Saturday, November 15, 2008

Prince Charles to be known as Defender of Faith - Telegraph

Prince Charles to be known as Defender of Faith - Telegraph: "The move would mean the monarch, as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, would no longer be known as Defender of the Faith for the first time since the reign of Henry VIII.
The Prince caused controversy within the Anglican church when he floated the idea several years ago of becoming Defender of the Faiths in an attempt to embrace the other religions in Britain.
In a compromise he has now opted for Defender of Faith which he hopes will unite the different strands of society, and their beliefs, at his Coronation"
Damion Thompson goes on to say "On the face of it, the loss of a definite article from a title carried by every English monarch since Henry VIII might seem a harmless gesture. It is nothing of the sort. The edited formula will cause tremendous harm, not least because “Defender of Faith” is too vague a phrase to interpret clearly.
“The Faith” in the original title is Christianity, originally Catholic, then Protestant; in recent decades it has been understood to mean Christianity in general. The Monarch’s title is a specific recognition of his or her responsibility to preserve the unique, sacred status of Christianity in our society. To be sure, its importance is symbolic, but there are few more powerful things than national symbols.
In contrast, what does “Faith” without a definite article mean? Sociologists are still unable, after 200 years, to agree on a definition of religion. The same goes for faith.
Prince Charles’s intention is to extend his symbolic protection to members of minority religions - Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. Especially the latter, one suspects. How many times does the Prince have to be told that the pure form of Islam utterly rejects the notion of true religious diversity?
And where, Your Royal Highness, do we draw the boundaries of the “Faith” you defend? Is Scientology a proper faith? Is Spiritualism? Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Aryan Nations? How are you going to tiptoe through the theological and constitutional minefield created when unscrupulous, bizarre or extreme religions demand Royal protection - as they will?
It’s a shame to have to say this on the Prince’s birthday, but this whole idea has a whiff of vanity about it. It’s as if the heir to the throne is saying: “Britain is a multi-cultural society, so aren’t you lucky that I contain multitudes?”
As our report points out, this change to the Monarch’s title can be made only by rewriting the Royal Titles Act. Alas, we can have no confidence that Parliament will do its duty - that is, to refuse to enact a “subtle but hugely symbolic shift” in our nation’s constitutional identity. Nothing would give Labour, Liberal Democrat and trendy Tory MPs greater satisfaction than to delegitimise Christianity in this fashion.
Has the Archbishop of Canterbury sanctioned this plan? if so, shame on him. “Defender of Faith” sounds jolly grand; it trips off the tongue. But don’t be misled: it is the Royal equivalent of replacing the word “Christmas” with “Winterval”. Not for the first time, I find myself hoping that our Queen will live even longer than her mother, fortified by her undiluted Christian faith."

No comments: