During last year’s British general election Boris Johnson campaigned on a slogan of “Get Brexit Done!”
After three years of interminable debate and delay about how to execute the result of the 2016 referendum on the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union, that slogan worked at the ballot box for Johnson and the Conservative party. At 11:00 p.m. this evening, the U.K. will leave the EU. But, this is only the end of the beginning. The real process of Brexit must now commence — namely, the negotiated settlement of how the U.K. leaves and what sort of future relationship it will have with the EU.
The man at the center of this monumental change is the first baptized Catholic to be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Boris Johnson was duly baptized into his mother’s religion. But by all accounts that is where Boris’ Catholicism ended. While at Eton College, Johnson was confirmed in the Anglican Communion. Since then, by his own admission, he would not describe himself as in any way a practicing Christian.
Despite a gift for communication and the many platforms on which he has held forth, Johnson has spoken little of his religious beliefs. His voting record while a member of parliament showed no obvious Christian influences. Johnson is pro-abortion, and vocal in his support for same-sex “marriage.” He has advocated changes to the law to allow euthanasia. He describes himself as a “liberal conservative” but his detractors say his whole political philosophy has been charted according one star only – his own.
And yet, here he stands, at this pivotal moment in the history of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Johnson is the man tasked by his party and the British electorate to steer the national ship through the choppy seas ahead as the U.K. makes the most far-reaching change in direction for a generation.
To all observing the current political situation it seems clear that Johnson will need all the help, both natural and supernatural, he can get. He has a huge task ahead. It is not just a question of leaving the EU today but of getting Brexit “done” — in other words, of achieving the best political and economic terms on which to establish the U.K.’s new relationship with the EU.
Curiously, important dates in Johnson’s rise to power have also been those of saints and intercessors on whom he would do well to call at this time.
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