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|From: Church & State: Editorials|
|Date: October, 2011|
Some Home Truths About State And Church
|In modern democracies the populace has structured public existence in the form of political parties. It does not, as in ancient Athens, exist as a general assembly of itself. It is divided into parties in order to have durable political existence in large states—and by the standard of ancient Athens the Irish Republic is a large state.
Memory is said to be indispensable to human existence. Political memory, which is indispensable to development in the State, is maintained by political parties—or else it lapses. It is certainly not maintained by lectures in the History Departments of Universities, whose content is in extreme flux.
The party-politics of the Irish state was determined by the way the system of government was re-made according to a British ultimatum in 1922. The part of Sinn Fein which submitted to the ultimatum was established in power by British arms and was placed in control of the State direction of national life: the part which would not submit was subordinated by military action and its representatives were excluded from the Dail for many years by means of the Oath to the Crown that was insisted upon as a ritual of admission.
A competent Anti-Treaty Party was formed on a basis of Republican sentiment and, despite all the obstacles placed in its way, it won a General Election ten years after its defeat and went on to be the hegemonic party in the state for the next three generations.
The Treaty Party was established in power by Britain in 1922 and governed until 1932. It was put in place by actual British power in the first instance, and in later years it sought to frighten the electorate with the threat of a return of British power if the Treaty system was broken. It has often been described as a conservative party, but it was something quite different. It was a doctrinaire party relying on the routine of a power system which it did not itself establish. It was not sufficiently conservative even to conserve itself.
In the matter of elections as an element in the life of a democratic state: it won an election in 1923. But it was not by means of elections that the Free State was constituted. A republican Government was freely elected in 1918 and confirmed in 1921 but Britain refused to recognise it and set about destroying it. So it as not because it won an election that the Treaty Party formed the Free State. It was established by British power as the Government of the Free State—being established as a "Provisional Government" most of a year before a state was provided for it to govern. (It was set up as a Government on British authority in January 1922: the Free State came into being in December 1922.)
In 1923 it sought the consent of the electorate to the accomplished fact that it was the Government of the Free State, and it got it. But, if the electorate had voted against the Free State and for the Republic, the power that established the Free State would not have recognised the result as valid. In power terms the function of the electorate was to consent—or to rebel. In the British view Ireland was no more entitled to become a Republic in 1923 than it had been in 1918.
Electoral sovereignty was established by the Anti-Treaty Party, Fianna Fail, in the 1930s when it broke the Treaty and dared Britain to do anything about it, and British power and confidence had declined so far that it did nothing.
Fianna Fail took office in 1932 with the support of the Labour Party. In 1933 it called an election which it won outright. The Treaty Party—called Cumann na nGaedheal—was jolted out of its doctrinaire routines. It merged with a small Redmondite party, called itself Fine Gael, and declared itself Fascist. It retained a more or less Fascist orientation until 1939, when it supported Fianna Fail's declaration of neutrality against Britain's World War. After the War Fine Gael made an alliance with a Republican Party recently formed out of the IRA, Sean MacBride's Clanna na Poblachta, returned to office in 1948 (for the first time since 1932) in Coalition with the Clann and the Labour Party, and cast aside the last, meaningless, remnant of the Treaty by formally leaving the British Empire and Commonwealth, in whose affairs the series of Fianna Fail Governments had taken no part.
The pattern of Fianna Fail Governments with Coalition interludes then lasted for about half-a-century.
That pattern fell apart in early 2011 when the electorate, apparently holding the Fianna Fail party responsible for the existence of capitalism, almost gave Fine Gael an absolute majority, and Fianna Fail suffered internal collapse.
To summarise: The state had no regular party-political system during the period of Treatyite dominance (1922-1932), or during the many years after 1932 that it took the Treaty Party to remake itself into a republican party within the Fianna Fail system. After 1948 there was a lopsided system in which the alternative to Fianna Fail Government was a merely opportunist alliance between the former Fascist, now something like Christian Democratic, Party and a Labour Party that became increasingly confused about where it stood in the world.
The long series of Fianna Fail electoral victories in the 1930s and 1940s had to do with Fine Gael's difficulty in weaning itself off the Treaty. Its long series of election victories half a century later had to do with the inability of the Opposition to function as an effective Opposition, because it consisted of at least two parties, and because those two parties, which were a Coalition pair whether in office or out of it, were an extreme ideological mismatch, the one being simply capitalist and the other supposedly socialist.
Fianna Fail's electoral collapse in February 2011 provided an opportunity for a drastic re-structuring of party-politics. Fine Gael almost gained an overall majority and would have been able to form a Government without the Labour Party. And the Labour Party, having overtaken Fianna Fail, might have constituted itself the main Opposition party.
The party structure shaped by the Treaty division was often deplored as abnormal by the Labour Party. It was held that the normal party division as based on class, or at least on an ideology relating to class. But, when Labour got the opportunity in February 2012 to reform the party system on class lines, it backed away from it and went into Coalition with the capitalist party yet again. It gave no convincing reason for why it felt it was necessary to do this. It seems to have been that it just could not imagine acting on its own. It had grown into an unbreakable relationship of dependency with Fine Gael. It was Tweedledum, and the project of re-ordering Irish politics as the opposition to Tweedledee and brushing the hated and broken Fianna Fail party aside was out of the question for it.
And it seems that Tweedledee reciprocated the feeling and was happy to have Labour once again propping it up as its junior partner instead of standing alone.
One of the first noticeable acts of the new Taoiseach was a Declaration of Independence from Rome.
If the Irish State had been a dependency of Rome, it was the Taoiseach's party that made it so during its ten years in Office when the Treaty State was being constructed to Britain's specifications. But who was in a position to say that? Fianna Fail does not exist any more as the agent of memory in the State—and it had in fact been erasing its own memory for many years before its electoral collapse. One could hardly expect the princes of the Church to say it. And Sinn Fein, which is re-emerging as a mainstream force, as the parties that hived off from it over the decades lose their bearings, is not yet in a position to say it. But, if Sinn Fein is to consolidate its position as a major party of the state, it can only be as an agent of political memory, able to see such things and say them.
The position of the Catholic Church in the Irish State founded in 1922 was abnormal. Insofar as this abnormality brought about a relationship of dependency between the Irish State and Rome, that was not the work of Rome but of the Treaty Party directed by Britain.
The Treaty Party, by agreeing to form a State under British direction to replace the Republic, lost the support of the force that had compelled Britain to negotiate. It turned for support to elements that had not supported the elected Republic. Chief among these elements was the Catholic Hierarchy.
That Hierarchy had not recognised the elected Republican Government as the legitimate Government, and the Bishop of Cork went as far as excommunicating the Army of the Republic. But in 1922 it recognised the Provisional Government set up on British authority as legitimate, even while that Government was waiting for Britain to give it a state to govern. And it recognised the war to enforce the Treaty system as legitimate, and issued Decrees of Excommunication against those who resisted it.
Britain had for a couple of generations been attempting to use the Roman Church as an instrument for curbing nationalist development. It had diplomatic influence in Rome, and Rome was paranoid on the subject of Republican conspiracy because of its experience of Italian nationalism. When the Treaty Party in 1922 came to depend ont he ideological influence of the Roman Hierarchy, that Hierarchy used the opportunity to build itself into the de facto structure of the new Irish State, consolidating and enhancing the position that Britain had accorded it for anti-national purposes.
It seems very unlikely that this would have happened if Britain had recognised the Republic of 1919-21 instead of making war on it.
The Church/State relationship established in the formation of the Treaty State, when those of a strong Republican spirit were being defeated by British arms in Irish hands, was abnormal. But it was abnormal in Romanist, rather than in Reformationist or British, terms.
The distinction between Church and State, with the allocation of different spheres to each, is a Romanist distinction. The Reformation rejected this distinction and proclaimed the unity of Church and State.
It was through the formation of the British Empire that Protestantism became a world force, and in Britain Church and State have formed a unity ever since Henry VIII declared himself Pope of the English Church.
The British case against Catholicism in Ireland over many generations was that it was not nationalist, but owed allegiance to a foreign power. The Leader of the party that made Ireland a Roman province has now declared independence from that foreign power, but there is still no clue of how this independence is to be structured.
The British complaint that Catholicism in Ireland was not nationalist amounted to a complaint that it did not accord comprehensive and unconditional allegiance to the Crown as the supreme authority in politics and religion. Representative Catholics repeatedly declared their willingness to declare allegiance to Caesar in the things that are Caesar's etc. But that was not enough for a State which did not acknowledge the validity of the distinction between Caesar and God.
Where "Christ and Caesar were hand in glove" was not Ireland but England—where Christ and Caesar were one.
Christ/Caesar at Westminster decreed the abolition of the prevailing form of Christianity in Ireland, officially declaring it to be a phenomenon of Anti-Christ, and set out to incorporate Ireland into the absolute religious nationalism of England.
It became the fashion with Irish academics a generation ago to deny the reality, or the serious intent, of the Penal Laws. So far removed were those academics from the reality of things, that they imagined that, by debunking the Penal Laws, they were striking a blow at Republicanism of the North.
But the Penal Laws existed. They were inaugurated as a system about three centuries ago by a Christ/Caesar who appears to have actually believed in herself, Queen Anne, and they were systematically enforced for about three generations by Caesars who may not quite have believed but who did not allow disbelief to undermine the system. The structure of the English State carries its agents along with it. They do its work regardless of their private opinions. And thus far England has produced no Emperor Julian—who sought to abort the system of Roman Catholicism by disestablishing it.
Of course Julian failed. Hermes was no match for the Holy Ghost, or Diana for Mary. The exotic Catholic mixture of beliefs, symbols and idols was made an integral part of the life of the world under the name of Christianity. The Emperor determined what Christianity was, until the Empire decayed, leaving the Church as its viable element. When statecraft revived, it was with both a Pope and an Emperor as two elements of the same system, in conflict with each other within that system, but neither disputing the legitimacy of the other, or of the system. And so in Catholic Europe we get the dichotomy of Church and State, with the associated party-political division, of Guelphs and Ghibellines.
The Reformation sought to resolve that dichotomy back into a simple unity of Church and State forged into a total sovereignty. Ireland was subordinated to this totalitarianism during the century following the Williamite conquest but was not absorbed into it. When it asserted a life of its own, challenging the system of the Penal Laws with a power that the Protestant Church-State had to give way to, Whitehall could not bring itself to negotiate the kind of Church/State relationship for Ireland that was normal in Europe.
The normal arrangement was for the authority of the Vatican over the local Church to be modified by a Concordat with the State. But the nationalist totalitarianism of the British Church-State could not bring itself to make a Concordat with Rome which, while limiting the authority of Rome over the Church in Ireland, would also give formal recognition to a degree of Roman authority within the British state.
Until the late 18th century, while the Penal Laws were maintained as a system, the relation of the Vatican to the Church in Ireland was regulated by the Jacobite Pretender to the British throne. It was only after Jacobitism lapsed and Westminster admitted Catholics to Parliament without any regulation by Concordat, that the Vatican gained direct and unlimited authority over the Irish section of its Church.
The basic Vatican view of this matter, unlike the British, was not totalitarian. The Church/State distinction was inherent in it, and Rome took it to be a matter of course that it would not have authority unrestricted by the State over the branches of the Church in the various countries.
We have explained this many times over the past forty years. We do so again because the Taoiseach's tirade against Rome implies that Rome asserted unrestricted authority over the Church in Ireland and somehow gained it. And that is very far from being historical truth.
It suited Britain, when it could no longer deny political rights to Catholics in Ireland, to concede Catholic rights without making any limiting arrangements with Rome, even though it had for over a century been justifying the Penal Laws on the grounds that the Catholic Church was an international system directed by a dictator in Rome.
Responsibility for continuing the unprotected condition of Church in Ireland from Roman authority then passed to the Taoseach's party, which, when agreeing to construct an Irish State subject to British authority in 1922, simply handed over a swathe of public life to the Church.
This magazine in the 1970s and 1980s focussed attention on the abnormal relationship of Church and State in Ireland and suggested that it should be regularised by means of a Concordat. That suggestion was dismissed by clergy who had become accustomed to functioning outside political authority, and also by anti-clericals (of where there were many, in a private capacity), who saw it as a concession of authority to the Church.
A big book has just been published about the dispute between Robert O'Keeffe, Parish Priest of Callan, and his Bishop, in the 1870s. This book, which originated in Cambridge University and is published by University College Dublin, is pretentiously titled The European Culture Wars In Ireland.
The O'Keeffe affair and other affairs were publicised by this journal in the 1970s and 1980s in an attempt to establish a historically-grounded public opinion that would engage with the established order of things in a practical reformist way. Academia did not want to know then. Now, when the matter is of no practical relevance, it publishes an extensive account of the O'Keeffe affair as a historical curiosity.
The "European Culture Wars", into which the O'Keeffe affair is slotted by UCD, was a conflict between Church and State in a number of European countries during the generation after 1848, when the Catholic Church, which was widely assumed to have been overcome by the all-conquering spirit of Liberalism, was reasserted as a viable intonational body by Pius IX. The main battleground of these "wars" was Germany—though Switzerland fought a literal Civil War over them.
The restoration of the Roman Church, culminating in the adoption of the Decree of Papal Infallibility by the First Vatican Council in 1870, gave a shock to the Liberal world-outlook, which had its source in England. English Liberalism, triumphant at home with the abolition of the Corn Laws and the Irish Famine, was asserting its power across the world by means of the associated ideologies of Free Trade and Nationalism. It was an active instigator of nationalism in Europe but not in Ireland. It gave Mazzini a safe haven for the preaching of what would now be called terrorist fundamentalism, and Garibaldi was its hero. In the face of the proclamation of nationalism as a universal force (everywhere except Ireland), the Pope—who had been taken to be a Liberal at the start, reasserted doctrines that had been instituted at the time of the Roman Empire and set about making the Church a viable international institution once again. He even appointed Bishops to English dioceses for the first time in centuries, and Gladstone responded with a Penal Law. Until then, Roman Bishops in England held Sees in the Middle East which had been lost to the Moslems. They were Bishops in England but not Bishops of English Dioceses. A Penal Law was enacted making Roman Bishops of English Dioceses illegal, but it was not enforced because it was assumed that the conquering spirit of Liberalism would make legal suppression of Romanism unnecessary.
The First Vatican Council was held during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71—a French war of aggression on Prussia to prevent the unification of Germany, which had the effect of accelerating German unification. France failed to bring its greater military strength to bear in actual battle, and it miscalculated the effect of its declaration of war on Prussia on the Catholic States of Southern Germany, the chief of which was Bavaria. The French aggression, instead of isolating Prussia from the Catholic German States, drove all the German States together into a kind of Federation led by the King of Prussia and which was called the German Empire.
The "Culture War" (Kulturkampf) launched by Bismarck after unification had the purpose of fostering an integral national body politic for the new State. It was directed against the Decrees of the Vatican Council asserting direct Papal authority.
The new German Empire, proclaimed in Paris in 1871, following the defeat of the French aggression, and while Germany was in occupation of France pending a French agreement to make a settlement, was an Empire of German states. The largest, and in some ways the most authentic, German state was Bavaria.
Prussia was the active force of national construction in 19th century Germany. It was through Prussian action that the fifty states of 1815 Germany—there had been more than a hundred before the French Revolution—became a single German state in 1871. But Prussia was a recently-constructed product of virtuoso statecraft by the Hohenzollern family. It gained a base in Brandenberg, to which bits and pieces were added here and there as the opportunity presented itself. Frederick the Great had expanded it by war on Austria, but it was not chiefly by war that it had expanded.
Prussia was a 'work in progress'. It was an active monarchical dynasty, rather than a historical people or territory. It was predominately Protestant in its base area, but as a State given its character by Frederick the Great it was the European centre of free-thought philosophy.
And Bavaria, the biggest and most historically-definite of the German states, was quite definitely Catholic.
The formation of the German Empire coincided with the dissolution of the Papal States and the assertion by the Papacy of its supremacy as a spiritual power with temporal implications.
Bismark's object in his "Culture War" was to forge a national body politic for the new German state, which was a very decentralised federal structure. Bavaria, for example, remained a Kingdom with its own Army until 1918 (and then there was a possibility that it would revert to independent statehood).
Prussia had been Britain's ally in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, and British Liberalism could hardly have disapproved of Bismarck's Anti-Catholic laws, designed to reduce the influence of the new, assertive Romanism on the Catholic States of the new German Empire. But, when Britain decided to make war on Germany in 1914, its war propaganda—contributed to by Home Rulers like Tom Kettle and Robert Lynd—constructed a demonic idea of Prussia, and of the federal German Empire as a Prussianised Germany, which has held sway ever since, but which is a total caricature.
When that demonology was being created in 1914-15 James Connolly disputed it. When the Socialist International failed to deliver on its commitment to prevent war between the European States by socialist action, and the workers of the various states were effectively enlisted for the War, Connolly declared his support for Germany on socialist grounds. That is a fact which socialists who like to recite Connolly's name as part of a litany do not wish to know, and any attempt even to mention it in the presence of academic historians is cut off by a spasm of revulsion. His persistent support of Germany on socialist grounds in the last two years of his life remains the most live issue connected with him. It is the one thing about him that cannot be mentioned. It is not mentioned in the entries on him in he Dictionary Of National Biography (British) by Ruth Dudley Edwards, and in the Dictionary Of Irish Biography by Fergus D'Arcy.
Bismarck's attempt to foster a culture of national unity for the political life of the new German state on liberal grounds was perhaps a partial success, but in the end it was little more than a draw. Under pressure he declared that he would never go to Canossa, and he didn't. (A medieval Emperor in difficulty was obliged to go to Canossa unarmed to make obeisance to the Pope.) But the contest resulted in a Catholic Party, the Centre Party, becoming a major party of the state.
Poor Robert O'Keeffe of Callan made his lone stand against Ultramontanism (as the Papal Supremacy of Vatican I was called) on the basis of his rights as a Parish Priest. Having set up a Christian Brothers school in his parish, he wanted to set up a convent of teaching nuns too. The Bishop refused permission. O'Keeffe disputed the authority of the Bishop. The Bishop asked Rome to back him and it did. O'Keeffe's curates said things about him which led him to bring libel actions against him. And then he sued the Bishop in a case that was widely reported. (And the proceeding of the Trial were issued as a book.) The Liberalism of England supported him, as did the Liberalism of Ireland—the Orange upholders of "freedom, religion and law". He won a token victory that left him worse off than before. He did not give up. He continued with his aggressive assertion of a principle, for which he had diminishing local support, and was backed by the foreign power that ran the country—it was by this time, the 1870s, being definitely relegated to the status of a foreign power. It supported him in principle but had begun to make extensive deals with his enemy for the purpose of running the country. The Roman Church, which Britain hoped to direct in Ireland though diplomatic influence in Rome, was becoming an acknowledged power in the British state, and O'Keeffe was a sad case in his last years.
Insofar as there had been a culture war worthy of the name in 19th century Ireland, it happened about sixty years before O'Keeffe's war with his Bishop. It began in 1808, when Henry Grattan introduced a Bill to admit Catholics to Parliament, with the condition that the Government should have a right of veto on the selection of Bishops. That condition, which was not unusual, had been cleared by Grattan with the Irish Hierarchy but, when it was published, it set off a great hostile agitation in the Dublin Catholic middle class, involving people who had been active in the United Irish movement a dozen years earlier. A pamphlet dispute on the issue then raged within the Catholic community for a number of years, in the course of which Daniel O'Connell shifted ground from his initial support for Ascendancy Repeal to popular Catholic nationalism. The Bishops were obliged to disown their agreement to the Veto, even though a document supporting it was issued by Rome. The Veto was killed off, not by an ignorant, superstitious peasantry stirred up by Rome, but by the progressive element of the metropolitan middle class.
The strongest voice in support of the Veto was that of a Catholic priest, the Rev. Charles O'Conor, nephew of Charles O'Conor of Belanagare who had founded the Catholic Committee. O'Conor argued a Jacobite case in support of the Veto. If an adequate body of Irish national literature had been compiled by our academics or publishers, O'Conor's Vetoist pamphlets would have a prominent place in it, and there would be less bewilderment and confusion about the recent turn of events. But the Jacobite view was swept aside by the upsurge of progressive Jacobin Ultramontanism that triumphed in the Veto controversy and set the pattern of future development.
The Veto proposal gave rise to the greatest dispute there has ever been amongst Irish Catholics on Church affairs. But, because it makes no sense from the doctrinaire viewpoint of either Liberalism or Catholic-nationalism, it has been virtually excluded from the history books. For example, it is not even mentioned in Cardinal Cullen And His World published this year by Four Courts Press. However, without it, what Cullen did must seem to be the work of Roman authoritarianism, shaping an ignorant, passive populace according to its will.
The main article in this book is by Emmet Larkin, who writes of a "devotional revolution" without mentioning the startling emergence of Jacobin Ultramontanism that set in motion what Cullen gave organised direction to a generation later. And he also does not mention the Famine/Holocaust as a spiritual event, although it is inconceivable that it should not have had much more profound consequences than reducing the ratio of priests to people by exterminating a big chunk of the people—which is what he mentions.
The Vetoist, O'Conor, was Jacobite and Gallican. Having been educated in Catholic Europe, while the Penal Laws were in operation in Ireland, he naturally took it for granted that certain arrangements between Church and State were necessary. While each had its distinct sphere, the two could not operate in complete independence of each other.
(In those days it was thought that religion was indispensable to the functioning of the State—and it is still not clear that it isn't: the action of the greatest democracy in the world, at any rate, is largely driven by religion. And the Church likewise could not function without the State.)
Britain banned Catholic seminaries in Ireland after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, driving the Irish to the Continent for education. Then, in the 1790s, in the context of the war against French democracy, it hastily established a seminary at Maynooth, so that priests might be educated at home and not come under subversive Continental influence. But, on the Continent, where Church and State were two institutions within the same society, they made co-habiting arrangements as a matter of course. And Irish priests educated on the Continent took it for granted that the Government must have a say in the running of the Church, and they brought that view back to Ireland with them—even though in Ireland Church and State were not two institutions of the same society, and the State had, since its Glorious Revolution, been committed to the destruction of the Church.
But the priests educated at home, in the Seminary which the State set up for an ulterior purpose, knew very well what the real relationship of Church and State in Ireland was. There may for a while have been Gallican lecturers teaching that the Government had rights in the conduct of the Church, but the Seminarians knew from their own experience—and from the influence of their neighbourhoods—that, while it might be prudent to submit to some degree to the naked power of the State, the State was an alien force from another society.
Maynooth had been functioning for less than twenty years when daring spirits amongst the Anti-Vetoists openly said what was what in the matter and asserted total independence of the Church from the hostile State, which carried the implication that another State should be got. And the subversive statements of the Anti-Vetoists were so reasonable, and so much in accordance with the facts of the situation that denial of them could carry no conviction, that they could not fail to influence Maynooth and make it a subversive institution.
Gallicanism died off with the priests who had been educated on the Continent. Then the State demonstrated its true character in Ireland to anybody who had hitherto failed to notice it, with its exterminating action in the Famine/Holocaust—which shocked even that good Protestant Imperialist, Isaac Butt. And Cullen came from Rome during the Famine/Holocaust and gave systematic order to the structure of the Church which had been implicit in the rejection of the Veto.
"Culture war" on the issue of Roman control had an utterly different socio-political content in Ireland and Germany. The new national State in Germany was strongly federal in structure, and some of its federal components were strongly Catholic. The new state, though called an Empire, was actually a national development. It would not have been functional as anything else in the European circumstances of the time, in which nationalism had been fostered as the norm by the hegemonic ideology of Britain as the world Super-power. The Germany of poets and dreamers in fifty different states, each following its own bent, could not have continued. The Empire had to be a nation. And the nation needed a national culture as the medium of its democratic politics—because democracy and nationalism went together. The point of the Kulturkampf was to ensure that the assertion of Papal supremacy by Rome which coincided with the formation of the German state did not determine the conduct of the Catholic components of the state in the overlap between Church and State affairs.
The Kulturkampf was played out to a kind of draw. The conflict was not a simple one between the Catholics as a body and the State, or the Catholic federal States and the central authority established through Prussian energy. There were differences amongst Catholics about Vatican I. There was no Catholic will to secede from the German State which the Catholic states had taken part in forming. And the outcome of the affair was the emergence of the Centre Party as a Catholic party of the German State, as national as any other, and one of the major parties of the state.
In Germany the Church and the State wee both German. In Ireland, if one takes the Taoiseach's tirade in earnest, the conclusion must be that neither the State nor the Church was Irish. It is indisputable that the State was foreign. But, in its conflict with the foreign State, the society took Romanism to be its religion. And its decisive action in doing this was taken at a time when Rome was in disarray and under French pressure, and was agreeable to giving Britain a say in the conduct of the Church in Ireland. If it was subject to Rome, it was a subjection voluntarily and purposefully—and indeed forcibly—entered into. It compelled Rome to be authoritative in Ireland because Roman authoritarianism was its counter to British authoritarianism.
O'Keeffe's war was a lost cause. It appealed to the Liberalism of the foreign State, which had tried to exterminate Irish Catholics, and which, when that failed, turned to appeasement and through that appeasement had become practically entangled with the Ultramontanism that O'Keeffe declared war on.
O'Keeffe pursued his war through the Courts of the foreign State. He took his stand on a principle that was detached from socio-political reality in Ireland.
Thirty years ago, when Ultramontanism held sway in the Irish state, it was interesting to discover O'Keeffe's solo rebellion ad tell the story of it as a contemporary act of rebellion. But now, with the Church in collapse, what sense is there in puffing it up into an Irish participation in the European conflict of Church and State and placing it alongside the Kulturkampf?
There was a kind of Irish Kutlurkampf two centuries ago. And there might have been one ninety years ago. The only real opportunity to normalise Church/State relations was when the British State was giving way to an Irish State. But Britain refused to relinquish State control in Ireland to a mere democratic movement that won an election. The new British democracy of 1918 took its stand on the old Imperial principle that the State power of the Empire had precedence over local opinion, and that the issue of Irish independence was one that had to be decided by war—which used to be called The reason of Kings. And, when the Irish electoral mandate had been sufficiently supported by war to make it prudent for Britain to negotiate a settlement and concede a measure of Irish autonomy, Britain, in withdrawing from Southern Ireland, managed to bring about a 'Civil War' there. And the party which it put in place—the present Taoiseach's party—alienated the Republican core of the Independence movement and made itself dependent on the mass influence of the Ultramontanist Church Hierarchy, and accorded it a position of unchecked and unsupervised independence within the state, and the control of areas of public life which should have been within the control of the State, e.g., Education—regardless of whether there was clerical involvement in it.
Now the leader of the party which enlarged the sphere of the Church in the State, when a compromise between Church and State was what was needed, launches a hysterical tirade against Rome. He declares independence from Rome, as if Rome had somehow usurped political power in Ireland, when it would be nearer the truth to say that it had power thrust upon it as a measure to restrict the sphere of the foreign State, and had that power reinforced by those who were determined to enforce the Treaty at any cost.
Now it is being seriously proposed to abolish the Confessional by subordinating it to policing. The British State failed to do this during the century of its Penal Laws, but it seems that all the Presidential candidates except Dana supported this proposal.
The tirade against Rome has been followed by a similar tirade against Germany. Ireland is now being depicted as the victim of Roman and German Imperialism—of the Holy Roman Empire, let us say, because Prussia is there no more and the economic driving force of modern Germany is Catholic Bavaria etc.
When the EU development was launched by Adenauer, De Gaulle, De Gasperi and the Benelux countries, Britain—in the self-confidence of Empire—gave its patronising approval but held aloof. Then the Empire was lost very quickly and Europe cohered very quickly, with Germany minus Prussia as its economic power-house. Germany minus Prussia was Catholic Germany. Prussia had been Britain's historic ally in Europe until the strong German economic development that followed unification. Around 1906 the British Liberal Government decided to make war on Germany. The war was launched in 1914 with the enthusiastic support of the Irish Home Rule party. Prussia was demonised in the war propaganda.
The story was that Prussia was the major source of evil in the world, that by means of the unification it had taken control of the good Germans, cast a spell on them, and Prussianised them. The implication of the war propaganda was that, for the future peace of Europe, the unification of Germany would have to be undone, and the good Southern Germans liberated so that they could de-Prussianise themselves. In 1919 Franc was eager to do that but, since it would have established France in greater dominance in Europe than it had ever enjoyed before, Britain vetoed it. However, after the 2nd World War, Prussia disappeared, becoming East Germany. Only good Germans remained in the free world. And these good Germans quickly made a success of the West European alliance. Then Britain found that it wanted to join what it had refused to join in the first instance. That new Europe was the political creation of Christian Democracy in Germany, Italy and Belgium and Gaullism in France. Christian Democracy had some memory of British action in Europe and kept it out. The British propaganda then began to depict the EU as a restoration of the Holy Roman Empire, which straddled the Alps and was a bad thing.
Eventually Britain gained admission to Europe. Naturally it set about aborting its development. British balance-of-power strategy towards Europe needs a divided Europe. The integrity of the EU was undermined by random expansion following the end of the Cold War, by the persistent British pressure to replace the social market by the free market, and by the undermining of the Commission by means of corruption scandals. Europe was made discontented with itself and its carefully established self-sufficiency arrangements. Its horizons were globalised. Britain had become incapable of self-sufficient existence a century and a half ago. It dominated the world and established a mode of life which can only be sustained by exploitation of global markets. Under its influence Europe was brought to see itself as a player of global markets without having the means of doing so, while at every critical juncture Britain retained the option of playing the world market independently of Europe. And the defensive military arrangements, which Europe had maintained for two generations, were reoriented for aggressive warmaking when the Cold War ended.
Germany did not play a leading part in any of these developments. It tagged along, keeping a low profile, and conducting an old-fashioned economy, making durable products to a high degree of craftsmanship, and neither working nor shopping at weekends.
But an article in the current issue of the Jesuit magazine Studies tells us that Germany is a colonial power whose irresponsible conduct is the central cause of Ireland's economic problems:
"…Germany is becoming more nationalistic, and much less committed to the European project that was at the centre of its foreign policy for over half a century. Germany is now led by a generation that does not see itself as having responsibility for past wars, and the birth of the Common Market as a means of unifying and repairing broken Europe has bee forgotten…
This Jesuit whinge goes on to say (or quote somebody else as saying) that: "the rest of Europe needs to start holding Germany to account" for its "Beggar Thy Neighbour Policies". Germany and Japan recovered economically after defeat in 1945 by means which—
"led to dependence on exports and therefore on the foreign consumer, with much less focus on domestic consumption, which of necessity was at a very low level in the post-war years. This eventually led to limited competition in the home market. The consequent inadequate development of the service sector led to generally highly inefficient and politically controlled banks", which "have cosy ties with local government".
Because of inefficiency; insufficient competitiveness; poor banking practices; crony capitalist relationships between local banks, local government and local industry; rudimentary financial services; and a low level of domestic consumption (poverty?!), the Germans have built up immense trade surpluses and are "propping up their own economy at the rest of the world's expense". And it all goes back to The War, which Germany "no longer sees itself as having responsibility for".
Germany has abased itself and negated itself so comprehensively on the issue of war guilt that the only conceivable change in its attitude to the War would be to repudiate guilt and indict Britain for having spun a catastrophic World War out of the trivial issue of Danzig—after collaborating with Hitler for five years to break the conditions of the Versailles Treaty by re-militarising the Rhineland, forming an Army and a Navy, merging with Austria, and incorporating the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia into the German state. If it did that, the world (or the little bit of it that we take to be 'the world') would be shocked for a moment, but would soon adjust to the fact that Germany was a state once more, and that there was no longer a political blank at the heart of Europe. But there is little prospect of that. Germany will continue to creep around not wanting to be noticed, even though the future of Europe depends on it.
That is the Dresden Effect.
The most representative British historian, who tells it like it is from a British viewpoint (Andrew Roberts), has explained that the purpose of the fire-bombing of Dresden and other cities after the German Army had been defeated—which in other circumstances would have been described as acts of genocide—while they had no military purpose, had the moral purpose of branding into the German soul the conviction that Germany must never again do what Britain does not want it to do. In the immediate post-War era, when it was led by Christian Democrats who had resisted Nazism and who knew how Britain had supported it, Germany did act contrary to British desires. It is since the passing of that generation, and the ending of Cold War security, that the Dresden Effect has been strikingly operative.
For the past generation, while capitalist globalism was being intensively developed by Ameranglia, Germany has been the absent centre of the EU, tending to its own affairs within the framework of the cosy national capitalism—crony capitalism—that was set up for it by Bismarck. But all the while Britain was remaking the EU to serve its own purposes. Eventually the cosy German capitalism was declared illegal by the European Court. The local banks, industry and local government were declared to be in breach of competition rules. The banks were driven by EU law into the world money market—which operated tricky financial devices like packaged mortgage instruments, credit default swaps etc, of which they knew nothing. And now they are accused of neo-colonialism because they sent that money abroad on easy terms, enabling economic developments which otherwise would not have happened!
German capitalist development after unification was not of the laissez-faire kind. It was subject to laws designed to prevent the melting down of the pre-capitalist lower classes into a de-socialised proletariat. Arrangements were made for a working class to have rights as part of the system, as part of a civilised structure, instead of having a de-socialised proletariat painfully getting itself together over generations in order to assert rights. That is what James Connolly saw in Germany when he supported it on socialist grounds in 1914-16. But his reasoned argument has never been taken account of. He is depicted as an Anglophobe fantasising about England's enemy in a fit of blind hatred.
The German form of capitalist development was stopped in the international sphere by British militarism. But Germany at home continued to live in its own form. And its backward practice of making products as durable goods and selling them has been so effective that the old-fashioned German economy is the soundest in Europe today, while the capitalism ruled by the money market wonders if it is going to survive.
The implication of the Jesuit whinge is that Germany should give up on the way of life it has held onto so tenaciously, float itself on the finance markets, and go shopping on Sunday. That is what Irish Catholicism has been reduced to!