The Bible Magazine About Bible in the News Contact Us
The Protestant Throne of England:
Why the pope did not attend the Royal Wedding!
iTunes Download Badge    Google Podcasts Download Badge    PodBean Podcast Badge
April 29, 2011 - Audio, 8.00 MIN
(Links at bottom of page to download free viewers.)
Hello, this is Paul Billington with you again this week, looking at some background facts which reflect upon a Royal Wedding such as the one seen by millions this past weekend. Behind all the pomp and glory that the people see there are constitutional arrangements in place which go back centuries, and although people today pay little attention to them - and are even embarrassed by some of the details - they are virtually impossible to ignore. Attempts to alter these arrangements, as well as the failure to do so, have been in the news this week. The constitutional changes have been blocked by the Church of England, and by the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. At the root of these arrangements there is the question of papal authority versus the authority of Scripture. Article 37 of the Church of England (1563 and 1571) stated "The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England," and the British monarch is duty bound by the Coronation oath to uphold the protestant religion - so there is a constitutional obstruction to a Roman Catholic occupying the British throne.
The writer Michael Pragai comments as follows in his book "Faith and Fulfillment,"

"The growing importance of the English Bible was a concomitant of the spreading Reformation, and it is true to say that the Reformation would never have taken hold had the Bible not replaced the Pope as the ultimate spiritual authority."

The influence of the Bible in Britain - especially after the publication of the King James version in 1611 - saw a tremendous growth in anti-Catholic sentiment.

The preface and "translators remarks to the Reader" in the King James Authorized Version of 1611 gives a glimpse of this. The reference to "that man of sin" and "popish persons" still appears in many editions of that version. One paragraph in the translators' remarks is devoted to explaining how the Church of Rome had opposed the translation of the Scriptures into English.

In this atmosphere the country moved further away from Catholicism. Events brought the monarchy into collision with parliament when the former was perceived to be collaborating with, or in sympathy with papists. Civil war, the execution of Charles I, the growth of Puritanism and Scottish Presbyterianism brought Oliver Cromwell to power as "Lord Protector." An attempt to restore the monarchy revived the former problems.   Later, James II married a Catholic and began appointing Roman Catholics to positions of power. In consequence he was deserted by the ruling Whig party and in 1688 William of Orange (son-in-law to James II) was invited to occupy the throne as a Protestant monarch. The Bill of Rights and Act of Settlement (1689) ensured that, from then on, the British Crown would be reserved for Protestants only. The act reads as follows:

"Whereas it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant Kingdom to be governed by a popish Prince or by any King or Queen marrying a papist... Every person who is or shall be reconciled to, or shall have communion with, the See or Church of Rome, or shall marry a papist, shall be excluded and be for ever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the Crown or Government of this Realm and Ireland, and in every such case the people of these Realms shall be and are hereby released of their allegiance."

An article in The Daily Telegraph (London) this week had the headline: "Church Blocks Reforms over Royal Marriages." It read:

"Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, began work towards repealing the 1701 Act of Settlement, under which heirs to the throne must renounce their claim on marrying a Roman Catholic, in order to introduce full equality between the faiths...
"This would result in the constitutionally problematic situation whereby the Supreme Governor of the Church of England was a Roman Catholic, and so ultimately answerable to a separate sovereign leader, the Pope, and the Vatican...
"Mr Clegg was initially attracted to the idea of repealing the Act but is said to have been persuaded that the difficulties raised by the Anglican Church were insurmountable.
"A spokesman for the Anglican Church said that although the Act of Succession appeared "anomalous" in the modern world, while the Church of England remained the established religion, the monarch and Supreme Governor could not owe a higher loyalty elsewhere."

Another headline in the Church of England Newspaper (April 29, 2011) read: "Canada Blocks Cameron's Call to Reform the Act of Settlement." The following extract from that article pointed out:

"Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has effectively blocked any reform of the Act of Settlement, which would permit a Roman Catholic to become the head of the Church of England.
"In a campaign stop in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Mr. Harper said Canadians were not prepared to debate on the Act of Settlement.
"In response to constituent's question about the royal marriage and the succession, Mr. Harper said on April 20 "the successor to the throne is a man. The next successor to the throne is a man.'
"'I don't think Canadians want to open a debate on the monarchy or constitutional matters at this time," he noted, adding, "that's our position, and I just don't see that as a priority for Canadians right now, at all.'
"Without Canada's support, the Act of Settlement cannot be amended without restricting the monarchy."

So, like it or nor, the British (and Canadian) throne remains Protestant - which means that Australia, New Zealand, and other Commonwealth countries are stuck with it as well.

This background to the Royal succession which surfaces at this time because of the Royal Wedding is an interesting development which underlines Britain's separation from Rome. One can only think that in spite of Britain's unfaithfulness and apostasy, a future purpose may yet await the old country and its related nations across the seas. Britain has withstood Catholic Europe for over 450 years, including two major World Wars - what lies ahead?

This is something we must look into at a later time, if the Lord wills. There are several prophecies in the Bible that we must consider, whether on this programme, or in the Bible Magazine.

Join us again next week on

Bible in the News provides a weekly analysis of world politics and events
in the light of Bible prophecy — the Bible in the News!