31 October 2011

The Magic Circle: A Definition

Francis Davis, whom I cited in my last post as a member of the Magic Circle, seems to have become shy about what that means.

"Oh, and for reader’s of the Muniment Room if you read on across this blog the idea that I may be part of the ‘magic circle’, I must admit, did bring light relief in my house and a few others on a rainy weekend!"

Leaving aside the grammar and punctuation, the fact is that his self definition as a member of one committe of the (Catholic) Archdiocese of Southwark and of another in the (CofE - multiply Brownie points by two for ecumenism) Diocese of Oxford (never mind the presumably secular Higher Education Funding Council Panel)  makes him part of the Magic Circle.

Damian, who popularised the phrase, has never got round to defining "Magic Circle" (mainly because it is blindingly obvious what it means, even if you're part of it and want to pretend you aren't) but, just to help poor Francis, who seems to have even lost his CV from his website, I have adopted Henry Fairlie's original definintion of the "Establishment", which fits the bill squarely:

"By the 'Magic Circle', I do not only mean Eccleston Square - though it is certainly part of it - but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised. The exercise of power in the Catholic Church in England and Wales, both at diocesan level and within the structures of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, cannot be understood unless it is recognised that it is exercised socially."

We know who they are; they know who they are.  I named a whole bunch of them earlier this year, here

The point, though, isn't who they are, but what they are doing?  We've seen a couple of examples in the last few weeks involving Cruddas (the Catholic Intern programme, the speech at Blackfriars), but there's an awful lot more.


Candice said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Left-footer said...

What are they doing, these self-satisfied, olympian mandarins?

A power of no good!

Richard Collins said...

What a shame that dear Francis has removed his CV. It amused me no end once I got over my nausea.
According to his sidebar he is a big fan of Clifford Longley...that speaks volumes.

Trisagion said...

Ttony, Francis Davis may be many things but member of any "Magic Circle" worthy of the name isn't one of them. A definition of this body that would encompass the usual suspects would exclude Francis since the many of those usual suspects heartily loathe him.. One could hardly be a member of a network of co-supporting liberal conspirators when those self-same people exclude you from any involvement in any activities over which they have influence and brief against you in a manner that my late grandmother would have called calumny and retraction.

For what it's worth, I think Francis needs to answer the question implied in Ches's post today: what has John Cruddas ever done for us. He also needs to row back from the ill-advised ad hominem attack on Fr Pereiro, which I suspect is motivated more from a personal loyalty to the director of CAFOD than any personal animus.

Ttony said...

Trisagion: you may be right that other insiders dislike FD, but he still holds down posts on the Archdiocese of Southwark and the CofE Diocese of Oxford committees he mentioned on his CV (until he took it down), as well as on the Blackfriars Trust and the De Las Casas Institute's Board. He may not be right at the centre of the magic circle, but he is inside, not outside.

I would also ask why loyalty to CAFOD (in general) and to the Director of CAFOD (in particular) is anything particularly in FD's favour, other than as a stick to beat Fr Pereira with. CAFOD (in the general sense) is part of the magic circle problem, not something outside.