3 February 2020


The Brexit kerfuffle has got me puzzled. People who hang from their bedroom windows the EU flag are presumably anti-Brexit; those who show the Union Flag are probably pro-Brexit; but the folks flying the S George's flag ...  logically, so I would infer, these must be in favour of (the area covered by the medieval kingdom of) England withdrawing from the Yewkay. And hence these rare spirits are in line with the policy of the Scottish National Party ... pretty certainly a Fifth Column organised by Nicola Sturgeon right in the heart of England. Have I got that right?

Somehow I feel there is a factor here I'm not understanding.

There are two other flags which intermittently cause me considerable puzzlement.

One is the white and yellow flag which flies on some Catholic buildings. What is it? Is it the flag of Catholicism, of the Catholic Faith, or of the Bishop of Rome; or of the Holy See; or of the Vatican city-state? If it symbolises either of the latter two of these, it seems to me understandable, but improper, that it should fly over buildings in this country other than, of course, the buildings associated with the Vatican's diplomatic mission in our land.

The other flag is an elegant white and blue composition including the Star of David. I saw it not long ago being waved around in TV reports about demonstrations being held in central London against the anti-semitism asserted to be endemic in our Labour Party. I had always thought of it as the flag of the State of Israel. Is it, rather, a flag symbolising all Jews everywhere, the international symbol of Judaism?

In each of these cases, I feel that careful distinctions are capable of being made which are perhaps being forgotten. Or are there subtleties which I have not appreciated?

I expect to be accused of being anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic. One can so easily nowadays find oneself being ranted at. To live is to be attacked, as S John Henry didn't say.


B flat said...

Dear Father,
May you long continue to distiguish subtleties to which many of us are blind. And may your irony never grow rusty!
Is the point about "universal and immediate jurisdiction" of the Holy See not being asserted by flying its flag on church buildings?
Identity politics have misappropriated flags perversely, as they have words, to advance aggressively. The flag of the modern State of Israel may be a better gender-free marker than the skullcap. If the latter were waved we could call the bearers UKippahs, and that would be very confusing while that party still persists as a memory. I like the words in a later verse of the National Anthem:
Confound their politicks
Upset their knavish tricks...

PDLeck said...

Why, Father, are you so anti-vexillologic?

Thorfinn said...

To the extent that the UK leaving the EU results in the freedom from improper regulations, or matters regulated at an improper level, returning control to the various lower levels - the UK, England, Cornwall, St Michael's Mount, the family, the individual - the flying of flags & pennants & so forth are justified all the way down the line. One might also fly the Catholic flag for Brexit Day in celebration of a meaningful step in the direction of subsidiarity.

For matters which should best be handled by Scotland, for Scotland, I would happily fly the Saltire - below the Stars and Stripes, here - even if that sentiment overlaps with the dastardly plans of La Sturgeon and her ilk, who would usurp the proper role of parents in raising their children.

Banshee said...

Flying the Vatican flag outside of Vatican City, while not a native of it = "I support the existence of the papacy."

Flying Israel's flag outside of Israel = "I support the existence of Israel."

Flying the UK flag outside of the UK = "I am an Anglophile" or "I like soccer."

And so on. It's like getting those pretentious two letter stickers for your car, except not pretentious because you are not implying that you are rich enough to travel all over Europe.

Americans like flags. But the only one that really counts is the US one, so every other flag is just a declaration of friendliness toward foreign stuff, support for members of your religion, or alliance with villainy (if flying Communist flags).

Flags are cool.

Animadversor said...

It would seem that the flag that you often see in Catholic places has been established officially only as the flag of the State of the Vatican City. It does not seem that there is any official flag of the Holy See or of the Church Herself, on account of which want the aforementioned flag has been put to those uses informally. The Flag of Vatican City.

vetusta ecclesia said...

Today I flew the Banner of the Five Wounds to honour the martyr St Anne Line, native of my nearest town ( and where the Catholic Church is partly dedicated to her).

Michael Leahy said...

This Irishman suggests that those who fly the flag of St George have come under our influence as we eagerly await the final end of Britain's prolonged and wicked occupation of Ireland. I was delighted to see that fine Little Englander, Johnson, become the first British Prime Minister to say 'no' to Ulster Unionism. As with any spoiled and over-indulged child, this can only be good for the latter and I have no doubt has encouraged an unprecedented degree of political soul-searching in that community. As one wag said, these events have put back the cause of Unionism by a century...to 1590.

As for the flag of Israel, I consider it might stand as a potent symbol of survival for vulnerable Jews everywhere, given their history in the last century. In that context, I would understand why it would transcend the merely national. This is much more the case when one's mortal enemy is a religion that is much more an international, wordly, political phenomenon than a spiritual one.

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

Dear "B flat" - how amusing you should say that. The original words were:

Confound their politicks
Frustrate their popish tricks...

and date from that era, dubbed 'glorious' and lauded so amusingly (well, I was amused) by the Prime Minister yesterday at Greenwich. Apparently we have last Friday recaptured the spirit of the gloriousness. Clearly he is not afraid of losing the Jacobite vote. Fr Hunwicke will not be voting for him next time!

The kindly reason for the change of word to 'knavish' is clear, and it served to include a whole raft of new enemies not known for their popery, but the old sentiment lingers on barely beneath the surface in this sceptred realm.

Which is what makes, of course, the very ugly yellow-and-white flag such fun to fly!