Archbishop Justin Welby’s speech for the Queen’s coronation 60th anniversary

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We do not know what was prayed. Her Majesty knelt at the beginning of a path of demanding devotion and utter self-sacrifice, a path she did not choose, yet to which she was called by God. Today we celebrate sixty years since that moment, sixty years of commitment.

There was a trumpet fanfare as today as the Queen arrived with her supporters, but let us resist the splendour of the spectacle for a moment, and focus on what was meant: “Not my will, Lord, but yours be done."

And following her giving of allegiance to God, others - especially, with such equal and dedicated commitment, the Duke of Edinburgh - pledged their allegiance to her.

And here, in the grace and providence of God, is the model of liberty and authority which our country enjoys. Liberty is only real when it exists under authority. Liberty under authority begins, as the Book of Common Prayer puts it, with our duty to God, "whose service is perfect freedom".

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

18 Comments
Posted June 5, 2013 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Catholic Mom wrote:

She seems a pleasant woman who cares about her family and her country…but really, this whole commentary shows what warping of language and theology happens when the church gets into bed with the state.

“Her Majesty knelt at the beginning of a path of demanding devotion and utter self-sacrifice, a path she did not choose, yet to which she was called by God.”

She was only “called by God” to be Queen in the same way that Obama was called by God to be President, or, for that matter, that Stalin was called by God to be chairman of the presidium—that is, these things happened in a universe ruled by God.  To say otherwise veers right into the divine right of kings—that is, God placed her on the throne, ergo he wants her to be there.

As far as her “utter self-sacrifice” no doubt there has been sacrifice.  But I’d venture to guess that at least 1 million English women would be willing to sacrifice twice that much to change places with her.  We are speaking here of one of richest and most famous women on the planet who enjoys enormous perks associated with her unearned office (as do all her children and grandchildren).  Someone with several castles and a yacht who travels the world by private jet, wears the most expensive designer clothing and jewelry, is waited on hand and foot 24/7 by a coterie of personal servants, eats the finest food, possesses many treasures of art, is entertained by anyone she selects (and they feel honored to be selected) etc. is not really in the same category of sacrifice as, say, a woman working two minimum wage jobs to help keep her family fed, clothed, and educated.  Or the mother of a disabled child who devotes her entire life to the care and welfare of that child.  The praise the archbishop heaps upon her derives solely from his function as head of the State church.  It is not an edifying sight.

June 5, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
2. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

It is true, Catholic Mom that there is St James’ Palace the official Court, Windsor castle, Buckingham Palace and Holyrood Palace in Scotland which the Queen uses as head of state as well as a few homes in various parts of the country which are privately owned.  The yacht went a few years ago.  There are a number of other historic palaces which are museums such as Hampton Court and the Tower of London.  There is also considerable ‘bling’, and HM is one of the wealthiest women in the world and as you say very privileged.  However, I don’t think that is why +Justin said what he did, nor is it because he is Archbishop of Canterbury in the established church.

Notwithstanding the comfort and privilege, the Queen has day in and day out not had her own life; she has headed off to visit various parts of her realms and the world in her capacity as head of state, opening this, encouraging that, endless walking and standing, talking to people, daily pulling of cords, breaking bottles on ships and aircraft, always accompanied by the good and the great in uniforms and various officials.  As anyone who has had to do official entertaining knows it is exhausting and your life is not your own, even with all the apparent privilege which goes with it.  She has done that all that uncomplainingly and dutifully without break, even for anything but extreme illness, with considerable stamina which would break a lot of younger people and she is still doing it long, long after her contemporaries retired having oulived most of our prime ministers.

She has done exactly what she promised to do in her coronation, to serve the country and its needs, day in and day out, and the admiration most of us feel is for that service she has personally given.    Your presidents are burnt out or frazzled in 4 to 8 years - just look at how Presidents Obama, and the Bushes aged in their terms, but HM as our [and a half dozen other countries’] head of state just keeps on going even after 60 years.

I think that is remarkable, and worthy of celebration and thanks.

June 5, 8:07 pm | [comment link]
3. Sarah1 wrote:

Catholic Mom—do you not believe that anyone privileged is worthy of honor and praise?  Is it only those struggling in poverty who should receive such celebration?

RE: “She was only “called by God” to be Queen in the same way that Obama was called by God to be President, or, for that matter, that Stalin was called by God to be chairman of the presidium—that is, these things happened in a universe ruled by God.”

That is an interesting assertion.  I think there is a difference between that which God allows [obviously, He allows evil and evil people], and those whom God calls. And I think it perfectly possible that God allowed Stalin and called Queen Elizabeth II in much the same way as He called Joseph, Moses, and Daniel.

June 5, 9:12 pm | [comment link]
4. Ad Orientem wrote:

Catholic Mom,
Not sure if you are aware of this, but Divine Right sacramental monarchy is a very Catholic doctrine. Your church is pretty much founded on the principal. And as for the Anglicans, the ONLY saint they ever actually canonized, was Charles the Martyr. Better known to us as King Charles I. Christianity is an inherently monarchist religion. We do not bow before a president, but rather before the King of kings.

Vainly have I looked in scripture for any reference to presidents and prime ministers, congresses or parliaments. But of kings and princes, there seems to be no shortage.

“Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, what doest thou? “
-Ecclesiastes 8:4

“For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.”
-Psalms 21:7

“Let every soul be subject unto the king. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For princes are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for the king beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.”
-Romans 13:1-6

June 5, 10:38 pm | [comment link]
5. Catholic Mom wrote:

Nobody has been more in bed with the state than the Catholic Church.  It’s been a problem since Constantine and the source of some of the greatest disastors in the history of Christianity.  That fact that we developed a theology to justify it only compounds the error.  [I don’t think you’ll find a theology of monarchy in the current Catechism however.]

I don’t doubt the Queen Elizabeth has worked hard and made some sacrifices.  So do almost all of us who get up every day at sunrise, work for several hours to make breakfast, get the kids off to school, clean house, and then go to work for another 8 hours and then come home and spend several more hours helping the kids with homework or taking them to events, making dinner, doing yet more housework, taking care of the animals, and maybe getting 20 minutes to relax before bed (or not) and then spending the largest piece of the weekend doing yardwork, more kid work, taking care of elderly parents, shopping, more cooking, more cleaning, doing volunteer work etc. etc.  And that’s the life of the privileged middle class with healthy kids.  That doesn’t come close to describing the life of millions of other people around the world who would be delighted to make such “sacrifices” in exchange for the health/wealth/well-being of the US middle class.

I have nothing against Queen Elizabeth (if you don’t count my objection to the very concept of a monarchy) but when I think of the people who inspire me with lives of “utter self sacrifice” (and I know many personally) she does not leap to mind.  Thank her for her years of service.  But the whole relationship between the church and the monarchy in England is already compromised and problematic without adding sychophancy into the mix.

June 6, 10:42 am | [comment link]
6. Catholic Mom wrote:

BTW, although working hard when you could be sitting on your duff enjoying yourself, is a form of “self-sacrifice”  (assuming you are not doing it wholly for yourself) it’s not what most people primarily think of by the term.  True sacrifice is giving up something that would have been of great value to you in order to give to others.  For example—you won a scholarship to college, but instead of going to college you took a job in order to help your parents and siblings.  You could have put your disabled sibling in an institution, but you choose to bring them into your house and care for them yourself, notwithstanding the significant impact on every aspect of your life - personal, financial, etc.  You could have had a successful medical practice, but you chose to work with poor children on an Indian reservation.  These are the people whose “utter self-sacrifice” puts us to shame.

So, to answer Sarah’s query, I don’t think the wealthy or privileged are not capable of self-sacrifice.  Far from it.  But “utter self-sacrifice” is more than just doing your job well for many years without complaining.

June 6, 1:28 pm | [comment link]
7. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Catholic Mom—do you not believe that anyone privileged is worthy of honor and praise?  Is it only those struggling in poverty who should receive such celebration?”

Hi Catholic Mom—my question did not mention “utter self-sacrifice” or even “self-sacrifice.”  I merely asked if you believed that those who were privileged were ever worthy of honor or praise.

It appears that you do.

I was just curious as to whether someone’s having been privileged makes them unworthy of receiving honor.

June 7, 3:21 pm | [comment link]
8. Charles52 wrote:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Luke 12:48b

I would not have wanted the Queen’s life. As someone noted, it is not her own. Moreover, the praise she is offered now has not always been offered. She was bitterly criticized in earlier years.

June 7, 5:57 pm | [comment link]
9. Catholic Mom wrote:

Well, she could always announce the job is up for anybody who wants to run for it and then call an election. smile  Not sure if her son would be elected though. smile

June 7, 8:07 pm | [comment link]
10. Ad Orientem wrote:

Catholic Mom
You do know that the Papacy is the last divine right absolute monarchy in Christendom?

June 7, 8:14 pm | [comment link]
11. Catholic Mom wrote:

Are you speaking of the Pope as head of “Vatican City” or of the Catholic Church?  If the former, I would say that’s kind of like calling Bill Gates the autocrat of Microsoft corporate headquarters.  In addition, I believe the position is elected, not hereditary.

June 7, 8:49 pm | [comment link]
12. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re #11
CM
Are you suggesting that the Vatican is just a large corporation? Historically the Popes have long claimed that both their secular and ecclesial authority derived from God. Further the term ‘monarchy’ does not imply hereditary succession. There have been a number of elective monarchies, including the Kingdom of Poland as well as the Papacy. In all such cases Rome has long and vigorously defended the doctrine of divine right.

Your position does not seem to be consistent with the historic teachings of your own church.

June 7, 9:31 pm | [comment link]
13. Catholic Mom wrote:

I’m suggesting that Vatican City is about 110 acres of land with about 800 residents and the Pope’s authority over it is the result of historical conditions and has no relationship to the authority he exercises as the successor of Peter, in the sense that he would still be Pope were he operating out of a hotel on Long Island.  Just as Bill Gates would still be CEO of Microsoft under the same conditions. 

If you define “monarchy” as essentially one-man-rule regardless of what it is that is being ruled,  and it is elective, not hereditary, and it is not necessarily for life, and there is no doubt the person could and would be removed if their behavior became erratic,  then I guess we can call the Pope a “monarch”  (given that all common meaning has been emptied from the word).  In that case, I have no objection to a “monarch” being the head of the Catholic Church and/or of Poland.  I’m totally opposed to it for any other political entity, however, with the possible exception of Louisiana.

As far as the “doctrine of divine right” I cannot find it anywhere in my 800 page Catechism.  I don’t doubt the Catholic Church has, in the past,  defended a number of horrific doctrines to justify its entanglement with the power of the State.  It seems to have been dropped some time ago, though.  See…we Catholics believe in the development of doctrine,  so we get smarter over time. smile

June 8, 2:16 pm | [comment link]
14. Ad Orientem wrote:

CM
Monarchies are not so broad as to be defined simply as one man rule but it is also certain that once can have an elected monarchy, though rare, and monarchs can step down voluntarily. There have been many such instances including in just this year, the voluntary abdication of Pope Benedict XVI (the monarchical term “abdicate” is the term used in RCC canon law btw) and the Queen of the Netherlands.

Evolution of Doctrine from an RC perspective is not legitimate if it refutes previously accepted doctrine. There is a different term for that. Heresy. And the offiice of the Papacy is indeed a divine right absolute monarchy in every sense of the term according to the RCC. I would suggest reading the dogmatic definitions of the First Vatican Council. and the Papal Bull Unam Sanctam.

The size of its territory is of course neither here nor there. The Vatican City is a a near universally recognized sovereign state.

From Wikipedia’s entry on the Vatican City under type of government…

Government   Ecclesiastical[3] sacerdotal[4]
absolute elective monarchy theocracy[5][6]
-    Sovereign   Francis

June 8, 2:48 pm | [comment link]
15. Catholic Mom wrote:

Wikipedia locuta est, causa finita est ???
Nothwithstanding, please quote current Catholic teaching that supports the divine right of kings.

June 8, 3:43 pm | [comment link]
16. Catholic Mom wrote:

BTW, I have no idea under what imprimatur (if any) the Catholic Encyclopeida operates, but it says that the “divine right of kings” is a Protestant invention. smile


“The question of the origin of authority seems first to have been raised by the Roman lawyers. In their hands it assumed the concrete form of the origin of the imperial power. This power they argued to reside primarily in the Roman people; the people, however, did not exercise nor retain it, but transferred it by some implicit lex regia, or king-making ordinance, as a matter of course wholly, and irrevocably to each successive emperor at his accession. With the advent of Christianity, St. Paul’s doctrine came into prominence, that authority is of God; yet in no clear way was it made out how it came of God until St. Thomas Aquinas showed that it was of God inasmuch as it was an essential of the human nature which God has created, according to the doctrine of Aristotle above exposed. Before St. Thomas arose, some churchmen had shown a disposition to cry down the civil power. They could not deny that it was of God, but they regarded it as one of the consequences of the sin of Adam, and argued that, but for the Fall, man would have lived free from coercive jurisdiction. They rehearsed the legend of Romulus, and the asylum that he opened for robbers. States, they said, usually have their origin in rapine and injustice. Others invested the pope with the plenitude of secular as well as spiritual authority, by the gift of Christ, and argued that kings reigned only as his vicegerents, even in civil matters. The Aristoteleanism of St. Thomas was opposed to all this. On the other hand, the imperial and royal party made a pope of the king or emperor; the civil ruler was as much an institution of Christ as the pope himself, and, like the pope, enjoyed a God-given authority, no portion of which could validly be taken from him. This is the doctrine of “the divine right of kings”. According to it, in its rigour, in a State once monarchical, monarchy is forever the only lawful government, and all authority is vested in the monarch, to be communicated by him, to such as he may select for the time being to share his power. This “divine right of kings” (very different from the doctrine that all authority, whether of king or of republic, is from God), has never been sanctioned by the Catholic Church. At the Reformation it assumed a form exceedingly hostile to Catholicism, monarchs like Henry VIII, and James I, of England, claiming the fullness of spiritual as well as of civil authority, and this in such inalienable possession that no jot or tittle of prerogative could ever pass away from the Crown. Against these monstrous pretensions were fought the battles of Marston Moor and Naseby.”

June 8, 3:57 pm | [comment link]
17. Ad Orientem wrote:

Nothwithstanding, please quote current Catholic teaching that supports the divine right of kings.

That is impossible as there is no such thing as “current” Catholic teaching. There is only the doctrine of the church. Your comments have a strikingly Protestant ring to them.

June 8, 4:10 pm | [comment link]
18. Catholic Mom wrote:

OK, quote anything besides Wikipedia and yourself then.

June 8, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
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