Queen Invites Cardinal to Sandringham
“The Queen,” says The Times of London, “has made an unprecedented gesture of goodwill towards the Roman Catholic Church of England and Wales by inviting its leader to stay at Sandringham and to preach to the Royal Family. The invitation to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor marks a formal end to 500 years of antagonism and suspicion between the monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England and the [Roman] Catholic Church.”
The invitation, acknowledged by a Palace spokesman to be full of historical significance, is lauded by both Rome and the ecumenical movement. “This is in the spirit of co-operation, unity and friendship that Her Majesty has always practised;” said a Palace spokesman, “it is a sign of the ecumenical age we are in.” The Cardinal’s spokesman commented, “The Cardinal is greatly honoured by the Queen’s invitation. This is a further sign of the Queen’s own determination to promote ecumenical relations within the nation.”
However, every true Protestant can only deplore it as another step towards Rome by the Royal House and the nation itself. Such steps are usually the precursors to further steps in the same direction, as is shown by what the Queen has done within the last 20 years or so.
It will be remembered that she visited the Pope, not for the first time, in the autumn of 1980. She then welcomed him at Buckingham Palace in 1982 (“the first successor of St Peter to set foot on these shores”, said Cardinal Hume with much satisfaction). In 1995 she appointed a priest as one of her chaplains, the first Roman Catholic chaplain since the Reformation. The next major step was, at Westminster Cathedral in November 1995, to attend a Roman Catholic service, the first monarch since the Reformation to do so (a step that was regarded in Romanist circles as “the single most important act for the Catholic Church in England since the Catholic Emancipation Acts of the last century”). In 1999 she personally bestowed upon Cardinal Hume the great honour of the Order of Merit. Then in October 2000 she paid a state visit, again dressed in black, to the Vatican, despite representations from many of her loyal Protestant subjects.
One specially serious aspect of this further acknowledgment of the Papacy is that the Queen is yet again unfaithful to her vow to uphold Protestantism, something we view as most regrettable. At her coronation she solemnly swore to maintain to the utmost of her power “the Protestant Reformed religion established by law”. It is clear that the increasing royal recognition of Romanism augurs ill for the constitutional status of the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement. Never has our need been greater of beseeching the Most High God to preserve the Protestant constitution of our nation.