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Clerical republicanism, and a dearth of ecumenism at the royal wedding

25 May 2011


From Dr Martyn Halsall

Sir, — Professor Bob Holman’s timely reminder of the integrity of Christian republicanism paradoxically launches an important debate in the Church of England from which clergy appear excluded (Royal Wedding, 28 April; Letters, 13 May). Their options are limited to supporting a monarchical construct by the Oath of Allegiance required during their licensing to a new parish.

This commits a priest to “bear[ing] true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors, according to law”. There is no elasticity for the republican conscience, only unconditional acceptance of what one Christian ethical expert labelled the “highly ambiguous development” of “kingship” as described in 1 Samuel 8.

We are left with two pre­sumptions. One is that all Anglican clergy are happy to subscribe to what critics regard as a mythical symbol of economic inequality and social apartheid. The other is that this oath is sometimes proclaimed through gritted teeth by clergy whose rights to an alternative integrity have been outlawed.

Is it not time for the inclusion of this statement to be revisited and revised?

The Vicarage, Bridekirk
Cumbria CA13 0PE

From the Revd Ian Walker

Sir, — I hesitate to join the post-mortem on the recent royal wedding; but I have not read anything about the total lack of ecumenical participation in the service. At the wedding of the bridegroom’s parents in 1981, Cardinal Hume and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland were among those conducting the prayers. Thirty years on, the service was exclusively Church of England.

It is sad that this was the case. It is doubly sad that no one seems to have noticed.

St Andrew’s Rectory
16 Belton Road
North Lincolnshire DN9 1JL

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