‘A case of democracy versus the eurozone (with democracy, for the moment, set to triumph in Greece)’, I wrote last week – but even before you had had the chance to read what I had written, the ever-increasing pace of change in Europe made my little article look like a piece of (mistaken) history. What followed, however, did rather serve to increase the worry of many over what could be termed a ‘democratic deficit’ in the current running of the EU. Here is, for example, Janet Daley writing in her blog for The Telegraph: ‘Last week, the European Union effectively undermined the democratically elected government of one member state and put another one on notice. The snuffing out of that little gasp of desperate rebellion in Greece, and the political chaos that followed, caused a moment’s embarrassment when the EU leadership had to face down questions about its commitment to democracy. But that blew over quickly enough… The Greeks have been given a brutal lesson and the Italians a firm warning. Welcome to post-democratic Europe.’ And, lest one think this view restricted to one particular side of the political spectrum, Maria Margaronis writing for The Guardian on Tuesday was equally skeptical in substance (if less extravagant in her language), concluding that ‘Greece has a right to face austerity on its own terms’, a right far from universally acknowledged at this moment.
Everyone will acknowledge, of course, that the choice between principles of any kind and ‘dishes of meat’ or indeed any other much-needed commodity is much harder to make than to write about, in Greece and elsewhere: perhaps there is indeed, as other commentators have suggested, no alternative to what countries like Greece and Italy are about to face, and little alternative, if face they must it, to how that is now to be brought about. Yet Margaronis is surely right in this, that if it is indeed nothing but ‘more years of austerity and graft and social breakdown’ that is on offer, might it not be true that what may make this bearable would be ‘to go through it, at least, with some sense of autonomy and self-determination’ – precisely the kind of thing that seems not to be on offer right now?
And this does bring us back, even in a world much too fast- paced for weekly pewsheets, to the principles that we as Christians ought to draw from the fundamental truth of the creation of all human beings in the image and likeness of God, and their redemption in and out of love in Christ: that thus created and redeemed we are required by the ‘love that makes for peace’ to ‘recognise in all people those for whom Christ died, and to treat them with the courtesy and reverence due to his great love’ (as one of the ‘Seven Notes’ of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd puts it). This, I suggest, is a yardstick to measure not just our individual treatment of one another by (and how short do we so often fall of it) but also our corporate ‘political’ treatment of other communities, nations and peoples. Even, perhaps especially, in difficult times when the alternatives seem so much neater, quicker and more ‘successful’.
- Please continue to hold Dean Jeremy in your prayers as he prepares to begin treatment.
- If you can help sell tickets for the Christmas Draw in the Market Hall, please put your name on the list in St Mary’s. If you haven’t personally had tickets yet, these are available at St Mary’s and Christchurch.
- Ladies Fellowship: Will hold a Christmas lunch on Thursday, December 8, 1pm at The Kings Head. £16 for 3-course meal. Please contact Margaret 856624 to book. Payment to Pam Gover by November 30
- The Cards for Good Causes shop in the Lewis Chapel of St Mary’s is now open for business. We are still in need of help to run this shop, which provides a valuable service and which also benefits the church financially. If you can help staff the shop, please put your name on the rota in St Mary’s or contact Beverley Jones on 850375 or 07775 566948.
- There will be an American breakfast on Saturday, from 9.30am in the Priory Centre. No charge, just give what you can afford.
- Abergavenny Deanery Mothers Union Fellowship Lunch takes place on Thursday, 12 for 12.30pm. Tickets £10, available from Glenyss Holland 851755. Proceeds to the MU Overseas Workers Project. Non-members very welcome. Tithe Barn manager, Richard Morgan, will be talking about his trek in Nepal.
- If you have taken part in the Talents 2011 enterprise, it would be much appreciated if any monies raised could be returned to the church today. Please hand your envelope to Clive Jones or churchwardens—and many thanks for your endeavours.