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By P. Coupland

Britannia, Europa and Christendom brings to gentle the webs of impression linking Christian leaders and politicians and indicates the conflicting relationships among nationwide id and Christian universalism, and among Britain as a one-time global strength, a ecu state, and junior companion within the 'transatlantic alliance'.

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F. 1 With the benefit of hindsight, British enthusiasm for federalism in 1940 stands out as an aberration in the long-term emphasis of policymakers on jealously safeguarding national sovereignty. Up to 1940, proposed solutions for the problems behind the war looked to a radical rearrangement of the international politics of Europe, and frequently stressed a federal future. Likewise, British strategic planning in the war against Germany was based around an Anglo-French alliance. 2 The rapid, unanticipated and catastrophic defeat of the Allies revolutionised this situation.

This did not mean that spiritual values could not change the world for the better but it did imply that creating moral order was a challenge of Sisyphean proportions. If there was any way out of the crisis, and Vidler was sceptical that there was, one prerequisite was that the ‘re-christianization of Europe’ be begun in England. But, alongside such a cultural revolution, had to come a ‘victory of power’, whereby pagan totalitarianism would be defeated at its own game so that power could instead be used for ‘moral purposes … for the establishment of an international order in which power is used, not merely for the unbridled pursuit of national interests but for enforcing international relations according to a standard of justice for all’.

Forbidden to participate in bodies created by the other churches, Catholics had their own exclusive organisations to propagate their church’s teaching on political and social questions. However, the most significant Catholic contribution to the peace aims movement came through the body Sword of the Spirit, founded in August 1940. Sword brought together influential members of the English Catholic intelligentsia with the blessing of Arthur Hinsley, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. 19 These offered principles predicated on ‘natural law’ for the reform of the domestic and external relations of states.

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