5 May 2023

Punch ups and the Coronation Service

A letter a day or two ago in The Times ... from a Fr Timothy Radcliffe, OP. An Important Dominican. I bet he's internationally famous.

The context is that it has just been revealed that the 'Coronation' will be accompanied by OATHS! Yeah! British subjects will be invited, as they watch the Stephanosis on their machines, to join in an act of swearing Allegiance.

(Personally, I had rather wondered about this anyway ... oaths are, surely, meant to have a formal, public, even juridical aspect to them. I'm not sure what my views are about millions of people murmuring at their flickering little screens and thinking it actually means something. 

And it seems to me likely that the whole idea may come from the mind of that vapid litle man, the Welby. If this be so, that aitia in itself does incredibly little to to warm me to it.)

BUT ... just imagine neighbourhood pubs in vibrant yet distant places. Places where there still remain culturally diverse communitities ... Belfast, perhaps, or (London)Derry. Or a Liverpool sanctified still by the Aura of the Warlock and his Cricketing Chum.

Imagine over here, a cohort of imbibers, culturally 'Unionist'; Paisleyite. They are fiercely determined to take the oath, as an assertion of their own Scottic, Williamite, roots. At heart, they are (to a man) Apprentice Boys (or Girls or Trans ... ... ). The Sash Their Fathers Wore still animates them.

But, over there, you will discern a different group (although visually similar); equally fiercely determined, as a meaningful act of political repudiation, not to swear, not ever even to allow to be sworn, any such oath or act of allegiance. 

This latter group is always on the look out for some passing Blacks'nTans to beat up... 

Spiritually, they 'identify with' the Tird West Cork Brigade of the IRA (what a song; what a tune!!).

I can visualise the most totally incredibly wonderful punch-ups developing between two such highly principled groups ... leading to street brawls ... tear gas ... the entire panoply (in the etymological sense of that term) ...

I do think Fr Wozzname OP is a bit of a mangy old spoil-sport to want to deprive so many diverse communities of such glorious and traditional rituals. He'll be banning the Boat Race next.

(Of course I write with irony. But I am genuinely puzzled that nobody on that committee had the sense to speak against this divisive innovation.).


william arthurs said...

Back in the early 70s, the Doc was asked "You Unionists describe yourselves as 'Her Majesty's Most Loyal Subjects', but how can that be, since you spend all your time protesting against government policy?' and he replied 'We've got no time for this government, our loyalty is owed to Her Majesty personally." And everyone else said "Silly old Doc, he doesn't realise that in our constitutional arrangements, the monarch is just a rubber-stamp for the government, so this distinction is impossible to draw." Or as Vernon Bogdanor put it, "In our system, the king is just a figure-head, the Prime Minister is the real king."

Fifty years later, however, I am able to frame two questions: "What do we know of King Charles's personal likes and dislikes?" and "Which of these has borne fruit in policy?" For example, I think that typography and calligraphy are two of the most important things about a society; I have seen that Charles has in the past put his signature to correspondence printed (on a computer printer) in the font "Times Roman". But he has also expressed a dislike of this font, especially in large sizes. No government documents such as Acts of Parliament are now printed in this font. He is patron of the Prayer Book Society. No BCP is now printed in Times Roman. Coincidence? Or a matter about which unionists and nationalists could set aside their differences for the day?

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Today,and everyday for that matter, us Catholics can kiss the feet of the Crucifix in our homes, just like Pope Saint Pius V did every day - except for that day when the feet of Jesus moved because enemies had put poison on them.

Happy Feast day of that great Saint Pope.

Bfbpuzzled said...

I stand with the Celtic supporters and their pithy analysis which so upset Piers Morgan

Ave Ave as they say as a greeting

John said...

Eh, I'm not understanding this. I see there's concern about an oath to the King as being divisive or tone deaf. ..I'm hard pressed to explain why?
Parliament may have more practical power; the United Kingdom remains precisely that: A Kingdom united under one sovereign, now King Charles.
We Americans have our pledge to our flag, thus the Republic the flag represents.
Until the Brits decide to abolish the monarchy, it makes sense they ought recite an oath of allegiance to that monarch.

John said...

Eh, I'm not understanding the source of angst here. I get it that Charles isn't as popular as Elizabeth was. I get it that various groups of Scots, Irish, Welsh, and even English may detest Charles. Yet,... the United Kingdom remains precisely that: A Kingdom united under one sovereign. I have not heard of any intentions to abolish the monarchy.
We Americans have our Pledge to our flag and it's Republic. It makes sense that Brits ought offer their oath of loyalty to their sovereign.

motuproprio said...

Did you never swear an oath of allegiance as an Anglican clergyman?

OreamnosAmericanus said...

England, Scotland and Ireland (North and South) are just empty shells now.

There is zero continuity between these White nations and the multi-racial mess that has replaced them.

Charles will be crowned as king of.....what?

It is an unspeakable tragedy. And it is being repeated all over the West.

And none of the churches have either protested or resisted. On the contrary.

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

Dear John (bis), Three things: 1) it's an innovation; 2) an oath is a public act, not a private feel-good thing, so impossible to do alone; 3) it's all very un-English. But then, irony of ironies, Welby and his woke Church of England is very un-English. Indeed unrecognisable, and unwelcome.

Expeditus said...

Re the Coronaggers:
(1) Interesting that they had to get an Orthodox bishop to consecrate the oil. Just to be sure?!
(2) When did you last see a Pontifical Mass without a General Communion? Perhaps we could learn from this!

Grant Milburn said...

I'm a laconic Kiwi so I'll just.say "Fear God. Honour the King". (Quoting KJV/DRC by the way. RSV says: Honour the Emperor, but Charles' grandpa was the last emperor, so I can't use that.)

lynn said...

We would all do well to take very seriously the words of Our Creator Lord to Catherine of Siena, "I Am Everything and you are Nothing."

John said...

"...an oath is a public act, not a private feel-good thing..."
Fr Hunwicke's post gives me the distinct impression of people participating in the oath from differing pubs, possibly leading to street brawls. That doesn't sound very private to me.
It would make more sense certainly for a "small" group of people to act as representatives of all of Britain in taking the oath during the coronation. Even so, that wouldn't forbid anyone from participating from their homes.
..I recall a few times during my teens when I or one of my brothers provoked our whole family to stand in our living room while the national anthem was played on TV for a sporting event. This strikes me as being the same ilk.

Moritz Gruber said...

One other thing (to the oaths in a minute):

"We, who partaking of these creatures of bread and wine in remembrance of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ may become partakers of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ"... so, (setting the Anglican Orders question aside) the Anglican Church is Calvinist about the Real Presence now?

I had not known that.

Moritz Gruber said...

Dear John,

the Americans do indeed have a Pledge of Allegiance. Two buts.

1. But they are most unusual in that, as they are in customarily having a US flag (why not a state flag?) on a side altar (at least a side altar) and things like that. The Pledge of Allegiance was once said while giving the Bellamy salute, and the foreign observer cannot help but feel that this would be rather fitting. (We know how the Bellamy salute looked like). There, I said it. Sorry.

Obviously, the *content* of the Pledge of Allegiance is, in itself, fine enough. But the atmosphere of purposefully peer-pressuring people into pledging an allegiance, the proper form of which is the masses of people shouting... and then at times requiring people to be part of such congregations that shout it... hm. I don't say it's is wrong; though it would be wrong to let a religious service contain or be immediately followed by it. I don't say the flag at the side altar is wrong, either, but it would be wrong at the main altar. In any case, all this is patriotism of the "any inch more would be wrong" category.

2. The Pledge of Allegiance is a Pledge, hence the name. It is not an oath. That's a remarkable difference. Replace the words "I pledge" by "I swear" and the Pledge of Allegiance, at least in the mass occasions it used, would once again cross the line into the realm of wrong things.

If I remember St. Thomas correctly, he says somewhere that according to a gloss, "do not swear at all" means "unless in writing". We know that those who rejected any oaths based on an interpretation of these two bible verses are mistaken, but still an oath is a mighty thing. I calls on the Name of God to attest to the truth of a statement or a pledge. It may sometimes be done, with due reflection beforehand, as at a court, and the like. One ought never to swear anything that you wouldn't be prepared to sign on a certificate on paper; and most of the time it's simply practical to begin with to have this certificate in the first place, and the signature; and only then, perhaps, also attach an oath to it.

A soldier, who has had a bit of basic training and is perhaps even in the army of his own free will, might swear allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, etc.; if carefully instructed about what he is doing there. A civil servant who enters the service of the same Republic might swear such a thing, after being carefully instructed about what he is doing there. But not an uninstructed multitude.

Until the Brits decide to abolish the monarchy, it makes sense they ought recite an oath of allegiance to that monarch.
There's middle ground between "abolish the monarchy right now" and "swearing allegiance to this monarch and all successors". What about: "I'm going to be loyal to this monarch, but I reserve to think about my feelings after his reign, long may it last, again"? What about "I'm fine with monarchy for the time being, but I reserve my moral right to wish for, agitate for and vote for its abolishment later if the King and his Family should thoroughly misbehave"?

Moritz Gruber said...

Dear OreamnusAmericanus,

your name might indicate you're American. The thing is, we're not interested in racial purity in Europe, because whatever our present state, we were at least historically Catholic, all of us.

And besides, when I was in London, I saw rather few non-British non-tourists (though I visited some of them). They feel to be less than in big cities in Germany. What?, I hear you say... Well, I'm tricksy.

I saw very few non-British non-tourists if you take "British" to mean "British Empire.

Moritz Gruber said...

One other thing: They were saying a Mass, obviously. Or intending to (let's leave the Anglican Orders aside). It is indeed an age-old tradition that positions other than the celebrant himself can be filled by people lower in rank; that's what altar boys are, substitute acolytes, after all.

But what business, ancient privilege or no ancient privilege, might or no might, does a pagan have to fill-in for a lector (coming to think of it, actually for a subdeacon)? And wouldn't for that function, even that aside and granting that it should be by ancient privilege and/or current policy be a representative of H. M.'s government, the Lord Chancellor be a better choice than the First Lord of the Treasury? For that's what a Prime Minister is, First Lord of the Treasury.

Albertus said...

I think it a goid idea, inviting all of His Majesty's subjects to swear fidelity to him after the Archbishop and his son the Prince of Wales had done so. This takes the place of the very long - now unhappily scrapped - ceremony of the nobles present each coming up to the newly annointed, crowned, clad, and enthroned King to swear allegiance to him individually. A kind of virtual extension of the oath of allegiance from only the nobility present to the whole realm. At least the idea of swearing allegiance has thus been kept, albeit somewhat updated. All in all, todays Coronation rite has, thank God, kept most if its glorious traditions and christian character.

PM said...

The First Lord of the Treasury, Moritz, may be Hindu, but he is a Wykehamist. In the English scheme of things, that is much more important.

And if racial purity and connections with soil are so important to OreamnusAmericanos, how can someone who, I presume, has Northern European ancestry classify himself as American? Should the English have rejected the appointment of Theodore of Tarsus as Archbishop of Canterbury?

I couldn't help thinking during the coronation service of the likely reaction in the typical baby-boomer Novus Ordo Catholic parish to the introduction of chant, Byrd's polyphonic Gloria and celebration ad orientem. Foaming at the mouth? Convulsions on the floor? Spontaneous combustion?

John said...

Mr. Gruber,
Your analysis has a few distinctive flaws regarding the Pledge in the US.
For one, I have never shouted the Pledge on any occasion. We recited it in normal school-room voices. For another, I have never once seen a Bellamy gesture used. Any gesture we made involved placing one's right hand over one's heart.
I should note too, I have not seen an American flag in any Catholic church in at least 20 years. When I inquired on this around 2009, I learned that most US bishops had forbidden the flag be flown in anywhere in the building. They had deemed it "too unwelcoming". Evidently crowds of (illegal alien) minority groups might be "offended". ..Never mind the offense to US citizens by forbidding it, of course.
As far as bearing reservations about the rule of a particular monarch, ..I have never heard of a loyalty oath that compelled one to agree with a monarch about every single thing. Even if you don't have a formal First Amendment, I should think you have the right to speak your mind.
Perhaps Brits view it differently?

william arthurs said...

Not owning a television, I went to a well-known London church yesterday morning, and watched the Coronation as televised on the BBC. The only "audience participation" that took place was that (most) people stood for the National Anthem at the end of the service. No allegiance-pledging and no punch-ups !

A complaint was received that there was no Creed (unlike in the 1953 BCP-based service). The answer to this is that Common Worship 2000 does not require a creed in a Eucharist held on a weekday: it is assumed that anyone present on a weekday will also be attending on Sunday anyway and will make an "authorised affirmation of faith" on that day.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Thus is how one well known American women thought about the coronation


Arthur Gallagher said...

The people who normally DO swear allegiance to the king, were eliminated from the ceremony, along with their cherished little privileges.

The day will come when Charles will rue the day that he disrespected all of the "little people" who no longer have power, but would have been his greatest supporters.