Interesting essay by Eamon Duffy in the Telegraph, who says it’s time to reform the English view of the Reformation:
in multicultural England, the inherited Protestant certainties are fading. It is time to look again at the Reformation story. There was nothing inevitable about the Reformation. The heir to the throne is uneasy about swearing to uphold the Protestant faith, and it seems less obvious than it once did that the religion which gave us the Wilton Diptych and Westminster Abbey, or the music of Tallis, Byrd and Elgar, is intrinsically un-English. The destruction of the monasteries and most of the libraries, music and art of medieval England now looks what it always was—not a religious breakthrough, but a cultural calamity. The slaughtered Popish martyrs look less like an alien fifth column than the voices of a history England was not allowed to have.
Multicultural-ism, as an ideology, was often just anti-Westernism in practice. But the questioning of national identity that both modern political values and the practices of economic globalization have brought about may really open the door to a multiplicity of cultural traditions, some of which, as in the case of English Catholicism, have deep roots indeed. There’s still a need for political unity—enough to uphold the rule of law—but its a new kind of unity in pluralism that must be sought.