Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Simon Jenkins On Disestablishment Of the Church Of England

As a Roman Catholic one must tiptoe around such matters surefootedly, but to me it would seem to be the case that the old quangocrat should have kept his powder dry.

What one might charitably call the monarch's use of the title 'Defender Of The Faith' is the one very slender thread which binds the whole British sytem of government together, justifying as it does the enduring family fortunes founded upon either the grant or the acquisition of monastic properties seized by Henry VIII and his associates. That is why the letters 'FD' ('Fidei Defensor') continue to appear on every single British coin in circulation (an enduring example of what Robin Lane Fox described in 'Alexander the Great' as the tendency of societies to put their mythology on their coins, also neatly described by Matthew Dennison in 'The Twelve Caesars' as 'alloy based legerdemain') and why Prince Charles's stated aim of being named 'Defender of Faith' has in my view the potential not only to fatally weaken the established church's claims to any authority of any kind from within, but also to weaken the monarchy's claim to its position.

This would not be some sideshow like the Wilberforce-Huxley debate, an exercise very often touted by Darwinists as a triumph of reason over faith when its real import was the challenge mounted not merely to the spiritual but more importantly the intellectual authority of the Church of England. Such exercises do not present any kind of spiritual challenge at all, as the spiritual principle at stake, to proclaim disbelief in God using the disproof of Genesis as a fig-leaf, was a freedom allowed by God himself as a consequence of the gift of free will, and therefore not one requiring the endorsement of Bishop Wilberforce.

The abandonment of the title 'Defender Of The Faith' would instead be a direct challenge not to the Church of England per se but to the monarchy and the system of government it embodies as a result of the monarch requiring to be the head of that church, a consequence of monarchs having felt entitled to style themselves 'Defender Of The Faith' . One hopes that the Prince of Wales is not able to enact his plan for many years, but decades from now we just might be wondering what all the fuss was about.

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