Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ever So Slightly Round the Bend

To Cîteaux Abbey to observe the requiem mass in honour of the late François Fillon. Mass Observation, I suppose you would call it. It's funny how the demographics of religion as expressed in political terms vary from one country to another: notwithstanding the long shadow cast by the Graham Greene/Evelyn Waugh/ Farm Street set, Catholicism in England is even today largely a left-wing force, reflecting the Irish presence in large parts of the country, while the Church of England, insofar as it can be said to stand for anything, is often characterised as the Conservative Party at prayer. Over here in France, on the other hand, the Catholic Church is more of a right-wing phenomenon and constitutes François Fillon's natural constituency.

In Cromwell's time, things were very different. The Cavaliers, as exemplified in the dashing figures of Prince Rupert of the Rhine and friends, were basically avowed or closet Catholics, and were therefore guaranteed a very favourable press in my Jesuit school, while the Roundheads were dismissed as a stolid and unimaginative bunch of killjoys.

Going back even further in time, we Catholic boys were torn between admiration of the feats of Francis Drake and disgust at the beastly treatment meted out to the likes of Thomas More and Edmund Campion.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:06 pm

    All of that seems perfectly familiar to me, from my similar background. It took leaving school to learn some history. Though my sympathies do still lie with Rupert of the Rhine.


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