Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The New Prince and the Church of England

The new prince, son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was born into the House of Windsor on Monday July 22nd, he is third in line to the throne of Great Britain and Canada. When he assumes his role as Sovereign he will hold the title of  'Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England'.

As explained in the official website of the British Monarchy, there is a strong connection between Church and State in Britain. This is symbolised by the fact that the 'Lords Spiritual' (consisting of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and 24 diocesan bishops) sit in the House of Lords. Parish priests also take an oath of allegiance to The Sovereign.

When the new prince becomes king, his responsibilities will include being the head of the Anglican church. In Britain archbishops and bishops are appointed by The Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, who considers the names selected by a Church Commission. They all take an oath of allegiance to The Sovereign on appointment and may not resign without Royal authority.

The General Synod (including the bishops, elected representatives from the clergy and the laity) is the supreme authority of the Church of England. The Sovereign opens the Synod after the elections in the dioceses every five years.

Since 1919, the Synod (formerly called the Church Assembly) has had the power to pass Measures on any matter concerning the Church of England.

Following acceptance of the Measures by both Houses of Parliament (which cannot amend them), they are submitted for Royal Assent and become law.

In addition to legislating for the Church by Measure, the General Synod has the power to legislate by Canon in its own domestic affairs such as worship and doctrine, but The Sovereign's assent is required for the promulgation of such Canons. Such assent is given on the Home Secretary's advice.

In his coronation oath, the Sovereign will promise to maintain the Church.

Image Credit: AFP

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