Next Coro­na­tion ‘should be Chris­tian’

The Church of England - - NEWS -

MORE THAN half of re­spon­dents to a sur­vey say that the next Coro­na­tion should be a Chris­tian event.

In the sur­vey for think tank Theos 57 per cent of peo­ple be­lieve it should be a Chris­tian cer­e­mony, com­pared to 19 per cent who think it should be ‘multi-faith’ and a fur­ther 23 per cent who up­hold that it should be a sec­u­lar event.

The Theos re­port, ‘Who Wants a Chris­tian Coro­na­tion?’ asks whether a Chris­tian coro­na­tion would be ir­rel­e­vant to a coun­try more sec­u­lar than it was in 1953.

Less than one in five peo­ple said that Chris­tian coro­na­tion would alien­ate non-Chris­tian faiths from the cer­e­mony and only nine per cent of peo­ple from re­li­gious mi­nori­ties agreed that a Chris­tian coro­na­tion would alien­ate them from the cer­e­mony with 18 per cent of peo­ple with no re­li­gious faith agree­ing.

The re­port ar­gues for small changes to the cer­e­mony within its ex­ist­ing frame­work. These in­clude ‘invit­ing ap­pro­pri­ate par­tic­i­pa­tion from other faith groups’ and ‘non-faith groups’ within the cer­e­mony and ‘more re­flec­tive of con­tem­po­rary Bri­tain’ though re­tain­ing its core el­e­ments.

The re­search cites his­tor­i­cal coro­na­tion cer­e­monies that have changed to re­flect the so­ci­ety in which it takes shape, and points out that ‘it is per­fectly within its na­ture’ to adapt to the 21st cen­tury whilst re­tain­ing its Chris­tian com­po­si­tion.

Although the pa­per says that spec­u­la­tion re­gard­ing the next coro­na­tion is re­spect­fully ‘dis­creet’, it points out that con­sti­tu­tional changes such as those to the House of Lords, al­low for prac­ti­cal con­sid­er­a­tion of homage to hered­i­tary peers in the coro­na­tion ser­vice.

The pa­per quotes Si­mon Jenk­ins, who it says ar­gued that ‘such a nar­row fol­low­ing of Church of Eng­land rit­u­als is no longer ap­pro­pri­ate for a na­tion of Bri­tons, a third to a half of whom re­gard them­selves as non­re­li­gious.’

He ar­gues that ‘the trans­fer of monar­chi­cal of­fice should be in the seat of rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy ... not the Church’, ex­plain­ing that whereas the Queen can be ap­pointed the Church’s ‘hered­i­tary head’, it must chiefly be a ‘con­tract be­tween the head of state and the peo­ple of the na­tion.’

For­mer Dean of Westminster Abbey, Wes­ley Carr, ques­tioned the rel­e­vance of the Eucharist in the cer­e­mony when Bri­tain’s “level of public re­li­gious com­mit­ment and cor­re­spond­ing un­der­stand­ing has also de­clined.”

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