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Pope's address at Westminster rattled Britain's Protestant foundation: columnist

September 18, 2010

Writing in the Guardian-- a paper that has given heavy coverage to protesters during the papal visit—Andrew Brown writes that the Pope’s address to the nation’s political leaders was a historic event:

This was the end of the British Empire. In all the four centuries from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II, England has been defined as a Protestant nation.

Brown recognizes the significance of the fact that Pope Benedict based his thoughts on the example of St. Thomas More: a man who had defied the king in loyalty to his faith. He notes, too, that the British Empire arose soon after the Reformation:

Rebellion against the pope was the foundational act of English power. And now the power is gone, and perhaps the rebellion has gone, too.

At Westminster, Brown writes, Pope Benedict insisted that moral arguments cannot be resolved by pragmatic compromise; absolute truths must be recognized. This, the columnist says, is at odds with the British experience of recent centuries:

The clash of such principles or their reduction into common sense, was what British society thought it had outgrown. Perhaps that, too, was an illusion of empire.


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  • Posted by: FredC - Sep. 18, 2010 12:06 PM ET USA

    As the pope has stated: the alternative to absolute moral truths is moral relativism, the subjectivism that indeed has been the "British epxerience of recent centuries", especially in the Anglican Church and its disintegration. Is Brown extolling this destructive relativism?