Act of Union 1707 – ‘an act for securing of the Protestant religion’
Out of sensitivity to the Scottish Nationalists, and also to Cardinal Keith O’Brien, neither the United Kingdom Parliament nor the Scottish Executive intend to do much by way of commemoration of this anniversary. Gordon Brown has announced that a new £2 coin will be issued next year to mark the event, but that (for some reason) is a year late.
Of course one is under no obligation to agree with the Act of Union 1707, but every British citizen ought to know why it should be commemorated. It is of intrinsic historical importance to the contemporary lives of the British people because it reiterated so many of the stipulations of the Act of Settlement 1701, which helped to secure religious liberty, and laid the foundations for three centuries of (for the most part) peace and safety in the realm.
The religious settlement was crucial to the Act, and remains so to this day:
…and it being reasonable and necessary that the true Protestant religion, as presently professed within this kingdom, with the worship, discipline, and government of this church, should be effectually and unalterably secured: therefore Her Majesty, with advice and consent of the said Estates of Parliament, does hereby establish and confirm the said true Protestant religion, and the worship, discipline, and government of this church, to continue without any alteration to the people of this land in all succeeding generations.
…And further, Her Majesty, with advice aforesaid, expressly declares and statutes, That none of the subjects of this kingdom shall be liable to, but all and every one of them forever free of any oath, test or subscription within this kingdom, contrary to, or inconsistent with the aforesaid true Protestant religion and Presbyterian church government, worship, and discipline, as above established; and that the same within the bounds of this church and kingdom, shall never be imposed upon, or required of them, in any sort.
...and whereas it is reasonable and necessary that the true Protestant religion professed and established by law in the Church of England and the doctrine, worship, discipline and government thereof should be effectually and unalterably secured, be it enacted . . . that an act made in the thirteenth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth of famous memory intituled, An act for the ministers of the Church to be of sound religion, and also another act made in the thirteenth year of the reign of the late King Charles II intituled, An act for the uniformity of the public prayers and administration of sacraments and other rites and ceremonies, and for establishing the form of making, ordaining and consecrating bishops, priests and deacons in the Church of England (other that such clauses in the said acts or either of them as have been repealed or altered by any subsequent act or acts of Parliament), and all and singular other acts of Parliament now in force for the establishment and preservation of the Church of England and the doctrine, worship, discipline and government thereof shall remain and be in full force for ever.
So why is the Archbishop of Canterbury permitting the Sacrifice of the Mass to be held in Canterbury Cathedral, and said in Latin? Has he not read the demand for the ‘preservation of the Church of England and the doctrine, worship, discipline and government thereof’?
And did it not state ‘for ever’?