The Full text of the Bishop of London’s Sermon at the Royal Wedding Today

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen....

Read it all.

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12 Comments
Posted April 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. TACit wrote:

In the entire pageant/ceremony, but especially in this punchy sermon from Bp. Chartres, I heard distinct echoes from the papal visit last September and of specific aspects of the Pope’s writings and preaching.  For example, in “aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving,”: the Bishop of Rome just gave a series of Holy Week addresses in which he explicitly detailed the steps of that way of spiritually evolving, and anchored their development in the Jewish Scriptures and worship. 
It could be said the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Rome are to this extent on the same page, and it would be interesting to find out if the Catholic Archbishops who attended both the papal visit events and the Wedding noticed any continuity of teaching.  (would anyone else have attended both??)

The next paragraph above all was fascinating: “We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.” (my italics)
The current Bishop of Rome has for decades been patiently explaining precisely how our massive societal problems, engendered from the Enlightenment as guided by Hume’s Law and the ensuing industrial revolutions, resulted from failure of our spiritual evolution to keep up with the material progress from man’s ‘rational evolution’.  His small book Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures (2006) thoroughly develops this and offers solutions, and the first sentence of Bp. Chartres’ paragraph above seems a distillation of the first paragraph of that book, and more, directed as teaching at the newly married Royal couple (and a billion or two other listeners).  He seized a great opportunity! 
This was quite a memorable and effective sermon in the fine Anglo-Catholic preaching tradition.

April 29, 11:24 pm | [comment link]
2. Teatime2 wrote:

Bishop Chartres has long been a family friend of Charles and I believe was one of the executors of Diana’s will. While it’s been clear that William, Catherine, and Charles were very hands-on with the ceremony, choosing the music and Scripture, I think his sermon reflected the themes they chose.

I know people rag on Charles but he’s actually a patron of the Prayer Book Society and is very interested in church music besides, from what I’ve read. I really found the prayer that the couple wrote to be very touching and indicative of what sort of work they’d like to do.

April 30, 12:10 am | [comment link]
3. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

I thought it was an interesting sermon with some good advice pitched at the attention span of the generation he was addressing.

I wondered what he had in mind when he wrote this:

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

I think there can be a problem of unrealistic expectations when people marry their hero or heroine - we have seen a few examples of that.  As the bishop says, a mutual foundation of faith and mutual service may be a better grounding.

If the Duchess of Cambridge puts the same effort into her marriage as she has into getting her prince, and Prince William keeps up the determination he has shown, then God-willing, all will be well.

I thought goose gravy-chops Chartres was on point this time and thankfully the Druid was kept on a tight rein.  Dean Hall did well, as usual. 

It was a good day, for all of us.

April 30, 9:47 am | [comment link]
4. Katherine wrote:

Congratulations to the United Kingdom for a lovely national day.  You needed that.

April 30, 10:04 am | [comment link]
5. Catholic Mom wrote:

Did anyone wonder what this ending to the prayer written by William and Kate meant?

We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

April 30, 12:27 pm | [comment link]
6. rugbyplayingpriest wrote:

Did anyone also note the Archbishop of York condoning living together before marriage….that was so sad. Made the good homily rather lose its points…

April 30, 12:33 pm | [comment link]
7. nwlayman wrote:

The one by Robert Runcie, a thousand years ago, was better.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvl1-u3Hang&feature=related
Just imagine (to quote a dead English songster) a C of E where there was no talk of same sex marriage?  It’s not easy if you try.

April 30, 1:37 pm | [comment link]
8. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

Something of a mixed bag, I think. 

“William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ”.

That’s a good Christian starter; I doubt we would have heard that if KJS had been preaching the sermon.  grin 

“Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed”.

Is that the “plug” for the “faithful and committed relationships” who are not married or should not be “married”?  Or are “civilly partnered”? 

“As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light”.

Notice there he uses the word “partner” and not “spouse”. 

Personally I prefer ++Runcie’s homily; more orthodox.  But, since this is an age where the “partnerships” look to be normalized, then this is pretty balanced. 

I’ll give the AB of C one thing; he has a spectacular voice to listen to. 

It’s possibly true that the Duchess “put a lot of effort into getting her Prince”, but it also seems she loves and cares for him.  And the Prince could have had anyone, yet chose HER in love.  I also think he knows it’s his duty, but the Prince may have been happy, at least at first, to do without all the pomp and circumstance.  It reminds me of the joke in my family—our small “pomp and circumstance”, despite going off well, evoked this humorous comment from my father:  “I should have just given you 50 bucks and sent you to the courthouse”.  grin 

There’s something to be said for intimate gatherings—were I Prince William, possibly on my 1st, 5th, or 10th wedding anniversary(for starters), I’d grab my bride, a couple of close friends or family, a Kenyan Anglican priest, and renew the vows informally on the beach in Malindi(or equivalent), then throw a small party.  There are still ways of doing it the way you like!!  grin

I know there’s always funny comments about American Anglophiles but when I visited Britain, the people I met there were some of the nicest and most hospitable people I’ve EVER met.  I’m so glad you all had a wonderful day.  God bless…

April 30, 1:54 pm | [comment link]
9. Teatime2 wrote:

Bookworm,
I think you’re isolating the word “partner” because of the connotations it has for you in these modern times, and that’s not what he meant. “Partner in love” is simply a synonym for spouse in this context. The rest of his words (and those of the service) don’t indicate the PC-ness you’re implying with use of the word “partner.”

April 30, 3:20 pm | [comment link]
10. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

Teatime, I hope you’re right.  But, if not, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen clerics split hairs with words.  It’s why it pays to listen.  Thank you for your view.

April 30, 6:05 pm | [comment link]
11. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

I too picked up on the use of words “Faithful and committed relationships”, and of course given the effusive praise heaped on gay campaigner Nick Holtam by the Bishop of London, among others it is worth noting.  On the other hand he did say:
“Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves”
Who knows what the bishop thinks, and fewer and fewer of the Anglican world bother with what CofE bishops have to say.

April 30, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
12. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

Who knows, the “faithful/committed relationships” may have been to keep the Elton Johns in the Abbey happy, while all the “man-woman-marriage” stuff was appropriate to the occasion, but would have appealed to traditional Anglicans watching, especially any from the Global South who didn’t attend the recent primates’ meeting.  Luckily, I doubt the Global South suffers any illusions. “Reasserters” in America certainly don’t.

April 30, 9:15 pm | [comment link]
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