Comments: Bishop resists change to Act of Settlement

Of course, there was a period from 1685 to 1688 when the Supreme Governor of the Church of England was a communicant of the Church of Rome. His proposal to reduce religious tests and to allow Roman Catholics AND dissenting protestants to hold public office caused all hell to break loose.

Ironically, the reforms he proposed were all implemented over the next 150 years. Yet to this day, the British establishment slanders his blessed memory.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Wednesday, 12 January 2011 at 3:56am GMT

This is so silly. It's not as if the Sovereign was required to have an active Christian faith, as long as they're nominally CoE and turn up at church at some sort of intervals.

Or can someone give me an example of a single thing the Sovereign does in connection with the church that truly requires them to be a believer in the 39 Articles and the Instruments of the Communion?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 12 January 2011 at 8:15am GMT

I was not aware that any member of the Church of England was required to be a believer in (whatever that might mean) the Instruments of Communion.

As for the Articles, the declaration of Assent is worded this way,
http://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/mvcontents/preface.aspx

No mention of Instruments!!

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Wednesday, 12 January 2011 at 9:15am GMT

"This is so silly. It's not as if the Sovereign was required to have an active Christian faith, as long as they're nominally CoE and turn up at church at some sort of intervals." Erika Baker

Thus treating it as just another ceremonial duty to be got through? The present Sovereign does appear to have a real and active Christian faith which means her status as the Supreme Governor of the CofE has some integrity and sense. To insist that a privately atheist Sovereign (or one whose conscience directed him/her to a different faith) must participate in Church of England services as they would a Royal Variety Performance, would be even sillier, in my view.

Posted by Laurence C. at Wednesday, 12 January 2011 at 9:42am GMT

Simon,
thank you. No orthodoxy requirement - I'm shocked!

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 12 January 2011 at 10:10am GMT

"Of course, there was a period from 1685 to 1688 when the Supreme Governor of the Church of England was a communicant of the Church of Rome. "

I thought he converted to the RCC on his deathbed.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 12:58am GMT

Erika, British Sovereigns are more than nominal Christians or members of the CofE. They are first of all “anointed, blessed and consecrated” as monarchs. I understand the Queen has always regarded her sacramental "hallowing" with the utmost seriousness. As Supreme Governor, our monarchs are summi episcope (highest overseer) of the Church. And they wield sole authority to reform and amend “errors, heresies and schisms”. While the monarch's authority is devolved today, the underlying meaning of monarchy, for example as the 'Fount of Justice' is still important in this country.

Posted by Terence Dear at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 9:35am GMT

I submit that anyone who witnessed (maybe on early TV) the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, could not fail to have been made aware of the Sacred Anointing of The Sovereign by the current Archbishop of Canterbury. I do believe Her Majesty to have taken that ritual very seriously, and am sad that commenters here seem to belittle her obvious Christian faith. That the family may have 'let her down' in some respects - a fact which she has freely acknowledged - should not blind us to the reality of her Christian belief.

Whatever one's personal views about the situation of State/Church relationships, one cannot but admire the present Monarch's religious fidelity.

Bishop Nigel's point about the need for Rome to make some gesture towards its acceptance of the Orders of the Church of England - before any movement towards the acceptance of a Roman Catholic as heir to the throne (or spouse thereof) - should be clearly understood.

The only alternative to this would be the legal separation of Church and State. Perhaps this is the real question to be determined in the future.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 10:00am GMT

Terence,
thank you.
I understand that the current Queen is a committed Christian and that she has always taken her anointing seriously.
But her oldest son and successor, for example, is not known for his fervent Christian faith and has already made it known that he would see himself as Defender of the Faiths, not the Faith (something I personally welcome).

So if you say that British Monarchs are more than nominal Christians or members of the CoE and that they have a genuine and serious role in that church, how can it be acceptable to have a Monarch who is a nominal Christian only, in the sense that he personally does not subscribe to the beliefs of the church he is head of?

And if we can accept someone regardless of their personal faith, why then should it matter, whether they are nominally CoE or Catholic?

Is baptism, confirmation and habit combined with an official role really what this should be about?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 12:00pm GMT

""Of course, there was a period from 1685 to 1688 when the Supreme Governor of the Church of England was a communicant of the Church of Rome. ""

"I thought he converted to the RCC on his deathbed."

I think he revealed his affiliation on his deathbed. His elder brother is said to have remarked that his younger brother's mistresses looked like penances rather than indulgences.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 12:07pm GMT

Were not Malcolm's dates of 1685-88 referring to James II (VII of Scotland) who was known to be RC? It was his elder brother, Charles II, who had a deathbed conversion in 1685. James died, deposed and in exile, in 1701

Posted by Stephen at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 3:06pm GMT

James II was openly "papist" from his accession -- which eventually led to the Glorious Revolution and non-jurors & the established church in Scotland being Presbyterian & wars with France and England being top nation (see 1066 & All That).

Posted by Prior Aelred at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 4:23pm GMT

""Of course, there was a period from 1685 to 1688 when the Supreme Governor of the Church of England was a communicant of the Church of Rome. ""

""I thought he converted to the RCC on his deathbed."

I think he revealed his affiliation on his deathbed. His elder brother is said to have remarked that his younger brother's mistresses looked like penances rather than indulgences."

It was his elder brother, Charles II, who may have revealed his conversion on his deathbed. James II (and VII) converted openly to the Church of Rome a number of years before he became king. On conversion, he was forced to give up a number of posts, including that of Lord High Admiral, which required being part of the CofE.


Posted by John Holding at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 4:26pm GMT

Charles II converted on his deathbed. James II converted in the late 1660s, some three decades before his death.

Posted by Conchúr at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 5:09pm GMT

James II was King of England from 1685 to 1688 and was a Roman Catholic throughout that period having been publicly revealed as a Catholic convert in the 1670s.

(It was his elder brother, Charles II who became a Roman Catholic on his deathbed, though how conscious he was is disputed.)

James's governance of the Church of England included arrest and trial of a number of its bishops including the Archbishop of Canterbury. (Perhaps I can almost hear some of you warming to James II...)

Posted by Lister Tonge at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 6:07pm GMT

Thanks for deconfusing the later Stuarts for us - and I apologize for my own contribution to the confusion.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 9:55pm GMT

Indeed, I was referring to James II & VII. It should also be remembered that his reason for arresting some bishops was their refusal to have read the Declarations of Indulgence, which would have allowed freedom of religion for both Roman Catholics and dissenting Protestants.

It should be further remembered that, despite his having arrested them, five of those seven bishops - including Sancroft of Canterbury and the saintly Thomas Ken of Bath and Wells - also refused to set aside their oaths to him and were deprived of their sees by the usurpers.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 5:17am GMT

What about all those Roman Catholics and their descendents passed over for the Hanoverian usurpers!Would an abolition be retrospective?

The idea is ridiculous...leave the House of Windsor undisturbed..the legislation says there is something special about the Catholic Church.

As Oscar Wilde said there is one thing once then being talked about and that is being ignored.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 8:48pm GMT

As a practical matter, one could not "backdate" the correction of this injustice. However, should we want to do the right thing right, Franz von Wittelsbach waits patiently in Bavaria.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 3:08am GMT
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