Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Baroness Impresses

Baroness Warsi's strike at 'secular fundamentalists' as she meets Pope

Baroness Warsi, the British Conservative peer, is going down very well at the Vatican.  Having impressed Pope Benedict during his visit to Britain, she is leading a delegation from the UK marking thirty years of full diplomatic relations with the Holy See and seems to be impressing again with her thoughts on the role of religion in society.

Lady Warsi is a Muslim, yet her views and her speech to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, reveal just how close Catholicism and Islam can be when it comes to faith in the public square.  Her speech is well worth reading. 

She sees that religion has a vital role to play in public and political life - that should give the Church-state separationists a stroke.  In fact her thinking is very similar to Pope Benedict's in this area, and it has been noted that she has referred to and quoted from his writings.  There's interfaith dialogue for you.  Like Benedict she is reminding us believers that we should not hide our faith, nor conform it to secularism, but rather be confident in it.

Interestingly as a Muslim, she sees that Europe is inherently Christian and that the continent "needs to become more confident in its Christianity".   Plucking out the old apologetic for diminishing the position of Christianity in Europe, she says that is "a basic misconception: that somehow to create equality and space for minority faiths and cultures we need to erase our majority religious heritage."  If Benedict said that the liberal papers would be baying for his blood.  But the Baroness is correct.  She ends her speech with a humdinger: "Christianity is as vital to our future as it is to our past."

One quotation from the Baroness's speech is most interesting - something the Irish government should take careful note of - the embassy to the Holy See is in fact an important diplomatic mission for the benefits it brings to a country:
“The UK recognizes that, as the smallest state in the world, the Holy See has the widest global reach. It therefore seems inevitable that the UK with its global reach, historical and cultural interests should nurture, strengthen and promote our relationship.”
She also has something to say about ecumenism - something many of us have been saying for years in face of some who abandon or dilute the doctrines of their faith to get on with those of other religions:
“Interfaith dialogue works when we debate our differences, when we wear our beliefs on our sleeves. It’s not about you giving your version of God, and me giving my version of God. And us coming to some watered-down compromise. But about establishing our areas of consensus.”
I wish more Catholics could think like this Muslim lady.

I note from the comments at the end of the Telegraph article on the Baroness's speech, that the secularists are furious, as one would expect.  Tolerance is not one of their strong points.

Matthew Cantirino of First Things, has an interesting article, referring to "Warsi's Wager" - that the time may be right for some sort of inter-religious coalition to counteract the growth of dictatorship by European secularism.  An interesting thought.


  1. What a difference between the Baroness' attire and the crass Mary Robinson who showed her impudence when she visited the Pope and didn't bother to observe the protocol.

  2. It's also interesting to see how the UK values its relationship to the Holy See in a classy and professional manner, as compared to the amateurish, downright rude approach of Enda's pathetic gang.

  3. Sorry for multiple posting, but having read the telegraph article, we should always be wary of anyone who is enthusiastic about the Vatican's global contacts. The desire of some to use Catholic charities to spread the culture of death is something we need to be very aware of.

  4. The official attitude of the UK's diplomatic relations with the Catholic Church, is based on reason and the public interest - which is why it contrasts sharply with the Irish administration's attitude.