Thinking Anglicans

Baroness Warsi's speech at the Vatican

Today the focus of media comment has moved to a speech given by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who is leading the largest ever UK Government delegation to the Vatican, to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See. In it she claimed that “a militant secularisation is taking hold of our societies”.

The full text of the speech is published by the Cabinet Office, and is also available here.

In advance of the speech, she also published this article at the Telegraph We stand side by side with the Pope in fighting for faith.

Channel 4 News published this FactCheck article: Is militant secularisation taking hold in Britain? And last night’s news broadcast had further coverage of the story.

Telegraph Baroness Warsi attacks ‘liberal elite’

Guardian Lady Warsi gets rapturous reception at Vatican for speech on faith

Some of the reactions to this:

Guardian Julian Baggini Is religion really under threat? and also
Giles Fraser Richard Dawkins and Lady Warsi should live and let live

Independent Mark Steel If religion is ‘marginal’, I’m the Pope

Spectator Douglas Murray Why Baroness Warsi has it wrong

Cranmer What kind of idiot does Baroness Warsi take the Pope for?

Mail Online George Pitcher Thank God for Baroness Warsi – a Muslim with the courage to defend our Christian nation


  • Laurence Roberts says:

    her “that being sure of who you are is the only way in which you will be more accommodating of others”.

    “Only when you realise that the Other does not jeopardise who you are can you truly accept and not merely tolerate the presence of difference,” she said.

    An eloquent statment of a liberal value, and basis for gay and all equality.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    Yes, yes, Giles.

    A plague on both their houses!!

  • JCF says:

    Warsi: “We stand side by side with the Pope in fighting for faith.”

    In the late 1990s, the Popoid polemicist Peter Kreeft called for an “Ecumenical Jihad” of conservative religious against their liberal opponents—especially against, you guessed it, LGBTs. [He even charmingly suggested that while burning-at-the-stake was declasse’, liberals could merely be frozen in cryogenic chambers!]

    Then 9/11 happened, and we didn’t hear about “Ecumenical Jihad” again.

    Well, I guess until now.

  • Craig Nelson says:

    I find this whole meme, or rather trope about Dawkins being a militant secularist a bit silly and daft. I confess to a sincere liking of Dawkins and his writings and he does really great telly – lay off Dawkins!

    Any how, I absolutely howled with laughter at Cranmer’s demolition (albeit from a different perspective to my own) of Warsi’s ridiculous offering at the Vatican and saw much that was right and good in Julian Baggini’s article. He proposes a good and sensible way forwards that secularists (which do actually include many Christians as it happens) should follow.

    It’s all a bit silly and drives me slightly mad along with the yearly stories about Christmas or Easter being abolished, straight bananas and the banning of playing conkers on ‘elf and safety grounds…..yawn…..

  • rjb says:

    Given the Pope’s well-known views on Islam, I fear Baroness Warsi may be pissing in the wind. However, she has managed to annoy both the faithful over at Archbishop Cranmer and Douglas Murray at the Spec, so she desrves some credit for this at least. Always good to see the Muslim-bashers in a flurry of indignation.

    I’m not quite sure I understand Cranmer’s rather tortured logic, but he seems to think the good Baroness is not homophobic enough.

  • Richard Ashby says:

    What is our government doing toadying up to an elderly cleric, head of a dictatorial, corrupt and disfunctional ecclesial body which has no morality when it comes to both money and sex and which, as far as I know, hasn’t lifted the excommunication of our monarch which permits and encourages her assasination?

    ‘The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in thie realm of England’

  • Counterlight says:

    I love the probably apocryphal story of Queen Mary’s inquiry into the religious fervor of the the future Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mum): “My dear,” she asked Elizabeth, “did your ancestors fight for the Faith?”
    “Your Majesty,” replied Elizabeth, “My ancestors killed for the Faith.”

  • I like to think that the historic Thomas Cranmer would hang his head in shame at the rigorism of the present ‘Pretender’ to his charismatic influence in the Church of England.

    ‘Cranmer’, who comments on his present weblog under that nomenclature, is an out and out denier of the Reformation intention of his name-sake, who brought a degree of justice into his reformatory stance on ‘truth and justice’ into the religious realm.

    Today’s Mr Cranmer is obviously intent on trying to overturn the justice initiatives currently in process by the more enlightened echelon of the world-wide Anglican Churches; bent on making the Scriptures more amenable to modern hermeneutics.

  • rjb says:

    That’s a bit harsh, Richard Ashby. If the government is not allowed to fraternise with regimes that are corrupt or hypocritical or abusive it won’t be able to go anywhere or meet anyone, and even staying at home will be a bit tricky. Personally, I prefer to think of the RCC as our temporarily-misguided brethren, who will no doubt come around to our way of seeing things in the fullness of time. Until that happy day arrives, snubbing the Pope seems futile and petty. Sixteenth-century slanders don’t help. I don’t care for Ratzinger, but I don’t think he wants to assassinate anyone.

    And if you’re going to go down the road of quoting the 39 Articles at people, you’re going to wind up in some pretty torturous theological and political positions. I don’t recommend it.

  • William says:

    “What is our government doing toadying up to an elderly cleric, head of a dictatorial, corrupt and disfunctional ecclesial body which has no morality when it comes to both money and sex and which, as far as I know, hasn’t lifted the excommunication of our monarch which permits and encourages her assasination?”

    Presumably Richard because the Catholic Church is a hugely influential organisation, with diplomatic links almost everywhere in the world. I suspect that the Briitsh government has moved on from the sixteenth century.

  • Richard Ashby says:

    Agreed, it was a bit over the top! But there is a serious point. The RC Church may well be hugely influential but that is largely because governments and others allow it to be so. I agree that there is a place for religious discourse in public life, what I don’t agree is that religious claims should be out of all proportion to the numbers subscribing to the beliefs or practices of said religious organisations. I think what is interesting is that the vast majority of active Christian people pick and choose the social claims of their religious leaders, the most notorious example being the prohibition on birth control by the RC church and the complete disregard of this teaching by its adherents.

    And yes, one shouldn’t go anywhere near the 39 articles…

  • Canon Rod Gillis says:

    Readers of the article about the conservative ‘Baroness” may find this article interesting as well.

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