be appreciated by heterogeneous populations, from the point of view of the information level and the education one. European integration is a process that must be conducted politically by the elected representatives of the European citizens.”’

So there you have it. It is not only the Irish who are thick; all citizens of the EU are so utterly dense that they ‘cannot appreciate’ the ‘complexity’ of the ‘European process’, such that it must henceforth be ‘conducted politically’ only by those who do.

“It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once” (David Hume 1752).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Knights of the Garter

Today Prince William has joined other members of the Royal family as a Knight of the Garter. He was formally appointed to the most senior British order of chivalry by the Queen in a ceremony at St George's Chapel, Windsor.

However, for Cranmer, someone else stole the show.

Magnificent.

Quite magnificent.

EU to Ireland: ‘Let your “Yes” be “Yes”, and your “No”, err, “Yes”’

‘There’s a divinity that shapes our ends’, as the Bard observed, ‘Rough-hew them how we will’. And no matter how much we may try to be masters of that destiny, it may be that the Westminster Confession of Faith is right when it states that God ‘freely and unchangeably ordained whatsoever comes to pass’.

And so God appoints some for eternal glory, and some for wrath and damnation.

And despite Ireland’s attempts to rough-hew the Treaty of Lisbon – that is, to express a will or make a choice on the matter – the EU has chosen it for euro-glory (or wrath and damnation, depending on one’s perspective). The intersection of national free will with the EU’s notion of fate must necessarily subsume that free will to a notion of divinity. The EU is behaving as though it were the Word in the Gospel of St John: all things are made by it, and without it is not anything made which is made.

Incredibly, though unsurprisingly, the Treaty of Lisbon continues its process of ratification throughout the erstwhile national governments of EU member states. Even Gordon Brown is continuing with the façade, despite the EU’s own rules declaring the Treaty null and void. The twelve stars are stamped upon the Republic of Ireland as indelibly as the Mark of the Beast, and without it they shall neither but nor sell.

Nothing, and certainly not something as insignificant as the express will of the people, can halt the process. It is foreordained, prophesied, set down in tablets of stone. It is as immovable as the chief cornerstone; as immutable as the words of God; as infallible as any ex cathedra pronouncement on matters of faith or morality.

The Treaty of Lisbon is revealed truth: it is definitive and binding. And in its declaration and promulgation, the European Commission is preserved from even the possibility of error as it decrees and defines. And there is even an accompanying anathema, now specifically directed at Ireland for its deliberate dissention.

No other interpretation may be placed upon the assertion of Margot Wallström that it was now for the EU’s political élite ‘to work out what the Irish people had really been voting against’.

In the words of Daniel Hannan MEP:

‘Let me help you there, Margot. My guess is that they were voting against the Lisbon Treaty. The giveaway was the ballot paper, which asked whether people agreed to amend the Irish constitution so as to, you know, approve the Lisbon Treaty…

‘But how much longer can Euro-Commissioners keep pretending that people have misunderstood the question? When the French voted “No”, it was argued that they were really voting against Chirac. When the Dutch voted “No”, it was claimed that they were really voting against Turkish accession. Do try and get it through your skulls, chaps, that people are voting against the proposition actually before them. They’ve had enough of “ever-closer union”. They’ve had enough of directives and regulations. They’ve had enough of being pushed around.

‘And – I’m sorry to have to say this, Margot – they’ve had enough of you. They’ve had enough of the EU’s politburo, with its lies and its arrogance, its corrupt expenses system, its disdain for democracy, its contempt for its own rules.’

Or is Ms Wallström suggesting that the Irish are thick?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Church of England's first ‘gay marriage’

And so it came to pass, that the Reverend Peter Cowell and the Reverend Dr David Lord entered a civil partnership. This is permitted under Church of England guidelines, provided the partners remain celibate.

But this was insufficient for these two priests, as was a post-partnership blessing. They have been married at St Bartholomew the Great -one of London's oldest churches - using a ritual taken substantially from the Book of Common Prayer. The ceremony included marriage vows, exchanging of rings, and the Eucharist. The language was, of course, slightly edited for use by two men.

The Order of Service is available here, and it is clear that this ceremony broke Church of England guidelines and was performed in defiance of the Bishop of London, in whose diocese it took place.

It was presided over by the Reverend Martin Dudley, who opened the service by saying: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God to join these men in a holy covenant of love and fidelity. Such a covenant shows us the mystery of the union between God and God's people and between Christ and the Church." In the vows, Mr Cowell and Dr Lord pledged to "hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part".

Mr Dudley blessed the union with the words: "As David and Jonathan's souls were knit together, so these men may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made."

It is evident that, to all intents and purposes, the Reverend Martin Dudley has indeed officiated over a proper wedding service - a Nuptial Mass - using the Church's traditional liturgy. And the fact that the 'marriage' was between two ordained priests makes the issue impossible to ignore on the eve of the Lambeth Conference.

The Most Rev Henry Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, said that the ceremony was ‘blasphemous’. He called on Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to take decisive action if the Anglican Church were not to ‘disintegrate’. He added: “What really shocks me is that this is happening in the Church of England that first brought the Gospel to us. The leadership tried to deny that this would happen, but now the truth is out. Our respect for the Church of England will erode unless we see a return to traditional teaching.”

Conservative MP Sir Patrick Cormack, a prominent Anglican, said: “This is extraordinary. I am surprised the rector of such an important church should act in apparent defiance of his bishop.”

But Cranmer is not remotely surprised, for this is the Church of England.

And he shall be just as unsurprised when the Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury say nothing, and do even less.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

EU scrutinises ‘malicious bloggers’

Cranmer has suspected for some time that he is being ‘monitored’. Whenever he posts on matters relating to the EU, he sometimes receives emails with rebuttal or correction, and, on occasion, these have come directly (and promptly) from report authors or MEPs. One can only conclude that the search engines of Brussels are programmed to detect certain topics or to scrutinise certain bloggers.

So it ought to come as no surprise that a report for the Culture Committee of the European Parliament – ‘On concentration and pluralism in the media in the European Union’ - notes that there is ‘a minority with malicious intentions or hidden agendas’, and that these ‘pose a danger’. Interestingly, the link to the Parliament’s article coving this has already been ‘corrected’, so some of these quotations are no longer visible.

The report, drafted by Estonian Socialist Marianne Mikko, calls for ‘a voluntary code to identify the interests of the authors, clarification of their legal status and an ombudsman to guarantee media freedom’. As Bruno Waterfield observes in The Daily Telegraph: ‘“Hidden agenda” is code here for not trusting people to be able to judge for themselves over arguments put forward by others. It also tends to be the cry from those who are less than sure about being to carry the debate themselves. They think we are stupid and that those who disagree with their world view are malicious and dangerous.’

Ironically, the report warns against the concentration of media in the hands of a few companies and says that the media is vital to safeguarding democracy.

Since when has the EU actually done anything to safeguard democracy?

Ms Mikko said: "The blogosphere has so far been a haven of good intentions and relatively honest dealing. However, with blogs becoming commonplace, less principled people will want to use them."

People who hold opinions contrary to hers, perhaps?

Asked if she considered bloggers to be ‘a threat’, she said, "We do not see the bloggers as a threat. They are in position, however, to considerably pollute cyberspace. We already have too much spam, misinformation and malicious intent in cyberspace." She added, "I think the public is still very trusting towards blogs, it is still seen as sincere. And it should remain sincere. For that we need a quality mark, a disclosure of who is really writing and why."

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, a German Liberal (!) who advised on the report, said: “Bloggers cannot automatically be considered a threat, but imagine pressure groups, professional interests or any other groups using blogs to pass on their message. Blogs are powerful tools, they can represent an advance form of lobbyism, which in turn can be seen as a threat." He continued: "Any blogger representing or expressing more than their personal view should be affected by this report."

God forbid that any pressure group (Greenpeace? UKIP? The Church?) might use blogs to disseminate its message.

Since when has one needed permission from the State to express more than one’s personal view? Are we about to surrender the freedom to blog to the EU’s licensing authorities? Will Euroblogs become the only permitted mechanism for placing information in the public domain? Goebbels would take great pride in this control of information and public opinion, for bloggers who are deemed to incite hatred against the EU will most likely be classified as terrorists, with terrorism now defined succinctly as 'acts which seriously affect the political, economic or social structures of a country or organisation governed by public international law.'

So, the EU is concerned about certain ‘pressure groups’ who may wish to disseminate ‘their message’, and this may be seen as ‘a threat’. And there must be ‘disclosure of who is really writing and why’. And when these criteria are fulfilled, the blogger will be issued with an EU ‘quality mark’ in order that he or she may continue blogging to their heart’s content.

Cranmer can hardly wait to see if his august blog shall be awarded such a mark, which he would be proud to display amongst his other awards and honours, if only as a perpetual reminder of the identity of Caesar - his temporal sovereign, lord and master.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ireland votes ‘No’! - Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

Today, Cranmer is Irish. He is delighted. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man certainly availethed very much indeed, even when pitted against the colossal spiritual and political influence of the Holy See. Plucky little Ireland, the only country in the EU to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, has rejected it, and has done so convincingly. This latest rebuff follows two years of ‘reflection’ after the peoples of France and Holland rejected the Treaty’s previous incarnation, the Constitution for Europe. And, according to reports, Brussels has no Plan B, and so the EU is plunged into turmoil and chaos.

Interestingly, rural and working-class people voted ‘No’ in considerably higher numbers than the professional middle class, and even the arch-Europhile Bertie Ahern's own constituency turned in a resounding ‘No’. He is probably now regretting his resignation. The Fine Gael sex advertisements backfired spectacularly, just as Cranmer thought they would, with the constituency of its leader, Enda Kenny, producing a firm 60-40 ‘No’ vote.

Various reasons are already being adduced for the failure of the ‘Yes’ campaign – a low turn-out, political sleaze, and (the old chestnut) ‘many voters seem to have voted No for the simple reason that they did not understand the treaty’.

But while the fireworks and bonfires are burning in celebration, and Mr Fawkes is ladling champagne down his throat, let us not forget that we have been here before.

Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty, but this was deemed to be the wrong answer, and so the Danish people had to be asked again (and again) before they produced the correct answer. Belgium suspended democracy altogether in order to impose treaties and qualify for EMU by decree. And the brave and noble Irish dared to reject the Treaty of Nice, only to find that they too had given the wrong answer and so had to be asked again.

Plan B exists and it always has.

Every single provision within the Treaty of Lisbon will proceed apace, for many of them were already doing so even before the Treaty had been ratified by any national parliament. We already have Eurojust, a Human Rights Agency, a European Armaments Agency, an External Borders Agency, and a developing worldwide diplomatic corps complete with EU embassies. There is now no legal basis for these, and so they should all be disbanded. But they shall not be.

Already, there is talk of a ‘bridging mechanism’ to accommodate Ireland’s ‘No’ while the rest march on inexorably and proceed unhindered towards creating a Europe which is a ‘brighter, fairer, equal place to work and to live.

This is indeed government by divine right, and the infallible assertions of teleology are grotesque and offensive to all true democrats.

Pope wades in to Irish EU referendum

While other media outlets report either ‘neutrally’ that the ‘Pope hails Irish role in Europe’, or rather more provocatively that ‘Ex-Nazi supports Irish “Yes”’, Cranmer is content with the colloquial neutrality of intervention. Pope Benedict XVI is evidently following the example set by his predecessor Pope John Paul II. Just as His late Holiness gave many coded pronouncements on his support for the EU, so His present Holiness is lending his considerable religio-political weight to the Treaty of Lisbon.

Since World War II, each pope has thrown his weight behind moves toward the creation of a supra-national European union. Pope John XXIII insisted that Roman Catholics should be ‘in the front ranks’ of the unification effort. When Pope John Paul II began the process of beatification of the EU’s ‘Founding Fathers’, it was a move clearly designed to sway Europe’s (then) 200 million Roman Catholics into believing that the EU is a project both designed and approved by God. It has taken a German pope to revive the Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanicae, and since the Empire needs an Emperor, it comes as no surprise that the Vatican is supporting the creation of such an office, effectively fulfilling a function last performed by Pope Clement VII in 1530.

While visiting Austria in 1983, Pope John Paul II spoke out against the ‘national and artificial borders’ all over Europe. He added: ‘Europeans should overcome the menacing international confrontations of states and alliances, and create a new united Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.’ In 1988, he continued this theme when he addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg; an occasion at which many asked why a perceived spiritual leader was addressing the issues of political unity. The Sunday Telegraph (25 August 1991) summed up his plans for the ‘evangelisation’ of Europe, stating: ‘He is calmly preparing to assume the mantle which he solemnly believes to be his Divine Right - that of new Holy Roman Emperor, reigning from the Urals to the Atlantic.’

And so when Pope Benedict XVI chooses the eve of the Irish referendum to praise an Irish monk by the name of St Columbanus, the speech would not have been accidental. Indeed, the attempt to influence the outcome is rather shameless.

St Columbanus was an Irish monk born in 543 who travelled to Europe to spread Christianity. He was zealously orthodox, and wrote to Pope Gregory I: ‘We Irish, though dwelling at the far ends of the earth, are all disciples of St. Peter and St. Paul... Neither heretic, nor Jew, nor schismatic has ever been among us; but the Catholic Faith, just as it was first delivered to us by yourselves, the successors of the Apostles, is held by us unchanged... we are bound to the Chair of Peter, and although Rome is great and renowned, through that Chair alone is she looked on as great and illustrious among us... On account of the two Apostles of Christ, you (the Pope) are almost celestial, and Rome is the head of the whole world, and of the Churches.’

And so Pope Benedict XVI describes Columbanus as one of the founding ‘Fathers of Europe’. He ‘spent all his energies to nourish the Christian roots of the nascent Europe. With his spiritual strength, with his faith, with his love of God and neighbour, he became one of the Fathers of Europe, showing us today the way to those roots from which our continent may be reborn’. The Pope lauds him as a great Irishman and an early advocate of European unity.

Well, rather later advocates of European unity include Napoleon and Hitler, so being an advocate of European Union is not a noble pursuit in itself. And yet it is deemed sufficiently righteous to make one a ‘European saint’.

According to the BBC, the Pope is ‘close to the Catholic archbishop of Dublin Diarmaid Martin’, who is ‘likely to have briefed the Vatican on the referendum’. While the corporation is cautious about admitting that this has anything to do with the Pope's speech about Irish missionaries' historic role in Europe - just as the country's people determine the future shape of Europe in the referendum – they note that it ‘is probably a Vatican decision likely to remain behind closed doors’.

As Dr Richard North observes, it ‘seems the Vatican and the EU have a lot in common’.

And this has been previously stated by Lord Shore of Stepney, who observed in his book Separate Ways:

…part of the whole mystique of Community Law is its textual incomprehensibility, its physical dispersal, its ambivalence and its dependence upon ultimate clarification by the European Court of Justice: and the Brussels Commission and their long-serving, often expert officials are, in interpreting and manipulating all this, like a priestly caste - similar to what it must have been in pre-Reformation days, when the Bible was in Latin, not English; the Pope, his cardinals and bishops decided the content of canon law and the message came down to the laymen, only when the Latin text was translated into the vernacular by the dutiful parish priest.

It comes as no surprise that the Irish Roman Catholic hierarchy, although stopping short of directing its congregations on how to vote, issued a statement last month which was widely seen as supportive of the treaty. The BBC notes: ‘It urged voters not to register a protest vote and condemned groups spreading "false information", a regular jibe by the "yes" campaign used against their opponents in the "no" camp. Those who seek to influence the outcome of the referendum either by offering misleading or patently incorrect advice or by introducing extraneous factors into the debate, ought to be condemned.’

And so His Holiness affirms the anathema and perpetuates the dogma that on the seventh day God created the EU. This is curious, given that it is a distinctly secular, utterly Godless and increasingly anti-Christian construct which is antithetical to all that St Columbanus might have held dear.

But God forbid that men of God might be accused of spreading ‘false information’, or offering ‘misleading or patently incorrect advice’.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

David Davis resigns…

…and deflects all primary media attention away from the Irish referendum and rather more important matters relating to the EU.

It is, apparently, in protest at the Government’s plans to detain potentially innocent people for up to 42 days. Cranmer also opposes this, but the House of Commons voted on the matter, and the Conservative Party lost. In a representative democracy, that is how things go. You win some, and you lose some.

But Cranmer is truly baffled.

While His Grace has a certain penchant for martyrs and martyrdom, and rejoices with any politician who makes a moral stand based on conviction, it is not entirely clear what Mr Davis will achieve by this. He is highly likely to be re-elected, and so there will neither loss nor gain on the Opposition benches. He is unlikely to be re-appointed as Shadow Home Secretary, so he has sacrificed his position in the Shadow Cabinet in order to protest against Labour's authoritarian legislation which the Conservatives are, in any case, pledged to repeal if they win the next General Election. Certainly, the issue will be kept to the media fore a little more, but nothing can change until the Prime Minister goes to the country.

In his statement, David Davis invoked Magna Carta and protested at the erosion of the ancient rights and liberties of the British people. And he questioned the legality of the vote in the House to curtail those liberties.

Cranmer does not mean to be dense, but if 42-day detention without charge is worth resigning over, why was not 28? And, more importantly, why was the lack of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty a fortiori not worth taking a principled stand and resigning over?

Are there not rather more ancient rights and liberties being eroded through ‘ever closer union?
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