The triumphalism of the last 48 hours could not conceivably be more misplaced. The difference between the Catholic and Anglican figures is negligible, and even put together they do not add up to any very large section of society.
Yet seventy-two per cent of Britons profess to be Christians and are just waiting to be reached. And the only really promising way of doing this is also the only really significant alternative to Islam: the full-blooded Catholicism of structured daily prayer, of setting aside one day in seven, of fasting, of almsgiving, of pilgrimage, of the global community of faith as the primary focus of personal allegiance and locus of personal identity, of the lesser outward and greater inward struggle, of the need for a comprehensive and coherent critique both of capitalism and of Marxism, of the coherence between faith and reason, of a consequent integrated view of art and science, of Sacred Tradition, of the Petrine Office, and of mysticism and monasticism.
And the restoration of that full-blooded Catholicism to this land can be done only by both the hierarchic-charismatic ecclesial apostolates (the "new movements") either arising out of or anticipating the actual texts of the documents of Vatican II, and those attached to the Immemorial Roman Rite recently set free at last by Pope Benedict XVI.
As for the Act of Settlement, it is good for us, because it reminds us that we are different, and because it does us the courtesy of taking our beliefs seriously by identifying them as a real challenge. One really does have to question the viability of a Catholic community which devotes any great energy to the question of ascending the throne while the born sleep in cardboard boxes on the streets and the pre-born are ripped from their mothers’ wombs to be discarded as surgical waste. And far from being a term of abuse, the word "Papist" is in fact the name under which the English Martyrs gave their lives, and expresses the cause for which they did so, making it a badge of honour, to be worn with pride.