Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Act of Union 1707 – ‘an act for securing of the Protestant religion’

Today is the tercentenary of the signing of the Act of Union 1707, which united the parliaments of England and Scotland, cementing the union of crowns from a century before. The Act had effect from May 1st of that year. It is easy to forget, in an age where religion has to be of the ecumenical, multi-faith, whatever-you-believe-is-true genre, that this Act was a radical and revolutionary document in its day, the effects of which were to place the religion of the United Kingdom at the centre of world affairs.

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’?

32 Comments:

Anonymous Voyager said...

The decline of Sweden, Holland, Britain, USA can be correlated with the decline of the Protestant Ascendancy.........it is hard to believe that the United States was once constituted by 13 Protestant Colonies most of which had an Established Church.

16 January 2007 at 07:56  
Anonymous newmania said...

Voyager thats silly. These countries have not declined except in relative terms.I think its possible that the Protestant religion assisted in the development of Capitalism but only because the alternative was Catholicism. Not , nothing in particular, which is the case now .

Why is the saying of Mass , so abhorrent and "In Latin".I `m curious. On the act of Union its time is past. It is onoy held togetrh by the most transparent of Labour vested interest. The Conservative Party did all they couod to help when devolution arose.
Its to late now

16 January 2007 at 09:59  
Anonymous Bob said...

It secured a very limited form of religious liberty in that Anglicans enjoyed religious liberty, Catholics and Dissenters did not. It seems to be quite a religiously illiberal act if you weren't an Anglican.

Given that the original liturgies celebrated in Canterbury were Latin Masses then perhaps one could argue the Archbishop is permitting it for old times' sake.

16 January 2007 at 10:04  
Anonymous Voyager said...

These countries have not declined except in relative terms.

They have declined in absolute terms. Every one of them is corroding internally with institutions that are corrupted and impotent including the churches.

The paramount concern is love of money and the future is continually mortgaged to the present.

16 January 2007 at 10:24  
Anonymous Voyager said...

perhaps one could argue the Archbishop is permitting it for old times' sake.

I can see you will be championing those Catholic converts to Islam who seek to share the former Mosque now Cathedral in Cordoba

16 January 2007 at 10:28  
Anonymous Bob said...

I don't know if Islamic worship in the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin would conform to the requirements of canon 1210 of the Code of Canon Law.

16 January 2007 at 10:43  
Blogger DV said...

"Forever" doesn't mean forever anymore. The failure of the Labour Elite to mark the Act of Union speaks volumes about their priorities.

16 January 2007 at 11:16  
Anonymous david aberdeen said...

To newmania and any other similar minded individuals, I have to say that I do not believe devolution means the beginning of the end to the political union, as that is just not my experience. Scots are not about to vote for indepedence despite the SNP's ridiculous claims -even if the SNP wins the next elections in Scotland, they are just the next realistic alternative to the present Lab-Lib regional government.

The worry however is the decline highlighted by our host.

16 January 2007 at 11:50  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

I AGREE!!

It is the decline of the nation's spiritual life, the replacing of the Protestant faith with anything you want, the acceptance of foreign gods, that has led to the decline. Devolution here hasn't ended political links with the rest of the UK - it needn't at all - but it's still an immense danger.

16 January 2007 at 12:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

corroding internally with institutions that are corrupted

Well yes but in the long term such phenomena as children starving and disease laying waste to urban areas have been ameliorated. This has coincided with the collapse of organised religion as well. I see no connection.

The corruption of our institutions is to do with selling out values with no necessary connection to religion. Truth, honesty, duty, loyalty.I have no faith , will you all claim you have these qualities in greater abundance than me . You may but thats not the point

David Aberdeen - We are way past the beggining of the end of the current absurdity. Amongst the English a dam of resentment for being the whipping boy for Scottish nationalism and viciousness has burst. It is inconceivable that a meaningful union can go on. The English must have the same rights as the Scots.

Then you have a federation.There are difficulties but also immense gains for the English in this not least the re-discovery of our own cultural identity...losing the BBC will be a nice stocking present to.

The only way it can be retained is by the most dishonest of obfuscations . I am on my guard for New Labour trying to lose it in an irrelevant discussionof regions. I know they had plans to do exactly this and only the hatred of these regional bodies themselves is stopping them .

WE ARE A COUNTRY. We must be treated as one . Future cooperation with Scotland will be when and where it is decided by the English and subsequently agreed by the Scots . Then after a period of recrimination we can get back to friendly name calling .

Pictish sheep stealer !

16 January 2007 at 12:20  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Well yes but in the long term such phenomena as children starving and disease laying waste to urban areas have been ameliorated. This has coincided with the collapse of organised religion as well. I see no connection.

What a bemusing digression.

The institutions of this country depended upon a Protestant Set of Values, a belief in a manifest destiny and in building for the future and preserving the national identity.

The country now views itself as being nother more than a trader of assets with everything for sale and no absolute standard of values. It sees everything in monetary terms and nothing in terms of culture and heritage

16 January 2007 at 12:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The institutions of this country depended upon a Protestant Set of Values.-

Really? When I think on the development of law and parliament it is not clear to me that there is a specifically Christian Heart to it let alone Protestant one.
Still; since we appear to value much the same things I wouldn’t worry to much about why that might be.

"A belief in a a manifest destiny.”. is that "The Chosen People " you are thinking of .The problem with that book is that it takes words said at different times in a different contexts and at level of poetic meaning , all as literal truths . Mediaeval Monks did a similar thing with texts of different Millennia and it is always a danger for the Casaubonish caste of mind. I would love to know what our “Manifest destiny “ is supposed to be .I rather hope it involves a cigarette which is the manifest destiny newmania sees for the next five minutes.

Aside from all this I wonder why his Grace has not expressed a clear view on the future of the Union. He cannot fail to see the absurdity and inequity of the current arrangement . Surely a Federation would be best for all. I anticipate a rapidly changing Scotland when the Teat of the Barnett formula is snatched from their voracious infantilised mouths

16 January 2007 at 13:39  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Newmania,

His Grace has already done precisely as you request. The clues are abundant. It simply takes observation, intelligence and discernment to discover his view.

16 January 2007 at 13:56  
Anonymous newmania said...

Your Grace has understood my difficulty perfectly

16 January 2007 at 15:27  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I think Newmania would do well to read the Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, failing that he might like to read those of William Gladstone or any of the leading figures of the period 1538-1900.

He could even go and read Speeches of Queen Elizabeth I, and even those of His Grace. If Newmania cannot find a Protestant basis for institutions such as Parliament it would appear the gaps in his learning are immense

16 January 2007 at 15:39  
Anonymous william norton said...

If Newmania cannot find a Protestant basis for institutions such as Parliament it would appear the gaps in his learning are immense

So they invented Parliament sometime in the 1570s, did they?

16 January 2007 at 15:52  
Anonymous newmania said...

the gaps in his learning are immense
True true.... but the rhetorical use of religious imagery would hardly be adequate for establishing whether a given religious point of view can actually take credit for the institutions of a country.

I wonder for example if it would be remotely plausible to suggest such a thing at the onset of Universal( male ) suffrage in 1918.
Until this time democracy was an expression of interest.Religious feeling was also invoked "against" such progress.

Churches do not cause saloons and yet their spread across the West of America shows a remarkable correlation.Causation is a slippery idea and to take athread of a culture and claim to lead the others is ...bold.

16 January 2007 at 16:11  
Anonymous Voyager said...

So they invented Parliament sometime in the 1570s, did they?

Well as a direct result of The Reformation the Lord Chancellor ceased to be an ecclesiastical appointment and that was the single most powerful Member of Parliament

The Protestants removed the head of an errant king imbued with Catholic Absolutism and made Parliament superior to The Monarch.

The Restoration was on Parliament's terms and Queen Henrietta almost cost Charles II his head with her Catholic chaplain, and her husband tinkering with The Clarendon Code with Acts of Indulgence. His brother lost control of the British Army and was exiled rather than executed for attempting to install Catholics at Oxford University.

The Act of Settlement made the Monarchy's line of succession flow from Sophia Electress of Hanover which is why the Act off Union was required to bring the Scottish Monarchy into line after the 1703 act of Settlemt for Scotland.

The Bill of Rights 1689 is a Protestant Document.

16 January 2007 at 18:06  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Churches do not cause saloons and yet their spread across the West of America shows a remarkable correlation.

Farcical. Go read up on 'Blue Laws'

16 January 2007 at 18:09  
Anonymous Never Surrender said...

Ah Voyager

This will warm your heart

http://recusantcc.wordpress.com/
A recusant postcard
January 16th, 2007

GBTP

16 January 2007 at 20:55  
Anonymous newmania said...

Farcical. Go read up on 'Blue Laws'

I think you have mised my point Voyager in which the word "not" was pivotal. The fact that two phenomena are coextensive does not mean one cause the other. Its a well know demonstration of this .
The parliament s you mention bear only a fomulaic resmblance to democracy amd the Church was neutral at best in the development of that from about 1850 say.

16 January 2007 at 23:08  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The parliament s you mention bear only a fomulaic resmblance to democracy

what does that have to do with anything ? Parliament was not intended for "democracy" which is why institutionally it is so awful at pretending to represent the public.

Parliament is simply a debating chamber.

Prior to the late 19th Century the House of Lords was the superior chamber.

It was to represent those who had a stake in the nation in terms of property.

1918 representation of the People Act was the first to have no property qualification for voting; and the first to permit women to vote.

This was done after limiting the power of the House of Lords.

You are obsessed with voting for political parties which is nothing to do with the ethos of the institutions, nor the fact that the English Parliament is the longest-serving constitutional assembly in Europe

17 January 2007 at 07:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voyager you are making my point in a tone that suggests you feel you are disagreeing. You are also providing detailed evidence of things I have already said. Just for once I know the period well and it is not necessary

"Until this time democracy was an expression of interests "..as I said

Hence my suggestion that the documents and religious imagery , inevitably abundant in the distant times you quote, are irrelevant. Even if you dealt with the logical problems I raised which , to be fair , is a lot to ask.

I `m not quite sure what you are up to now but it appears you feel the democratic component of a “parliamentary democracy” is an unwelcome parvenu that has infected the deeply rooted purity of the “institutions “.I think you are hinting that we were better of when the hereditary principle was pre-eminent . Not sure really .

None of this seems to have much current application interesting though it may be. I think I may go on , in my wicked way , concerning myself with political parties , it is my manifest destiny. I would be happy myself to have a meaningful, engagement with legislation through such a mechanism. In fact this system has been degraded to the level of farce and I would like to turn the clock back myself .

I would also like to be able to look after my clients and resists the temptation to return to His Grace`s marvellous blog .

Alas.

17 January 2007 at 10:24  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The simple fact is that the British parliamentary system is unsuited to political parties - you cannot have democracy and the party system.

It is the fact that the institutions were set up when Protestantism was paramount and Parties did not exist.

Today Protestantism is floundering and Party Politics is paramount.

Thus the whole political structure is subverted to party political ends and democracy is not evident since the entire system is manipulated by Materialists who see only their own advantage.

17 January 2007 at 13:32  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Newmania: "Still; since we appear to value much the same things I wouldn’t worry too much about why that might be."

But why that might be is interesting. You say that the values are not essentially connected with religion but without centuries of Christian belief and practice behind us would those values be so generally held? I think we are living off our hump; as the memory of religion recedes, belief in those values will fade. You can see it happening in such issues as abortion & euthanasia, and the increasing impatience with means that inconveniently do not lead to the desired ends.

17 January 2007 at 14:58  
Anonymous bob said...

I think this is an interesting sidebar to Lord Cranmer's original post
http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=74976

CHURCH OF IRELAND PRIMATE CALLS FOR END TO ESTABLISHED BRITISH CHURCH

Jan. 18, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The new primate of the Church of Ireland has called for an end to the ban on Catholics in the British royalty.

Bishop Alan Harper, who was recently chosen to succeed Bishop Robin Eames as head of the Church of Ireland, told the Irish Times that the Act of Settlement, which was passed in 1701, “belongs to its time and we should move on.” The Act stipulates that neither a Catholic nor the spouse of a Catholic can ascend to the British throne.

By law the British monarch also governs the Church of England. But Bishop Harper (whose Church of Ireland is a member of the worldwide Anglican communion) suggested that this arrangement, too, could be changed. Putting an end to the established state religion, he told the Irish Times is a step that the Anglican communion would “not only get over, but would be the better for it.”

18 January 2007 at 22:31  
Anonymous Voyager said...

CHURCH OF IRELAND PRIMATE CALLS FOR END TO ESTABLISHED BRITISH CHURCH

The Headline is inaccurate - there is NO Established British Church

19 January 2007 at 06:35  
Anonymous Bob said...

The news agency the story came from is American, so may not have grasped the differences between British and English.

19 January 2007 at 09:03  
Anonymous Voyager said...

That is an error which invalidates the matter......

It is anyway as absurd as suggesting Parliament repeal The Government of Ireland Act 1920 upon which the Constitution of the Republic rests and bring it back under The Crown

19 January 2007 at 09:48  
Anonymous bob said...

That is an error which invalidates the matter......

I fail to see how since the headline belongs to the editor of the news agency, and not Bishop Harper who made the comments.

Any act of parliament can be repealed if the will is there to do it.

And two pieces of information -
i) the Irish Constitution was written in 1937, 12 years before Ireland became a republic;
ii) there is no such place as the Republic of Ireland.

19 January 2007 at 10:44  
Anonymous Voyager said...

there is no such place as the Republic of Ireland.

I stand corrected

The principle in purely Kelsen terms is that the legitimacy of the Irish Free State and of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan both rest upon the respective Acts of the Westminster Parliament in 1920 and 1947 respectively......

That the Church of England and its forerunner Ecclesia Anglicana could be disentangled from the English Realm without the polity imploding is highly doubtful.

It is so hardwired into the fabric of the system since 597 AD that it would probably destroy the political system. Oliver Cromwell attempted to remove the Established Church and prior to Henry VIII the Abbots and Priors dominated the House of Lords whereas afterwards Bishops and Archbishops were a minority within the Lords.

I frankly think playing with the Church of England would completely unravel The Realm since the whole Constitution would be called into question and it is not certain what might emerge would be recognisable as a democracy

19 January 2007 at 19:09  
Anonymous bob said...

I think an argument saying that a repeal of Acts of the Westminster Parliament in 1920 and 1947 would lead to Ireland losing it's status as a republic is at the very least legal issue which would be open to more than one point of view. To say that a people's sovereignity rested solely upon the political whim of another nation seems to me at least to be not a very strong argument. I would assume that Ireland, having declared itself a republic in 1949, would then be outside the remit of acts of foreign parliaments, unless otherwise agreed in a treaty.

I admit that it would be difficult to disestablish the Church of England, but not impossible. It is, at least, theoretically possible.

19 January 2007 at 21:22  

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