Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

News from France

Last night I had dinner with a friend who Twitters on line. One of his themes therein is French Royalism and he was flattered to find that he has recently gained a new member in his group of 3000 plus followers the Orleanist claimant to the throne, the Comte de Paris, or, as one thinks of him, King Henri VII.

This fortuitously links in with an interesting new post on Rorate Caeli which can be read at "The Reactionary Generation": traditional Catholic values sweep French politics.

The other week another friend introduced me to the blog Riposte-catholique: La réinformation catholique au quotidien. This is a collaborative effort from various contributors and highlights attacks on the Church in France and threats to Catholicism, both external, and internal through abuses of power and administration.

It  does look as though traditionalsm in various forms has quickened with the advent of a left-of- centre government and the questioning of some of the hitherto accepted principles of French political life - including the development of French Euroscepticism and the significant scale of the protests over same- sex marriage legislation there - which were, interestingly, hardly reported at all this side of the Channel. Funny that.

My own visits over the years to France always give me the sense of there being two Frances - that of the modern state and that of an older Catholic realm, by no means dead, but still alive, still breathing, and maybe, somehow,waiting. Waiting for what for may indeed be the question, but more than 200 years after the events of 1789, that older France - dare I call it an Ancien Regime? -  is more potent, more significant than many might think.

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