Indeed, just when so many of the habits and manifestations of English Protestantism have continued to slip gently towards an ecumenical multicultural oblivion, Henry VIII’s legacy has summoned itself for one final and contrarian outburst of the exceptionalist tradition. It has dumped us with Brexit.
It used to be commonplace in England to believe that the Reformation had given this country a special advantage in the world. To the extent that this was ever true or arguable, it mostly evaporates when judged today against all the things that were done in the name of the Protestant state to heretics and protesters at home and in Ireland, and to nonbelievers elsewhere.
Although we could run that argument again and make it stick to an extent. Just replace the Papacy with “Brussels” for who should be the overall guide to our society, a power above those of mere temporal, democratic, rulers and we do have a certain vision of the EU, don’t we?
At which point we rather need a word to describe the modern ultramontaine really. Given how flat Belgium is what is the one that means “excessively in thrall to those from the marshes”?