Political Humility

The ugly scenes in the Commons yesterday may have left many wondering whether we can sink any lower. The terrible truth is, yes we can. Violent language too easily turns to violent deeds. We have only to think of the murder of Jo Cox to recognize how quickly whipping up hatred can lead to death and destruction. The only word I can find to describe the current situation in the U.K. is ‘chaos,’ and it doesn’t look a very creative chaos to me. It is, literally, shocking — shocking us out of our absurd beliefs about ourselves (decent, moderate people) our democracy (Parliamentary democracy, the best in the world) and our future, whether in or out of the E.U. (jam tomorrow, either way). The attempt to pitch Parliament against the people may succeed; we may end up with a country, or should I say countries, given that the Union itself must be at risk, more divided than ever before.

Where do the Churches stand in all this? Has any of them anything to say that is worth hearing? One may be forgiven for thinking that the Catholic Church is so involved with her own interior problems that she has scarcely registered what is happening to the nation as a whole. Here in the monastery we pray diligently and try to keep abreast of events, but we would be the first to admit that our engagement with politics is necessarily at one remove since we do not adhere to any party line nor take any part in any party political debate. I think our role must be to encourage others; to remind people of good will that not only does what is said or done matter, but also the way in which it is said or done; that actions have consequences; and that the common good is not ‘what’s best for me’ but something larger and more demanding. The section of the Rule of St Benedict that we read today is very pertinent, especially these words:

We descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility. And the ladder erected is our life in this world. (RB 7.7–8)

Humility may not be an obvious quality to associate with politicians but that is not to say it is unnecessary. Dare we hope that our M.P.s will take note? Will we pray that they do?


10 thoughts on “Political Humility”

  1. Dear Sister. I have to disagree with your description of the dabate in the Commons yesterday. The wud and robust questioning of the Ministers and Prime Minister and equally forthright responses. But as Speaker Bercow said, the language being used did not stray into being disorderly. Plainly the accusations of “violent language” were an opposition attempt to discredit the Prime Minister in the eyes of the viewers.
    Thankfully Speaker Bercow was on hand to rule no disorderly language had been used and to appeal to the house for calm and moderate debate. We must pray for our sovereign Queen and Parliament.

  2. Sounds very much like the early sixteen hundreds when Charles I was accused of using his power for personal interest rather than for the sake of the country. The high court was involved then too. I am not saying Boris did the same but only that the situation sounds very similar. I think we should all bombard Heaven with our prayers that the aftermath of Brexit does not follow the same path as did the execution of Charles I, in a bloody civil war.

  3. Did not the people vote to leave Brexit? Did not the people vote for Donald Trump?
    Must we not learn to agree to disagree? Good old fashioned manners still win the day
    I believe. Blessings Sister.

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