Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Historical Record

Among those events being celebrated this year is that of commemorating Magna Carta, the agreement hammered out by English barons with King John which has become the basis of Common Law around the world. I was watching the news a few days ago and the Church's influence on the document was being explored, however as one listened one could not help but think that the Church being referred to was the Church of England, which wasn't around in 1215: it was the Catholic Church and her ministers that had a role in the formulation of Magna Carta. 

Ed West takes exception to this in  a couple of articles in the Catholic Herald which are well worth reading. In the first he writes on the Church's part in the formation of Magna Carta, and in the second decries the whitewashing of the Catholic Church out of achievements in England. All of this, of course, was part of the revisionism which came after the Protestant Revolution. Thankfully historians are now tackling that revisionism, foremost among them Jack Scarisbrick and Eamon Duffy. 

I suppose given the increasing secularisation of Ireland we can expect a similar revisionism to take place here, indeed it is already happening. A version of the Monty Python speech, "What have the Romans ever done for us?" can now be heard in a Catholic context in some quarters. I suppose that is one reason why the Church must ensure that truth is persevered.

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