Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baroness Thatcher grants an audience to Pope Benedict XVI

The world’s greatest living Conservative politician has met with one of the world’s greatest conservative theologians. Not, Cranmer hastens to add, as a prelude to conversion: indeed, Carla Powell, who organised the meeting, said: “I think there is more chance of Pope Benedict becoming a Methodist than Baroness Thatcher converting to Rome.”

Margaret Thatcher remains as devout a Methodist as John and Charles Wesley were dedicated Tories. And, unlike Tony Blair, she did not presume to proffer advice on how His Holiness ought to run The Vatican or adapt his theology to accommodate the tastes and fashions of the modern era. From reports, the principal topic of conversation appears to have been her endorsement of a Gordon Brown policy.

No, Baroness Thatcher has not lost her marbles. She simply reiterated the Prime Minister’s invitation for His Holiness to visit the United Kingdom. In an election year, this would be very useful to him, if only so he could bask in a little reflected (though quite undeserved) glory. The ‘feel-good’ effects of a Papal visit coinciding with the imminent beatification of Cardinal Newman may persuade thousands of disaffected and disillusioned Roman Catholics to return to the Labour fold.

One hopes and prays their discernment might be greater.

Being female and heretic ‘separated brethren’, the Baroness wore the customary black, just as she did when, as Leader of the Opposition, she met Pope Paul VI in 1977 and, later as Prime Minister, with Pope John Paul II in 1980. In the latter, she found an anti-Communist soul-mate who also sought political and economic liberation for Eastern Europe. With Ronald Reagan, they constituted the Western triumvirate responsible for the reunification of Europe and the era of glasnost and perestroika. And so the Baroness paid homage, laying a wreath of white roses on the tomb of John Paul II with a card which said: ‘To a man of faith and courage’.

For without faith, nothing is attainable in the religio-political realm. And without courage, there is no leadership to political enlightenment or spiritual salvation.

The world needs more of such as these, for ‘greatness’ has faded in the tediously interminable age of theological compromise and political mediocrity.


Blogger Gnostic said...

It's sad to see Margaret Thatcher looking so old and frail. We need her strength, her dignity, her conviction and her courage right now.

Instead all we have is Cameron, God help us.

28 May 2009 at 09:45  
Anonymous upbeatskeptic said...

I think you're quite right about the New Labour creation of a specifically 'Catholic vote', but I also wonder if they have not also created, through their aggressive secular value-neutral approach (which actually means anti-majority), a 'religious vote' in general. The CofE's stance on various issues does mean that this latter voting bloc is a lot less idenfitiable than the Catholic one, whose central and generally non-negotiable tenets have been slowly assaulted by NL, but I think both are beginning to rumble into action. The question is, of course, where do they go? I see no natural home for them en masse, and so it might often boil down to the individual convictions of individual MPs in particular constituencies. This will make the selection process alot more interesting...

28 May 2009 at 09:45  
Blogger Demetrius said...

A Methodist Pope, now there's a wonderful thought. Blow Ye The Trumpet Blow.

28 May 2009 at 10:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This pope is a heretic and an anti-pope according to this web site

28 May 2009 at 10:36  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

"Baroness Thatcher grants an audience to Pope Benedict XVI" -- an inspired title, Your Grace.

Old and frail she may be, but she's still getting around and talking to the right people. In fact she's only a year and a half older than the Pope.

28 May 2009 at 12:56  
Anonymous the lord chancellor said...

"Margaret Thatcher remains as devout a Methodist as John and Charles Wesley were dedicated Tories."

actually she has converted to the established church of england, your grace

28 May 2009 at 13:20  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Lord Chancellor,

You will find that there was no conversion to be had. Folowing the Anglican-Methodist Covenant of 2003, the Methodists were essentially re-absorbed into the Church of England. John Wesley famously declared: "I live and die a member of the Church of England."

28 May 2009 at 13:44  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

To the extent that the C of E follows the “leadership” of the present incumbent at the See of Canterbury, it is on the cards that before long it will simply implode and that the surviving rump will be taken under the accommodating wing of the Vatican. It would be “essentially reabsorbed”, in Your Grace’s apt turn of phrase.

28 May 2009 at 14:35  
Anonymous the lord chancellor said...

Your Grace, you'll find that the covenant you refer to was signed between the Church of England and the 'Methodist Church of Great Britain', which represents more than just England. If what you say is correct, does this mean my Methodist aunt in Glasgow is now 'essentially' a member of the Church of England?

28 May 2009 at 14:57  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Lord Chancellor,

In this age of ecumenical cooperation and compromise, your Methodist aunt in Glasgow is essentially free to be whatever she wishes.

The point His Grace was making was that no 'conversion' (as you said) was necessary for Baroness Thatcher since there was no repudiation of previously-held beliefs, no development in doctrine and no formal 'reception'.

28 May 2009 at 15:59  
Anonymous the lord chancellor said...

Very interesting, Your Grace.

And might I add that Pope Benedict looks rather dashing in his cappello romano. If your anti-papalist sentiments ever abate to the extent that you might consider investing in one yourself, I know a good tailor that you could sort you out. I think you'd look rather sophisticated with one, Your Grace, but perhaps it's a bit too 'continental' for your more Anglocentric tastes.

28 May 2009 at 16:14  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Lord Chancellor,

His Grace is curious that you profess to have discerned 'anti-papalist sentiments' in his post.

Is it simply that, being a convicted Anglican, he is not permited even to comment upon matters Roman Catholic without being so accused?

28 May 2009 at 16:27  
Anonymous jeremy hyatt said...

This is all very well but why is the Pope wearing a comedy hat?

28 May 2009 at 16:44  
Anonymous the lord chancellor said...

"And as for the Pope, I refuse him as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist, with all his false doctrine"

It would take sophistry of gargantuan magnitudes to explain that as being inconsonant with my earlier assessment. I await to hear it with the greatest impatience.

28 May 2009 at 16:50  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Lord Chancellor,

Ah, His Grace thought you were referring to his present blog post, not his historic declaration at the stake when things got a bit hot.

He could, however, enter into a philosophical exploration of the terms 'refuse', 'enemy' and 'false', and a theological exposition of 'Antichrist' and doctrine'. But he cannot be bothered. He is presently pondering upon what matter he shall feed his flock tomorrow.

This, you will agree, is far more important than sophistry of any magnitude.

28 May 2009 at 17:06  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Very poigniant post your grace and reminds me of how only the few really get to discerne and enlighten on the true purpose of power.

28 May 2009 at 17:24  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

It is indeed sad to see Margaret Thatcher looking so old and frail.

Eheu fugaces labuntur anni

28 May 2009 at 19:31  
Anonymous Sandy Jamieson said...

Why did she wear black and wear a veil when meeting the anti-Christ?

28 May 2009 at 23:06  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

Strange garb for a Methodist!

And Sandy Jamieson? I bet you are in fine fettle as an upright example of Christian charity!

29 May 2009 at 00:02  
Anonymous churchmouse said...

Sandy Jamieson - English ladies of state always dress like that when they meet el papa: it's tradition; something the mods don't understand. We used to consider that sort of thing a mark of respect to the host culture. I love it that even an Icon of Feminism is still courteous enough to cover her hair, so elegantly, in the Patristic Presence!!!

papa's titfer must also be some sort of trad. Seems to me in danger of making a travesty of the colour symbolism, though...

29 May 2009 at 01:23  
Blogger Manfarang said...

A Malaysian court refused to let the Roman Catholic Church use the word "Allah" even temporarily,upholding a government ban that has become a symbol of religious tensions in the Muslim-majority country.
Christian groups say the ban is unconstituitional,arguing that the word "Allah" predates Islam.
The High Court rejected an appeal by the church's main publication in Malaysia,the Herald,to have the ban suspended while waiting for a court decision on the ban's legality,said Herald lawyer Porres Royan.The High Court will hear the Herald's original appeal against the 2007 ban starting on July 7.
Mr Royan said the court ruled yesterday that suspending the ban would contravene the laws of some states that impose similar bans.
Bangkok Post 28/5/09

29 May 2009 at 06:25  
Anonymous len said...

The pope knows all about theological compromise as he and the catholic church are world leaders in it!
I did not like M Thatchers policies but admired her determination and her courage and she certainly stood up for what she believed in.

29 May 2009 at 08:08  
Blogger Murray said...

The Lady's reputation may precede her, but was the bishop's bull-fighting outfit entirely appropriate?

29 May 2009 at 10:02  
Anonymous John Malcolmson said...


MT an icon of feminism? I don't think so. Most self-respecting feminists loathe her. They loathe her for the simple reason that she proved that a woman doesn't have to be a feminist to reach the highest pinnacles of success.

Or perhaps you meant an icon of femininity? She was certainly that in her younger days, but such a description would do rather a disservice to her other formidable talents, don't you think?

29 May 2009 at 14:25  
Blogger ZZMike said...

"It's sad to see Margaret Thatcher looking so old and frail."

It is gentle reminder that age comes to us all. But I think that's what Ultramontane said. What matters is what we do in between.

The sedevacantists among us (Anonymous, Sandy, &c) are beating a tin drum. Tinkling brass and all that. The brothers Dimond (not brothers in any religious sense) are misguided lost souls. They are, however, evidently making a good living selling books and videos promoting their nonsense.

In a recent radio interview, they claimed that UFOs carry not aliens from Out There, but demons.

29 May 2009 at 16:14  
Blogger UKViewer said...

I am delighted to see Margaret Thatcher receive so much good press, with the destruction of her reputation and achievements daily in the left wing media.

You may not have agreed with all that she did - but you had to admire her ability to get things done and to stick with things when the going got rough.

Sadly, she was let down in the end by weaker individuals within her own party without her breadth of vision and political nous to tread the hard path.

Second to Churchill, she was the next greatest PM and Politician of the 20th Century. A giant among pygmies.

29 May 2009 at 18:42  
Anonymous churchmouse said...

John Malcolmson - I stand corrected, you probably understand feminists better than I do: I'm up to my ears in trouble because I refuse to be one!! It's 'expected,' you see, (especially among Marxists).

So I suppose MT is another reason why I've no common ground with them on anything!! But I think if feminists don't admire her, they should - precisely because she was both feminine and formidable.

I also disagreed with her on some things (e.g. poll tax; and I thought her regality a bit of a pain - for a grocer's daughter); but in comparison to most of our other politicians she is, as UKV says, "a giant among pygmies."

30 May 2009 at 05:45  
Blogger Nancy said...

Your Grace,

These are indeed two great souls. The picture is now the background on my computer.

Thank you,

A Young American Reader

31 May 2009 at 09:27  
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19 June 2009 at 16:05  

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