Next Coronation ‘should be Christian’
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.”