Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Correspondence between Her Majesty the Queen and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans

Correspondence between Her Majesty the Queen and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans has now been published.

I am going to defer comment on this for now as I am not expert on royal protocol. But I covet informed opinion on whether the Queen’s responses are simply pro forma or something more.

Hat tip to Stand Firm.


I find Bill in Ottawa’s comment helpful as well as this more detailed comment:

The letter to Her Majesty was a simple three-paragraph affair. I imagine that the letter was intended, primarily, to remind the Queen (in very polite and indirect terms) that all is NOT well in her church and in the Anglican Communion, as a whole.

One assumes that her Prime Minister and/or the Archbishop of Canterbury have already explained some of this to her. But nobody is privy to such conversations as may have taken place regarding these issues, and so we cannot know for sure exactly how well-informed the Queen is on these matters.

This letter from the FCA will act as a fairly gentle reminder that things are NOT getting any better.

The secondary purpose of the letter seems to be to apprise Her Majesty (in very polite and proper terms) that a number of prominent clergy in the Church of England are now prepared to take matters into their own hands, since it is perfectly obvious that the hierarchy of the Church of England are unwilling to address these issues in any meaningful way.

The reference to “loyalty” was NOT (in terms of protocol) necessary—but it is a very nice touch, and it effectively frames the FCA as being an instrument of “loyalty”—and not as some sort of schismatic or dissenting organization. By implication, of course, the letter strongly suggests that the revisionist elements in the C of E are, in fact, “disloyal”—both to Her Majesty (as Supreme Governor of the Church), and to historic and orthodox Anglicanism.

The response that the FCA received from Buckingham Palace may seem a bit awkward and stilted to American ears, But, in fact, it is a fairly straightforward assurance that Her Majesty is well aware of the various issues at play, and that she is not unsympathetic to the FCA.

This was MORE than she needed to indicate.

Personally, I would have anticipated a MUCH MORE lukewarm response. The last sentence of the letter explicitly conveys Her Majesty’s “good wishes.” Which she most assuredly did not need to do, under the circumstances.

In fact, that last sentence will undoubtedly infuriate some of the more radical revisionists currently working hard to transform the C of E into something similar to TEC.

Several key things can be confidently asserted, on the basis of Her Majesty’s reply to the initial letter from the FCA.

1.) She has, in fact, personally read the letter from the FCA. 
2.) She is reasonably well-acquainted with the full range of issues that are currently tearing apart both the C of E and the Anglican Communion, as a whole.
3.) She is, to some degree (we cannot know for sure precisely to what degree) in authentic sympathy with the position of the FCA.
4.) She does, in fact, consider the FCA to be “loyal” (orthodox), and that she is, personally, possessed of sufficient Christian faith to welcome the prayers of support from these orthodox Anglicans.


Anonymous said...

The letters are devoid of any meaningful content. Any inference that Her Majesty supports schismatic Anglicans is totally disingenuous.

Mark said...

Yes, let's bash FoCA every chance we get. Yes, staying in the CofE and aligning with the majority of the Anglican Communion (GAFCON) is oh so schismatic. How awful.


Anonymous said...

Well you did ask!

Bill in Ottawa said...

The letter is neutral in expressing good wishes for a successful conference. The fact that it was sent may indicate that Her Majesty is aware of the goings-on in her Church. By even acknowledging the event she lends FoCA a small amount of credibility.

Labelling FoCA as schismatic is somewhat premature. At this point, it is still a legitimate reform-minded wing of the Church of England. When the schism actually occurs we can argue until the cows come home as to who is responsible for the schism.

Mark said...

Thanks, Bill. That makes sense.

And David+, nice comeback. :)