Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Cub Scouts, the promise to the Queen and RCs
Ryan McMaken and Damian Thompson square off. What do you think? I’m inclined to agree with Mr Thompson. I’m a legitimist (or the Swiss and Liechtensteiner governments, and the American republic Ron Paul wants to go back to, are equally good) not an historical-fantasist, ‘Princess Diana collector’s plate’ kind of monarchist though I have a 1953 coronation mug and think Drs Fisher and Ramsey looked spiffing in those copes... the last hurrah of the Anglicanism I was born into?

“The 1701 Act of Settlement specifically discriminates against [Roman] Catholics and only allows for Protestants to take the throne — so why should we make an oath to the monarchy?”

The scout could also point out that
[Roman] Catholics were second-class citizens from the 16th to the 19th century in Britain — with the enthusiastic backing of the monarchy.

RCs only attained full rights after the classical liberals (many of them Methodists) gained temporary control of Parliament — those same classical liberals who abolished slavery, overturned the corn laws, and generally put the monarchy and its cronies in their place.

I’ve managed to find no evidence that monarchy is any better or any worse that republics and democracies.

The pro-monarchy types always point to the Habsburgs who admittedly ruled quite well, but I could just as easily point to the French Bourbons who ran the French economy into the ground and deserved every ounce of what they received during the revolution.
Regarding the Bourbons I fear he’d come to blows with Tea at Trianon. I read Trianon and feel safe saying no-one deserved that suffering and the poor king and queen were like the sainted last tsar and his wife (whom the novelist also believes are saints), not bad people but in over their heads. Being a good person doesn’t necessarily mean one should be king; the novelist agrees.

Another historic Catholic example: Poland, or monarchy isn’t necessarily what you think.
I could also point to the Swiss and to the highly democratic Poles who had the weakest monarchy in Europe. For 300 years, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had an incredibly weak elected monarch, a parliament, widespread religious freedom, widespread freedom in general, and the largest and most prosperous lands in eastern Europe.
Here he, Mr Thompson and I agree:
Of course, as a private club, the scouts can refuse entry to anyone they want.
Good. Someone should explain to Matthew McVeigh of Renfrewshire that religion has nothing to do with the pledge of allegiance to the Queen: Catholic scouts, like all other British scouts, take this pledge because she is head of state.

Matthew’s mother, Tracy Ann, has “branded the decision a disgrace” — yup, she’s one of those indignant decision-branding mums — on the grounds that it “contradicts multiculturalism”. She’s right about that. The Cub Scout Promise dates back to 1907, before the invention of that narcissistic ideology. Catholics rightly object to the 1701 Act of Settlement, but I’d rather put up with a historical relic of discrimination than allow multi-culti ideologues to herd us into a self-pitying ghetto.
A comment:
The scout movement from its inception was open to all boys (and later girls) regardless of class, race, nationality, religious belief etc.

I suspect the complaint made by this boy has rather more of a desire for publicity on the part of an adult than any deeply held personal belief as to the rights or wrongs of swearing allegiance to the head of state.
The promise:
On my honour,
I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law.
Another comment:
If you are so desperate to join I’m sure a few minutes in the confessional would salve your conscience.
Father could quote Matthew 22:21 where somebody tried to spring a similar trap on Jesus: ‘Render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s’. Nothing the Scouts render the Queen as head of state contradicts a Catholic’s duty to God.

I prefer Newman’s approach to the Church of England towards the end of the Apologia to this grandstanding. Roman Catholics in England by and large wanted to be left alone to practise their faith in peace. (Here is a stunning photo of St Etheldreda’s, Ely Place, the only mediæval London church given back to Rome, along with a story from Mr Thompson of clerical resistance to Pope Benedict’s restoration.)

Back to that 1953 coronation:
ARCHBISHOP: ... Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant reformed religion established by law?
The Anglicanism I was born into taught me what a Christian gentleman is but missed the mark. That it came crashing down doesn’t surprise me any more. Protestantism is self-refuting.

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