Thursday, 30 October 2014

Father Ed's Blog: Projecting Onto Papa

Father Ed's Blog: Projecting Onto Papa

'Through such suggestion the world attempts to paint the Pope into their corner. Then hopefully, swayed by all the adulation and headlines he will be a good boy and embrace the thinking of the world. And to be fair the pressure to do so must be enormous. Who would want the alternative. The vile sneers and lies that were ever spoken about dear Pope Benedict?

The point here is not, of course, to suggest Pope Francis doesn’t care deeply about people outside the church or, in his words, who are in need of the field hospital. He does. As do all who are Christian if living in accord with God’s will. The point is that this compassion and desire for mercy is not going to lead to a changing of Catholic teaching. Not least because such teaching is not a hostile list of rules intended to damage people, but an attempt to convey truth that leads to a fullness of life, a more humanising vision.

It has all happened before of course. In the 1960’s the world played the same game with Pope Paul VI. And everyone was certain, absolutely certain, that a relaxing of teaching regarding artificial contraception was around the corner…but instead the Pope produced Humane Vitae- that prophetic document cementing Catholic teaching. He was hated for it and never recovered from the ensuing nastiness. But he stood firm and proved himself a true son of the church.'

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

God Without Parts, by James E. Dolezal

James E. Dolezal, God Without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God's Absoluteness, 2011 Pickwick Publications

"The Doctrine of Divine Simplicity has no shortage of detractors in the modern philosophical-theological millieu. Indeed, its austere and sometimes shocking demands grate against the modern proclivity for a God that is more easily understood, more manageble, more like us."

So writes James Dolezal in his conclusion to God Without Parts. This is a fantastic summary of what is wrong with so much Evangelical thinking about God these days. Most Evangelicals want a warm cuddly God who is like us. Hence, all those cold philosophical attributes that used to be so important to theologians get jettisoned. The Doctrine of Divine Simplicity is simply too philosophical, too abstract, too difficult and too irrelevant for today's Christians. Yet in the first chapter of this book, Dolezal demonstrates the importance of this doctrine in both Catholic and Reformed thought.

This is a book aimed at Evangelical readers and so Dolezal understandably spends some time surveying critics of Divine Simplicity within Evangelicalism. The main figures he mentions are Alvin Plantinga, John Feinberg and Ronald Nash. Dolezal argues that the common error of these theologians is an ontological univocism; regarding the Creator as though he differed from his creation only by greater degrees. In contrast the advocates of Divine Simplicity regard God as being fundamentally unlike created beings.

Dolezal argues that the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity is essential to undergirding key attributes of God. God's Aseity, Unity, Infinity, Immutability and Eternity are all compromised if Divine Simplicity is denied. Furthermore the doctrine also establishes the absoluteness of God's existence in contrast to the contingency of created beings.

The author deals with a number of objections to the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity. The most troubling of these is the argument that it entails the denial of divine freedom. Dolezal responds to this by arguing that divine freedom cannot be seen in terms of counter-factual choices, but must be seen in terms of the absoluteness of the divine will. This may be a little troubling for those like me who believe in libertarian free-will, but he makes a strong case for this as part of his defense of Divine Simplicity.

The foreword by veteran philosophical theologian Paul Helm briefly says a little about the Trinity. The main text of the book, however, does not address the Trinity at all. I was a little disappointed by this. I understand why the doctrine of the Trinity is in harmony with Divine Simplicity, but as the Trinity is sometimes raised as an objection, it would have been helpful of Dolezal to say a little about this. It would also have been interesting to have some consideration of whether the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity has any implications for other doctrines and also for Biblical hermeneutics.

This is a difficult book to understand in places, but it deals with a difficult, but vital doctrine.

BBC News: SNP's Sturgeon says UK withdrawal from EU 'must have' four nation backing

BBC News: SNP's Sturgeon says UK withdrawal from EU 'must have' four nation backing

David Cameron has promised a referendum on EU membership if the Conservatives win next May's General Election.

At prime minister's questions, Mr Cameron insisted any vote would be decided by a UK-wide majority.

In response to a question from Conservative MP Bill Cash on Ms Sturgeon's comments, he told MPs: "We are one United Kingdom. There'll be one in/out referendum."

UKIP MEP for Scotland David Coburn said Ms Sturgeon's idea was "ridiculous".

David Coburn: "We are part of the United Kingdom. Our country is Great Britain."
Ms Sturgeon plans to write to other political parties seeking support for her idea.

Ms Sturgeon plans to write to other political parties seeking support for her idea.

She suggested that if a referendum Bill came before the House of Commons her party would table an amendment.

Nicola Sturgeon: "The UK is not a unitary state it is a family of nations."
It would require that, for the UK to leave the EU, it would need "not just a majority across the whole UK but a majority in each one of the four nations - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland".

In an interview with BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said: "If you look at states like Australia and Canada there are some circumstances where changes to their constitution requires not just a majority across the country but in each of the provinces as well.

"The UK is not a unitary state it is a family of nations, it is made up of the four home nations.

"We were told during the referendum that each of these nations had equal status, that our voices mattered.

"If that is the case I think it is right that something that would have such significant consequences for jobs, for the economy, for our standing in the world, it should require the consent of not just the UK as a whole but that family of nations."

Go for it, Nicola!

She's absolutely right. It would be monstrous if a majority of English voted to leave the EU while a majority of Welsh and Scots voted to stay. If the government are serious about maintaining the Union with Scotland, they must take Scottish views on Europe into account.

The Scots and the Welsh will never accept the grotesque Little Englander vision that Tory backbenchers and UKIP want to impose on our nation.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Daily Telegraph: If EU migration is the problem, Switzerland and Norway are not the answer

Daily Telegraph: If EU migration is the problem, Switzerland and Norway are not the answer

Article by Mats Persson

'In 2012, according to Eurostat, gross EU immigration to Switzerland was 90,107. This amounts to a gross inflow of 11.33 EU migrants per 1000 of its population. In comparison, gross EU migration to the UK was 157,554, but only at a rate of 2.48 per 1000 of its population. Norway, in the European Economic Area, also had a rate of gross EU immigration far higher than the UK, with 7.38 EU migrants per 1000 of its population.

In other words, if the UK had the same rate of EU immigration as Switzerland in 2012, the gross inflow of EU migration would have been 719,248 rather than the actual figure of 157,554. That’s just over four and a half times more.
The stocks of foreign-born people in each country tell a similar story. Both countries have higher foreign-born populations than the EU average, but Switzerland’s is much larger than the UK’s. Those born within the EU account for 15 per cent of Switzerland’s population while in the UK it is only 4.19 per cent, much closer to the EU average of 3.45 per cent.

Yes, but the point, I hear you say, is that Switzerland and Norway have much more democratic control over their immigration policy than the UK. This is only semi-true for Switzerland. And Norway, which is outside the EU but inside the European Economic Area and Schengen, arguably has less control over its borders than the UK – exactly the same free movement rules but no votes on these rules.
Switzerland is more complicated. The country is outside the EU but subject to almost the same free movement rules as the UK (via the bilateral Free Movement of Persons Agreement, which will give citizens of Bulgaria and Romania full access to the Swiss Labour market as of 31 May 2016 at the latest).'

The Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude


O God, who by the blessed Apostles have brought us to acknowledge your name, graciously grant, through the intercession of Saints Simon and Jude, that the Church may constantly grow by increase of the peoples who believe in you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

St. Jude and St. Simon, pray for us and for Iraq and Iran.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Trinity and Cerberus

In Greek mythology there was a three-headed dog dwelling in the underworld. This mythical beast is sometimes used as an analogy for the Trinity, most famously by the Evangelical apologist William Lane Craig. By this analogy, the three heads of Cerberus each has a mind or soul and is thus a person or center of consciousness. Each of these persons possess the entire body of the dog Cerberus. In the same way each of the persons of the Trinity possess the entire substance of the Godhead.

There are some who object to this analogy on the grounds that it is irreverent or blasphemous to compare God to a demonic monster from hell. I think this is being a little delicate. This is an analogy. To make analogy with a three-leafed clover as Saint Patrick did is not to say that God is like a plant. Sometimes Jehovah's Witnesses compare the Trinity to Cerberus in derision. We should avoid using the Cerberus analogy with them, as it will only confirm their conviction that the Trinity is a pagan monstrosity.

As with any Trinitarian analogy, the Cerberus model has problems. Some suggest that it implies the partialist error, that is that the members of the Trinity are parts of a divided whole. This is the main problem with the classic Shamrock. The leaves of the clover are mere parts of the whole plant, in contrast to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who each possess the entire Godhead. This is actually not a problem for the Cerberus analogy. Each of the souls or minds of Cerberus possesses the whole of Cerberus' body.

A more significant, though complex objection is in the way it understands person-hood. The Cerberus analogy as Craig outlines it, assumes a modern view of persons as 'centers of consciousness.' This is probably not how the Cappadocian Fathers who framed the orthodox understanding of the Trinity viewed personhood. They viewed persons more as relations than individual minds defined by consciousness. I don't think this is actually a substantial problem with the analogy. The analogy does not require us to personhood in those specific terms. It simply establishes a distinction between personhood and essence.

A more significant problem lies in the different nature of the substance in question. The body of Cerberus is a physical substance. The essence of God, however, is a spiritual substance and arguably equivalent to being a soul in the Cerberus analogy. It is difficult to see how the undivided essence of God would not be a center of consciousness. This is not an easy obstacle to overcome and requires us to look deeply into the inter-Trinitarian relationships, how the three persons relate to the one divine essence.

I think the real usefulness of the Cerberus analogy is as a starting point to understanding the person/ substance distinction. Your average western Christian is likely to be an unconscious modalist, who will tend to think of God as being one person. Bringing up Cerberus is a good way to explain the logical basis of distinguishing between personhood and substance.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Guardian: In his anger, Cameron has made Britain a toxic brand

Guardian: In his anger, Cameron has made Britain a toxic brand

Article by Jonathan Freedland

'Cameron crossed a red line when he demanded change to, or British exemption from, the principle of free movement of people itself. For the other 27 states, that principle – along with the free movement of capital, services and goods – is what defines the single market. Tampering with it is too high a price, even for Britain’s greatest friends.

The context is also crucial. Our European partners are not deaf. They hear the debate in this country – the way the prime minister has barely a good word to say for the EU, how he responds to the Ukip critique by agreeing with it. And those central European nations that were once such admirers of Britain – the Poles, Czechs, Bulgarians and Romanians – hear too the anti-immigrant rhetoric and conclude that we have lurched into a xenophobia that would deny their citizens a right they now cherish. Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform says Britain’s former allies are “in despair. They want to help us, they want us to stay in – but the brand is increasingly toxic.”

Cameron could have played this differently. He could have dispensed with the macho language of threat and talked instead like a man seeking a deal. He could have taken on Ukip and made the positive, if reformist, case for Europe. Instead, he has put party management first and the future of the country second. He has chosen to fight in such a way that he’s now likely to lose a battle he could have won. And it will be Britain that pays the price.'

Friday, 24 October 2014

Prayers to Mary, by Most Rev. Virgilio Noe

Most Rev. Virgilio Noe (ed.), Prayers to Mary 2007 Catholic Book Publishing Corp. New Jersey

Another excellent little book from the Catholic Book Publishing Corp.

This pocket-sized volume introduces the reader to some of the less well known Marian prayers and hymns. The average Latin-rite Catholic is not familiar with the Akathist hymns, the Marian elements of the Chaldean liturgy or the VisiGothic book of prayer, yet these are all translated and served up in Prayers to Mary, thus offering a rich sample of Marian devotion through the ages. An appendix also provides some of the more well known prayers to Mary, for those who are new to Marian devotion.

Prayers to Mary is compact and can easily be carried in one's jacket pocket or handbag. I carry mine with me in the bag I take to work.

This is a great book to expand enrich one's prayer life. My only complaint is that all the illustrations are Byzantine-style images of Mary, which rather excludes some of the rich western iconography of the Blessed Virgin. Perhaps the editors assumed that the reader would be familiar enough with western images of Our Lady.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Daily Telegraph: At this rate the rise of Ukip will keep Britain in the EU

Daily Telegraph: At this rate the rise of Ukip will keep Britain in the EU

Article by Iain Martin

'Those of us who are moderate sceptics, who could be persuaded to vote for out in a referendum for an optimistic and outward-looking alternative, want answers, not shouting. Say this to many Ukippers and they will instantly start shouting at you about treason. It as though they are incapable of grasping that to win a referendum they are going to have to calmly persuade their fellow citizens of all races, creeds and convictions.

Consider also how difficult Ukip would be for the moderate better-off-outers to handle during a referendum. Sharing a platform with people who think the Ukip Calypso is just a bit of fun (its composer Mike Read has a lot of friends in the Caribbean) would not be possible. Think what an undecided non-white British voter would make of a campaign that featured a large Ukip component. The risk for the Eurosceptics would be that the forces of Out would be divided, between sensible types on one side and shouters running their own separate campaign (splitters!) or discrediting the mainstream effort by trying to get involved.

It is not difficult to work out who would win in such a scenario. During the campaign, the British Establishment and big business would ask, with some justification and in relentlessly moderate tones, how voters could possibly put their faith in such a confused rabble. Many Britons, who do not view these matters in tribal terms and who are wary of obsessives, will think it is a very good question.'

It is becoming plain that UKIP is a blessing in disguise for us Europhiles.

Daily Telegraph: Westminster may be running scared of Ukip - but the British people aren't

Daily Telegraph: Westminster may be running scared of Ukip - but the British people aren't

Article by Dan Hodges

'Ukip have induced a from of catatonia in both the mainstream British parties. It is as if Nigel Farage has the eyes of the Medusa. Wherever he casts his gaze, mortal men turn to stone.
Politics is a contact sport. During the weekly ritual of PMQs we see both parties hurling themselves at each other like packs in a rugby scrum. They punch, they bite, they gouge. No blow is too low.

But as soon as Farage appears, they cower. To confront Ukip – to criticise them in any way – is now seen to be engaging in the act of ultimate political folly. “They just don’t get it,” Ukip’s apologists sneer. “The political establishment are just playing into their hands.” So rather than confront them, the Tories and Labour try to mimic them. Which ends with the result that we saw in Clacton, and will see again in a couple of weeks in Rochester and Strood.
Our political class does not know how to deal with Farage. So instead it will have to be left to the British people to deal with him.

Yesterday, just before the Rochester poll was released, two other polls were published. The first, produced by Ipsos MORI, revealed that support for Britain remaining in the EU is now at its highest level since 1991, with 56 per cent saying they would like stay in, compared to 36 per cent saying they wished to leave.

That’s right. Despite all the scares about armies of Polish builders and Romanian cashpoint bandits running amok on our nation’s streets – where they presumably smash holes in the walls of our banks, and then brick them up again – a growing majority of the British people want us to remain in the good old EUSSR.

The second poll was produced by ComRes, and found that Ukip have now overtaken the Tories as the party the electorate now regards as most “nasty”. Again, you’ll recall this wasn’t supposed to be happening. All the claims that Ukip was extreme and racist and homophobic and sexist were supposed to be falling on deaf ears. They were charges that resonated with the London metropolitan elite, we were told, but no one else.'

We will probably start to see an increasing public backlash against UKIP.

Daily Telegraph: Can David Cameron really get a new deal in Europe?

Daily Telegraph: Can David Cameron really get a new deal in Europe?

Article by Robert Colvile

'The problem then is that anything on that level will also have to be approved by the EU. And I don’t just mean the Council of Ministers (which is the body most likely to be on our side in all this, since it represents the EU’s nation-states). I don’t even mean the Commission and the European Parliament, who are likely to be far more hostile. I mean every other nation in Europe.
Now, the think tank Politeia – who hosted a really good discussion of this issue at the Conservative Party conference – have come up with a trick whereby we could theoretically get a new deal without changing any EU treaties (which boils down to withdrawing and then re-entering on the new terms about a minute later).

But if that won’t wash, then treaty change will be needed. And that means asking every single nation in the EU – some of them, like France, in the middle of election campaigns – whether it approves this special new deal for Britain, which gives nothing to anyone else. It’s really, really hard to imagine national parliaments endorsing that without a murmur, or a demand for their own special concessions in return – let alone those countries where this kind of thing is subject to a referendum.
In short, there are some (narrow and obstacle-strewn) paths to David Cameron getting a new deal that will be acceptable to Brussels and to the British people. We could wrap up the British deal as part of a wider restructuring of European institutions, probably triggered by a new instalment of the Eurozone crisis (fingers crossed, everyone!). We could find some sort of legal trickery that doesn’t trigger the treaty changes, and rely on the Council of Ministers to ram it down the rest of Europe’s throat.

But other than that, there seems to be a wide divide – especially now free movement has become the symbol of this whole process – between what Cameron can get and what he can sell. If anyone’s got any ideas of how to fix that, I'm all ears.'

This article makes an important point that is seldom made. The prime minister talks about the re-negotiations as though it is just a matter of arguing with continental politicians. Yet just as he is accountable to the British voters, the European politicians that he must negotiate with are answerable to their own voters. Are the people of Europe really going to give up a right and freedom that they enjoy without expecting their leaders to put up a fight or at least demand massive concessions from Britain in return?

As I said before, David Cameron is talking like Alex Salmond; he thinks negotiation means asking for what you want and getting it for nothing.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Romania Insider: Romanian PM launches new campaign theme: referendum for monarchy

Romania Insider: Romanian PM launches new campaign theme: referendum for monarchy

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who is currently running for presidency, said that he would organize a referendum on the form of government in Romania if he were to be elected President.

“I believe that, in the coming years, in Romania we should have not only a public debate, but we should also make a decision, through a referendum, on the form of government,” Ponta said on Sunday evening at local news station Romania TV.

He said that although most Romanians still favor the republic as the country’s form of government, the monarchy has become more attractive in recent years. “We should have such a referendum on the government form sometime during my mandate, maybe even by 2016,” Ponta added.

Blessed Theotokos, Queen of Heaven, pray for Romania!

A Eurosceptic admits the British People could vote to Stay In the EU

Guardian: The EU ‘outers’ must win hearts and minds in 2017

Imagine the campaign. The polls – as they currently are – hint at a knife-edge vote. Business leaders, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, some Conservatives and the European Union itself, along with heads of state and prime ministers, will warn Britain that it would be worse off out. The in campaign will be run by a consensual, passionate businessperson or statesman. They will offer guarantees of reform and their campaign will be showered with money – some of it from the EU – and use slick advertising.

The out team will be very different, with no leader who commands popular support. Before you can even make the case for Britain becoming a mid-Atlantic economic hub, freed from the shackles of Brussels diktats, the Eurosceptics will be all over the place. No clear leader, and angry looking grey men who have been arguing the toss on Europe for years, will fail to impress. Yes, Nigel Farage is clearly the most charismatic Eurosceptic in years, but does anyone really imagine Farage being the Alex Salmond of the out campaign? Would he be persuasive enough to seduce a nation?

It couldn’t be a Conservative MP because Ukip wouldn’t buy in; nor, for that matter, would the Eurosceptic left – remember, the late Bob Crow was an “outer” too. The campaign could only be won if a credible and different type of head could be found. I have no doubt that the argument can be won, but perceptions are crucial, and credibility more so when shaping our future.

When the SNP won their election in 2011, the Scottish referendum campaign had been long in the planning. It was clear that Salmond and his deputy had the credibility to lead a very strong, and uniting, positive campaign.

Both the Scottish and the 2011 AV campaign need to be scrutinised carefully by Eurosceptics. May 2017 is not very far away and the bulk of the Europe-out campaign could not be more split. Those who want to leave the EU need to think carefully about how a campaign is crafted, how it may be led and by whom. And for businesses, Scotland was almost a rehearsal of how they could use their sway in shaping public opinion.

Article by Michael Fabricant

I don't agree with his support for 'Brexit,' but he's right; the Out campaign would have a struggle.

Of course, once the British people vote to stay in the EU, UKIP will be doomed to political irrelevance.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Hail Holy Queen, by Scott Hahn

Scott Hahn, Haily Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God, 2001 Darton, Longman and Todd, London

Good choice of title! I love the Salve Regina prayer. It has become very dear to me and I say it not only after the rosary, but after morning and evening prayer as well.

I bought this book some time after I decided I wanted to cross the Tiber. It looked like a useful book for developing an informed Marian faith. Some Evangelical converts to Rome struggle with Marian devotiion. Scott Hahn's wife Kimberly was unwilling to say the Hail Mary for a while, even after converting. That was not my experience. As a Protestant fundamentalist, I had swallowed all that nonsense about Mary being a Babylonian goddess, but deep down I felt a guilty attraction to Marian devotion. When I started attending Catholic mass, I said the Hail Mary with passion and gusto.

In this book, Scott Hahn demonstrates that Catholic teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary is not a set of man-made traditions but has foundations in the Bible. He makes extensive use of Scriptural references and quotations to show the Biblical origin of Mariology. No doubt obstinate Protestant critics will not be convinced by his arguments, but those open to the correction of Catholic teaching and tradition will be encouraged and enlightened to see the Scriptural roots of these doctrines. In the final chapter the author tells a lovely story about an incident after his conversion in which he was challenged to defend the doctrine of the Assumption.

Scott Hahn includes an appendix on the subject of the rosary. He offers much encouragement to persist in this theologically rich devotional practice. He recommends the use of Scriptural readings as a means of enhancing one's engagement with the rosary meditations.

This book is a vital resource for those new to Catholicism, but will probably be of benefit to cradle Catholics too.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Guardian: On immigration, David Cameron has joined Ukip’s paranoia bandwagon

Guardian: On immigration, David Cameron has joined Ukip’s paranoia bandwagon

Article by Suzanne Moore

'Let’s be dead clear here: since 2004, when lots of workers from the new EU member states came in because at that point our economy was doing well, a new anti-immigrant conversation became “permissible”. As many newcomers were white, anti-immigrant views were no longer simply racist.

This does not mean they were, or are particularly rational. If they were, places with the highest immigration would be more likely to fall for Ukip, and this isn’t what is happening. Clacton, for instance, has 4.3% of its population born abroad (the UK average is one in eight) and most of key Ukip seats have lower foreign-born populations than the national average. To spell it out, those most worried about immigration live in areas of low immigration.

So what we have is a lack of reason at the bottom, replicated stupidly at the top. When immigration becomes the repository for all kinds of anxiety, the delusions multiply. Entire towns are not racist, indeed Clacton actually voted for a good constituency MP. But Clacton is depressed economically, as is Thanet, where Farage will stand. The coastal towns have long been dumping grounds for London to use up their cheap housing. I come from 80 miles away from London and it still feels far away in time and place.

What Ukip has done is turn multiple anxieties into nostalgia. It is a party that contests modernity in all its present forms: that’s why it can’t do cities, only market towns. It cannot deliver the past for it is not even truthful. The past it seeks to reinstall is imaginary, but the imagination is powerful for those who feel powerless.'

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Counterrevolutionary and Royal Army of America: The Divine Right of the Monarch

The Counterrevolutionary and Royal Army of America: The Divine Right of the Monarch

The Divine Right to rule does not mean, as so many assume it does, that a Monarch is free to “act divine.” The Divine Right to rule means quite the opposite. It means that the “right to rule is divinely ordained,” or, to put it another way, the “right to rule comes from God.” Therefore, the Monarch has an enormous responsibility to rule in fairness and justice, with a love for his or her people that resembles the love of a father or mother for their children. The subjects, in turn, look to their King and Queen as “father and mother” of their kingdom. The Monarch knows that he or she will be judged by God regarding their rule.

“The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.” The Lord may revoke the right to rule for an unworthy Monarch. The will of Our Lord would be made manifest through the Church, notably the Pope, who could rule that an unworthy Monarch has no more right to rule. The people would no longer be bound in loyalty to their Monarch and could seek a more worthy ruler under the guidance of the Pope.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1988 Catholic Publishing Corp. N.J.

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a liturgy of daily prayers with a strongly Marian emphasis. It originated in the 8th century in monastic devotion. It is an alternative to the Liturgy of the Hours and has sometimes been discouraged in favour of that daily office.

Each day in the Little Office has a particular Marian theme:

Sunday: Mother of the Church
Monday: Immaculate Conception
Tuesday: Annunciation
Wednesday: Visitation to St. Elizabeth
Thursday: Birth of our Lord
Friday: Sorrowful Mother
Saturday: Assumption

The modern version I use is the Catholic Publishing Corp. edition. Unfortunately it uses modern English and the undignified New American Bible. However, it is still rich in theological depth, which is why I love this prayer book. An edition in more archaic language is published by Baronius, but it is a lot more expensive. The Catholic Publishing Corp. is cheap with an attractive immitation leather cover. The binding feels a little weak, however.

As well as morning and evening prayers for each day, this Little Office contains prayers for mid-morning, midday and mid-afternoon, as well as an office of night prayer. Several general prayers to Our Lady are included in the appendix, as well as the Litany of the Blessed Virgin and the Litany of Loreto.

I very much prefer the Little Office to the Liturgy of the Hours and I regularly use it in my own devotions. I love the Marian emphasis and the rich theology.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Eclectic Orthodoxy: The God of Regret versus the God of the Bible

Eclectic Orthodoxy: The God of Regret versus the God of the Bible

'My question is this: Does the God of the Bible in fact regret decisions he has made? I immediately concede that in some of the biblical stories, the story of Noah being the most notable, the narrated God most certainly does second-guess himself. “I sure blundered making man. Time to reboot.” But do these stories authorize us to infer that the God of the Bible actually regrets decisions he has made? If we interpret these stories along such literalistic lines, how are we any different from the ancient pagans who told their stories of Zeus, Athena, and Ares? Are we not reducing God to a god?

Those of us who cut our theological eye-teeth on narrative theology (think Robert Jenson, Jürgen Moltmann, George Lindbeck, Hans Frei, Ronald Thiemann—just to name those who influenced the younger me) will immediately insist that the narrated God is the God of the Christian gospel. How could he not be? Don’t the stories about God precede all subsequent philosophical reflection? Isn’t the economic Trinity identical to the immanent Trinity? Let’s not confuse the Scriptural rendering of the living God with the static deity of Greek philosophy! Underlying all of this is the grand narrative that the Church Fathers corrupted the biblical understanding of divinity. Instead of the God of Greek philosophy getting Christianized, the God of the Bible got Hellenized.

But what if this grand narrative is wrong or at least in need of drastic qualification? The great Church historian Jaroslav Pelikan certainly thought it was. And what if the Church Fathers in fact Christianized not only Hellenistic divinity but also the naïve anthropomorphic understanding of the narrated God?'

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Daily Telegraph: Catholic synod: ugly and misrepresented. But nothing will change, thank God

Daily Telegraph: Catholic synod: ugly and misrepresented. But nothing will change, thank God

Thankfully, change will not occur in the case of the Catholic Church because change would imply past error and error calls into question the entire doctrine of Catholicism – and that is something that the Church would, obviously, never countenance. There's a good chance that once this storm has passed, the Pope will have to restate fundamental doctrine in relation to marriage and sexuality even more strongly than ever before. Some new guidelines might come out about how to deal with special cases – but the media campaign for a rainbow church will come to nothing. Liberals will be disappointed. Conservatives will say it was an awful waste of time that confused many.

Personally, I would rather we got back to simply living the faith rather than obsessively analysing the minutiae of it: a stance that Francis seemed to embrace when he became Pope. Church teaching has lots to offer families in terms of nurturing children, combatting environmental change and disease, and questioning economic systems that squeeze the poor out of the marketplace or put too high a value upon material goods in an age of disturbing inequality. The Church is itself a big family, shaped by the Holy Spirit and not by social fashion. The good shepherd leads his flock, he does not follow it.

Article by Tim Stanley

Daily Telegraph: Nigel Farage’s Tory 'fifth columnists’ are helping no one but Ed Miliband

Daily Telegraph: Nigel Farage’s Tory 'fifth columnists’ are helping no one but Ed Miliband

'It is just two weeks since David Cameron delivered one of the best political speeches I have ever heard. In Birmingham, he set out the (in many ways astonishing) achievements of his Government, while capably demolishing the electoral pretensions of Labour.

Mr Cameron concluded with the warning that a vote for Nigel Farage is, in effect, a vote for Ed Miliband. He rightly received rave reviews – all the more glowing when compared with Ed Miliband the week before.
The Prime Minister had provided the Conservative Party with a route map to general election victory. Tory morale has rarely been higher than in the immediate aftermath of that speech. Yet already, it is in collapse.

The Ukip triumph in Clacton has led to a meltdown in party discipline of a kind that I have never witnessed before – not even during the darkest days of the Maastricht rebellion against John Major. Conservative MPs are openly collaborating with Ukip, a political party that is set on their downfall and destruction.'

Article by Peter Oborne

Collect for the Feast of St. Hedwig

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that the revered intercession of Saint Hedwig may bring us heavenly aid, just as her wonderful life is an example of humility for all. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

St. Hedwig, pray for us and for Poland.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Books on Ethiopian Orthodoxy

Alemayehu Desta- Intoduction to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Faith, 2012 AuthorHouse, IN

Abba Hailgegebriel Girma, PhD- An Interpretive Account of Belief and Practice in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, 2013 Create Space

Few western Christians know much about the Ethiopain Orthodox Tewahedo (united) Church, a branch of the Coptic church that developed its own independent traditions. These two books provide some useful introductory material on Ethiopian Orthodoxy. Both books are very short and are self-published. Regrettably, neither book goes into a great deal of depth.

An Introduction to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is basically a catechism of the beliefs of the Ethiopian Church with some historical outlines thrown in. The Council of Chalcedon is mentioned along with the resulting schism, but no explanation is given on where the Ethiopians stand on the Council's teaching.

An Interpretive Account, similarly treads the same ground as a catechism, focusing particularly on the sacraments. It lacks the historical emphasis of the other book, but does make some comments about the Ethiopian Church today.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is unique among Christian churches in its inclusion of Enoch in her Old Testament canon. One might expect that they would hold the angel-view of the Sons of God in Genesis 6,as Enoch appears to do. However, discussions on seem to indicate that they take an allegorical view of the narrative in Enoch.

The Ethiopians follow the custom of removing shoes in their churches. It's a custom I very much approve of; I have seen how filthy the carpets of western churches can get.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Boris Johnson Embraces Illogical Thinking

Daily Telegraph: The answer to the Ukip anger is simple: vote David Cameron

Well, I agree with the message of voting Conservative, but then he says:

If you sit people down, and inquire more deeply about the subject, it is obvious that their feelings are more complicated. Try asking them: well, do you want to kick out old Mr so-and-so who runs the corner shop and has done for years? People will say, no, of course not. So then you say, and how about the such-and-such family who came from Albania 14 years ago, and have done such a fantastic job with that restaurant in the high street? And then they say, you must be joking. I love a nice spaghetti alle vongole.

So then you ask them: well, who is it that you want to remove from this country? Is it the construction workers from around the world that enable us to create homes in London, and without whom the building sites would be half-deserted? Is it the nurses from the Philippines and from Nigeria on whom the NHS depends? Is it the doctors from Romania – like the one who, as Douglas Carswell reminds us, has won a place in the heart of his patients in Clacton-on-Sea? Is it the east Europeans who are indispensable to the retail, catering, hotels and service economy in London and who have helped to make it the capital of the world?

Is it the French bankers? The American academics? The Chinese tycoons? Who is it, precisely, that is so noisome in your nostrils? Whose language is it that you find most offensive on the buses?
At this point, of course, the kipper – and everyone who agrees with them – will get rather impatient, and say, look here: I don’t object to any particular person, and I have nothing against any particular group. It is just the number of them, that’s what bothers me, they will say. It’s the speed of the change, they say – and above all it’s the fact that politicians keep dissembling about it all.
And there, my friends, I think we must accept that the kippers and would-be kippers have a point. The anger is not against immigrants; there is no real resentment of people who come here, work hard, learn to speak English and make their lives in this country. The anger is against the politicians.

I love Boris and would be happy to see him as prime minister, but this makes absolutely no logical sense. He concludes that the UKIP supporters are right to conclude that there are too many immigrants, while not being able to identify any particular group of working and tax-paying immigrants as being undesirable. How can one establish logically that there are too many immigrants without being able to say which immigrants are superfluous and undesirable? On what basis can one conclude that there are too many of these admittedly productive people?

Boris Johnson just does not have the guts to say that those voting UKIP are wrong about immigration.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Daily Telegraph: Can Douglas Carswell drag Ukip into the 21st century?

Daily Telegraph: Can Douglas Carswell drag Ukip into the 21st century?

Article by Toby Young

'It's one of the paradoxes of contemporary British politics that the more support Ukip attracts, the more solidified pro-EU opinion becomes. Katwala's thinks this is because gays, women and ethnic minorities are turned off by Ukip. Because of the party's position on gay marriage, sexual equality and immigration, they think of Ukip as a backward, antediluvian force that's fundamentally opposed to their interests. Consequently, if Ukip is in favour of leaving the EU, they automatically feel sympathetic to the pro-EU case.
Katwala believes that Carswell shares this analysis and quotes his attacks on "angry nativism" as exhibit A. He also points out that Carswell is pro-immigration and has said so on numerous occasions.'

Guardian: The unromantic truth: supermarkets aren’t dying, and that’s a good thing

Guardian: The unromantic truth: supermarkets aren’t dying, and that’s a good thing

Article by Jay Rayner

'For those minded to hate supermarkets and all their evil works, these have been sunlit days. With sales tanking at Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco, and the latter under investigation for overstating potential profits, some commentators have found the temptation to declare the end of big food retail just too hard to resist. We are apparently heading back to the days of Heartbeat and All Creatures Great and Small, when we all shopped locally, buying little and often from kindly shopkeepers who knew us by name.

It’s an appealing fantasy. That, however, is all it is. Sure, there may have been some increase in purchases from independent shops, but it’s from a very low base. Shopping little and often is generally a lifestyle choice for the affluent middle classes. Many people on low incomes don’t have that choice, or the time. And while it may be an appealing fantasy, it really isn’t a desirable one. Supermarkets are not going away, and for that we should be grateful.'

Throne, Altar, Liberty: A Couple of Deadly Sins

Throne, Altar, Liberty: A Couple of Deadly Sins

'Whether Avarice actually is the force behind capitalism is debatable – much depending, of course, on how one defines capitalism. We will return to that momentarily. What is indisputable, however, is that Envy – traditionally, the second worst of the Seven Deadly Sins - is the force behind socialism. Nobody put it better than Sir Winston Churchill who said “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery”. Envy is hate and resentment of other people because of what they have. It is the very essence of socialism.

Now to be fair a distinction needs to be made here. In North America an unfortunate tendency has developed to lump every law and every government program that is aimed at - whether effectively or not - bettering the conditions of the less advantaged under the label of socialism. This is not what the word socialism has historically meant and it is certainly not what Churchill meant by it in the above quotation. Indeed, laws and programs intended to better the conditions of the less advantaged have historically, often been introduced by conservatives, like Otto Von Bismarck in Germany, Benjamin Disraeli in the United Kingdom, and R. B. Bennett and John G. Diefenbaker in Canada for the purpose of combating socialism. In an interview with the Paris Review in the early 1970s, Anthony Burgess remarked that “to take socialism seriously, as opposed to minimal socialization (which America so desperately needs), is ridiculous”. This is the necessary distinction so let us borrow Burgess’ apt terminology for it. The laws and programs that comprise minimal socialization are not based upon Envy, but Envy is the essence of true socialism.'

Saint Benedict's Prayer Book

Saint Benedict's Prayer Book, 1993 Ampleforth Abbey Press, York

This is a great prayer book for people with busy lives. The daily office of morning and evening prayer in this book is beautifully short. You get a introductory prayer, a psalm, a New Testament reading and a concluding prayer, with an Our Father and a Hail Mary squeezed in. If I am in a rush in the morning, I sometimes say this instead of the Little Office of the BVM or the Book of Common Prayer. I like the fact that the Hail Mary is included. I was rather surprised to find the Hail Mary is not part of the Liturgy of the Hours.

There are no response sections in morning and evening prayer, like those in the Liturgy of the Hours and Little Office, which makes this book much more convenient for solitary use. A useful selection of additional prayers are included in the back, including the Litany of the Saints. Many of these prayers are given in both Latin and English.

I don't like the night prayer in this book so much. It assumes that one if living in a house with one's family and so is less relevant to those living on their own. I also dislike the decision to include a pithy quotation of Saint Benedict on every page. This is a prayer book, not a 'Wisdom of Saint Benedict!' Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, the New Testament portions are taken from the New Jerusalem Bible rather than a more dignified translation.

The book does has an attractive an sturdy hardcover. I would very much recommend the Saint Benedict's Prayer Book as an aid to devotion.

Theologians, Inc: Some Anti-Imperial Thoghts

Theologians, Inc: Some Anti-Imperial Thoughts

'The trend of identifying anti-imperial themes, rhetoric and messages in the New Testament is pretty hot right now – post-colonial readings of Scripture as well. I recently got ‘Jesus is Lord, Caeser is Not’, and spent a minute studying up on anti-imperial/post-colonial ideas regarding the New Testament, and here’s a few unsystematic thoughts. I should probably edit this down but I’m too tired.

- The basic thrust of the book? ‘Slow down there, sonny. There’s more to it than that.’ Empire critical/postcolonial studies have done a great deal of good in highlighting the dynamics of society, power, etc in the New Testament. Painting anti-imperialism as the actual main point of the NT, however, is misguided.'

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Not My Vision For The United Kingdom

The Mad Monarchist is definitely the best monarchist blog on the web. The author writes some fantastic posts and generally comes across as one of the more sensible people in the often rather eccentric monarchist camp. However, his Vision for the United Kingdom is definitely not one that I share.

You can tell he is an American when he writes:

When it comes to internal politics, there seems to be no chance of really significant changes in policy when even UKIP is promising to maintain the NHS.

Don't you love that typical American conservative bemusement at us crazy British people and our beloved NHS?

I think MadMonarchist's comment about Enoch Powell shows how out of touch he is with modern Britain. I do not for a minute accept that Enoch Powell's prophecies have been fulfilled. Yes, immigration has brought problems and the tabloid press will never tire of drawing attention to them. However, these are not the problems Powell predicted. Enoch Powell did not predict honour killings in Muslim families, the radicalization of young Muslims, the ovrcrowding of primary schools or police stations needing to hire Polish interpreters. What he predicted was that black people and white people were incapable of living together. This has essentially been proven wrong. The Afro-Carribean immigrants that so frightened Enoch Powell are fully assimilated and often intermarried into the mainstream of British society. Immigration poses new problems, but we can find answers to them. I believe that the UK is a richer place for the diversity that immigration has brought.

Central to MadMonarchist's proposals is the UK leaving the European Union. He does not think the Conservative leadership in favour of this. I'd like to think he is right and the Conservative leadership genuinely do want to keep the UK in the EU. However, when even David Cameron talks about re-negotiating free movement of labour, a fundamental principle of the EU, a completely unrealistic and unworkable demand, one has to doubt that his commitment to staying in is very strong. He suggests as an alternative to Tory ambivalent Euroscepticism:

However, another party that certainly does is the UK Independence Party and its leader, Nigel Farage, has spoken frequently of his vision for a United Kingdom that, once free of the constraints of the EU, renews closer ties with the countries of the Commonwealth, particularly those parts of the former British Empire which remain the most similar in their values, economies, language and principles. Indeed, Farage has spoken of Britain joining the EU almost as a betrayal, of turning their backs on the Commonwealth Realms with whom Britain has traditionally been most attached.

It would appear that MadMonarchist regards UKIP as a credible political force that ought to be taken seriously. UKIP are getting a lot of media attention at the moment, but it remains to be seen whether they will make a serious long term impact on British politics. It is open to doubt whether they will make many gains in the next general election. They are essentially a one-man band, with no figure other than Farage having any credibility. Any UKIP MPs are likely to become laughing stocks once they show their inevitable incompetence.

UKIP are essentially a party of protest. They soak up a lot of the 'Not Labout, Not Conservative' votes that used to go to the Liberal Democrats before the coalition. A large proportion of their voters would be horrified by the libertarian and right-wing leanings of the party's leadership. The main issue that UKIP talks about is immigration. The British people for the most part don't care that much about the EU. But stirred up by the prejudice of an ugly right-wing press, many voters will to an anti-immigration party, in the misguided belief that our problems can be blamed on foreigners. UKIP are utterly cynical and appeal to the lowest and basest instincts of voters.

I won't go into the complex economic issues of the UK leaving the EU, except to say that I think it would be disastrous for our economy and an even bigger disaster for Britain's political influence globally. Personally, I doubt that we ever would leave the UK. I don't personally like referendums, but for political reasons, it is inevitable that a referendum would be required before exiting the EU. I'm confident the British people would vote to stay in the European Union. The Scottish independence referendum has shown that voters are cautitious about change. Those arguing for 'Brexit' have to be able to prove their case against the arguments of business and the forces of the establishment which would support staying in. The Scots would predominantly vote to stay, as would the Welsh. I suspect the mass of Labour voters in England would be induced to stay. The Labour party leadership would paint 'Brexit' as a Tory ploy and Labour voters would vote against it.

As an alternative to the EU, MadMonarchist argues that the Commonwealth could be turned into a stronger economic and political union. I seriously doubt this is realistic. Why would the Australians want to buy more British goods when they can buy cheaper goods from Asian countries next door? You can't re-structure global economic realities simply on the strength of sentiment. What is more, would we really want stronger political ties with some of the corrupt regimes in the Commonwealth? Undoubtedly, a stronger Commonwealth would cost us. The Third World members would make large demands for aid from Britain in return for these stronger ties.

The implementation of MadMonarchist's vision would be seen by the world as Britain wanting her empire back. It would arouse all the old grievances that we might have wanted buried. The sight of Britain trying to act like an imperial power again would arouse the contempt of the world. Don't get me wrong, I'm an admirer of the British Empire, but her defenders cannot ignore the resentment that many feel towards that historic institution. That is why Britain is such a divided nation today, with many Scots resenting the old imperialist past, England nostalgic for it and many ethnic minorities feeling uncomfortable with English nostalgia. That is part of why a referendum for British exit from the EU is likely to fail; the 'Brexit' side will summon up all that nostalgia for the divisive imperial past and those who can't buy into that will oppose it.

MadMonarchist does not say a lot about NATO in this post, but he seems to indicate that the UK leaving NATO would be a good idea. I find it hard to see how anybody could take such a view with the rise of a belligerent and aggressive Russia, as well as the various other threats to the West around the world.

MadMonarchist, I think your blog is fantastic and I stand shoulder to shoulder with you in your monarchism, but your view of Britain is like a Victorian Imperialist theme park. My vision of Britain is of a diverse, inclusive United Kingdom working together with our partners in the European Union for peace, prosperity and security.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Fr Ray Blake's Blog: Immigration/Emigration

Fr Ray Blake's Blog: Immigration/Emigration

'One of our present day truths is that without immigration Europe will collapse. I welcome the kind generous support I see from Filipinos and eastern Europeans who work in our geriatric wards and nursing homes, most have faith and their faith brings a humanity to what can be a barren environment. More than half of those who come to Mass here are Polish immigrants and there is a large proportion of Slovakians and of the Europeans as well. If ever we implement 'devolution max' and Brighton becomes a city-state I suspect we will be be a Muslim controlled city, rather than a Gay city, as most of the immigrants are from the middle east, not a few are Coptic Christians, and we beginning to see Syrians and the other victims of ISIS beginning to arrive. I am pleased that Brighton Voices In Exile, operates out of my house and uses our parish premises. Incidentally they need money!'

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Mad Monarchist: Revolutionary Republicans and the Ten Commandments...

'Every now and then, I still come across professed devout Christians who are republicans (shocking, I know). Some, contradictorily, even state that monarchy could be a better vehicle for godly government but that being a Christian contradicts being a monarchist. Which is absurd and obviously makes no sense. I will not repeat the very, very long list of Biblical passages explicitly commanding Christians to be monarchists, long-time readers have seen them and they are in the archives for newcomers to look up if they so wish. Rather, I would like to dispel the myth that revolutionary republicanism is or can be truly Christian by referring back to the most uncontroversial and widely accepted guidelines for behavior by all Christian groups and even by others of different religions (especially the Jews who everyone else pinched them from). I am referring, of course, to the Ten Commandments (not suggestions) and I do so not only because almost every Christian recognizes them but also because I have found them to be invaluable myself. When things get complicated, when arguments arise over what is “right” and what is “wrong” I always go back to the Ten Commandments; if you keep to them you should be in pretty good shape. No other rules were written by God’s own hand and they are also simply pretty good, common sense advice on how to have a good life and a good society. 
The problem for revolutionary republicans and their leftist, socialist, egalitarian cohorts today is that they break every single one of them and that should demonstrate with absolute clarity how being a revolutionary republican is not only a poor fit with Christianity but is absolutely contradictory to it. Truly keep the Ten Commandments and you will have to be a traditional monarchist but be a revolutionary republican and you will be compelled to break every single one of them. There are some slight variations from group to group on how the Ten Commandments are numbered, how some are grouped together, but they all come out the same so feel free to disregard the numbers, I am using the list in my well worn prayer book and the Commandments are all there, so let’s have a look'

Monday, 6 October 2014

Theologians, Inc: Against the Suffering God

Theologians, Inc: Against the Suffering God

'For God to suffer would mean that God is a part of the created order. For God to suffer would mean that an aspect of the created order (not to say that evil, which causes suffering, is a created thing – it simply ‘exists’ in the created order of nature) could affect the uncreated order. Thus God’s wholly other-ness and transcendence is violated, making Him part of the same created order within which evil works. God then becomes little more than a being-among-other-beings.'

Another blog post on divine impassibility.

Ecclectic Orthodoxy: The Good News of Apatheia, or Why God Doesn’t Need to be Unhappy Just Because We Are

Ecclectic Orthodoxy: The Good News of Apatheia, or Why God Doesn’t Need to be Unhappy Just Because We Are

'Just this last weekend I observed a young family enjoying a picnic. I watched one of the toddlers, a daughter, fall and scrape her knee. Unable to world-construct outside her pain, she let the entire park know of her suffering. Her father? As you might expect, his response didn’t include the slightest discomfort or loss of happiness. He turned to his daughter, moved in her direction, and with a big smile called her name and held out his arms. Why not meet her level of experienced suffering with some measure of suffering of his own? After all, love suffers when those loved suffer, right? Where’s the father’s suffering here? Shouldn’t he feel some slight dip in happiness? Some measurable loss of “aesthetic satisfaction”? We all know the answer is no, and we know why. He doesn’t suffer in the slightest because of his perspective on her suffering (assessing its consequences relative to what he believes to be her highest good and well-being).'

A guest post defending divine impassibility from outside the fold of Classic Theism.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Ephraim's Arrow: Rich Christians Age of Hunger (Sider)

Ephraim's Arrow: Rich Christians Age of Hunger (Sider)

"Sider has modified his tone from his first edition where he was adding to the gospel (yea, preaching another gospel). Still, he makes comments like “It is sinful abomination for one part of the world’s Christians to grow richer year by year while our brothers and sisters in the third world suffer” (98). This would be a true statement if a number of other conditions were met. Are North American Christians causing other Christians to suffer? If they are, Sider has given us no argument nor shown any evidence. Further, would he have N.A. Christians be just as poor? If so, then how could they help? If they didn’t have any wealth, then how could Sider’s globalist masters take it from them? He hasn’t thought these things through."

Not a bad critique, though perhaps weakened by a phobia of global institutions and an excessive distrust of any government intervention.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

"Negotiation": David Cameron is starting to sound like Alex Salmond

In campaigning for Scottish independence, various questions were raised about the future of Scotland. Would she continue to be a member of the European Union? What currency would she use? Would she remain a member of NATO? Alex Salmond argued that all these questions could be resolved in pre-independence negotiations. Scotland would be able to negotiate keeping the pound, getting admitted to the EU on favourable terms, staying in NATO without nuclear weapons, keeping all her oil wealth and keeping the BBC. Never did he offer any indications as to what Scotland might have to give in return for all these benefits. Salmond seemed to have the idea that negotiation means asking for what you want and being given it.

Our prime minister is planning to do some negotiations of his own. He wants to end or modify free movement of labour in the European Union. This is an even bigger demand than Scotland getting to keep he pound. This is a fundamental change to the founding principles of the EU. This is to ask that every citizen of the EU loses a freedom and privilege that they have so far been able to enjoy.

Just what is Cameron going to offer the other member states of the EU in return for re-negotiating free movement of labour? It's going to have to be something big and juicy. Like Salmond, Cameron does not tell us what concessions he might be prepared to make in negotiations. I suspect that like Mr. Salmond, Mr. Cameron thinks negotiation means asking for what you want and getting it.

The Jacobite Intelligence: Why we need the Human Rights Act

The Jacobite Intelligence: Why we need the Human Rights Act

"Conservative politicians bleat about the European Court infringing the sovereignty of Parliament – which, again, is a concept introduced in 1689 after the Revolution – demonstrating that they continue to embody the parochial libertarianism of the 18th-century Whigs, unable to bear the thought of something ‘foreign’ interfering in England’s national polity. Eurosceptic Tories and Nigel Farage’s UKIP are the true heirs of the unprincipled Whigs who made the Revolution and Hanoverian successi0n possible. England’s membership of the European Convention on Human Rights is a symbol of our participation in a wider European project that is far more important than the narrow ‘little Englander’ conception of ‘liberty’ treasured by Eurosceptic politicians. Instances in which the European Court of Human Rights has behaved unreasonably are insignificant in comparison with the good that the organisation is capable of doing, and as Ken Clarke has pointed out, it would be unreasonable for the government to make a profound decision regarding Britain’s future relationship with Europe on the basis of dissatisfaction with a few recent decisions. Furthermore, it is obvious that the Conservative Party considers the issue a vote-winner."

Excellent blog post. I love the Conservative Party, but the Little Englander garbage we get from the current leadership makes me sick.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

You Either accept Free Movement or Leave

Our prime minister said in his speech at the Conservative Party conference that renegotiating free movement of labour would be central to his European agenda.

That Mr. Cameron has said such a thing indicates he either does not really understand the EU or he really wants to leave.

Free movement of labour is not some minor clause in a treaty; it is a fundamental principle of the European Union. It is a foundation on which the whole institution of the Eu is built. Without free movement of labour, the EU is not the EU but something else. It is not a principle that is subject to negotiotion.

Can you really have genuine free trade in the EU without free movement of labour? I don't think you can. The two go together. If I start a business or expand my own company into Belgium or Italy, I would very likely want to bring in my own managers and specialists to work in those countries. That is where free movement of labour comes in.

Britain has had problems due to immigration. There have been housing shortages in some areas and some public services have struggled to cope. Yet European immigrants have made a huge contribution to our economy and many work in hospitals delivering services that we all benefit from. Many of these immigrants are decent hardworking Christian people who have enriched our communities. Immigration is good for Britain.