Sunday, April 05, 2015

Was Thomas Cromwell the grandfather of the American dream?

This writer seems to think so. The strange thing is despite America's deep anti-Catholic roots in men such as Thomas Cromwell via the "Enlightenment" deists who were our founding fathers, it was a great home for Catholics until the Sixties. So American religious liberty can work. By the '50s, many/most Americans accepted and liked us; there were Protestants afraid the U.S. was becoming a Catholic country. But for the Sixties, it might have happened.

England is both appealing and creepy because unlike here, it used to be a Catholic country; the people were driven from the church by force. There are reminders everywhere such as the names of the old churches and colleges the Anglicans stole, yet their mainstream hates the church. Their elite knows what it all means and says "I will not serve."

Christopher Haigh writes that by 1600, in Shakespeare's time, most of the English had resigned themselves to the new religion but still treated it with the same easygoing conduct but reverence people in Catholic countries and cultures (immigrants and ethnics in America) do the church. Catholic recusancy was for the rich and for martyrs; the extreme Protestant hotheads (the Pilgrims; the New England Yankees who are SWPLs' godfathers) hadn't gotten their way yet. Their revolution and the later "Enlightenment" pretty much did in Christian faith among the English.

P.S. I've been told the Popes told Poles to obey the tsar and the Irish the king; in 1776 I would have stood with George III. We weren't under English religious law so his Protestantism wasn't our problem (the Crown actually decided a court case in favor of other colonial Protestants against the Anglicans), and he was an anointed Christian ruler. Loyalty oaths matter. And he claimed nowhere near the power our government does.


  1. Yesterday, the Prime Minister declared Britain a "Christian country". Ironic that the U.S. President denies this about America. But of course both are technically right!

  2. I do confess to a great deal of ambiguity over to which system I prefer, on the one hand the Deceleration of Independence contains some magnificent aspirations to which many men can agree with, especially a rejection of the rather arbitrary justice meeted out by sovereigns (which even Magna Carta failed to curtail in many cases), on the other hand the current crop of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have rather run those ideals into the ground.

    I guess I would have stood with Washington and Jefferson if only because of the idea prevalent in England at the time that birth was everything , I'm sure that Bernard Cornwell and Hillary Mantel have perhaps exaggerated at some point in their respective books (Sharpe series, Wolfe Hall) but the idea that his Eminence Cardinal Wolsey and Cromwell himself were mocked for being 'of low birth' strikes against everything I was brought up to believe in, as well as plain common sense.

  3. My attitude towards the American Revolution is, and I hope I would have professed it at the time as a Catholic, sublime and ironic indifference. On the one hand, the legal and "constitutional" arguments advanced to support it were absurdly unhistorical, and contrary to the historical and legal facts about Crown/colonial relations since 1607; on the other, they were simply an Americanization and adaptation for colonial use of the self-same "Whig" arguments and theories which were used to justify the so-called "Glorious Revolution" of 1688-89 in England, without which "George III" would have been nothing more than an obscure German princeling. I suppose that I would conclude, on the basis of "one good turn deserves another," that the English got not only what they deserved in the American Revolution, but also what they invited upon themselves by the events of the previous century.

  4. But John, could one say the same about the Ukrainian Greek Catholics who were also driven from their Orthodoxy by force? Let's face it, without the Polish army, it is doubtful that specific union would have ever taken place. The Melkites are a completely different story as are the Italo-Greeks.

    1. There was no organised Polish army in 1596. The Polish Crown only called an army during warfare. The greater nobility had private armies - the weakness of the Polish Crown was the reason for the destruction of the Polish polity in the late 1700's.

      The nobility of Poland, Rus and Lithuania formed a Union, in which all members of the nobility were equal brethren irregardless of the fact if they were Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox. You have to be historical illiterate to state that there was a "Polish army" as everyone knows that the liberum veto and golden freedom of the Polish gentry was the reason for Poland's downfall.

      There was no Ukrainian Greek Catholics in 1600. The majority of the Uniate Church was in Belarus and Central Ukraine. The Unia existed under Russian rule on what is now central Ukraine from 1667 to 1784. The fact that the Unia lasted for over 100 years under Russian rule is a sign that the Unia was more than a Polish idea. The fact that there are not 40 million Uniates in eastern Europe is the fact that the Russian Tsarist government in 1784 and 1835 disbanded the Unia.

      The Polish idea of Unia transcends religion. The idea that the nations of central Europe need to work together and create a new ideal of freedom in the face of Russian authoritarianism and Western European rationalism transcends religion. The Polish Golden Freedom doctrine is the underlying factor of the cohesion of the Polish Nation. Millions of the ancestors what we now call Ukrainians and Belarussians believed that they were free men, who cannot be ruled tyrants. Then they called themselves Polish and believed they were part of Catholic Europe. The noble clans of Rus adopted the Polish clan shields and became members of Western civilisation.

    2. You misunderstand sarcasm...greatly.


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