Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come!

Europe and the Faith
November 23, 2014, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Opinion

I have recently been reading “The Great and Holy War”, by Philip Jenkins. Its subtitle is, “How World War I changed religion for ever.” Much of it makes for very sad reading, and much greatly illuminates some of our contemporary problems- with militant Islam, for instance. I thoroughly recommend this book. Two rather small signs of hope struck me. In the concluding section, Jenkins suggests that while Western academics seem to take it for granted that as the world modernises, so religion fades away; nevertheless on a global scale such a process is by no means apparent. In the global picture, secular Europe looks like an exceptional case. “Secularization, in fact, looks less like an inevitable component of social development than a transient historical phase that was particularly convincing and widespread during the quarter century or so after the Second World War.”

EUflagThe other (to my mind) sign of hope is his account of the European Union flag. When the Council of Europe designed it, he says, the designer deliberately chose an image drawn from the book of Revelation. The twelve stars on a blue ground, in the context of the 1950s, was a conscious evocation of Our Lady, for a generation whose consciousness had been formed in 1916 and 1917 (the year of Fatima). It was formally adopted on December 8, 1955. “Not surprisingly,” he adds, “given its secular colouring, the modern-day EU strives to dismiss the Marian connection as an embarrassing myth, but the iconographic evidence leaves no doubt of the original intention.” The great architects of European Union, Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Alcide De Gasperi, were all devout Catholic Christians, and their experience of two European and World Wars spurred their sense of urgency for a new order. It is not hard to believe that they, at least implicitly, wished to place the new enterprise under the protection of the Blessed Mother.

In this light, the progress of a narrow and mean-minded nationalism in these islands is depressing. However, on the morrow of the Rochester and Strood by-election, I am rash enough to make predictions for next May’s General Election.

1. UKIP with its working-class appeal will damage Labour chances at least as much as Conservative. Those who would die rather than vote Tory will see UKIP as a viable option, given disillusionment with the Labour leadership.
2. The SNP will also damage Labour in Scotland: thus both (admittedly very different) Nationalist movements should worry Mr Miliband.
3. The Conservative party cannot be complacent. It will lose votes to UKIP, but probably not that many seats.
4. The Lib Dems will lose votes, but again not necessarily seats: but where they do, they will tend to lose them to the Conservatives, offsetting Tory losses elsewhere.
5. Result: another hung Parliament, and an unpredictable future government make-up.

I am now too old to worry much. I remain unashamedly a one-nation pro-European Conservative, and my most admired leaders have been Edward Heath (another Christian European) and John Major. So sucks!

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Comment by st ags

Hello would you mind advertising our Portsmouth Ordinariate blog? Lots of photos available of the Christmas Day Mass. Thanks

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