The kerfuffles here and there in the days following the death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher should prove to each of us the need for civility in “civil” society.Mrs.
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Britain just lost their free press Brian Lilley – March 18th, 2013 Britain has had a free press for centuries, today it is dying.In reaction to a phone hacking scandal that is currently seeing those responsible prosecuted the political parties in Britain have decided to use a Royal Charter to regulate the press.
2013-02-12 Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio) The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has paid tribute to Pope Benedict’s courage, humility and integrity in deciding to step down from the papacy at the end of this month. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster says he’s asked Catholics and all people of faith in Britain to pray for the Pope and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit within the Holy See over the coming weeks
VIDEO: Islamists push for sharia in Britain Brian Lilley – January 21st, 2013 Given reports that two of the people found dead in the wake of a battle in Algeria were Canadians, fighting for the Islamist side. And given past reports of young Canadian men joining up for battle in Somalia and elsewhere are born and bred in Canada – perhaps videos like the one below are worth looking at.This is from Britain, a place that has had a much worse record handling multi-culturalism than we have
Before I get into why Britain is no longer Great, a task that could take all week, let me just say that there is no international community and Canada should stop pretending there is when our politicians or judges go looking for new laws to emulate or new ways to interpret old ones.
Which bring me to Britain’s ridiculous laws surrounding “racist” speech. A little while ago we told you about the yob tweeting allegedly racist rants about a black footballer who collapsed in the middle of a game. He was sentenced to 56 days in jail for what should never be a crime. Say something stupid and feel the pain of being socially ostracized, that I’m all in favour of, but jail?
Well now we find out that Scottish woman has narrowly escaped prison after calling someone an “English tw#t.” No, the missing letter is not i but is a vowel. Here’s the story from The Daily Mail with a hat tip to BCF.
A Scottish great-grandmother was shown mercy in court today after she was branded a racist for calling a man an ‘English t*at’ in a row over a disabled resident parking space.
Charity worker Georgina McCole, 64, wept as a sheriff admonished her for hurling racist abuse at Leslie Bush during the argument over whether her granddaughter, who is not disabled, was entitled to use the space.
Now the woman escaped jail but my question is why did the judge even hear the case?
First off, that “English tw#t” had called the granny a “Scottish git” but he wasn’t charged. But that misses the larger question of why police, prosecutors and judges are spending time prosecuting people for calling each other names in an argument?
This is not a matter for the courts but this is where speech laws in hyper-PC Britain have led.
Now what does this all have to do with ignoring the “international community?”
Whenever politicians, bureaucrats or even judges in this country end up looking to change Canada into their version of Britain’s hell or Europe’s socialist disaster they invoke the “international community” and the need to mirror other members of the OECD.
Well that is where this leads.
Of course we could also mimic Sweden in the push for state run daycare for all, where judges threaten parents with jail for failing to comply.
Oh wait, that’s already happened in Canada.
Most of what those advocating Canada adopt from overseas are the failed policies of nanny statism and socialism.
Best ignore all of them, “English tw#ts” included.
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The British are supposed to be totally fixated on the weather. It is a sort of national characteristic, rather as the Germans are thought to be well-organised early-risers and the French are supposed to be onion-selling cyclists. Foreign language lessons in British schools seems to bear this out – the weather conditions seem to feature heavily in all the language textbooks I’ve ever seen during cover lessons…
Several years ago I decided that the British preoccupation with weather resulted from the fact that we had so much of it. As an island with a temperate climate, one expects to have seasons. However, we do seem to be rather prone to having four seasons’ worth of weather in the space of a week, and occasionally we get the lot in just one day. Speculation on the weather conditions therefore can occur at several points during the day, and the conclusions will not necessarily be the same in the afternoon as they were in the morning.
Given the vagaries of the British weather, you’d think we could cope with pretty much anything nature decided to throw at us, outside anything actually cataclysmic. This is far from being the case. Whatever the weather conditions, you can guarantee the British will be taken by surprise.
Snow is always a good one. It snows here most years, round about winter time, for about a week. It has been known to snow as late as April or as early as November, When the snow actually falls is immaterial, as is the length of time the weather forecasters have been warning of its arrival. For the week that the snow falls, the country grinds to a halt. The explanations are varied, but generally boil down to “nothing worked because it was the wrong type of snow.”
I said we had seasons. Britain has a lot of trees, and in Autumn all the deciduous trees shed their leaves. This is a fascinating process, and it is also predictable. However, the rail network has more than once ground to a halt because of “leaves on the lines.” Not whole trees, mind you. Just some wet leaves. The wrong type of leaves, you understand…
We do get some good weather. But as soon as the sun shines for more than a week, we hit problems. At the moment, we have drought warnings all over the south of England. There is a hosepipe ban in force. The fact that this is turning into the wettest April for goodness knows how long (with flood warnings being issued left, right and centre) is immaterial – it is, apparently, the wrong type of rain…
We are all guilty of using too much water, according to the water companies, and we have depleted the reservoirs and the water table by our indiscriminate washing of ourselves, our clothes and our cars. We also waste far too much on our gardens. The amount of water lost through the water companies’ neglect of leaky pipe networks is totally negligible… according to the water companies, that is.
I’m the first person to admit that my knowledge of Geography is sketchy. However, last time I looked at a map, Britain was an island nation. Islands are, by definition, surrounded by large quantities of wet stuff. Surely it is not beyond the wit of Man to desalinate some of the stuff and stick it in some reservoirs? Or is that too simple a proposition?
In the meantime, I have two disgruntled Monsignori staring out of the catflap, trying to avoid looking like this…
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It has become fashionable for pro-abortion campaigners in Britain to refer to prayer vigils outside abortion clinics as “American-style protests.”
Why I am Pro-Life
, a blog for young pro-lifers in Britain, had a post the other day:
Now I know that some Americans read this blog: you may be baffled by this apparent racism on the part of the pro-abortionists. As the Yeehaw post points out, it is only a selective anti-Americanism. At the BPAS they are happy to appoint Americans and take American money – as long as it is from the right sort of Americans. With that in mind, I hope you won’t mind a report on today’s pro-life Vigil at Maidstone with allusions to the “American style” of the goings-on.
Bishop John Hine, auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Southwark with responsibility for the Kent area, joined the
today. He celebrated the 12.30pm Mass at Aylesford before we walked the short distance round the corner into Brewer Street to stand across the road from the Marie Stopes abortion clinic. As usual, we stood in a line on the edge of the pavement so as not to cause an obstruction to anyone. We said fifteen decades of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, interspersed with a few other prayers and some Marian chants – I always choose ones familiar from Lourdes and Fatima.
Two of the helpers offer leaflets to anyone passing by, including the men and women who are entering the clinic and will engage them in conversation if possible – quite a few just walk past.
If you grew up in England and have been away for a few years, one of the things you will notice is how much we now look like a police state. Half the adult population seems to have in their wardrobe a pair of black or dark blue serge trousers, some sort of military-style top, often with pouches hanging down the chest or tied round the waist, and a stab-vest. On the back is the rubric indicating the area of “enforcement” in which they have been trained. (There should be a new “I Spy” book for this.) Today the first arrivals were “Environmental Enforcement.” They patrol to stop people dropping chewing gum, cigarette ends or, presumably, American-Style McDonalds wrappers – and to warn of the £110 fine if you put your rubbish out too early.
Unfortunately they seemed powerless to act against our littering the pavement with Rosary-saying pro-lifers, though they spent some time in conversation with an agitated young man who was wearing American-Style three-quarter length trousers and swearing a lot. He warned some of the rather gentle ladies at the end of our line that they should tell us all to leave in five minutes or else. (It was a bit like a scene in an American Film.) The “or else” was that he brought out a bucket of water and threw it over some completely passive and peaceful people who continued saying the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery.
Enter, five minutes later, the real McCoy of uniforms: Her Majesty’s Constabulary. I understand that this is now properly called the “Police Service.” They did their job with admirable coolness and diplomacy. The young chap, who had gone back into his house, had a visit and unfortunately the police service will just have prosecute him, on account of the fact that most of London and the South East is now monitored by CCTV and he will have a hard time arguing that “I never done nothing.”
While the Police were still around, a traffic warden – sorry “Parking Enforcement Officer” – came along and pecked into her portable electronic parking fine issuer and carefully positioned a ticket on a vehicle that had transgressed the Council’s permission for siting a stationary vehicle, probably having exceeded the length of time permitted in the serial-numbered bay provided. She was joined by a fellow enforcement officer. The Environmental Enforcement were still walking up and down, so that there were now six uniformed personnel from three different faculties.
Unfortunately they had all gone by the time an angry chap, randomly walking in the middle of the road (or should I say “jaywalking” American-Style) summoned up the courage to stop, spit ferociously at the quiet, rosary-saying pro-lifers and shout “F***ing – <something>” (I didn’t catch the second part of the imprecation.) To complete the vigil, a gentleman walking with his wife (he was probably too old to have a “partner”) came up to me and berated me in polite but forceful language (very much “in my face” American-Style) about how disgraceful we all were. I did offer to talk to him away from the prayers but he declined the invitation.
All in all, a fairly normal hour or so of pro-life vigilling in Maidstone. In fact, it is an intensely prayerful time for all those who attend. The effort to concentrate on the mysteries while on the street makes for a better Rosary than usual. The intentions offered up cover many areas of pro-life prayer, including unborn children, mothers in difficulty, medical personnel, people who work in abortion clinics, legislators, and Church leaders.
The BPAS and others prate on about intimidation and “American-Style” protests in an attempt to convince the public that we are about to blow something up or shoot someone. In fact, the experience of the peaceful, prayerful, non-confrontational, pro-life people who make these vigils is that they face abuse, intimidation, spittle and assault. And then get cast as the bad guys. Modern Britain is certainly changing. I wonder how long it will be before we have to go and say the Rosary outside euthanasia clinics.
I have played up the incidents today because I think that it is important to get the message across that this is a peaceful vigil and the opponents of it are the ones disposed to violence and intimidation. In fact the participants in the vigil are able to focus on their prayers.
Back at the Church I asked around to see who had the most water thrown over them. The group had a laugh about it and were pretty sanguine. They had already offered it up as a sacrifice for pro-life intentions.
God bless them all for turning out week after week in such circumstances. And God bless Bishop Hine for being there today to support them. If there are any young readers in reach of Maidstone (and lets face it, there are trains from central London that take an hour to Maidstone East which is right next to the Church) do try to be there from time to time.
2012-04-27 Vatican Radio
Vocations, child protection, the defence of marriage and ‘a preferential option for the young’: those were amongst the most pressing issues discussed by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales at their twice yearly meeting which concluded in the northern city of Leeds on Thursday. Participants at the four day meeting, which opened on Monday, St George’s Day, heard from the nuncio to Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini and a number of other speakers who outlined some of the key challenges facing the Church today.
As the bishops headed back to their home dioceses, Philippa Hitchen spoke with the vice president of the bishops’ conference, Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark to find out more …
In a comment on the post below, Puff directs my attention to an article comparing the Costa Concordia to the Titanic. It cites some interesting statistics which shed some light on chivalry, and the women and children first rule. The most interesting statistic is that while only twenty per cent of the men were saved, 74 per cent of the women made it off Titanic, but only 52 per cent of the children. In short, while the men by and large stepped aside and gave up their seats for the women, the women did not step aside for the children. The idea may have been women and children first, but in practice it was more along the lines of women first, then children, maybe. Draw your own conclusions.
Today is my mother’s birthday. She won’t tell anyone how old she is, but I’m guessing it’s around 147. Keep on kicking, mom!
Recently read the Percy Jackson series with the kids. For the most part, a good yarn. However, one small quibble: In these books, the Greek gods are the embodiment of Western Civilization, and if they fall, the West falls. Hmmm, but no. While I agree that Western society was founded upon one deity, the Greeks ones weren’t it. And if the True Faith fails, I believe the West will crumble. So that much is true.
Another find from Britain’s Got Talent (I watch that more than the Canadian one, sadly), the Only Boys Aloud choir from Wales.
I like the way the choir master addresses the boys before the competition: a mixture of firmness yet encouragement and pride in the boys, a reminder that discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm, but rather the force that gives it form and focus. I also like that they have a uniform, and still manage to look scruffy. You can dress them up….I don’t think they have a chance, but I wish them well.
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Here’s a story that we all missed: US charity to fund abortion training for British medical students. Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) will provide money for students from Britain and Ireland to do two week placements at British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) clinics so they can learn how to kill babies in the womb (in a safe and legal way.)
The problem being tackled by the MSFC and the BPAS is that increasingly, students are not really into destroying human life and would rather do something good instead. The $100K provided to 60-70 would-be abortionists results in 85% of them taking up this glamorous career path.
Thanks to Neil Addison of the Religion Law Blog for the link to this story. He points out that during the 40 Days for Life campaign, the Guardian and BPAS repeatedly spoke of the 40 Days as an American style protest. Odd that there seems nothing wrong with American style funding for the training of abortionists.
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We now know that NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has joint nationality, a French passport, and has voted in French elections. I was born in Britain, and left when I was 27. But I make my living and live in Canada. So I only have a Canadian passport, and I wouldn’t dream of voting in Britain. It would be disloyal to Canada, and unfair to assume that I should have an influence on British politics. And I don’t aspire to be Canadian Prime Minister! Can you imagine for a moment what would have happened if Stephen Harper had been revealed to hold dual nationality, have a foreign passport, and have voted in foreign elections? It would have been from page news on the newspapers, and the subject of endless CBC investigations.
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On Easter morning, we in the UK woke up to
. And once again it strikes me forcibly that society is not an agreement between people and laws but an agreement between people not to behave badly. What Trenton Oldfield did was simply appalling, and to add insult to injury he claims to have done it as an “anti-elitist” gesture.
“I cannot read and therefore wish all books be burned,” said Envy in Marlowe’s
And yet Oldfield, a foreigner in Britain, went to an expensive private school and the London School of Economics.
As Oldfield’s attack struck at the heart of an ancient British tradition and, indeed, the pumping hearts of the Boat Race rowers, it was more than vandalism. But protesting and/or destroying beautiful or simply beloved traditions and structures is vandalism. And I am no stranger to this impulse because this weekend there was also vandalism to the Historic House. Possibly the vandals felt Tim Oldfield’s heady surge of righteous anti-elitism as they made their petty assaults upon private property kept in trust for Scotland.
Law and punishment is not enough to keep people–especially such “principled” people–from hurting others, damaging property and eroding our sense of security and stability in our societies. It takes character–real character, not simply a will to power–and an agreement that “we are not the kind of people who do such things.”
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I left Britain in 1987. In other words, half of my life has been spent in Canada, but I return to London on a regular basis, write for several British publications and have numerous close friends in the country. So I care, I know, I feel. And I feel horror and incredulity at the fact that Christianity is under such siege in the country of Newman, Chesterton, Belloc and Lewis. Two particular incidents in the past month are abundantly shocking.
First, the British government announced that it would not give state and official legal defence to anyone who has lost their job for wearing a crucifix. The catalyst for this announcement was the firing of two women who wore small, hardly noticeable crosses around their neck. The jewellery did not interfere with their work, was not in any way a health and safety issue and had not led to complaints. But someone objected and the employees were told to remove these miniature emblems of Christianity. When they refused, their positions were terminated.
While ruling that if a Muslim woman was dismissed for wearing Islamic headgear she may well be entitled to an official defence, the government argued that a crucifix was not a religious necessity for a Christian and there was no human rights justification for a Christian to wear one. Muslim women, of course, are not required to wear elaborate head coverings, only to dress modestly, but this was not accepted by the British authorities.
The decision is breathtaking and distinctly anti-Christian. If a woman was told that her skirt was too short or shirt too revealing, she would have recourse to any number of appeal boards, and in reality it’s extremely unlikely that any employer would take the chance to comment, let alone threaten dismissal. But an exception to this working rule of common sense and compromise has been broken when it concerns Christianity. I used to think that British Christians were over-reacting, but no longer.
To confirm any suspicions we might have, the director-general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, gave a staggeringly candid interview in which he said that because Islam had “very close identity with ethnic minorities it is covered in a more careful way by broadcasters.” He continued, “Without question, ‘I complain in the strongest possible terms’ is different from, ‘I complain in the strongest possible terms and I am loading my AK47 as I write.’ This definitely raises the stakes.” In other words, those religions that threaten violence are less likely to be abused on Britain’s public broadcaster.
“The point is that for a Muslim, a depiction, particularly a comic or demeaning depiction, of the Prophet Mohammed, might have the emotional force of a piece of grotesque child pornography,” explained Thompson. When asked if he would be reluctant to air a satirical show about Mohammed, after the BBC had produced several similar shows mocking Jesus, the Church and Christianity, he replied, “Essentially the answer to that question is yes.” Well, at least he is honest.
This concerted attempt to remove Christianity from the public square has been startlingly successful in Britain and has won victory after victory for more than a generation. The Church of England is an emasculated and confused body, Evangelicals are a shadow of their North American siblings and so resistance is effectively in the hands of Roman Catholicism. It will be fascinating to see how the Church reacts, particularly in the light of Prime Minister David Cameron’s personal and political support for same-sex marriage.
Lessons for Canada? We’re in better shape here, but what infects Britain tends to make its way here before very long. What has been taken for granted is likely to be under direct attack quite soon, and we’re seeing the vanguard of the campaign in the attempt to force radical sex education and gay-straight alliances onto Catholic schools. Men used to run away to sea, then they ran away to the BBC, now they swim in the dirty waters of hypocrisy. Hold on to those crucifixes — you may need them sooner than you think.
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March 19, 2012
British Catholic blogger Damien Thompson recently remarked “For Roman Catholics the prospect [of Britain legalizing same-sex marriage] is a very bleak one. Even if a liberal priest wanted to do the honours, he’d incur automatic excommunication and be out of a job. The ‘wedding’ would be a parody of the sacrament. So a legal ban would save a lot of awkwardness.” Of course, there is no such thing as ‘same-sex marriage’ and civil law should not pretend that there is. But that’s not what I respond to here. My focus is on canon law.
As canon law reads right now, officiating at a ‘same-sex wedding’ does not result in latae sententiae excommunication. Green, “Table 1”, in CLSA Comm (1985) at 932. To the extent, however, that such action on a cleric’s part might constitute, say, “abuse of ecclesiastical power or function”—and I think that such an act would constitute abuse of Church office—he might well face punishment “according to the gravity of the act” and even loss of office. Canon 1389. Whether that punishment could, in turn, in the face of, say, clerical recalcitrance or repeat offenses, lay the foundations for later excommunication (Canons 1393, 1399, and/or by particular legislation under Canon 1315) remains to be seen.
Individual Catholics attempting such marriages seem generally susceptible to a “just penalty” for simulation of a sacrament under Canon 1379. + + +
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A podcast interviewee suggested that, in comparison to Europe, America has had a freer market in religion. Its many denominations and indeed congregations compete to fill their churches each Sunday. If they fail, their church must close its doors.
As a result, they have become and remained responsive to their congregations. But in Europe, there has been less religious diversity, and often, as in Britain and Germany, a state-supported church. Religion as government bureaucracy drifts out of touch.
This never occurred to me, but it sounds right as soon as I hear it.
The best argument for
1. separation of church and state, and
2. religious tolerance.
I have just been watching a programme on RTE about the Queen’s visit to Ireland last year. It was an event that was deeply healing and is still being talked about there. Before the visit, the Irish Ambassador in London threw a party for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall; it featured many people from the Irish community in Britain, both the famous and the not-so-well known. Two among the famous caught my eye; Bob Geldof was there, as one might expect. But the figure standing next to him was none other than Ian Paisley. A willing guest in the Irish Embassy! How far we have come, indeed!
When we have so much to lament in our world, there are also things to be grateful for.