Brexit: Tories dissension brings Carltona doctrine to the fore

David Cameron has finally set June 23rd as the date for a referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union. But such announcement has kicked in new accusations and controversies. Indian orgin minister, Priti Patel, on behalf of Vote Leave campaign group has alleged that the civil servants are not cooperating with the Brexit supporting ministers. She said that the civil service must maintain impartiality during the EU referendum. Secretaries of state are responsible for their departments. For an unelected official to prevent them being aware of the information they need for their duties is wrong.

On the other hand international business leaders are warning United Kingdom of the serious complications that could follow a Brexit. Financial services, farming and millions of Britons living in Europe can be seriously affected if Britain chooses to leave European Union. Europhiles argue that UK’s withdrawal from the EU would mean unravelling all the rights and obligations – from access to the single market, to structural funds for poorer regions, to joint action on sanctions – that the UK has acquired during the accession to the EU. As well as negotiating its withdrawal, the UK would also want to negotiate its post-exit arrangements with the EU. A recent report suggests that a vote to leave the EU would be the start, not the end, of a process. It could lead to up to a decade or more of uncertainty! Labour’s shadow Business Secretary has been recently forced to defend Jeremy Corbyn against charges that he is privately against the continued membership of the EU. Even the pound is falling to its lowest level against the dollar since 2009.

G20 in a joint communique at the end of the recently concluded two-day meeting in Shanghai had warned that downside risks and vulnerabilities have risen, against the backdrop of volatile capital flows, a large drop of commodity prices, escalated geopolitical tensions, the shock of a potential UK exit from the European Union and a large and increasing number of refugees in some regions.

But Euroseptics continue to argue that EU was a “fundamentally flawed concept” that threatened the sovereignty of its members. London Mayor Boris Johnson said ‘It is the European Court of Justice, with its vast new remit over the charter of fundamental rights, that is making it harder month by month for the security services to get on with their job – whether it be expelling murderers or monitoring terrorist suspects. It is the border-free Europe, obviously, that makes it so much easier for our enemies to move around.’ Euroseptics further reason that post Brexit UK would have the ability to sign genuine FTAs with whichever nation(s) it wishes. There can also be tremendous advantages in a U.S.-U.K. free trade area. UK will reassert its commitment to international organisations like NATO and continue cooperation with the European nations in areas of common geopolitical interests.

The Britons are evenly divided on this serious issue. If Brexit happens, whether the UK would be more prosperous is a million dollar question which only time can answer.

Darwinism fails to annihilate Christianity: Evangelicalism resuscitates and Pentecostalism disseminates this ubiquitous faith: History of Christianity (Part 5 of 5)

And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee,
and taught them on the sabbath days.
And they were astonished at his doctrine:
for his word was with power.

And in the synagogue there was a man,
which had a spirit of an unclean devil,
and cried out with a loud voice,

Saying, Let us alone;
what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?
art thou come to destroy us?
I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying,
Hold thy peace, and come out of him.
And when the devil had thrown him in the midst,
he came out of him, and hurt him not.

And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves,
saying, What a word is this! for with authority
and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.

And the fame of him went out
into every place of the country round about.
Luke 4: 31-37 (King James Version)

The gradual decay in the Catholic Church’s values continued unabatedly, finally culminating in the ‘Reformation’. John Wycliffe was such an early proponent. But it was Martin Luther (1483-1546), an intellectual monk of the Order of Augustinian Hermits, who is known as the Father of the Protestant Reformation. He was much pained to see the corruption of the Western Church. He preferred the Augustine’s theology. But differences with the Western Church and specially on the ‘indulgences issue’ finally led to his dissociation with the Church. His famous and provocative ‘Ninety-Five Theses’ challenged the Western Church which led to the Church excommunicating him by promulgating a papal bull. Another major reformer was John Calvin (1509-1564), a French theologian who started a system of Christian theology known as Calvinism. The Lutherans and the Calvinists thus brought about the much needed Reformation.

All of this also resulted in the Catholic Church gradually introducing various changes and ushering reforms. Council of Trent, the most important ecumenical council, was convoked by Pope Paul III in 1545. Various decrees were passed. The Council issued condemnations of ‘heresies committed by Protestantism’ and also statements and clarifications of the Church’s doctrine and teachings were issued. The Church’s liturgy and practices were also discussed in great detail.

A more interesting event transpired in England. King Henry VIII was not able to procure an annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon. His plans of marrying Anne Boleyn was thus getting delayed. The Pope was not granting him divorce primarily because Catherine of Aragon was the aunt of the Holy Roman Empire. Out of frustration, the king founded the Anglican Church. The Archbishop of Canterburry then declared the first marriage annulled. Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterburry, through his ‘Book of Common Prayer’ introduced Protestant form of worship in the ‘Catholic Church in England’. But Queen Mary I, a Roman Catholic, executed him. Later Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) restored the Anglican Church and made it a Protestant establishment.

Europe was in the midst of various battles between the warring kingdoms. These were as much religious as political. French wars of succession, German wars as well as the Thirty Years War (17th Century) were fought with religious overtures too. But subsequently with the gradual advancement and development of natural and physical sciences, the Church started losing much of its significance. But Darwinism changed everything in the Nineteenth Century. The ‘Origin of Species’ published in 1859 and the ‘Descent of Man’ in 1871 completely shook the roots of Christianity. Darwin’s convincing ‘Theory of Natural Selection’ completely bypassed God in the evolution of Human race. Scholars like Karl Marx (1818-83) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) also contributed immensely to anti-God proposition.

Surprisingly, revival of this faith came in the form of a movement known as ‘Evangelicalism’. It’s a kind of piety with no specific denomination. Last Century’s ‘Pentecostalism’ has also hugely added to the growing number of Christian believers. The long dissociation between Western Church and the Eastern Orthodox which had continued from excommunication of 1054 was partially revoked in 1964 when Pope Paul VI met Athenagoras I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Though communion could not be reestablished, at least the excommunication of 1054 was rescinded.  Yesterday’s historic meeting of the Russian patriarch (an important part of Orthodoxy) and Pope and their joint plea for persecuted Christians has led to a renewed chance of communion.

Carolingian Renaissance blitzkrieg recalcitrant Islam; Papacy puissance in scrimmage with Byzantine sovereignty: History of Christianity (Part 4 of 5)

How doth the city sit solitary,
that was full of people!
how is she become as a widow!
she that was great among the nations,
and princess among the provinces,
how has she become tributary!

She weepeth sore in the night,
and her tears are on her cheeks:
among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her:
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her,
they have become her enemies.

Book of Lamentations 1: 1-2 (King James Version)

Christianity was totally unprepared to face the sudden rise of a new faith, Islam. After converting the indigenous Arabic polytheists, within few years of Islam’s birth, the whole of Arabian Peninsula was into its fold. The established Caliphate quickly started tremendous military expansion. Within few years of passing away of Muhammad (570-632), the Caliphate had reached as far as Tripoli in the West and Kabul in the East. Then in the 7th century, under the Ummayad dynasty, the Islamic Empire engulfed even the North of Africa. Abbassid dynasty in the 8th Century further extended the Islamic territories. Baghdad, the capital of the Caliphate, became a place of art and learning.

The serious challenge of Islam to the Christian West was valiantly faced by the Carolingian Empire. A zealous Christian, Charlemagne (742-814) waged many wars against the pagans. His rising power and strong Christian beliefs led the papacy to crown him as the emperor in 800 A.D. Such an act, in defiance of the Augustus in Constantinople, was an act of great significance. This led to the formal end of Byzantine throne’s authority over all Catholic population.

The Western and Eastern Christendom were drifting apart rapidly in the 9th Century. But this did not put a halt in the revival of Arts and learning in the Byzantine world. The western world was witnessing the ‘Carolingian Renaissance’. The continuing fight between the sees of Rome and Constantinople reached its peak in the 9th Century with both sides convoking ecumenical synods and deposing rival members. The formal division of the ancient Catholic Church into Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches was in the year 1054 A.D. This ‘Great Schism’ broke the communion between the sees of Constantinople and Rome. Later the Latin Church in the 11th Century reformed many of its questionable practices.

The rising force of the Seljuk Turks became a gigantic problem to the Byzantine Empire. With no hope remaining of being able to survive their onslaught, the Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus was forced to seek help from the Latin Church. But such asking of assistance from Western Church by the Byzantine Empire was not kindly taken by the Eastern Church which further fuelled a renewed struggle between the Churches.

At the Council of Clermont, in 1095 A.D., Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade. It was mainly for protecting the Eastern Christians from the invading Turks. The crusader armies recovered Nicaea and other places but also massacred numerous people. Subsequently the Second Crusade was undertaken in 1145 A.D., but this time the Seljuq Turks routed them. Saladin led the Muslim opposition to the European Crusaders. His army defeated the Crusaders at the decisive Battle of Hattin in 1187, and thereafter wrested control of Palestine from the Crusaders. The fall of Jerusalem led the Pope to call for the Third Crusade.  The Holy Roman Emperor and the Kings of France and England jointly organised the forces. But they were unsuccessful in taking back the Holy Land and could only negotiate a treaty with Saladin.

Gradually during the 12th Century, the Eastern Christians started resisting the growing presence and influence of the Western Christians in their land. This situation aggravated continuously finally culminating in the Fourth Crusade. This Crusade was called by Pope Innocent III in 1198. And it involved primarily with the Byzantine Empire. In early 13th Century, the Crusader Army attacked and sacked the City of Constantinople.  Subsequent Crusades were not serious military campaigns and thus came the end of the age of Crusades. The Western Christian’s hope of ruling the Holy Land thus remained unfulfilled