Every 4 months Don writes a Milestones article for the BibleMagazine – in the following months we provide the article free of charge. here is the latest….
Speaking with a young Brother at the meeting about the signs of our times, he said, “It is so exciting, everything is coming together. There are so many areas where the situation is on track! The angels must be working overtime!” I agreed and said that was a phrase that I find myself often using today. It doesn’t matter where one looks, things are dropping into their appointed place.
With Brexit talks stumbling along there have been two key visions of what the future might hold. One was by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker in his “State of the Union talk” describing the vision that he had of a United States of Europe. Brexit only had a fleeting mention and that was near the end of his hour-long talk! Europe had more interesting things to discuss than Britain’s exit! Significantly one prominent cartoonist depicted him as a Roman Emperor!
A few days later, B0oris Johnson, the UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph outlining his vision of a Britain freed from the shackles of Europe, prospering as a trading nation.
At the same time, Russia was undertaking massive troop manoeuvres. The annual Russian strategic exercises take place in one of the four military areas of Russia. Last year Kavkaz-2016 took place in the Southern Military District. (Kavkaz = South). This year Zapad-2017 took place in the West. (Zapad = West) Much to the eastern border countries concerns, these exercises simulate the takeover of an imaginary country. Although limited to no more than 13,000 troops to keep it “Kosher” with NATO, many feared that under cover of these manoeuvres, many more troops would be involved, with the possibility of the troops not returning at the end of the exercise. The exercises are still ongoing as this is being written, and so far, there have been no reports of any aggression. The use of advanced missiles and tanks is a powerful reminder that Russia is an ever-growing military threat to the EU border countries.
A recent visit by the Vatican’s No 2, Secretary of State to Russia raised hopes of a possible visit by the Pope to Russia in the not too distant future. Differences are being put aside in order to work together. We have long anticipated that at the time when the Image stands upon its feet, the Pope will be the “eyes and mouth” in the Babylonian head of Nebuchadnezzar’s Image, directing the nations against God’s people.
Israel and Britain continue to flourish as trading partners. Whether coincidentally or not, the very day that Britain delivered her Brexit letter to the EU’s President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, was the day that the UK and Israel inaugurated the UK-Israel Trade Working Group! This was yet another step in the increasing cooperation between the two countries, which is pushing bilateral trade to over £5bn a year. The Israelis are looking forward to working with a Britain no longer shackled to toeing the EU line.
We see a world where men’s hearts are failing them for fear. Terrorists have struck in many places. Storms, hurricanes, floods, excessive heat, earthquakes, have brought a toll of death and destruction. Where will it all end? We know that these are signs that the Master’s return must be near.
We are virtually two jubilee periods (Nov. 1917-2017) since the Balfour Declaration which enabled the Jews to return to their homeland. We are one jubilee (Nov. 1947-2017) since the UN resolution 181 which enabled the State of Israel to be established. What will be the event that marks this new jubilee period as Israel celebrates (20th Sept. 2017) the start of a New Year?
So, we have many matters to look at in this update of events which excite Bible Watchers in these closing days of the Gentiles, as they anticipate the soon revival of Israel as God’s Kingdom on earth, with the Lord Jesus reigning over, not only Israel, but Abraham’s other children, and indeed, all nations, from David’s restored throne in Zion.
A Brexit update
We finished the last issue with the results just in of Mrs. May’s attempt to boost her majority in the UK parliament, to give her a stronger mandate to negotiate Britain’s exit from Europe. This turned out to be a spectacular failure, as the nation switched to supporting Labour, and the Conservative party ended up losing their majority. Mrs. May was considerably weakened and chastened. After much negotiation, she made a deal with the Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, to give the Conservatives their 10-seat support in the many votes which lie ahead on Brexit matters.
The UK’s weakened position has given the EU the upper hand in negotiations, and the talks have gone badly as far as Britain in concerned. The probable outcome is that Britain may well leave without arriving at an agreement. It had been hoped that by October, sufficient progress would have been made concerning the costs of this “divorce”, for the EU to declare that they could move on to discussions on the type of trading agreement the EU are willing to extend to the UK. At the moment, the prospects for this are very slim, and even November is being mentions with little prospect of it happening then! There is little enthusiasm to be accommodating to Britain’s needs. As with all EU negotiations they operate within very narrow guidelines. They have an agreed position and the EU negotiators have no flexibility to vary this position.
We can see the angelic hands behind the situation. A weakened UK government is not in the driving seat, Britain has to find an independent role outside the EU, which is not the position in other circumstances the UK government would seek. They would like to have one foot still in the EU! This would prove to be drag on both the EU’s plans and Britain’s plans. A clean break would appear to be what Britain is heading for.
All the talk of doom that accompanied the Brexit vote last year has proved groundless. Britain is continuing to fire on all cylinders with unemployment at its lowest level for many years, the manufacturing sector is growing and inward investment continuing to flow in. Several business leaders have come out to declare that if Britain doesn’t secure a post-Brexit trade agreement, this will not matter. Many non-EU members trade with the EU under World Trade Organization tariff rules. If Britain traded under these rules which, although imposing tariffs, would not cost Britain as much as she now pays in membership contributions in order to trade tariff-free.
An interesting tussle lies ahead. The EU is anxious to make it as difficult as possible for Britain to leave in order to deter any other members from going down this path.
The City of London has a special representative to the EU, Jeremy Browne, an ex-MP, who according to a leaked memo, gave a sobering assessment to 350 executives of financial firms in London. Commenting on the slow progress he said:
“In the minds of the EU this is Britain’s problem, and they feign a detached indifference. It is the received wisdom that all that is required is for Britain to come to terms with the inevitable and yield accordingly.”
There is also a warning that the EU could put political interests – keeping the bloc united and strong – ahead of the economic interests of its businesses.
“It was stated again that the voice of businesses in the EU will not sway the political decision makers,” Mr Browne writes.
“The big German corporates, for example, will not issue tough warnings to their politicians. It is, I think, underestimated in Britain how deeply corporate Europe buys into the EU orthodoxy. They are not boat-rockers by nature, but they also attach great importance to protecting the integrity of the single market, and going further still, to deepening Eurozone integration.” Sunday Telegraph 10-Sep-17
Catching the wind in the EU’s sails
The EU’s “State of the Nation” speech is delivered each September by the President of the European Commission. Last year it was a very pessimistic talk. Britain had voted to leave, migrants were pouring into Europe, the economy was stuttering, and as Mr Juncker declared last year, “Our European Union is, at least in part, in an existential crisis”.
This year’s speech was remarkably upbeat and was headed: “The State of the Union: Catching the wind in our sails”. The Economist’s cartoonist caught the mood with this cartoon.
Twelve months on, the mood has lifted so dramatically that last year’s fears have come to seem almost quaint. There is a whiff of change in the air, explained by two things. The first is a sense of optimism. It is fostered by defeats for anti-European parties in France, the Netherlands and elsewhere; and by a cyclical economic upturn that has seen the EU outpace America’s GDP growth for two years. There is also a confidence among officials that, rather than encourage Europe’s disruptive forces, the horrors of Brexit and Donald Trump have helped Europeans recover their love for stability. One calls the EU “super-vaccinated” by uncertainty elsewhere. And the election of Emmanuel Macron in France, along with the imminent re-election of Angela Merkel in Germany, offer a window of opportunity for reform.
Thus, was the scene set for Mr Juncker, on September 13th, to declare the wind back in Europe’s sails. In an hour-long address to MEPs he scampered through an ambitious set of proposals designed to illustrate that Brussels still matters. Some of his more outlandish notions—e.g., to merge the presidencies of the European Commission and Council, thus creating one mega-president for the EU—reminded sceptical observers why they were reluctant to give the commission presidency to the old federalist Mr Juncker in the first place. But other ideas were broadly welcomed. Among other goodies, Mr Juncker offered a rash of trade deals, a beefed-up cyber-security agency and a promise to expand the EU to the troubled countries of the western Balkans. Mrs Merkel’s chief of staff called it an “important and great” speech. The Economist 16-Sep-17
Here are some of his key points:
- Now is the time to build a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe for 2025.
- East to West: Europe must breathe with both lungs. Otherwise our continent will struggle for air.
- The euro is meant to be the single currency of the European Union as a whole. All but two of our Member States are required and entitled to join the euro once they fulfil all conditions.
- EU membership ruled out for Turkey for the foreseeable future.
Turkey has been taking giant strides away from the European Union for some time.
- I want a stronger Economic and Monetary Union.
- And I want us to dedicate further efforts to defence matters. A new European Defence Fund is in the offing. As is a Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of defence. By 2025 we need a fully-fledged European Defence Union. We need it. And NATO wants it.
Quite a sweeping vision. Many in Britain are pleased that the UK is sailing in the opposite direction. Envisaging all members to be part of the euro is a step which would spell disaster for the UK. Outside the euro, the Bank of England has been free to set interest rates to suit what is best for Britain.
The Daily Telegraph’s 15-Sep-17 cartoon which accompanied the details of this speech saw Mr Juncker as a Roman Caesar, addressing his people!
This is significant as we see Europe heading to build-up the final phase of the Beast-system, modelled on the Beast of the Earth of Revelation 13:11-14
This is a recreation of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation to give it its full title, with its system of control by Pope and Emperor, working together to rule Europe. The HRE came to an end with Vial judgments of Rev. 16:1-10.
We also recognise that the feet and toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s Image dream, which represent the situation currently unfolding in Russia and Europe, are attached to the iron legs which represented the Roman Empire in the past. Over time, the Eastern and Western legs came to an end. In the East, Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia was murdered in July 1918. Communism then held sway until its own downfall in 1991. Since then we have seen a return to the former days where, especially under Putin, Church and State work, together. Mr Putin models himself on Tsar Peter the Great and, just maybe, the 36-year-old Grand Duke George Mikhailovich, the heir to the Romanov throne that is backed of the Russian Orthodox Church, may take up duties!
In the West, the last Holy Roman Emperor, Francis resigned in 1806, but the Hapsburg branch continued until Charles I resigned when Austria became a republic in 1918. Hitler attempted to re-establish the German Empire, which he planned in detail and much of the current EU is modelled on the plans drawn up during WWII. The founding fathers of what is now the EU, had their vision of a Christianised Europe with Church and State working together as in former times. Britain was always opposed to a political union of Europe and withstood plans for deeper political union. It was always understood however that monetary union—the euro—could only work within political union. With Brexit imminent, as Mr Juncker indicated, they could now proceed with their goals. This is what Pope Francis desires too. We shall come back to the subtle changes that are taking place in Europe regarding the role of religion, a little later.
“My vision for a bold thriving Britain enabled by Brexit”—Johnson
Boris Johnson, the UK Foreign Secretary who is an ardent supporter of Britain making her own way in the world, wrote a longish article in the Daily Telegraph 16-Sep-17, with the above heading. He explained why Britain joined in the first place:
To understand why we wanted to join, you have to remember the shock of Suez, the loss of confidence in Westminster and Whitehall, the way in which this post-imperial future was sold to the people – a common market, a way of maximising trade.
Soon found different agenda Then came the gradual realisation that this was a very different agenda, an attempt not just at economic but political integration of a kind that the British people had never bargained for; and you may remember how we were repeatedly assured that even if we were unhappy with the direction of the project, even if we disagreed with the concept of ever-closer union, it was none the less worth putting up with it all for the sake of the influence we would have.
But that influence never really came, Mr Johnson observed. Britain has 16% of the EU’s GDP, 13% of its population, but only 3.6% of EU officials.
And I remember the mantra of EU officials – Britain objects, Britain protests, but in the end she always signs up.
Although we kept trying to deny it – with an embarrassing lack of realism – we all knew that the logic was not economic but political. It wasn’t about creating a single market; it was about trussing the nations together in a gigantic and ever-tightening cat’s cradle of red tape.
To every question, to every crisis – whether it is the euro or immigration – the answer is always the same: more Europe!
I look ahead over the next 15 years at what may be coming down the track: the push to create an economic government of Europe, the activism of the ECJ in all the new competences of the Lisbon Treaty; and I ask myself, do I really believe that if we had stayed in, we would have produced a more devolved, a more decentralised, a more free-trading European Union?
I am afraid not.
And therefore it is wrong for us to be there – always trying to make things different, always getting in the way, always moaning.
Our destiny will be in our own hands, and that will be immensely healthy.
Outside the EU, there are obvious opportunities – in agriculture, fisheries, in the setting of indirect taxation.
We will have an immigration policy that suits the UK, not slamming the door but welcoming the talent we need, from the EU and around the world.
There are in fact four zones of the world where big tech investments are made: Boston, Silicon Valley, Shanghai and the triangle formed by London, Oxford and Cambridge.
We are investing in the new battery technology that will be part of the driverless revolution. And this country already boasts companies such as Deep Mind, one of the most promising artificial intelligence companies in the world.
We will be able to intensify old friendships around the world, not least with fast-growing Commonwealth economies, and to build a truly Global Britain.
We have the biggest financial centre in this hemisphere – and, by common consent, we will still have one by the time the Brexit controversy is a distant memory.
Look at Canary Wharf – a banking district now bigger than Frankfurt itself.
Look at our universities – the best in the world, with just one Cambridge college responsible not just for more Nobel prizes than France but indeed for more than Russia and China combined.
It is an astonishing fact that of all the kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers in the world, one in seven was educated in this country.
I was proud to be mayor of the greatest city on Earth, and I believe we can be the greatest country on Earth. Indeed, a recent estimate by the Henry Jackson Society just this month made a tally of the various nations’ political, economic and cultural throw-weight, and concluded that, with the second biggest contribution to NATO; with our forces deployed around the world; with our bankers, our chefs, our scientists, our poets and, yes, our diplomats, Britain at the beginning of the 21st century was the second-greatest power on Earth after America.
Not all his cabinet colleagues share his view-point. Many are still deeply bedded to Europe and are afraid to let go. We shall have to wait and see how it finally settles out. The latter-day Tyre power is one that after her period of 70 years of decline, revives and becomes a global power!
And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.
And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing. Isa. 23:17,18
A remarkable prophecy that relates to our time, for the prophet Isaiah says of the ancient Tyre of his day that God’s punishments would fall upon her and she would go afar off.
Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle.
Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn. Isa. 23:6,7
The close of the chapter sees the Tyre power using her wealth and her Tarshish ships in service to Israel’s God. A situation that has not existed from Isaiah’s day onwards. Britain fits the bill as a great maritime trading nation and the “mother” of the Israel-friendly, Protestant nations.
National Shipbuilding Strategy: The Future of Naval Shipbuilding in the UK
The government is planning to rebuild the Royal Navy. The recent launch of the UK’s first two state-of-the-art aircraft carriers have highlighted the tremendous strides the industry has taken. Britain is now placed to compete with overseas shipyards. The adoption of modular building (where different shipyards build various sections, which are brought together for final assembly) has transformed efficiency. In September, the UK issued its National Shipbuilding Strategy: The Future of Naval Shipbuilding in the UK, a 56-page document.
Here are a few paragraphs from the Forward, written by Michael Fallon the Defence Secretary:
As an island nation, the UK’s security and prosperity have long been associated with the seas. For centuries our world-renowned Royal Navy and expert shipwrights and engineers have protected our people and safeguarded our interests. During two World Wars, it was the aircraft carriers, frigates, destroyers and other warships built by men and women across the country that kept our fortunes afloat.
Today 95 per cent of our trade still goes by sea and our Royal Navy is busier than ever leading the fight against global terror, protecting shipping lanes from piracy, and tackling illegal migration in the Mediterranean.
In a post-Brexit world, the need for us to project our influence, to keep reaching out to friends and allies alike, will be more important than ever. That’s why we are investing billions in the Royal Navy over the coming decade. Our larger future fleet will include: our two mighty flagships, the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers; next generation Dreadnought submarines; Type 45 destroyers; and a phalanx of new frigates – not just Type 26 Global Combat Ships but a flexible and adaptable general purpose light frigate – the Type 31e. These new frigates, the T26 and T31e detailed in this strategy, represent a significant proportion of the billions we are spending on the procurement of surface ships over the coming decade.
To achieve our ambitions we need a strong shipbuilding industry as part of a wider maritime sector. Today some 111,000 people are working in the maritime and marine sectors in the UK, including in the shipyards, supplying the parts, or supporting the equipment that keep this great industry alive, from Appledore to Rosyth and beyond. Sir John Parker’s 2016 report shows the Industry has not stood still. Indeed, there has been a renaissance in the sector fuelled by a diversification into support, repair and wider marine engineering work.
The two-fold vision of the report sees:
- A Royal Navy with more ships, which are modern and are capable of being incrementally modernised and improved, are exportable and can work with allies. Defence shows agility, pace and grip in how we plan for, procure, and operate these ships.
- A shipbuilding enterprise that, encouraged by a clearer grip by Defence, and with greater certainty about the Royal Navy’s procurement plans, has the confidence to invest for the long-term in its people and its assets to raise productivity and innovation and improve its competitiveness in the domestic and overseas markets. In this way, the sector can become more resilient to the peaks and troughs of Royal Navy business, bringing more sustained growth and prosperity to the regions in which those businesses are based.
Government pledges to double UK fleet flying under the Red Duster
Brexit talks have also focused Britain’s attention on her merchant navy. World trade needs ships to convey the goods to their required destination. The shipbuilding industry went into decline, but using modern technology, it is set for a revival.
Britain’s famous Red Duster will fly proudly in new ports across the globe as part of our new trade drive after our exit from the EU.
The flag of the UK’s Merchant Navy, more properly known as the Red Ensign, is one of the most admired and well-known emblems on the high seas with every vessel sporting it under the protection of the Royal Navy.
And now Shipping Minister John Hayes wants to increase the amount of trade carried under the Duster to showcase Britain’s trading and maritime might around the world.
The government is working to double the size of the UK Ship Register from 16 to 30 million gross tonnage after we leave and build a new partnership with the EU – propelling the UK from 15th place into the top ten global maritime nations. This will be good for the UK, helping boost trade and exports, create jobs and ultimately boost the economy across the UK.
Maritime Minister John Hayes will use next week’s London International Shipping Week to start the drive for new business, selling the main benefits of flying the British flag including:
- International tax breaks for vessels flying the Duster
- British consular support for ships in foreign docks
- The protection of the Royal Navy
Shipping Week is expected to feature ministers from up to 50 nations around the world and up to 15,000 high level shipping delegates. UK Dept. for Transport, Maritime and Coastguards Agency 11-Sep-17
Greek shipowners would consider relocating to London, says study
This was the heading to a short report in MaritimeUK 31-Aug-17, concerning a survey carried out by Ernst & Young of 776 Greek shipping executives. When asked if they would consider relocating from Greece, 56% said they would and the UK was the favoured destination. Post-Brexit they anticipated Britain would have considerably lower taxes and offer an easier regulatory regime. This would be a considerable boost to the UK.
The growing importance of Suez
A maritime nation needs to defend its critical trade routes. Britain, trading with India, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Japan and China, needs to ensure that the Suez Canal is kept open for her vessels to transit. Hence Britain is being drawn back to Egypt and the Gulf States in order to maintain her interests. In wonderful ways, angelic hands influence political decisions in seemingly natural ways.
“The return of the Guttenbergs”
By the time this article is printed the Germany elections will be over. At the moment, the expectation is that Angela Merkel will comfortably be re-elected for her fourth term. There does not appear to be a credible alternative leader. In any case, Germany has always needed a coalition in post-war elections. A newish party, Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) was founded in 2013 by former members of Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party. It is described as a right-wing, populist party. It campaigned on abolishing the euro, as being not right for Germany. It is against same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples and agues for family values. If it does well—it is expected to come third in the elections—it may well form part of a future coalition.
In the unlikely—though recently what in politics has turned out to be predictable—event of Ms. Merkel not being elected, there is another person waiting in the wings!
According to UK political betting sites, they put in 3rd place for becoming Chancellor someone who isn’t even standing in these elections, nor holds a ministerial position!
This is Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the former Minister of Defence who resigned in disgrace in 2011 following a plagiarism scandal surrounding his doctorate dissertation He has subsequently lived and worked in New York. He was invited to come back to Germany and give talks in the run up to the September 24th elections. He received rapturous acclaim before packed audiences. He spoke at one meeting for 75 minutes without notes — he joked that he could not have read out a written speech because someone might have thought it was plagiarised! (Financial Times 03-Sep-17)
He says he is not planning to return to politics, we shall see. Ms. Merkel has welcomed his support. He struck a chord with ordinary Germans, he was not afraid to say what other leaders agree with, but fear to state—“Germany for the Germans”. In other-words, immigrants are welcome, but they must adapt and live the German way of life.
“But there is one thing that can repeat itself, something that made me very proud,” Guttenberg said, “and that is to see how the [German] people cared for those who needed their help”. The audience in Kulmbach broke out in loud applause.
Guttenberg followed his encouragement with a strong warning that he reiterated at the Gillamoos festival, where he said: “When we are not ready to love our culture, then others will start to define our culture.” To prevent that from happening, Guttenberg called on the German people “to live and determine our culture, to carry it aggressively outward, rather than sacrificing it prematurely to please someone else.”
The topic of “guiding culture” in Germany has filled many debates since the refugee crisis, but few dare to say what Guttenberg has: that the refugees will have to accept the German culture, which is shaped by Christian, Jewish and Western values. Guttenberg said that every other country demands the same and Germany shouldn’t be different. The Trumpet 10-Sep-17
This is a matter that the AfD party have espoused and it hits a popular note with ordinary Germans. As a headline put it: The German Election Is a Christian Civil War
The Christian Democratic Party, was founded, as its name indicates, as a “Christian” party and its earlier leaders were Roman Catholic regular church goers, but now Ms. Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, rarely attends Church. The tide, however, is turning, Germany may have to demonstrate her Christianity to please the voters.
Christian perspectives on the EU. Rethinking Europe
This was the heading to an interesting article in COMECE 07-Sep-17. The initials stand for the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community. The web site is a joint one with the Jesuit European Social Centre and carries some interesting articles. This one focused on the need for Europe to go back to its coots. This is a message that the present Pope has stressed during his pontificate, that Europe must rediscover its Christian roots so that it can avoid being slowly engulfed in a Muslim tide. This is the article:
With the participation of Pope Francis, COMECE is organizing a Dialogue Congress on the Future of the European Union in the Vatican at the end of October.
In the beginning was the idea: the unification of Europe. In 1923 Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi wrote his programmatic book “Pan-Europe”, in which he set out his proposal for a European federation of nation states stretching from Poland to Portugal. In 1940, during World War II, Jacques Maritain expounded his vision of a federalist Europe built upon the foundation of Christian principles.
In an article entitled Europe and the Federal Idea for The Commonweal Magazine (April 1940), he prophesied that: “A federalist Europe can only live through the spirit of Christianity. It is obvious that all great ideals can be betrayed; however, it is equally clear that the hope of this ideal is the only one that remains for us. And there are enough indications to be able to rightly claim that the hope is becoming reality despite all of the failures and miseries simply associated with human matters and, perhaps, also despite repeatedly having to start again from new.”
The former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died last June, is also counted among the visionaries of a united Europe. In 2012 he wrote: “My vision for Europe was, and still is, the vision of the founding fathers of Europe. It is the vision of a united Europe, in other-words an ever-closer coexistence on our continent.”
During the memorial ceremony in his honour held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Jean-Claude Juncker praised him as a true patriot not only of Germany but also of Europe. Former US President Bill Clinton declared that Kohl had wanted a world in which cooperation mattered more than conflict: “He wanted to create a world where nobody dominated over anybody else.” European Parliament President Antonio Tajani paid tribute: “Everywhere and at all times, he defended human dignity against walls, against iron curtains and against totalitarian regimes.”
This is the broad context for the Rome Congress, which COMECE, together with the Holy See, will be organising at the Vatican between 27 – 29 October 2017 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. The theme is “(Re)thinking Europe – a Christian contribution to the future of the European Union.” 350 participants representing the Church, religious movements and the world of politics will reflect (anew) on the challenges currently facing the EU.
During a recent dialogue seminar between the churches and the European Commission focused on the White Paper on the future of the Europe and the way forward published in March 2017, the critical observation had been made that the given horizon – looking ahead to just 2025 – was far too short. After all, the founding fathers of European unity had created their forward-looking vision in terms of several decades.
An article entitled “Les labyrinthes du politique” (“The Labyrinths of Polices”), published in spring 2011 in the French cultural magazine “Esprit”, had advanced a similar argument. A distinction is drawn between two different temporalities in the world of politics: first, a short-term temporality that obeys the constant demand for urgency and the pressure of elections and the media. Second, there is a long-term temporality that addresses the major political problems of climate change, public debt, global inequality and demographic challenges. The author happens to be Emmanuel Macron, the current President of France.
Long-term temporality has always been preferred by the Church, thanks to her centuries-long history and political independence. Of course, people can ask what the many roundtable discussions and debating events on the future of Europe will ultimately be delivering in terms of “realpolitik”. The German cultural philosopher Georg Simmel (1858-1918) argued: “Nothing has ever happened in the world in the way exactly envisaged by prophets or great leaders. But if there had been no prophets or leaders, nothing would have happened at all.” The same is true for the history and future of the European Union.
In a recent interview Eugenio Scalfari, the 93-year-old La Repubblica journalist told the Pope:
“Europe must become a federal[i] state if it is to deal with the ongoing migrant crisis”, to which the Pope responded, “True, I have repeatedly raised this.”
Pope Francis then continued, “The countries [of Europe] will act if they recognise one truth: either Europe becomes a federal community or it will no longer count for anything in the world.” Catholic Herald 11-Jul-17
In a congratulatory telegram to Emmanuel Marcon on his election victory, the Pope asked him to remember France’s Christian roots. (Society of St Paul X 19-May-17). As French President, he is given the title of Canon of Honor of St. John Lateran, the cathedral church of Rome, which contains the cathedra, or ecclesiastical seat, of the Roman Pontiff (Pope). (Wikipedia accessed 20-Sep-17): We wait to see how rapidly Europe embraces its Christian roots. We saw in Russia just how quickly the situation can change. Europe seems to be ready for change. The very ubiquitous symbol of the EU, seen on its flag, European car number plates, building projects—the European flag—consisting of 12 golden stars on a blue background is a religious symbol. It draws on the Roman Church’s misapplication of the symbolism of Revelation 12 of a woman in heaven with 12 stars around her head, as a symbol for Mary, whom they claim is Queen of Heaven. As the alleged Queen of Europe her symbol has made a fitting symbol for the EU.
We wait patiently encouraged by the many signs that the day of our Lord’s return must be very near.
[i] A union of states under a central government.
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