On Building a Tower of Babel

by Andrew Stuttaford

Samuel Gregg has drawn attention to the welcome efforts of Cardinal Pell to inject a little humility into the efforts of man to control the climate. What a shame that a similar spirit was not at work in the efforts of the presumptuously named “Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace” to campaign for some sort of global EU, complete with a financial transaction tax:

Whoever this council may actually represent, its deliberations have already been discussed around here, but given the cardinal’s warnings about Towers of Babel, it’s worth looking again (via Vatican Insider) at some of what it is recommending:

According to the Vatican, in today’s world, we can only save ourselves together. In fact, the Holy See even suggests the creation of a global political Authority, able to govern problems and challenges which have now gained global dimensions, through consensus and subsidiarity.

As modest objectives go, the creation of a global political authority doesn’t really make the cut.  The term ‘subsidiarity’ offers some hints as to what is going on. These days it’s an EU buzzword that means that Brussels will pretend to devolve the power it should never have had to the locals from whom it should never have been taken.

The Vatican Insider report continues:

According to the Vatican, just as in the “anarchist” fight between rival clans and kingdoms” have been overcome in the past with the building of national States, today “humanity must commit to the transition from archaic struggles between national entities, to a new model of a more integrated and stratified international society that is respectful of the identities of all peoples, within the manifold wealth of one single humanity.”

Ah yes, pesky things, nations.

The Pontifical Council is free to spout what world government nonsense it wants, of course, but the resemblance of its prescriptions to Brusselsthink should come as no surprise. The EU’s political class may have substantial differences with Europe’s churches these days, but, as the Economist noted a few years back:

[M]any of the moving spirits of post-war European integration—Konrad Adenauer, Jacques Delors, Alcide de Gasperi and Robert Schuman—were devout Catholics. Their faith gave them a strong sense of the cultural and religious ties between Europeans that transcend national boundaries. The European flag of 12 yellow stars on a blue background also owes something to Catholicism. Arsene Heitz, who designed it in 1955, recently told Lourdes magazine that his inspiration had been the reference in the Book of Revelation, the New Testament’s final section, to “a woman clothed with the sun…and a crown of twelve stars on her head.”

It’s been suggested that this council’s suggestions are examples of “uncritical internationalism of a distinctly Euro-secular provenance”. Well, there’s no denying the uncritical internationalism, but, as for the secular provenance, I wouldn’t be so sure.