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Exiting Brexit

Monday, December 31, 2018

My confrere, Fr Anthony Chadwick, is going through the mill with regards to Brexit. This is understandable given that he is an Englishman living in France and has benefitted greatly from the British membership of the European Union. On the other hand, others in my confraternity have been concerned with our membership of the Union and the toll it has been taking on our British identity.

Where, you might ask, do I sit? Well, I have already said something about my views. The trouble is that Brexit is precisely a divisive issue and it is one that cuts across British Society as well as the English Channel (or La Manche, if you prefer). I am glad that I voted to remain in the EU and I am grateful for the democratic process which means that I don’t automatically get my own way. In that I voted to remain, I must necessarily disagree with the outcome of the referendum but agree that, given the outcome, the Government is right to seek how we may exit the EU.

I must say, however, that the media saturation that this issue is receiving is wholly depressing, especially when minor issues are being presented as major, when the government is not allowed to make any movement without the slightest criticism and demand for commentary, and when no respect is given for the hard work of the government officials involved in the negotiation. There is in-fighting in the Government and in all of Parliament to the extent that no-one knows what the right decision is. It seems to my myopic gaze that the media coverage is not helping but rather whipping everyone up into a frenzy.

One observation I make is this. In every report, speculation is being presented as fact. While there may be some obvious consequences to each decision, it is not true to say that these consequences are inevitable. There is many a slip twixt cup and lip as some folk might say. There are no foregone conclusions either in leaving the EU or remaining within the EU. There will be tough times ahead after Brexit, but there are tough times ahead should we remain. Granted that these will not be the same tough times.

As we begin the New Year, there will be all kinds of prediction made as to the outcome of various political situations. Some paint a gloomy forecast with another recession looming. Others paint a gloomier forecast with the climate change wreaking all kinds of havoc. However, as I said earlier all possibilities for our reality are in the mind of God who knows all consequences perfectly and communicates His concern for us through St Paul in Romans viii.28.

The future might terrifying but we cannot change the future until we have greater knowledge of the past and present. However, we Christians have the greatest knowledge of Emmanuel: God is with us. What we make of the Now will influence the Then but there is a greater beyond where the involvement of God will bless all and any outcome and make it more pertinent to our salvation, beautify Creation and glorify His name.

I no longer regard my membership of the United Kingdom as something to hold dear. I am a sojourner as all my fathers were. Holding onto British institutions is of a passing interest to me. The CofE is lost and with it any sanctity of British Tradition, Monarchy, Government. Pomp and Circumstance is empty and pointless in its new secular milieu. I take no interest in Royal Weddings, nor in public events because God is long forgotten unless it is the god who sanctions, welcomes and glories in the sinful folly and moral failings of British Society.

My mandate is clear and I render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and attempt to render unto God that which is God’s. My intention is to spend my life worrying only about what God wants and looking after my family and such flock as He entrusts unto me. There is no point in worrying about the great issues as I am no king nor government official. Their actions will affect me, I know. I will protest injustice, but all I can do is be present to God as I am and seek to become more like Him. If He commands my involvement in politics, then I must obey but being an armchair politician is pointless especially as I am in possession of none of the facts, nor am I likely to be. Whatever He commands of me, I trust Him to supply what I need in order to do it. There is no point in worrying.

2019 will be hard and it will be easy and it will be terrible and it will be glorious! I am terrified and elated in the same measure but all I hear is the voice of the Angel telling me not to be afraid for God is with us. And He is already here in 2019! Alleluia!

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