Friday, June 09, 2006

Defender of....?

Much has changed on the religious landscape in Britain since the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II -- at which event, due to the perceived sacredness of the moment, film cameras were turned off and television cameras turned away from King Edward's Chair at the moment of the monarch's anointing.

The extent of the change keeps popping up in discussions about the eventual coronation of Prince Charles. Recently, the former archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey called for an ecumenical coronation service to reflect the new reality of faith in Britain; in a 1994 interview, Charles himself expressed his interest in altering a five-centuries old title of the British crown (one conferred by a Pope, mind you) and being known upon his accession simply as the "defender of faith."

Convert from Anglicanism Ann Widdecombe -- "Miss Widdecombe," if you're nasty -- begs to differ.
Ms Widdecombe believes the service should remain essentially Anglican as the established Church of a Christian country, however any faith that want to attend should not be barred from doing so. "No one would suggest that other faiths should not be there - I am sure the Papal Nuncio will attend," said Mrs Widdecombe.

At her coronation in 1953, the Queen swore to uphold "the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel, maintain the Protestant reformed religion established by law and maintain and reserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England".

The debate over the wording of the coronation oath began in 1994 when Prince Charles expressed a wish to be seen as a defender "of faith" rather than of "the faith."
Just thought some of you might be interested.