Margaret Thatcher met Pope Benedict XVI

Sancte Pater informs us that …

Margaret Thatcher met Pope Benedict XVI at the end of his weekly general audience today.

The 83-year-old former British prime minister, who led the country from 1979 to 1990, had earlier in the day laid flowers at the tomb of John Paul II.

An Anglican, it was Baroness Thatcher’s second visit to the Vatican in less than two years, leading some to speculate whether she is thinking of joining the Church. During her previous trip, she also visited John Paul II’s tomb to pay her respects. According to those who were with her at that time, she made it clear in her characteristically loud voice that it was thanks to John Paul that Soviet communism was brought down.

Baroness Thatcher also met Paul VI back in June 1977.

From today’s Wednesday Audience:

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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84 Responses to Margaret Thatcher met Pope Benedict XVI

  1. Brian Crane says:

    What a nice story!

  2. shadrach says:

    I’m a real fan of yours Fr Z (a belated ‘ad multos annos’, by the way), but I’m not sure whether this is really ‘just too cool’. I think a large swathe of the Catholic population of the United Kingdom (Irish Catholics in particular come to mind), would be less enthusiastic and affectionate about Mrs T than American conservatives often are. And with good reason. Felicitations towards her would come from the victory of Christian charity over other emotions. [Well… I am not Irish, nor a citizen of the UK. I am, in fact American on the conservative side of things, and I am in favor of charity.]

  3. MargaretMN says:

    This would be quite interesting. And I am glad to hear that she’s well enough to travel. I had heard that she was quite infirm and was suffering from the mental decline of old age and having had at least one stroke.

  4. Eric says:

    Just a little comment – Baroness Thatcher is a devout Methodist (don’t know why they thought that she is Anglican).

  5. JD, Esq. says:

    Whatever it means for Thatcher personally, it is a needed to correction to all the “conservative” mythologizing about how it was Reagan and Thatcher’s military deterrence strategy that brought down the Evil Empire, rather than the moral revolution spawned by Pope John Paul II.

  6. “I think a large swathe of the Catholic population of the United Kingdom (Irish Catholics in particular come to mind), would be less enthusiastic and affectionate about Mrs T than American conservatives often are. And with good reason.”

    Indeed. And it’s not just the milksippers!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2001/jun/16/northernireland.catholicism

  7. Mark VA says:

    JD:

    Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Mikhail Gorbachov (who, to his credit, repudiated the Brezhnev doctrine) will enter history as the key human players in that drama. Each had their part of the work, which they performed admirably.

    Today, we should take comfort knowing that the real Player, the Holy Spirit, can peacefully resolve any situation, no matter how dire it may seem to our human eyes.

  8. Did Thatcher never meet Pope John Paul II in life?

  9. Phil Steinacker says:

    Add me to those who understand – as one analyst put it years ago – the fall of Soviet communism was the result of having been caught in a three-way “pincer” strategy by Pope John Paul II, President Ronald Reagan, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Some believe this was loosely coordinated among the three of them. Of course, we’ll never know. Two have since passed on, and apparently the Iron Lady isn’t saying.

    Unwitting or tacit cooperation by Gorbachov – as noted above by Mark VA – completed the roll call of those world leaders who brought down the USSR without firing a shot.

    As Mark VA added, each of these leaders had a particular role to play, and most honest conservatives have long understood and stated it thus.

    Rather than try to choose one over theother, let’s attribute their timely activities to God’s timing. After all, God is ALWAYS on time; He is NEVER late.

  10. Andrew, medievalist says:

    Baroness Thatcher converting? An interesting idea, and, certainly, she would join a long pedigree of famous Britons who went to Rome. Despite her mixed reputation, she strikes me as one who would be a much more forthright and loyal Catholic than other recent Prime Ministerial converts.

  11. EJ says:

    “she made it clear in her characteristically loud voice that it was thanks to John Paul that Soviet communism was brought down.”

    I hope anyone, especially Catholics, tempted to villify the memory of Pope John Paul II will read and re-read that until they realize how the WORLD is in debt to him.

  12. Michael J says:

    Not wanting to deny anyone his due, but would someone explain exactly what HH John Paul II did that helped bring about the fall of the Soviet empire?

    I know what Ronald Reagan did and, to a lesser degree, know what Margaret Thatcher did, but I have no idea what John Paul II actually did.

  13. Geoffrey says:

    “…but I have no idea what John Paul II actually did.”

    Wikipedia has this… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_paul_ii#Role_in_the_fall_of_Communism

    There are many other better sources, such as George Weigel’s biography and numerous video documentaries on the life of John Paul the Great.

  14. Mark VA says:

    Michael J:

    Your honest question deserves a condensed answer:

    Pope John Paul II inspired the faithful behind the Iron Curtain to stop being afraid of their political masters and their apparatus, to charitably speak the Truth without fear, and then stand together in SOLIDARITY when the reprisals came.

    Pope John Paul II taught us all that mendacious regimes, no matter how politically and militarily powerful, cannot withstand the light of Truth and unafraid people united behind it.

  15. KM says:

    what a great hat!

  16. Mark says:

    “I hope anyone, especially Catholics, tempted to villify the memory of Pope John Paul II will read and re-read that until they realize how the WORLD is in debt to him.”

    Unfortunately, EJ, The World is the enemy of Christians.

    And, as it turns out, when it comes to that battle between American Capitalism and Soviet Communism, the latter may not have been the greater of the two evils, just the less subtle.

    The Church shouldnt have helped either, in retrospect. Our uneasy alliance with “Western Civilization” has seriously compromised us institutionally.

    We are seeing those fruits today.

  17. Roger says:

    The man with Pope Benedict and Baroness Thatcher: is that the noted Catholic journalist, Paul Johnson? He frequently contributes articles to Forbes magazine.

  18. wsxyz says:

    Shadrach, are you old enough to remember Britain before Margaret Thatcher? If not, then your comments are excusable. Otherwise they are just insane ravings.

    No one is perfect, and Mrs. Thatcher certainly made mistakes in her time in office, but the pre-Thatcher string of socialist governments had failed to produce a glorious paradise.

    It is quite interesting that the 30 year anti-Thatcher leftist propaganda campaign has managed to make her quite unpopular, while at the same time, her influence on British politics is still as strong as ever.

  19. Mark VA says:

    Mark:

    You wrote:

    “And, as it turns out, when it comes to that battle between American Capitalism and Soviet Communism, the latter may not have been the greater of the two evils, just the less subtle.”

    I’m not sure how much you know about the hell of Soviet Communism, but I guess it’s very little. For those who know the difference, such pitifully uninformed moral equivalence is painful to stomach.

  20. Steve says:

    I’ll bet that Lady Thatcher’s visit to the pope has something to do with a possible reform of the Act of Settlement.

  21. shadrach says:

    wsxyz,

    Indeed I am. Old enough, that is. If I recall, although I was very old when it happened, it was the Tories who did her in. Cruelly, too. Auberon Waugh didn’t like her either, but maybe I was too too old to have any memory by the time I was laughing with ‘Bron.

  22. I would like to see the Iron Lady board the Barque of Peter.

    Her premiership, Reagan’s presidency and John Paul II’s pontificate are one of those happy conjunctions of history that are anything but coincidence.

    Alas that our present situation is anything but that. On the other hand, He is in charge and He knows what He’s doing.

  23. Franzjosf says:

    Thank you for posting this. Certainly, there are many transcendant Truths about which the Baroness and the Holy Father agree. In fact, I would add that they may even have a greater understanding of the ‘dictatorship of relativism’ than some reigning Ordinaries. Ad multos annos to both.

  24. Lubeltri says:

    The investigative journalist Carl Bernstein, of Watergate fame, wrote a book some years ago which revealed the extensive role JPII played in the downfall of the Soviet Union. The Vatican and the White House were in regular covert contact, sharing intelligence and strategy, throughout the 1980s.

  25. BLC says:

    Baroness Thatcher’s rumoured conversion, if true, would be marvellous!

  26. Latekate says:

    Socialism and communism are simply unsustainable economic systems. They have failed and are failing. The current economic crisis in the US is a result of government interventionism via the Fed and regulation, not a failure of free market capitalism. Central planners do not create wealth, they cannot do what millions of property owning people exchanging goods and services in a free market can do. Thatcher and Reagan were right to see the menace of the centrally planned systems, but Reagan did not nearly walk his talk about free markets and government interventionism.

  27. TJM says:

    Margaret Thatcher, the last man to govern in England. After that they got a bunch of metrosexuals. I admire this great woman. If she were to convert she would likely be a very staunch Catholic, unlike little Tony, who is a classic “cafeteria” Catholic. Tom

  28. Athelstane says:

    “Not wanting to deny anyone his due, but would someone explain exactly what HH John Paul II did that helped bring about the fall of the Soviet empire?”

    Nine days in June. Nine days in June.

  29. Monaguillo says:

    Paul: “Did Thatcher never meet Pope John Paul II in life?”

    I am Argentinian, and I remember JPII visited both Argentina and UK as soon as Malvinas (Falkland) war started, April 2nd 1982, so I guess JPII and the Iron Lady should have met.

  30. Salvatore Giuseppe says:

    On a different aspect, I will never get over that hat. It makes me chuckle every time

  31. Séminariste says:

    Baroness Thather is not a devout Methodist but rather a former Methodist. She converted to the Church of England many years ago. I can only hope that she climbs the last wrung on the ladder to become a member of the one, true Church.

  32. Stephen says:

    While I acknowledge the late Pope John Paul II’s contributions to the defeat of Communism…

    The arms race by President Reagan succeeded in bankrupting the Soviet Union.

    Obviously, Catholics can argue against the prudence of amassing huge stockpiles of nukes, but the result was an insolvent Soviet empire.

  33. Ad Orientem says:

    It is wonderful to see Lady Margaret(with her trademark handbag). I have heard from a number of sources that she is in poor health these days and rarely makes public appearances anymore. May God grant her many years.

    On a side note when her time does come, it has been confirmed that with the consent of the government and H.M. the Queen Lady Margaret Baroness Thatcher is to become the first British Prime minister to be accorded a full state funeral since Sir Winston Churchill (KG) and only the second since Gladstone. State funerals in Britain are normally reserved for royals.

    Christ is risen!
    John

  34. wsxyz says:

    Shadrach, She did herself in really. After the poll tax fiasco she needed to go.

    But without Margaret Thatcher, who knows how long the UK might have had to wait for economic modernisation. You might still be waiting.

  35. Mark says:

    “I’m not sure how much you know about the hell of Soviet Communism, but I guess it’s very little. For those who know the difference, such pitifully uninformed moral equivalence is painful to stomach.”

    I know that America has aborted 50 million babies, and the world over a billion.

    I also know that communism never really existed. Oh, it existed domestically in the Soviet bloc, but in terms of international trade (where economics really matters to real people)…the global economy was always viciously capitalist and hundreds of millions of people have starved to death because of it. The soviets always exported and imported on capitalist principles.

    The fact is, Soviet communism was just a sociological result of the exploitational dynamics of capitalism in the world. The world system needs a Second World, a semi-periphery. And they need us to have an “enemy”. The “free market” of ideas requires “competition” for its twisted “efficiency” and the Cold War made more money for the military-industrial complex, Hollywood, the State, etc…than anything.

    It’s “defeat” was just the end of a grand old show that those old men really in power laughed to watch before the next act they orchestrated

  36. MichaelJ says:

    Mark,

    Pope John Paul II was speaking of communism when he wrote “In our times evil has developed outside all limits. The evil of the 20th century was of gigantic proportions, an evil that used state structures to carry out its dirty work; it was evil transformed into a system.” (Thanks, by the way to Geoffrey for providing the link that led me to this.)

    Interesting that he would write so passionately about something that “never really existed”

  37. Mark says:

    I believe history will treat JP2 much harsher than thus far. His governance of the Church was abysmal, as we are continuing to discover. However, all informed commentators agree on his pivotal role in bringing the USSR to an end.

    It is impossible to know what might have been had the West not matched the Soviets’ every move, forcing them into more desperate and destructive steps, but we need not concern ourselves with that possibility because we know what did happen.

  38. Supertradmom says:

    I am very conservative both politically and liturgically. I lived in England under the Iron Lady and I must add that she was the cause of her own downfall for two reasons. Firstly, she fell into the trap of institutionalizing greed, which we have seen in the United States. Despite her Tory principles, she became out of touch with the people-as seen in the poll tax fiasco. Also, she did not have real consultation with her cabinet. It is well known that many of her ministers feared her and frequently saw her change her opinion after consultation back to her own. I will give her credit for keeping British currency out of the EU rush for a “global economy” and for perhaps, temporarily, stemming the tide of radical socialism. I do hope she becomes a Catholic and wish her well, but her legacy in Britain must be seen as “mixed”.

    May I add that John Paul II’s involvement with Solidarity and his boldness against communism are responsible, in part, for the destruction of the Soviet Union. He embodied in his very person the heroic stance of those Catholics who suffered under atheistic communism and those who withstood the lies of Marxist atheism in their youth. He represented to the world the strength of the Polish people, as did Solidarno?? leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and ex-president, Lech Walesa. May we not forget their struggles, please.

  39. Stephen says:

    Mrs Thatcher was good for our country economically, but socially and morally she helped destroy it; Tony Blair continued her work.

    Mrs Thatcher anihilated the community I grew up in; a thriving mining town of good people became a wasteland – in the name of economic progress. Now it is ravaged by familial breakdown, crime, drug abuse and poverty.

    We cannot judge her solely on her economic record; she planted the seeds of the culture of greed and promoted it vigorously.

  40. “Mrs Thatcher was good for our country economically, but socially and morally she helped destroy it”

    Could not agree more – Take a look at a church on Sunday and compare it your local Homebase on the same day. She is responsible for that. Her genocidal tendencies for Catholics aside, this woman is wicked, and I cannot forget her soon enough. If she doesn’t become a Catholic, I hope she goes quietly.

  41. “I know that America has aborted 50 million babies, and the world over a billion”

    Thatcher is responsible for some of the latter figure.

  42. q7swallows says:

    Anita Moore OPL, ditto. Long, long(!) live Lady Margaret Thatcher! And may the vast good she has done far outweigh anything she may have done amiss.

    I do hope she gets the state funeral after all; she has deserved it. It has been a privilege to share the planet with her and we’re all ultimately better off because she had the conviction and the chutzpah to stand up for what was right — even when it wasn’t popular or “strategic.”

    Besides . . . she is a * real * feminist cause célèbre!

    I am honored to pray for her final conversion. Thank you for posting this news; it was a tremendous joy to see after a day of great personal sadness.

  43. Colm says:

    I do not think our Holy Father shaking hands with someone as evil as Thatcher is cool at all. She is a terrible woman who has done horrible things to Irishmen, especially Irish political prisoners. The blood of the Hunger Strikers is on her hands.

  44. wsxyz says:

    Stephan, objectively, if you can, explain why tax money should be used to pay miners. Nationalized, subsidized industry may be beneficial for the lucky few who are on the receiving end of the transfer payments, but not for the majority who suffer from lower income and higher costs.

    Shane, I’d be interested to know how Margaret Thatcher is responsible for the situation at church on Sunday. My own impression is that there is a strong correlation between socialism and atheism.

    Colm, Although I am personally sympathetic to the Irish republican cause, I am not sympathetic to the former tactics of the IRA. Also, I fail to see how starving oneself to death can be the fault of anyone other than the one refusing food. It seems to me in addition, that death by hunger strike is objectively mortal sin.

  45. Margaret Thatcher tried to legalize shopping on Sundays, but was defeated by a broad coalition of ‘Cornerstone’ Tories and Labour MPs. Her project, though defeated, was revived by Major (though just, at that time, for England and Wales).

    Thatcher is also a proponent of legal abortion and family planning, and supported Lord Steele’s Abortion Act.

  46. “My own impression is that there is a strong correlation between socialism and atheism.”

    Traditionally this was not the case in Britain. Worker Movements was usually associated with non-conformist Protestants and working class Catholics. It’s often been said that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than to Marx. The narrow American parameters are not directly applicable on this side of the pond.

  47. JustinM says:

    As a British Catholic, I would strongly welcome Margaret Thatcher’s conversion. I am also strongly in agreement with the views of those others here who are baffled that she can be seen as some sort of Christian icon.

    While Thatcher identified as a Methodist, she never gave much evidence of being a particularly religious person. I’m far from certain that she was even a regular churchgoer (it’s not expected of politicians in Britain). She was, however, highly devoted to secular right-wing socio-economic theories based in classical liberalism, which had the effect of accelerating Britain’s transition to a crude, Godless, materialistic, post-Christian society. To be fair, she did believe in what might loosely be termed traditional moral and religious values, but her policies only served to undermine those values. She was light-years from the great Catholic social tradition of Leo XIII, Pius XI, Paul VI and John Paul II.

    As far as life issues are concerned, I believe that I am correct that the appalling Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act was passed by her government. That alone should be enough to condemn her in the eyes of those Catholics who (rightly) condemn Barack Obama’s policies on life issues.

    I won’t go into her treatment of Irish Catholics who has the misfortune to fall under British jurisdiction, since others are more qualified to do that than myself. Again, her policies were dictated more in this area by secular political ideology than by Christian morality.

    The lionisation of Thatcher by certain Catholics is proof, if proof were needed, that such individuals are in practice less concerned with Catholic orthodoxy than they are with secular right-wing politics.

  48. JustinM says:

    From a Catholic point of view, I guess the balance sheet is roughly as follows:

    Credit
    ——

    – She took a tough line against Communism, which may well have played a part in bringing about the collapse of the Soviet bloc.
    – She professed to be a Christian and to believe in Christian moral and social values.

    Debit
    —–

    – She sponsored anti-life legislation that loosened the already-loose British abortion laws.
    – Her social and economic policies adhered to classical liberal theory and were opposed to Catholic teachings on the rights on working people and unions, the just wage, the option for the poor, etc.
    – Her social and economic policies also had the effect of eroding traditional social and moral values in Britain, and of weakening traditional families and communities.
    – Her support for, and use of police and military force to protect, the partition of Ireland represented an injustice to Ireland’s Catholics.

  49. Dominic H says:

    Well, of course in many regards Thatcher was not a conservative at all (except in some, not negligible, cultural regards), but rather an economic liberal, and, even, a social revolutionary.

    While there is much negative that could (and has, and should) be said about her legacy (with regard to economic ultra-liberalism and its social consequences; although I would qualify that with praise for her splitting down and selling off of many of the nationalised industries, and enthusiasm for private initiative and ownership), what I think is MOST significant is this: that she was valiant and unafraid to face down some enemies than can truly and unequivocably be described as evil (be they they internationally the USSR or the quasi-fascist regime of 1982 Argentina, or domestically the ultra-Marxist National Union of Mineworkers, or the murderously fascist Irish Republican Army and their vile, secularist yet still ethnically/tribally sectarian political offshoot Sinn Fein).

    She was truly a leader, also: I find it noteworthy that she seems to be admired more in places like Italy or Russia than she is among the chattering classes in England (not to mention their Caledonian blethering equivalent)

  50. JustinM says:

    Dominic, I agree that Thatch’s enemies did sometimes make her look like the lesser of the two evils.

    I am implacably opposed to Thatch’s social and economic policies, but I agree that the likes of the Soviets, the IRA, General Galtieri and Arthur Scargill were even worse.

    That doesn’t make her a good Catholic or a good Christian, though.

    I have a good deal of respect for Fr. Z, but seeing Thatcher lionised on his blog was a great disappointment, particularly since another pro-abortion politician has recently (and rightly) been sharply criticised here. Maybe the rules are different for conservatives.

  51. Mike Morrow says:

    I very much miss seeing PM Thatcher respond during those Prime Minister’s Question Hour sessions that were televised on CNN in the US. She was masterful…none of her Labour opponents possessed the intellect required to better her.

    An objective appraisal of the contributors to the disintegration of the USSR and the eastern block can not fail but show Ronald Reagan’s government as the *most* essential player. It was the US that bore the brunt of the military expenditures that the USSR could not match. (I have experience with the high-end military side of the Cold War as officer on a missile submarine in the north Atlantic 30 years ago.) With or without John Paul II and other players, the USSR was doomed. JP II and Thatcher certainly hastened it, though. Doubtless, in the 1980’s the happy coincidence of the international leadership of Reagan, Thatcher, JP II, and (yes) Gorbachev radically changed the world’s politics for the better in very short time. Think what the world would be like today had fools like Jimmy Carter, James Callaghan, Paul VI, and Yuri Andropov been in power instead.

    JP II was much more important as a politician than as a church leader. One of the few things religiously positive about his reign was the slight relaxation of Paul VI’s immoral ban on the traditional Mass, plus the accendency of Cardinal Ratzinger.

  52. Latekate says:

    Mark:
    “I also know that communism never really existed. Oh, it existed domestically in the Soviet bloc, but in terms of international trade (where economics really matters to real people)…the global economy was always viciously capitalist and hundreds of millions of people have starved to death because of it. The soviets always exported and imported on capitalist principles.”

    It is true that we have never arrived at actual utopian communism. The fallen humans who run the state just never seem to cooperate with that “withering away” part. The soviet economy owed a great deal to slave labor. Whatever favored trade agreements the commies entered into were certainly not available to all the people, only the pigs who were more equal than others. Your description that capitalism is vicious is only true when the state CONTROLS it and favors it’s cronies, regulating and eliminating competition and exploiting people. Capitalism does very little harm on its own, it can’t. Just as the state (central planning and state ownership of the factors of production and distribution) cannot create wealth, the socialists can only harness, control, and steal the wealth others create.

    Mark:
    “The fact is, Soviet communism was just a sociological result of the exploitational dynamics of capitalism in the world.”

    Soviet communism was the sociological result of utopianism: the rise of science-ism, the influences of Darwin, men thinking man could be “perfected” and that all knowledge was obtainable through science, the notion that men are evolved animals needing herding by more evolved alpha animals. The sickening Prussian compulsory state indoctrination into Marxism has forcibly converted entire populations from the religions and traditions of their families, read some John Dewey. The Marxist intellectuals were not from among a class of exploited, they were from wealthy and upper middle class families. They manipulated the masses to gain power, they used the more idealistic Marxists to gain power and then murdered them.
    Capitalists WILL exploit and abuse, all people with such power will (as the commies have FAR surpassed the capitalists in carnage, having no moral qualms about eggs and omelettes) will when they gain control of the raw force of the state. Take the state out of the equation and they can do little. The state is simply a legalized mafia, they do not protect, they do not defend, they are a “boot on the face of mankind” (Orwell?).

    Mark:
    ” The world system needs a Second World, a semi-periphery. And they need us to have an “enemy”. The “free market” of ideas requires “competition” for its twisted “efficiency” and the Cold War made more money for the military-industrial complex, Hollywood, the State, etc…than anything.”

    Because the military industrial complex needs the state, the state cooks up “enemies” and wars to feed it. Take away the state and where would the money come from to feed the MI complex, the indoctrination gulag, the empire and occupations? Hollywood is simply an arm of the Ministry of Truth, an overwhelmingly Marxist propaganda outlet.

    Mark:
    “It’s “defeat” was just the end of a grand old show that those old men really in power laughed to watch before the next act they orchestrated”

    The experiment failed, central planning of the economy by “experts” does not bring prosperity or wealth. It hampers wealth creation and the standards of living drop. BUT, the Western experiment with limited government has failed as well. You cannot give a monopoly on aggression to one group of people over the rest and leave supposed “checks and balances” all in the hands of that group. They simply reinterpret the rules that limit them to apply to the rest of the people and assume ownership of all, indoctrinating the people to worship them.

  53. jarhead462 says:

    Many interesting poins- too many to tackle (I am at work)
    Mark-Yikes! Read Thomas Sowell.
    Latekate- Some good points….I think this is a great illustration of why we need to not INTERPRET the Constitution, but just do as it says.
    The free market will always correct itself. There will ALWAYS be those who have, and those who do not. The will always be those to put nothing in, so they get nothing out.
    There are NO solutions, only trade-offs

    Semper Fi!

  54. JustinM says:

    I think it’s worth saying again: Thatcher was pro-abortion, but yet appears to be given a free pass by politically right-wing Catholics because she was conservative in terms of secular politics.

    Being against Communism should be a given, not a cause for praise. (It’s not as if other British politicians were in *favour* of Communism, outside of an extreme-left fringe.)

  55. jarhead462 says:

    I like the Saturno (sp?). I also like Mrs. Thatcher’s headgear.

    Semper Fi!

  56. ED says:

    So Margaret Thatcher was pro-abortion and conservatives overlook it, no wonder they dont follow GODS hierarchy of TRUTH ,,…….GOD first then FAMILY ……then COUNTRY.

  57. Matt M. says:

    It’s interesting to note that a lovely publicity shot was permitted for the meeting with Baroness Thatcher a non-Catholic, which was explicitly denied to Madame Pelosi a Catholic impersonator.

  58. Colm says:

    wsxyz: “Colm, Although I am personally sympathetic to the Irish republican cause, I am not sympathetic to the former tactics of the IRA. Also, I fail to see how starving oneself to death can be the fault of anyone other than the one refusing food. It seems to me in addition, that death by hunger strike is objectively mortal sin.”

    “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6

    “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

  59. Vincent says:

    Here’s something to Mrs. Thatcher’s credit: How many American women would have the good sense to cover their heads when meeting the Holy Father? I doubt very many.

  60. Stephanus Mattheus says:

    I think Thatcher gets a pass on life issues for a few reasons.

    First, Americans are mostly familiar with her role in international matters, not the details of her domestic agenda.

    Second, Americans assume that all European leaders have long since gone over to the culture of death, so it is not thought a point of differentiation.

    Third, consider what the British, American, and international media placed emphasis on then and now.

    Fourth, she is now a figure of history, so she can’t do much harm at this point.

    For my part this is the first I had ever heard of some of the objections brought up here, and I thought I was reasonably familiar with Thatcher.

  61. RuariJM says:

    “In our times evil has developed outside all limits. The evil of the 20th century was of gigantic proportions, an evil that used state structures to carry out its dirty work; it was evil transformed into a system.”

    Have you seen the report of the Ryan Commission in the Republic of Ireland, which investigated and analysed decades of endemic and systemic abuse of children? “an evil that used state structures to carry out its dirty work; it was evil transformed into a system.” Ineed.

  62. RuariJM says:

    Colm: ““Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6

    “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13″

    This is a disgraceful abuse of and selective quotation of the Bible. The hunger strikers wanted special treatment and privileges – ‘political status’ – for their activities, which, in a one-person-one-vote democracy (which the six Counties had become by that time) were nothing less than criminal. How on Earth do you use the New Testament to support a convicted murderer, thug, extortionist and racketeer? The hunger strikers were not ‘laying down their lives for the sake of their friends’, they were doing it for themselves, for special treatment.

    Yes, the full story is more complicated but do not use Christ’s words in defence of murderers and racketeers.

  63. RuariJM says:

    As for Mrs Thatcher, her policies destroyed communities, condemned millions to second-class exisence, through poverty and alienation, and the poison continues today, in second and third generations of families who have never been part of the formal economy. ‘No such thing as society, rather a collection of individuals’, she said. That’s Ayn Rand philosophy, which gets dangerously close to Nietsche ‘mensch und ubermensch’, Wagnerian theories that go beyond eugenics to ‘master race’ ideas.

    For those who labour under the impression that the UK had a succession of ‘socialist’ governments: up to Mrs T’s election in 1979, the Conservatives had been the governing party for 17 of the 34 years from the end of WW2. From 1951 and the end of rationing, the Conservaties had been in government for the majority of the time.

    If Mrs T does genuinely convert to Rome, I shall rejoice, as one does for any who sees the light and repents of their past deeds. If she wants an in to an exclusive social club, then I trust she will be disappointed.

  64. leo says:

    the baroness wore a rather impressive black mantilla when she visited pope john paul and its good to see that the correct form is still being observed perhaps even more so under pope benedict

  65. Latekate says:

    RuariJM:
    ” ‘No such thing as society, rather a collection of individuals’, she said. That’s Ayn Rand philosophy, which gets dangerously close to Nietsche ‘mensch und ubermensch’, Wagnerian theories that go beyond eugenics to ‘master race’ ideas.”

    Nonsense!! “Society” is a mythical collective implying a population of people are a singular entity, a borg. There is no “society”, there is only a group of individuals with vastly different viewpoints and ideas. The notion that “society” does this and needs that is simply a useful paradigm to trick people into accepting laws and regulations for “the greater good”; acceptance of this notion is a sign of acceptance of the statist collectivist paradigm. Rand had her issues and contradictions but she was right on many points. She had a front row seat at collectivist illogic in the USSR.

    Actually, it is the socialists and Fabians who are the nihilists, the state worshippers, the eugenicists. From Sanger to Dewey these people have hubristically deemed what is “good” for “society” and proceeded to claim the duty to “mold minds” to effect their reality, their “godless” utopia. Blumenfeld, in “NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education”, explains in detail the beginnings of compulsory government indoctrination by ANIMAL behaviorists experimenting on the children of the country. Rands perception of the purpose of the institution of the Prussian school system on children was dead on:

    http://www.stormy.org/edcompr.htm

    EDUCATION: The Comprachicos

    Victor Hugo The Man Who Laughs 1869

    “The comprachicos (child buyers) were strange and hideous nomads in the 17th century. They made children into sideshow freaks. To succeed in producing a freak one must get hold of him early; a dwarf must be started when he is small. They stunted growth, they mangled features. It was an art/science of inverted orthopedics. Where nature had put a straight glance, this art put a squint. Where nature had put harmony, they put deformity and imperfection. The child was not aware of the mutilation he had suffered. This horrible surgery left traces on his face, not in his mind. During the operation the little patient was unconscious by means of a stupefying magic powder.

    In China since time immemorial, they have achieved refinement in a special art and industry: the molding of living man. One takes a child two or three years old and puts them into a grotesquely shaped porcelain vase. It is without cover or bottom, so the head and feet protrude. In the daytime the vase is upright, at night it is laid down so the child can sleep. Thus the child slowly fills the contours of the vase with compressed flesh and twisted bones. This bottled development continues for several years. At a certain point, it becomes an irreparable monster. Then the vase is broken and one has a man in the shape of a pot.”

    Ayn Rand The New Left 1971

    “The production of monsters–helpless, twisted monsters whose normal development has been stunted–goes on all around us. But the modern heirs of the comprachicos are smarter and subtler. They do not hide, they practice their trade in the open, the results are invisible. In the past this horrible surgery left traces on a child’s face, not in his mind. Today it leaves traces in his mind, not on his face. In both cases the child is not aware of the mutilation he has suffered. Today’s comprachicos do not use narcotic powders. They take a child before he is fully aware of reality and never let him develop that awareness. Where nature put a normal brain, they put mental retardation. To make you unconscious for life by means of your own brain, nothing could be more ingenious. They are the comprachicos of the mind. They do not place a child into a vase to adjust his body to its contours. They place him into a school to adjust him to society.”

    Plato The Republic Greece 370 BC Johann Gottlieb Fichte Address to the German Nation 1808

    “Resistance to the full-scale institution of government compulsory schooling will only last for one generation. The first generation affected will accept it as a natural part of growing up.”

  66. RuariJM says:

    Latekate –

    You are debating with a chimera. The argument you are having is with yourself, as I didn’t say anything about state control. Society exists as the community: local, district, region, national and global. It’s about the interaction of people, the culture and the morality. Nothing about their individual beliefs, which can vary widely (and wildly). Nothing about a ‘borg collective'; a society that encourages individual freedoms is a long way from central control – but it remains societal.

    To paraphrase G K Chesterton, life without a civilised society would be nasty, brutish, miserable and short.

    Without society – structure, laws, mores, accepted behaviour – the individual cannot flourish. Even the robber barons could not prosper as there would be no-one to take advantage of and no means for them to do it.

    Feel free to disagree with me but please disagree with what I have said, rather than what you decide I have said.

  67. Colm says:

    RuariJM: Ó Fiaich also supported the POWs’ right to political status. I did not use the bible to defend murders and criminals, as you can tell I do not support the British government, who have been murdering and torturing Irishmen for 800 years.

    When hunger striker Raymond McCreesh died, Ó Fiaich said:

    “Raymond McCreesh was captured bearing arms at the age of 19 and sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. I have no doubt that he would have never seen the inside of a jail but for the abnormal political situation. Who is entitled to label him a murderer or a suicide?”

    If you are Irish, as your name suggests, than you are a disgrace to the name Irishman.

  68. Colm says:

    Sorry that was suppose to read “Cardinal Ó Fiaich.”

  69. wsxyz says:

    Tell us Colm, if Cardinal Ó Fiaich supported suicide as well.

    Taking a bullet for someone else can perhaps be an admirable act, but certainly not if the gun is in your own hands.

  70. Colm says:

    Did you read the quote from him after the death of Vol. Ray McCreesh on Hunger Strike? It’s in my post right up there. The blood of the Hunger Strikers is on Maggie’s hands, for denying them the rights they deserved and were eventually granted after the deaths of ten brave men.

  71. Latekate says:

    RuariJM: ” The argument you are having is with yourself, as I didn’t say anything about state control. Society exists as the community: local, district, region, national and global. It’s about the interaction of people, the culture and the morality. Nothing about their individual beliefs, which can vary widely (and wildly). Nothing about a ‘borg collective’; a society that encourages individual freedoms is a long way from central control – but it remains societal.”

    You are defining “society” as “the interaction of people”?? Culture and morality can and does vary widely, especially with the rise of the various victim groups. There are people in my own local community who diverge wildly from the things I value and believe. So what makes us “society”? I do not interact with them. I do not share their “culture”. I do not share their religion. What is the commonality that you believes coagulates us together as “society”???

    RuariJM: “To paraphrase G K Chesterton, life without a civilised society would be nasty, brutish, miserable and short.”

    Are you thinking of Thomas Hobbes and “Leviathan”?

    RuariJM: “Without society – structure, laws, mores, accepted behaviour – the individual cannot flourish.”

    OK. Here you have a different definition of “society”. Now society” is “structure”, which could be anything, and not necessarily chosen freely. You say “society” is “laws”, now this is just sad, but I’m sure Obama loves you. Mores and accepted behavior may be shared by some people in some groups in society, but most of the posters on this blog would say that they do NOT share the accepted mores prevalent among the population today. Are they part of “society”?? Your problem is you think statelessness equals chaos. You cannot conceive of a people living peacefully according to rules and laws of their own choosing. You believe Leviathan is necessary or we will all go beserk and kill each other. The flaw in your reasoning is one that should be obvious to any Christian or Jew: all humans are tainted with original sin, working for the state does not confer sainthood, quite the opposite, as Lord Acton taught us about absolute power and corruption.
    The worst will rise to the top in systems of legalized aggression (government) because they have a free pass to lie, cheat, steal, murder, etc. for ends that “justify” their means. The very worst of humanity will stop at nothing to achieve that kind of power and control.

    RuariJM: ” Even the robber barons could not prosper as there would be no-one to take advantage of and no means for them to do it.”

    Capitalists do not need the state to get rich. Granted, supposedly Joe Kennedy got rich bootlegging, and that required government to create a black market for him to take advantage of. Henry Ford had a good idea, Edison had good ideas, Rockefeller and Carnegie had good ideas. It is AFTER they got rich and began to buy influence from government to prevent the natural rise of competition and innovation that would surpass their achievements, most horribly the Prussian school system to convert the invading hordes of Irish and Italian Catholics. This schooling, more than anything else, has tracked generations of people into jobs instead of seeking economic opportunity. In fact, economic opportunity is carefully controlled and credentialling locks up and controls many occupations. It is very difficult to earn an independent livlihood. The reason for this is so the state can keep track of your income and take what they want from it via payroll deduction.

    RuariJM: “Feel free to disagree with me but please disagree with what I have said, rather than what you decide I have said.”

    Thanks, but I’m still not seeing a definition of “society” from you that is not illogical or false. That is because “society” is a mythical collective that does not really exist.

  72. wsxyz says:

    Colm: Sorry I missed it. But I’ll answer the question anyway. Yes, he was a murderer and a suicide.

    I suspect the cardinal is correct that the political situation was the reason for the excessively long sentence. But when was suicide ever an acceptable response to injustice?

  73. RuariJM says:

    Cheers, wsxyz.

  74. RuariJM says:

    Latekate –

    Get away from your computer and desk from time to time and have a look out the window. Better still, go out of your home and walk around your neighbourhood, town or city. What you will see is not figments of a diseased imagination but society in all its beautiful, lovable, challenging, worrying, energising and uplifting reality and diversity.

  75. RuariJM says:

    Colm –

    You quoted the Bible in defence of murderers. I am familiar with the hugely offensive wall mural that depicted a hunger striker supposedly praying the Rosary with devotion, while basking in the glow of ‘grace’ from Our Lady.

    Hunger and thirsting for political status, in that context – where there was already one person one vote, the gerrymandering had been ended by Direct Rule and anti-discrimination laws were consistently being introduced and strenghtened – is not suffering for righteousness. Not when it’s a convicted killer doing it.

    The Cardinal O’Fiach you mention would be the same one who condemned republicans for continued violence, would it? The same one who sat by the Pope, JPII, when he condemned the men of violence? I hope so, because if you come up with a cardinal who encouraged violence, then one wonders what that person would be doing in the Church. Forgiveness and charity isn’t the same as outright support – although there are persistent rumours that a senior cleric did cross that boundary, facilitating gun-running.

    He may well, of course, be the one of whom HH JPI is reported as saying of ‘I think Ireland deserves better’.

  76. Patricius says:

    Thatcher’s absurd Falklands war nearly scuppered our chances of a papal visit to Great Britain in 1982- and cost lives.

  77. Latekate says:

    RuariJM: “Latekate, Get away from your computer and desk from time to time and have a look out the window. Better still, go out of your home and walk around your neighbourhood, town or city.”

    This is simply an attempt to smear me as computer obssessed, isolated, ignorant, insensitive, etc. Typical Leninist debate tactics: smear and ignore the actual points of the argument, much easier than defending nonsense.

    RuariJM: ” What you will see is not figments of a diseased imagination but society in all its beautiful, lovable, challenging, worrying, energising and uplifting reality and diversity.”

    I notice that you have decided to not respond to the points I have made regarding your collectivist mythology. You are unable to address the problems with the idea of a collectivist “society” hive to which “we” “all” belong so you respond with this treacly generalization about “society”. My questions still stand.

    At this point a sensible , honest person would ask himself why he wants to believe in something he cannot defend and is illogical, no matter how pretty it sounds. I don’t have to insult you, you do it to yourself.

  78. RBrown says:

    JD, Esq. & Phil Steinacker,

    You’re not going back far enough. The Fall of the Soviet Union was a direct consequence of Nixon’s opening to China. The Soviets had retreated from the West, in fact drawing historically Western nations of Central Europe into the Soviet sphere. The opening to China forced the Soviets to look West, which began to subject those Central European nations to Western centipetal forces.

    The Reagan military buildup was only one part of the plan to put economic pressure on the Soviets. Another was to get the world price of oil down and deprive Mother Russia of its income.

    Of course, JPII was able to exploit the Soviet weakness in Poland. When Gorbachev came along, JPII began to entreat him that Russia should be part of Europe, not separated from it (see above: the consequences of the opening to China).

    Generally, Americans are naive about the importance of European Unity in the Fall of the Soviet Empire.

  79. Mark says:

    I am aghast Father Z would post this in “just too cool” category. I can only believe that Father Z is completely ignorant of this woman’s promotion of the culture of death in Britain. This extremely compromises our witness against Barack Obama’s anti-life policies. Okay, she co-operated and assisted the United States in the Cold War, good for her. How is that any different from Obama defenders proclaiming all the positive areas he agrees with Church on, or how he wishes to work with the Church in the international arena. Wow.

    This alone is grounds to be sickened by this, notwithstanding her government’s questionable economic policies from a Catholic point of view and her government’s dubious relationship with Northern Irish Loyalists in the murder of Catholic civilians in Northern Ireland.

  80. Okay… that is a “no” vote.

  81. Simon Platt says:

    This cropped up in the discussion between two commenters

    I suspect the cardinal is correct that the political situation was the reason for the excessively long sentence. But when was suicide ever an acceptable response to injustice?

    Let’s not forget that the defining aspect of “the political situation” was the IRA’s terrorist campaign.

    Oh, and the quote from Cadinal O’Fiach was

    I have no doubt that [Raymond Mcreesh] would have never seen the inside of a jail but for the abnormal political situation.

    It would be an abnormal leagal situation indeed if active terrorists, caught red-handed and convicted of membership of a terrorist organisation, possession of arms and ammunition, and attempted murder, did not see the inside of a gaol.

  82. RuariJM says:

    Latekate –

    Do not confuse “You are unable to address…” with “can’t be bothered”.

    Ruari

  83. RuariJM says:

    btw, Latekate, I don’t need to make any argument for the existence of society. Your analysis at every stage has done that.

    So – can’t be bothered.