Wednesday, September 7, 2016
The Spirit of Charlemagne Glen Newey 5 September 2016
''By origin the European Union is a deeply Catholic institution. Its six-member precursor took in the main Catholic powers of Western Europe, apart from Fascist Spain; even part-Protestant Germany was led in by that devout Roman Catholic Rhinelander, Konrad Adenauer. The Union’s close historical avatar, the Holy Roman Empire, aspired to an imperium that, if not wholly Roman, remained as firmly of this world as papal power itself. In the 19th century, ultramontane Germans feted Pius IX’s declaration of pontifical infallibility as a riposte to Bismarck’s failed Kulturkampf against the Catholic Centre Party. Even ‘subsidiarity’ – the EU norm whereby decisions supposedly devolve to local level – has a strong lineage in Vatican social doctrine, latterly parroted by popes such as John Paul II, but with roots in Aquinas. Much of that doctrine owed less to fondness for families and civil society than hostility to European sovereigns as adversaries of the pontifical superstate. In this light, the caesaropapist Henrician reformation emerges as the original Brexit..''