Politics | Posted 09.10.2017

Jacob Rees Mogg MP – Religion in Politics


Fresh from the Party Conference in Manchester the Conservative MP for North East Somerset, Jacob Rees Mogg came to speak at Stonyhurst on Wednesday  on the theme of Religion and Politics. After an introduction given by Head of Line Nicolas Mariscal, in which  Mr Rees Mogg’s  eudaimonic virtues were extolled with profound sensitivity, we were treated to a fascinating talk delivered with great eloquence. Using language peppered with Latin epithets, biblical quotations and references to  heroic figures like St Thomas More and St John Fisher, Mr Rees Mogg surveyed recent developments in the secularisation of politics. There were some wry smiles in the audience when he related the little known detail that  the current Foreign Secretary is a Baptised Catholic.

After the talk Mr Rees Mogg was questioned on his views on government policy towards refugees, the bedroom tax and Catholic Schools. His answers were plausible and delivered with clarity. Although the questioners may not have been fully convinced by his arguments, many in the audience were impressed by the way he sought to find some common ground and was respectful of  disagreements. References to Pope Francis’ call for Catholics to be merciful, to not judge others yet remain faithful to authentic Church teaching, won him many friends in the audience. On balance, even those who may have disagreed with his political views would surely have concluded that here was a politician who was more concerned with veritatis splendour than venal spin.

This was followed by tea in the Stuart Parlour where Mr Rees Mogg enjoyed the company of a large group of Poets and Rhetoricians. Earlier he had been given a tour of the College and its collections and had been visibly impressed by the many wonderful treasures that he was shown, perhaps most notably the prayer books that once belonged to Elizabeth Plantagenet and Mary Queen of Scots. Finally, there was a visit to the Sodality Chapel, with a brief opportunity for prayers before heading back to his constituency.

We are grateful that Mr Rees Mogg was able to take the time to visit the College. He has been a good friend to Mr Ridout and several of our students of Politics over the years and we look forward to him returning to Stonyhurst at some point in the not too distant future.