Letter to the Queen regarding the late Cardinal Hume
THE Religion and Morals Committee of the Church sent the following letter to the Queen in July, in connection with her bestowing the Order of Merit upon the late Cardinal Hume.
To the Queens Most Excellent Majesty
May it please Your Majesty
The Religion and Morals Committee of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland desire humbly to bring to your Majestys notice a matter which causes us grave concern.
In common, we believe, with many others of Your Majestys loyal subjects, we have a deeply rooted conviction that Your Majesty and the nation are committed to a Constitution which is distinctively Protestant and which recognises the Reformed Faith [in its English Episcopalian (the Thirty Nine Articles) and its Scottish Presbyterian(Westminster Confession of Faith) forms of expression], and that this commitment had its origin in the deliverance, by Almighty God, of this nation from the dangers of Romanism and from foreign dominion in the Glorious Revolution.
We are, therefore, deeply concerned that Your Majesty conferred on the late Cardinal Hume the prestigious honour of the Order of Merit. The late Cardinal and other highly profiled representatives of the papacy in this country have openly declared their resolve to recover the nation for Roman Catholicism. We recognise that the Order of Merit is given by Your Majesty personally but it is given in virtue of the fact that Your Majesty is Monarch of this nation and, therefore, we humbly submit that Your Majestys action could be legitimately interpreted as casting a shadow on Your Majestys relation to Your Majestys coronation commitments and to the Protestant Constitution of the nation.
We, Your Majestys most loyal subjects, take upon ourselves to remind Your Majesty of the Antichristian nature of Romanism and of the claims of the Papacy as an ecclesiastical and temporal power. We humbly assure Your Majesty that our intention to write on this matter was formed before the death of Cardinal Hume. It has been persisted in because our objection to the bestowal of this high honour on the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the United Kingdom is a matter of principle relating to the office and not to the personality.
We take occasion to express to Your Majesty our feelings of affection and loyalty, and we pray that God, for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ, the great King and Head of the Church and the Prince of the Kings of the earth, would richly bless Your Majestys reign for the advancement of His own Kingdom, and the spiritual and temporal well-being of this nation.
On behalf of the Religion and Morals Committee of the Free Presbyteran Church of Scotland,
Dr. D. R. MacSween, Clerk to the Committee
The Protestant Succession to the Throne
ACCORDING to the widely-publicised remarks of composer James MacMillan, and an essay by emeritus professor Patrick Reilly, prejudice against Roman Catholics pervades Scotland. But never has Roman Catholicism in Scotland or England had a higher profile or a better press than today. This is seen, for example, in the way that some newspapers support Rome in its desire to abolish the Protestant nature of the British Throne.
The Coronation Oath makes clear that the Throne is Protestant: “I do solemnly, and in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare, that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments which secure the Protestant succession to the Throne of my Realm, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my power according to law.”
The enactments referred to are, of course, the Bill of Rights of 1689 and the Act of Settlement of 1701. The British Monarchy official website states, “The succession to the throne is regulated not only through descent, but also by statute; the Act of Settlement confirmed that it was for Parliament to determine the title to the throne. The Act laid down that only Protestant descendants of Princess Sophia . . . are eligible to succeed. Subsequent Acts have confirmed this. Parliament, under the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, also laid down various conditions which the Sovereign must meet. A Roman Catholic is specifically excluded from succession to the throne; nor may the Sovereign marry a Roman Catholic. The Sovereign must, in addition, be in communion with the Church of England and must swear to preserve the established Church of England and the established Church of Scotland. The Sovereign must also promise to uphold the Protestant succession.”
Solemn and dignified as these statutes are, The Daily Mail of 10th August had the temerity to state that “there is a blot in the statute book which it is surprising to see tolerated in Tony Blairs inclusive Britain: the crudely anti-Catholic wording and provisions of the Act of Settlement. It discriminates purely against Roman Catholics; it is, literally, institutionalised sectarianism. The Act is long overdue for amendment”. Such comments echo William Hagues description of the Act of Settlement as “offensive”, and Sir Michael Forsyths despicable comment in January, that the Act is the British constitutions “grubby little secret”.
These calls for abolishing the Act are a call to all true Protestants to be prayerfully vigilant. Rome has at least indirect but significant influence in the political life of our nation. Not only would that influence increase if our constitution ceased to be Protestant, but also our dearly-bought Reformed, Protestant faith would be subverted. Three years ago The Times said that any attempt to repeal the Act of Settlement “would engender howls of protest from the deeply Protestant corners of the United Kingdom”. May it be so! But especially may Almighty God mercifully preserve the Protestant nature of the British Throne.