Of Queenliness and Godliness

I was delighted to learn this afternoon that diplomacy has compelled the Pope to congratulate the Queen of England on her diamond jubilee, and he has chosen to do so by calling her a “noble vision of the role of a Christian monarch“.

It tickles me pink that the political descendant of a regent who tossed papacy out of his realm (if temporarily), established himself as the head-honcho of the homegrown church, and went into warrior-stance against the Roman Catholic church by declaring himself the Defender of The [C. of E.] Faith is being praised by the Bishop of Rome as an exemplary Christian monarch. Say what you will about political correctness, after the Act of Settlement 1701, the vision of the R. C. church patting C of E on the back for jobs well done is as amusing as it is pathetic. It’s like watching the snubbed and excluded children hanging about the playground fence, cheering the winning kid on in a desperate attempt to be included. Had the Catholic church not been a glitteringly rich, power-drunk behemoth enshrining biological ignorance and hatred of god’s own creatures, it would almost have been tragic.

Although, now that I say that with smug satisfaction, as if I were James I and the Glorious Revolution all rolled into one, it occurs to me that this little joke might soon become an ironic memory, because Charles — who has apparently been supporting the reinstation of Catholics to the acenscion line since the last century — is going to become kingy soon. And googling reveals that not only is he open to Catholic successors, he would also, as a final nail to the Anglican-supremacy coffin, prefer to be called the ‘Defender of Faith’, instead of ‘the Faith’. The omission of the article, his PR team presumably believes, will indicate royal approval of Britain’s multiculturalism, for which its more colourful and non-churchy subjects are surely parched.

The idiocy of the privileged is a privilege to behold, of course. But these idiots are expensive.



  1. This is only semi-relevant, but rather interesting – do you know there’s currently speculation in England about the crown skipping a generation and going straight to William? Read about it in a London paper just the other day.

    • I remember some speculation about this ’round when he got married, but it was drowned by the discussion about hats, clothes, shoes, guest lists, and the bride’s sister’s posterior.

      • Ah yes, good old Pippa. The afore-mentioned paper devoted a good page to how surprised/disappointed everyone was by her demure outfit during the Jubilee Thames parade :/

  2. When you want your authority established kiss the ass of the religious leader with the largest constituency. His mass following becomes yours. Didn’t u see Nitin Gadkari faling at Ramdev’s feet recently? And Pawar followed suit.Godliness always anoints Kingliness with the stamp of approval.

  3. And, ironically, Roman Catholic church attendance in England is actually higher, on any given Sunday, than Anglican church attendance. About 3 million for the CofE and 4-5 million for the RCs. Altogether, that’s only about 13 percent of the entire population.

  4. Rimi, er, not to be pedantic, but Henry VIII was created a Defender of the Faith by the then-Pope; it’s one of the reasons he thought he’d have an easy time of getting a divorce.

    • And why not, might I ask? If you see a blatant error, I insist you correct it, even if you see it as being pedantic, which is apparently a Bad Thing. And thank you šŸ™‚

  5. ” it would almost have been tragic.”

    The word almost has never been more operative. Pope congratulating queen is like one has-been film superstar congratulating another on securing a 2 minute role in a jatra 35 years after his last film.

  6. James, Gautam, Pritha and Swati: I object, particularly, to Charlie’s angels’ spin on ‘faiths’. Since the person is question is at least publicly a practising Anglican, and will, along with the throne, also inherit the headship of the Church of England, I find the alteration of the ‘Defender’ addenda to index his inclusive cosmopolitanness a ridiculous and superfluous exercise. The defence of faiths — such as they are these days — is best left to the constitutional bodies of the judiciary and the executive. The eager snatching of the mantle of defender reeks of ignorant paternalistic condescension, and pathetic supherhero pretensions.

    Besides, it raises certain interesting and alarming questions. If ‘faith’ is generalised, will the Prince defend all faiths from all attacks? Will he be honour and oath-bound to defend Scientology? The Mormorn Church? The Taliban’s interpretation of Islam? The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and their ilk? If he swears to defend all faiths, what position might he take on faiths which claim sole supremacy and slaughter non-believers?

    Had the heir apparent been a member of a reality television troupe — and after the most recent royal wedding, who is to say he isn’t? — I might have suspected a clever, headline-snapping ploy behind this misguided tolerance show.

  7. Well, had these remarks come from John Paul II, or one of his predecessors, it might be considered an honor. Coming from Ratzo, the Nazi Pope, it’s almost insulting.

  8. @Rimi… Defender of the Faith (I think, technically) refers only to Protestantism. The English “constitution” still includes the Act of Protestant Succession. If a member of the Royal Family were to convert to Catholicism, they would become ineligible for the throne. Also, a member of the Royal Family cannot marry a Roman Catholic, although George IV gave it a good try when he was Prince of Wales. No one today (including the Queen, except in her capacity as head of the Church) would take this title seriously.

    • Precisely my point, James. It is, to narcissistically quote me, a ridiculous and superfluous exercise. Why, then, is it being undertaken? Merely for the headlines and the PR? Does it’s irrelevance make it ‘safe’ tobe tinkered with, because no one would really care? If so, then is this an indication that in our global democracy, social inclusiveness is meant to be flashy sounds and righteous fury, signifying absolutely nothing at all?

      These are, I think, important questions.


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