Adrian Hilton

Render unto the Pope...

Adrian Hilton says that the EU is a means of undoing the Reformation and extending Vatican sovereignty over Britain

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This realm of England is an Empire ...governed by one Supreme Head and King.' So proclaimed Thomas Cromwell in his most critical piece of legislation, the Act in Restraint of Appeals in 1533. By calling England an empire, he designated it a sovereign state, with a king who owed no submission to any other human ruler and who was invested with plenary power to give his people justice in all causes. Interestingly, the Act's critics in Parliament were not so much concerned by its doctrinal corollaries, as by the fear that the Pope might retaliate by organising a European trade embargo against England. The Pope, of course, laid claim to the ultimate divine right. He was, after all, the Vice-Christ, appointed to establish one unified empire under one emperor, belonging to one Church under one God.

England finally rid itself of papal interference in the Bill of Rights of 1689, which declared that 'no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm.' It may have taken 440 years from Cromwell's foundational declaration, but entry in 1973 to the 'European Economic Community' brought England back into the Catholic fold, and exactly 460 years after the English monarch was declared sovereign, the present Queen was reduced to vassal status under the terms of the Maastricht Treaty, which rendered her a European citizen and thereby subject to 'foreign princes and potentates'.

The issue of European religious union is one that has been concealed even deeper than the plans for political union, but the ratchet towards a Catholic Europe is just as real. The Pope's recent demand that 'God' be featured in the emerging European constitution has been echoed by many leading Catholic politicians and bishops. While on the surface such a reference may offend only Europe's atheist and humanist contingent, it must be observed that when the Vatican refers to God, she sees herself as God's infallible vice-regent upon earth, the leading organ of divine expression; indeed, according to its publication Dominus Iesus (5 September 2000), as the only mediator in the salvation of God's elect, insisting that all other Churches, including the Church of England, 'are not Churches in the proper sense'.

The Roman Church is founded on a political dogma claiming that the Pope is 'supreme ruler of the world'; superior to all kings, prime ministers and presidents. These spiritual and temporal claims remain very much fundamental dogmas of Catholic teaching, permitting the Pope, through Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to issue clear directives to Catholic politicians on how they should vote. Since their obedience is considered a 'moral duty', devolve everything to the overwhelmingly Catholic European Council of Ministers, Commission and Parliament, and the ultimate Caesar is the Pope.

Such would be the fulfilment of a Sunday Telegraph article (21 July 1991) which stated: 'Karol Wojtyla is calmly preparing to assume the mantle which he solemnly believes to be his Divine Right – that of new Holy Roman Emperor, reigning from the Urals to the Atlantic.' The Catholic Church is achieving this through its political wings – the Christian Democrat and Christian Socialist parties – with the EU's 'Founding Fathers' now reaping the ultimate reward: sainthood. The Pope has beatified Alcide De Gasperi, Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer for founding the Union 'on Roman Catholic principles'. A supporter of their canonisation said it shows that Europe 'was built upon a rock', adding, 'I think that the European Union is a design not only of human beings but of God.' The very act of bestowing sainthoods on politicians is purposely designed to inculcate that European unification is God's will, and that those who lead it govern by divine right.

During the 1975 referendum campaign, Shirley Williams unambiguously associated the vision of Europe with Rome's goal of assuming political and religious authority over the lives of all Europeans. She observed, 'We will be joined to Europe, in which the Catholic religion will be the dominant faith and in which the application of the Catholic Social Doctrine will be a major factor in everyday political and economic life.' While the EU has adopted many symbols of nationhood (a passport, flag, anthem and currency) and is now moving towards the attributes of government (a president, foreign secretary, global ambassadors at the UN and G8), it follows that, since Europe has no unified demos, a 'deeper' cohesive force is necessary to hold the whole project together. When Cardinal Maria Martini of Milan addressed the European Parliament in 1997 in a symposium on Remembering the Origins of the Process of Integration, he identified this 'deeper' something – effectively a common state religion – reminding the Parliament that its true foundation was a religious one. He outlined the importance of a single faith (Catholicism), and emphasised that religions must not support nationalisms (i.e., the Church of England must not defend the English constitution), and Europe must recognise the 'primacy of the divine' (i.e., the primacy of the Pope). His address included demands for a new welfare state, in accordance with Roman Catholic social doctrine, and his contention that European integration was never about economic and monetary issues alone. He said, 'The Europe we must build is a Europe of the spirit.'

When divinity rules, it is, of course, infallible. According to canon law, the Pope claims immunity from all moral and civil authority: 'The First See is judged by no one.' This is precisely the spirit in which the EU governs, with the Court of Justice deeming that political criticism of its leaders is akin to the most extreme forms of blasphemy. It is therefore possible to suppress it without violating freedom of speech, affording the EU an undefined and seemingly unlimited power to restrict political criticism. Like the Papacy, the Court is supreme, accountable to no one, and the sole arbiter of citizens' 'rights'. Lord Shore, in his book Separate Ways, observed that the Commission acts precisely 'like a priestly caste – similar to what it must have been in pre-Reformation days, when the Bible was in Latin, not English; the Pope, his cardinals and bishops decided the content of canon law'.

Accordingly, any decision of the people which does not accord with the divine will has to be corrected. The very notion of 'destiny' is simply a euphemism for government by divine right, and this is the teleological explanation for three referendums in Denmark on the Treaty of Maastricht, two referendums in Ireland on the Treaty of Nice, and the suspension of democracy altogether in Belgium and Italy in order to ratify treaties or force through budgets. In each referendum, there is a 'wrong' and a 'right' outcome. It also accords with the EU's sanctioning and funding of 'acceptable' political parties, i.e., those who ultimately accord with its own aims. When the United Kingdom votes no to the euro, the wrath of God will be poured out again and again until the people repent and accept their predestined fate.

Such a destiny can be foisted upon recalcitrant nations only when they are weakened. The Roman principle of divide and rule is resurrected in the 'Europe of Regions' strategy, which encourages each 'region' of Europe to look directly to Brussels for policy and funding, bypassing national parliaments in the process. This is a recreation of a mediaeval Europe of small, ineffectual states which can be easily dominated. The ecumenically minded Church of England has been complicit in the fracturing of England, with its bishops chairing regional conventions, but the Ecumenical Movement is in reality a parallel front to Rome's divide-and- rule strategy. When Cardinal Bea stated that 'no concessions in dogma can be made by the Church for the sake of Christian Unity', he was simply reiterating Rome's belief about itself. Any movement or concession is only ever on the part of the subsidiaries, since the centre is infallible.

There are significant structural parallels between the Roman religious system and the political subsidiarity principle, which is itself a concept of papal origin. In the theory of ecclesial authority, an important part is played by the concept of the representation of One Christ, who combined in himself all the offices for the dispensation of salvation (prophet, priest and king). If the Church is ruled by God, then God must necessarily flow down from above, step by step, so at the apex of human order there must be a single channel, directed by God himself, and only at the lower levels could the streams of God's will begin to branch into subsidiary levels. Subsidiarity was designed not to permit the tributaries to 'claw back' what may best be performed at a lower level, but to permit the infallible centre to decide what freedoms to grant the subsidiary levels. Whether it be termed federalism or centralism, 'subsidiarity' denotes the downward devolvement of certain powers for the practical outworking of the Supreme Power's objectives.

There is much debate about whether the EU is a democracy, a theocracy, an oligarchy or a collective dictatorship, but at root it is none of these. It is an amphictyony – a confederation of states established around a religious centre. A Catholic EU will inevitably result in the subjugation of Britain's Protestant ethos to Roman Catholic social, political and religious teachings. The Queen's coronation oath 'to govern the peoples of the United Kingdom according to their laws and customs' and 'to maintain the Protestant Reformed religion established by law' is negated by the process of deeper European integration. It is almost a symbolic confirmation of the Queen's vassal status that a 20p coin of Gibraltar bears an engraving of Mary crowned 'Our Lady of Europa' – the suzerain spiritual authority – while the Queen is stripped of her usual titles DG, REG., FD – Queen by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith.

Under the constitution for Europe, the EU will have a Catholic Caesar presiding over the Protestant monarch. The former Belgian prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak once made a plea for 'a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people' and added, 'Be he God or the Devil we will receive him.' The allegiance of the Queen's subjects is usurped by the demand for allegiance to the suzerain power; a spiritually unifying allegiance which is primary, for without the unity of the demos, the European vision will die. Accession to the constitution for Europe would finally confirm that the United Kingdom yields to the suzerain European Ecumenical Community – an empire in which everything belongs to Caesar, and where Caesar is God. Rendering the euro unto him would be all that remains for this vassal state to perform.

Adrian Hilton is a former parliamentary candidate and author of The Principality and Power of Europe. He teaches Philosophy and Religious Studies. He is an approved candidate for the Conservative party.