A new report from a leading UK think tank argues that Christianity should be reduced or purged from Prince Charles’ future Coronation Ceremony.
Prince Charles is next in line to the throne and will be the first king in decades after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Before that happens, University College London’s Constitution Unit, says the coronation ceremony should cut back on its overtly Christian rituals for the sake of progress
“The UK is no longer a global or a colonial power. Celebration will therefore need to reflect what the UK has become rather than what it once was,” the report said. “However welcoming to other faiths, a wholly Anglican coronation service is no longer capable of reflecting or responding to modern British society.”
The ceremony is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who anoints the Monarch with oil, administers communion, and leads them in pledging their obedience to God in a series of Oaths. In the Oaths the monarch affirms he or she is a “faithful Protestant,” and will preserve the church.
The Constitution Unit says this needs to change, noting that half of the UK’s population has “no religious affiliation.” The report suggests that a separate non-Christian ceremony could take place at Westminster Hall to honor Britain’s religious diversity.
However, not everyone is on board with the idea of reducing the coronation’s Christian elements.
Wesley Carr, a former Dean of Westminster, believes the service needs to remain Anglican and stresses the importance of the Eucharist.
“To plan a coronation without a Eucharist would require a massive break with history.That alone would imply a long study of the intention behind a coronation at all, its venue and basic structure,” Carr argues.
Dr. Ian Bradley of St Andrew’s University, a minister in the Church of Scotland, agrees.
“It involves symbolizing spiritual values, embodying the sacred, representing and
defending religious faith against unbelief and secular materialism, promoting order in the
midst of chaos standing for the public good against private gain, and acting as a focal
point for unity in a society which is increasingly fragmented and fissiparous,” he writes in his book, God Save the Queen: The Spiritual Heart of the Monarchy.
It is yet to be seen how Prince Charles’ coronation ceremony will proceed, especially since it is the first one the country will see in more than 50 years. While Prince Charles has been quiet about his own personal relationship with God, he has been a strong advocate of the persecuted Church.