Next British coronation to involve other faiths besides Christianity

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Niccolo and Donkey
Next coronation to involve other faiths besides Christianity

Telegraph UK

Cole Moreton

May 18, 2013

The coronation of the next monarch will include a role for people of other faiths besides Christianity, in a break with a thousand years of history, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.


Church of England leaders have accepted the need to be “hospitable” to other faiths within any future service at Westminster Abbey, in order to reflect the spiritual diversity of modern Britain.

The Church has resisted calls for a multi-faith service in recent years, preferring to stress that the Christian nature of the coronation is preserved by law.

Senior church figures told this newspaper t that it was now accepted that other faiths should be recognised within the coronation service for the first time.

It will not, however, be a “multi-faith” service in the sense of a ceremony that treats all faiths as equal.

Representatives of other religions are likely to be asked to participate in a neutral symbolic act such as the lighting of candles, or to read from a text expressing shared values, rather than praying out loud or reading their own sacred texts.
The Church considers the coronation to be a royal ordination, setting apart the monarch for a sacred purpose under God, and will resist any compromise of that.

The ceremony contains elements dating back to 963, and is always written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently the Most Rev Justin Welby. The service is held at Westminster Abbey under the leadership of the Earl Marshal, currently the Duke of Norfolk, with the assistance of the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr John Hall.

The Coronation Oath Act of 1689 requires the monarch to swear to uphold the Protestant faith, and the ceremony includes Christian sacraments such as Holy Communion and the anointing of the monarch by the Archbishop. Those will remain intact.

Any changes will, none the less, be a dramatic break with the past. Dr Robert Morris of the constitution unit at University College London said: “Essentially, the last coronation was a straight rerun of what had gone before, over the centuries. It was an Anglican Christian service. No Popery allowed, etc. The Archbishop of Canterbury refused to give space to any of the other Churches, let alone faiths.”

A Church of England spokesman said it did not discuss future coronation services, as a matter of policy.

There was some consternation in the Church seven years ago when it was reported that the Prince of Wales would like a multi-faith service to follow the Christian one, with readings and prayers by people of the Muslim, Sikh and Jewish faiths.

Dr Hall went further in 2006, saying: “The coronation service needs to find the right way of including people of other faiths. It must be different in some ways because of the nature of society and how things have changed.” The archbishop at the time, Dr Rowan Williams, was opposed, saying: “I am not a believer in multi-faith services.”

One member of the General Synod, the Church’s governing body, said in 2006: “We should not pander to political correctness. This is a Christian country and so the coronation service must remain exclusively Christian.”

Why is Anglicanism even still around? It's hard to imagine a religious denomination more hell-bent on nailing its own coffin shut.

Niccolo and Donkey
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Why the Church of England is in decline

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It makes sense really, to have a "multi-faith" ceremony in the church of England, since it's a national church without any binding confession of faith since 1975 when church officials no longer had to swear to abide by previous articles of faith (specifically the 39 Articles). So it's a "spiritual organization", the head of which is the king or queen of GB, unbound by any doctrine beyond the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness, which is open ended. So they can do whatever they want, it's logical.