After this post was written, and after several bloggers (Ttony, James Preece and John Smeaton) had taken Francis Davis to task for his appalling treatment of Fr Leon Pereira and his championing of Jon Cruddas, Davis removed all the relevant posts from his blog The Principled Society.. What he needs to do in fact is to issue a full apology to Fr Pereira on his blog. Justice and charity demand it.
Let me begin by defining my terms. By 'Collaborationist Catholicism', I do not mean the kind of Catholicism which one might have witnessed under the Vichy Regime - the government led by Marshal Pétain in France from 1940-1944. By 'Collaborationist Catholicism' what I mean is a Catholicism which behaves towards civil power like the Vichy government behaved towards the Third Reich. I mean a kind of Catholicism which thinks that 'resistance' is futile, naive and 'not very constructive'. By 'Collaborationist Catholicism' I mean a kind of Catholicism which would praise its own kind for being conciliatory - not like that nasty American Catholicism which is so divisive. By a 'Collaborationist Catholicism' I also mean a kind of Catholicism whose adherents very often give the impression that they secretly agree with some of the key values of their political overlords, no matter how hypocrtical this makes them.
I ask the question because I, like James Preece and Ttony, have been surprised at the defence given to the egregious Jon Cruddas by Francis Davis. Though Davis has taken down his CV from his blog, he is according to other sources a Fellow of Blackfriars, Oxford [UPDATE: apparently, so a source informs me, he is no longer so], and he even sits on a HEFCE Panel. What, then, does he think he is doing by indulging in this sub-critical attack on Fr Pereira?
But let me come back to my point: is this not a sound example of 'Collaborationist Catholicism'? Fr Pereira bucks the conciliatory trend which Davis would prefer Catholics to take. Davis never makes clear quite what glorious achievements the conciliatory action of Jon Cruddas has brought about. Personally, I have my doubts; just take a look at his voting record. One wonders if Cruddas has ever thought of thinking for himself at all. He appears not to have bothered thinking for the unborn in any discernibly Christian way.
And one must wonder why Davis comes to Cruddas's defence with such cringe-making enthusiasm. A perusal of Davis's blog shows he has been championing Cruddas's cause recently, but then never does he provide any evidence - it bears repeating - of what is so miraculously beneficial about the service Cruddas renders to his country. It is intriguing that Davis thinks Cruddas is an example of an MP defending justice 'in extremely trying times'. Could this be a reference to Cruddas's support for the squalid Iraq war, or perhaps for his vote against the requirement for children born through fertility treatment to have a mother and a father?
Yes - the Collaborationist Catholic says - all you résistants are naive fools. You should look to how successful and close to power Jon Cruddas is and marvel at his wonderous star. Because look what Cruddas has achieved by being so close to power: he has consistently voted with his party! And, in any case, Cruddas is a fighter for justice, as all the unborn children in this country will no doubt agree.
Truly, this is 'Collaborationist Catholicism' - craven before corrupt authorities, happy to cover its collaboration with the mantle of constructive conversations, delighted to label as hopelessly naive those who believe in firmer resistance, and entirely, utterly, callously careless of what it loses by being so conformist.