The next Supreme Governor of the Church of England?

Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Camilla, the Dutchess of Cornwall, are in town today, causing all kinds of traffic jams.  The BBC highlights the environmental controversy spawned by this trip to the former colonies, and also notes that Charles and Camilla flew on a scheduled British Airways flight rather than a private charter.  How ordinary of them!

Besides being the Prince and Heir to the Throne and all that neat stuff, Charles is also the prospective Supreme Governor of the Church of England, a largely ceremonial role that "appoints archbishops, bishops, and deans of cathedrals on the advice of the Prime Minister" (from The Church of England website).  The website continues, "The two archbishops and 24 senior bishops sit in the House of Lords, making a major contribution to Parliament’s work."  Interestingly, the massive Church of England website does not have a dedicated page for the Supreme Governor.

The Prime Minister and Monarch appoint archbishops, bishops and cathedral deans?  And 26 clerics sit, as a rule, in the House of Lords?  Even if these roles are largely ceremonial, doesn’t any of this look odd?  Even Prince Charles himself has wondered if he should replace the traditional title of Defender of the Faith with Defender of Faith as a nod to England’s diversity (and likely his own ambivalence toward his prospective role in the Church of England – he was rebuffed by the Archbishop here).

I mean no disrespect to Anglicans and COE loyalists out there.  It’s just that, to my American, Lutheran, Disestablishment eyes, this whole set-up looks odd.

Published by Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. Veteran. Jedi. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.

3 thoughts on “The next Supreme Governor of the Church of England?

  1. But we also must remember that the Established Church differs between England and Scotland, such that the Queen is an Anglican and the Head of that Church in England and a Presbyterian etc. in Scotland. And it works likewise for those in immediate succession. Considering that the Prince of Wales is attending Arch St. Presbyterian on Sunday morning, I am forced to conclude that Philadelphia is part of Scotland . 😉
    And yes, Establishment is odd and theologically problematic and a large segment of regular churchgoers in the COE would prefer that it were otherwise. But it’s not confined to Anglicans. Remember that the Lutheran Church is Established in the Scandinavian countries.

    1. It’s not established anymore in Sweden (since 200) and in Norway only the King has to be a member, otherwise it’s disestablished.
      And there are no bishops or clergy automatically in any Scandinavian parliaments, unlike in the UK.

  2. It is how the Brits do things. All societies have means in which they entrench power, and the Brits are no different. but, to my American sensibilities, I agree, having bishops appointed to a government body solely by virtue of their religious appointment is fishy at best.

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