Thinking Anglicans

Bishop resists change to Act of Settlement

The Church of England Communications Unit drew attention today to the following parliamentary exchange yesterday in the House of Lords:

* Oral Questions
The Bishop of Manchester the Rt Revd Nigel McCullogh asked a supplementary question during Lord Dubs’s oral question about the Act of Succession. Bishop Nigel highlighted that this was not a matter of simple right to equality and that there were wider implications to the suggestions made by Lord Dubs in particular there is an issue for the Church of England should full equality be granted. The full text can be found below or in context at:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldhansrd/text/110110-0001.htm#1101107000347

The Lord Bishop of Manchester: My Lords, does the Minister accept that the central provision for the establishment of the Church of England is that the Sovereign, as Supreme Governor, should join in communion with that church? Does the Minister agree that, unless the Roman Catholic Church is prepared to soften its rules on its members’ involvement with the Church of England, whose orders it regards as null and void, it is hard to see how the Act of Settlement can be changed without paving the way for disestablishment, which, though it might be welcome to some, would be of great concern to many and not just to Anglicans or, indeed, to other Christians?

Lord McNally: My Lords, that intervention shows the wisdom of proceeding with extreme caution on these matters.

Another copy of the full set of exchanges can be found here.

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Malcolm French+
10 years ago

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.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
10 years ago

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?

Simon Sarmiento
10 years ago

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!!

Laurence C.
Laurence C.
10 years ago

“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… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
10 years ago

Simon,
thank you. No orthodoxy requirement – I’m shocked!

Bill Dilworth
Bill Dilworth
10 years ago

“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.

Terence Dear
Terence Dear
10 years ago

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.

Father Ron Smith
10 years ago

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… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
10 years ago

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… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
10 years ago

“”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.

Stephen
Stephen
10 years ago

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

Prior Aelred
10 years ago

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).

John Holding
John Holding
10 years ago

“”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… Read more »

Conchúr
Conchúr
10 years ago

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

Lister Tonge
Lister Tonge
10 years ago

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…)

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
10 years ago

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

Malcolm French+
10 years ago

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.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
10 years ago

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.

Malcolm French+
10 years ago

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.

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