Sunday, October 10, 2010

George VII, By the Grace of God King and Defender of Nature

Prince Charles has disclosed not only that he wishes to be known as King George VII when he accedes to the Throne, but also that he wants to be Defender of Nature.


That is to be his mission.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Daily Telegraph botches its mocking objection when it says:

‘As heir to the throne Prince Charles will one day be given the title Defender of Faith’.

No he won’t.

He will be given the title ‘Defender of the Faith’.

That faith being the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law.

The title ‘Defender of the Faith’ (Fidei Defensor) was bestowed upon King Henry VIII by Pope Leo X in 1521, as a reward for his pamphlet Assertio septem sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum (‘Declaration of the Seven Sacraments Against Martin Luther’). When Henry VIII broke with the papacy, Pope Paul III deprived him of this designation, but the title was restored to King Edward VI (and his successors) by Parliament in 1544 in recognition of the Monarch’s role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

So, the Pope originally bestowed the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ upon England’s king.

Parliament bestows it upon the Queen of the United Kingdom.

By what authority is Charles made ‘Defender of Nature’?


Blogger Paddy said...

With apologies for correcting Your Grace's Latin, but surely the King would have the letters "DG REX DN" rather than "REG", what with him being masculine.

Pedantically yours, The Vole.

ps: Defender of nature is still twaddle, you are quite right

10 October 2010 at 10:14  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Paddy,

You are of course quite right.

No excuse.

10 October 2010 at 10:16  
Anonymous Epictetus said...

It is reason and not faith that needs defending today.

Paddy, do tell us what the latin tag for "Defender of reason" or "Defender of rationality" might be? (I went to a faith state school (founded circa 1446) that taught Latin but managed to repel its considerable attempts to educate me.)

Of course the danger of too much reliance upon the particular conception of reason of a few has been well analyzed by Burke, but I fear we are moving too far these days from reason.


10 October 2010 at 10:34  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your Grace

Two thoughts:

1) Charles has stumbled upon the fact that Environmentalism is the new religion and seeks to recognise same in order to appear progressive,
2) He is more than likely to end up as defender of al-fatih rather than Defender of the Faith.

10 October 2010 at 10:39  
Blogger Ruth Gledhill said...

What do you think Prince Charles' views on actual disestablishment would be? Perhaps you know what they are? I would love to know.... Your Grace surely has an inside track from the annals of history?

10 October 2010 at 10:41  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Indeed, Mrs Gledhill, indeed.

There is little in heaven and earth that has not been dreamt of in His Grace's philosophy.

10 October 2010 at 10:49  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

I'm a bit of a loss to find anything of substance to comment on in both Cranmer's post and the above comment. They both seem devoid of content and reasoned argument and yet still manage to convey an air of mocking superiority.

Cranmer says "by what authority is Charles made 'Defender of Nature'.

Err, does he need to be granted an authority to declare that he considers it important that he uses his position to ensure that we adopt sustainable policies in relation to how we use the planet's resources?

If the Queen, in one her Christmas talks, declares herself to be concerned for the plight of many in the word who are not her citizens, would you question whether she had the right to hold forth on such issues because none of her many titles quite covers the topic?

And Paddy says that for Charles to declare himself as 'Defender of Nature' is 'twaddle'. Ok, you've made the assertion, could you now advance an argument as to why you consider it to be twaddle, please, because to me, it seems eminently sensible that with all the pressures of commercialism driving the exploitation of the planet, that heads of state take a rather more long term view of such matters. We can't always rely on our politicians to do so either.

There's a broader theme running behind our disagreement here and it's that atheists such as myself despair at the lack of regard that Christians (it may apply to other faiths too but I can't say for sure) have for governing our planet in a sustainable fashion. This lack of regard seems to stem from a belief either that:
a. there is a god ultimately in charge so we don't need to worry, or,
b. the end time prophesies indicate that the future is all predetermined and hence why worry about whether we sustain the planet for another 1000 years or 2000 years.
Whichever of the above it is, it boils down to the thought that 'it's out of our hands, so why worry about it or inconvenience ourselves by, e.g. taking one less long haul flight'.

This is a perfect example of why I don't belief that there is any such thing as benign faith; any form of wrong thinking caused by a decision to believe that which, on the balance of probabilities, is unlikely is likely to be unhelpful to the progress of civilisation.

10 October 2010 at 10:53  
Anonymous len said...

"Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. "
--Saint Aurelius Augustine
God does things in a an opposite way to the way the 'World' does things.The 'World' says "show me and I will believe ".

God says" Believe and I will show you."
As for what 'faith or faiths ' Charles will be defending, well that`s another story!

10 October 2010 at 11:08  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...

"By what authority is Charles made ‘Defender of Nature’?"

As P. Burgess points out, this is probably just Charles highlighting his well-known concern for the environment. If people believe that there must be some kind of permission on the part of a higher authority for this, then according to your article it could presumably be found in a deal between the Pope and Parliament. But most people don't care in the least.

10 October 2010 at 11:15  
Anonymous P. Burgess said...

Hello Len,

Given the diversity of beliefs in the world, all of whom say "you start with belief and you'll end up knowing', surely you can see the fallacy in following such a train of thought.

No, the only sensible way for us to act in concert on this planet is to believe in what appears to be demonstrably true, at least until further investigation shows otherwise.

10 October 2010 at 11:19  
Anonymous len said...

God is a God of supreme logic.He does things in such a logical way that is quite breath taking.
Gods plans are prophesied well in advance( thousands of years in some cases) and laid out with meticulous precision.
The Universe is laid out in Mathematical precision.
God`s signature is everywhere in and throughout the Universe.
The denial of the reality of God which is prevalent in our Society (egged on by those who oppose God) is plunging our Civilization into an area of Spiritual darkness where satan reigns.
Christian faith is being attacked and ridiculed by all who oppose God in the name of'reason'and Christians need to oppose this tide of spiritual darkness seeking to overwhelm them.

10 October 2010 at 11:27  
Anonymous len said...

P Burgess
That`s exactly what I am doing!

10 October 2010 at 11:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought Charlie was a Muslim- so perhaps he will be Mohammend Henry VIIII?

10 October 2010 at 11:31  
Anonymous len said...

P burgess.
I have studied many religions and all have seemed dead and lifeless composed of meaningless ritual, they did not contain what I was seeking for- meaning and life. (Augustine was not praying to Buddha,Allah or any of the other gods for enlightenment but to the God of the Bible. I have assumed this to be a starting point? False gods or idols do not answer prayer! )

There is only one God ,the God of Abraham,Isaac, and Jacob .

When you have eliminated the false god`s the One who remains is the True One.

10 October 2010 at 11:43  
Blogger Paddy said...

Epictetus, "rationis defensor" might do the trick

P Burgess, nothing wrong with the monarch taking an interest in causes and using his position to make arguments (while acknowledging the supremacy of Parliament), the problem lies in him giving himself the job title Defender of Nature, which would be twaddle. He doesn't need the title to make the case (some could argue he doesn't need the title Defender of the Faith either, but that is rather more historically ingrained).

Actually, as the Telegraph makes clear (and which I hadn't read before correcting His Grace's Latin), Charles is talking about "defender of nature" purely as a purpose rather than a title

10 October 2010 at 11:57  
Anonymous Epictetus said...

Paddy, many thanks. I shall remember that. - "Epictetus."

10 October 2010 at 12:07  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 October 2010 at 12:14  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Dr Cranmer, any government worth their salt would not let him have this title officially- whilst one suspects that Charles would not take the defender of the faith role seriously, it is almost certain that he would one re the environment. Cue a constitutional crisis, when the Monarch starts openly involving himself in party politics - e.g. the building of nuclear power stations- yes important, but not one for a constitutional figurehead/Monarch to be involved in.

10 October 2010 at 12:21  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

I think that Ruth sums it up when she asks about Charles' views on 'actual' disestablishment. ie it already is disestablished in all but name.

These are sad times.

10 October 2010 at 13:48  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Rabbi Abraham Heschel says simply, “The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?”

10 October 2010 at 14:40  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

"By what authority is Charles made ‘Defender of Nature’?"

Gaia -presumably.

10 October 2010 at 15:09  
Anonymous Jeremy Hyatt said...

Ah! There you are again! A belated welcome back but...

1. In any other circumstance a man who has been known as Charles all his life announcing in his sixties that he was henceforth 'George' might just possibly be a job for the men in white coats.

2. Do you seriously believe that an oath to uphold 'the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law'(sic)adds anything to anything rather than being a load of old sectarian tripe.

I suppose you do.

Heigh ho.

10 October 2010 at 15:46  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Defender of crass stupidity and patronising hubris more like.

I'm of the opinion that the succession should skip a generation and save us all a lot of grief. May Brenda's reign continue for years to come.

10 October 2010 at 16:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The faith [is] the Protestant reformed religion as established by law."

Surely it is more accurate to say that the C of E is a reformed Catholic Church? We pray for "the good estate of the Catholic Church", and say the Nicene & Apostles' Creeds - "I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church" or "I believe in The holy Catholic Church."

Or do good reformed Protestants leave these words out?

10 October 2010 at 16:20  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...


"Augustine was not praying to Buddha,Allah or any of the other gods"

I'm sure you know about Augustine, but a point of fact here. The Buddha was not, is not, nor never claimed to be God or a god of any description.

10 October 2010 at 18:13  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Jeremy Hyatt @ 15.46, Well, maybe you have a point, at "1." But I don't think you should be too tough on the poor long-suffering lad: He always was "Charles, Philip, Arthur, and George." I remember that from The Wedding.

10 October 2010 at 18:24  
Anonymous judith said...

Mr Hyatt, it has been customary for several of our past monarchs to take names upon their inheritance that differ from those they were previously known by, ie

Edward Vlll was previously David
His mother Queen Mary was previously May
George Vl was Bertie

The Prince of Wales would be taking his Grandfather's name when King as a tribute to him.

10 October 2010 at 19:08  
Anonymous IanCad said...

Since the Norman (Papal?) conquest the average royal family, excluding the Interregnum, has lasted approx. 85 years. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Windsor has reigned for 110 years. History and circumstances indicate that we are due for a change.

10 October 2010 at 19:30  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your Grace

Off-topic but relevant in view of Charles's honorary doctorate in Islamic law, I note the following comments by Chancellor Merkel (quoted in Reuters Oct 6th):

'German Christian Democrats often cite shared Judeo-Christian values rooted in the early history of Christianity because of sensitivities about the Holocaust, when the Nazis murdered six million Jews during World War Two.

"Now we obviously also have Muslims in Germany. But it's important in regard to Islam that the values represented by Islam must correspond with our constitution," said Merkel.

"What applies here is the constitution, not sharia."

Merkel said Germany needed imams "educated in Germany and who have their social roots here" and concluded: "Our culture is based on Christian and Jewish values and has been for hundreds of years, not to say thousands." '

One hopes that George VII, of Hanoverian descent, would take the same view with regard to the United Kingdom and his other realms and territories.

10 October 2010 at 20:44  
Anonymous Jonathan Miller said...

Some years ago Charles declared that he wanted to be "Defender of all Faiths" (2006 or so from a quick google search).
Therefore the Telegraph are not entirely wrong in using that title - whether or not anyone has the authority to bestow this title upon him is, perhaps a moot point, since at the relevant time, he will be head of state, head of the Church of England, and can call himself whatever he wants.

10 October 2010 at 22:38  
Anonymous len said...

Sam Vega, The Buddha is said to be present everywhere. In the Nirvana Sutra, the Buddha declares of himself:

" the Tathagata [i.e. Buddha] pervades all places, just like space. The nature of space cannot be seen; similarly, the Tathagata cannot really be seen, and yet he causes all to see him through his sovereignty. Such sovereignty is termed 'the Great Self'. That Great Self is termed 'Great Nirvana'." (ibid, p. 30).

He is thus stated to be "omnipresent", invisible, yet able to manifest through his great "sovereignty". An uncreated, omnipresent, invisible, sovereign Self who is Lord - does that sound familiar? Does it not have more than slight echoes of some form of Godhead?.This is assuredly the Buddha claiming himself as God - the source, sustainer and essence of All. Is it not, therefore, time that we stopped calling Buddhism "atheistic"?

10 October 2010 at 23:21  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

"if you see buddha,kill him"so says the zen school,meaning that you must not elevate buddha to the rank of "god".As for the twerp winsor,if one defends all faiths,one has none oneself.It was mentioned above that the "monarch"was apolitical,which is surely the biggest falsehood ever to be foisted upon the ignorant masses,the "monarch IS the new world order,and far from being reluctant to sign away our country,she did so with relish to further her power through the pilgrims/bilderburger/cfr conglomerate and thier active "enforcers" the wwf.How can we even have future monarchs,when they themselves have abolished the office,and is as dead as our national soverignty?

11 October 2010 at 08:42  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

It simply demonstrates the absurdity of the monarchy, why should anyone take notice of this homeopathy deluded, plant talking luddite, oh I forgot, because he may at any moment become Head of State of this country. Well isn’t that great, meritocracy or what? I suggest the next Head of State is chosen by a TV audience (or is that too democratic)?

Let’s rid this great country of one of the last vestiges or unearned privilege along with the Gilbert and Sullivan nonsense that is the State opening of Parliament and the ridiculous costumes that members of the upper house ponce around in. In fact lets step boldly into the 20 century (yes I mean 20th).

11 October 2010 at 09:30  
Anonymous len said...

To put Charles (aka George?)in charge of the faith(I am assuming this would be the Christian Faith?) would I believe do the Christian faith a grave disservice.
The Christian faith needs a fully committed Bible believing Christian to defend and promote the faith.I do not believe the Church of Rome can, or has the authority to fulfil this function and Rowan Williams doesn`t seem to have the ability either.

Leave Charles contemplating Gaia and get a true believer to do the Job!

11 October 2010 at 10:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The death of our Queen will inevitably mean the end of the Commonwealth. Charles/George will be an umpopular monarch, should he ascend to the throne. Many people I speak to would rather that his son becomes king. That course may well stop the inevitable collapse of the Commonwealth and this country,but somehow I don't think so.
There have been unpopular monarchs before, but that was when the monarchy had some power. The end of the House of Windsor/Saxe-Coburg cannot be far away.

And "Defender of Faith"? What nonsense. I believe that the earth is flat and I demand that CharlieGeorge defends my faith from those who mock. After all, he's the defender of all faiths isn't he?

11 October 2010 at 17:06  
Blogger Oswin said...

Anonymous @ 16.20:

You have it aright!

Graham Davis @ 09.30:

When YOU have removed our State religion, the Monarchy, and Miss Widdecombe et al, just what do you intend as their replacement? Could it be REASON perhaps? Will that 'reason' be mathematical/logic, or what currently passes for 'fashionable' thought?

Just wondering...

11 October 2010 at 17:35  
Anonymous Jeremy Hyatt said...

Non Mouse/Judith - Yes I know but it still strikes me as nonsense. Mind you Popes do the same thing too - most strange...

11 October 2010 at 19:20  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...


The quote you gave is not where it might be expected - the "Nature of the Tathagata" section of the Mahaparinibbana Sutra (to give it its full title). In fact, the only place where it pops up after being pasted into a search engine is a website for a dippy new age shop that sells Harry Potter style accoutrements. Hardly canonical.

Could I direct you to a far more helpful site called "Access to Insight"? Proper monks and Pali scholars, and all that sort of thing.

Generally, it works best if knowledge precedes criticism, rather than the other way round.

11 October 2010 at 20:24  
Anonymous len said...

Sam Vega, I don`t think I will bother.
You seem to have entirely missed the point of the argument,or perhaps you didn`t?
The point of the argument was where faith was placed and I assume Buddhists place their faith in the teachings of Buddha?
I cannot conceive that Augustine was praying to Buddha,that was the point! as I suspect you already know.

11 October 2010 at 21:23  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...


I understand your argument, and took care to indicate that I was merely correcting a point of fact. This might be beside the point, but good arguments are normally supported by true facts. And you certainly thought that the point was worth discussing when you mistakenly attempted to prove your correctness by citing a dodgy source.

You have also learned something about Buddhism, or at least where to learn it if you have the inclination at some time in the future.

11 October 2010 at 21:54  
Anonymous len said...

Sam Vega ,
I am still not convinced!.
Sources seem to differ on whether Buddha claimed to be God or not!.

"The Rinzai Zen Buddhist master, Soyen Shaku, speaking to Americans at the beginning of the 20th century, discusses how in essence the idea of God is not absent from Buddhism, when understood as ultimate, true Reality.
At the outset, let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood. It has certainly a God, the highest reality and truth, through which and in which this universe exists. However, the followers of Buddhism usually avoid the term God, for it savors so much of Christianity, whose spirit is not always exactly in accord with the Buddhist interpretation of religious experience ... To define more exactly the Buddhist notion of the highest being, it may be convenient to borrow the term very happily coined by a modern German scholar, 'panentheism', according to which God is ... all and one and more than the totality of existence .... As I mentioned before, Buddhists do not make use of the term God, which characteristically belongs to Christian terminology. An equivalent most commonly used is Dharmakaya ... When the Dharmakaya is most concretely conceived it becomes the Buddha, or Tathagata ...( From Wikipedia)

(When trying to find facts about a subject I do not look to one source but many to get a balanced view)I will look at the source you have indicated, thanks.

11 October 2010 at 22:06  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...


Credit to you for persisting with this one. I think the point here is the difference between the Buddha claiming to be God, and later followers trying to interpret what he said. My original points were that the Buddha was not, is not, nor never claimed to be God, or any sort of lesser god. Shaku is trying to interpret some aspects of the teachings in a way that he thinks will be intelligible to westerners. A similar misrepresentation was made by some twentieth century westerners under their own steam, when they tried every which way to convince themselves that the Buddha left open the possibility that an "oversoul" or "super-self" existed. This is flatly contradicted by the Suttas which are the closest we can come to the Buddha's actual words - the Tipitaka. He denied that he was God or a god. And this teaching is entirely consistent with the content of many other Suttas, especially those that deal with the nature of ultimate reality. As to the existence of a God other than him, the Buddha did not take any position whatsoever, preferring to remain silent when questioned by those who wanted an answer. But his other teachings indicate that he thought that there was no absolute creator God.

If a person wanted to prove that Jesus claimed to be an alien from another planet, or a reincarnated avatar of Vishnu, or of Nordic origin, they could find evidence for it on the web. Best, however, to go to what Jesus actually said, equipped with the best philological and theological traditions. The same applies to Buddhism; that is why I have pointed you towards a Theravadan site, which has translations by good Pali and Sanskrit Scholars.

Theists who reject Buddhism because they are repelled by its atheism or agnosticism have my blessing and approval. But setting Buddhism up as another type of (lesser) theism is a more laborious process, and one which ought to be challenged on the grounds that it does not do justice to the truth.

11 October 2010 at 23:05  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...


Sorry, should have added that I am missing my beauty sleep so am off to bed now. May your God bless you and keep you safe.

11 October 2010 at 23:11  
Anonymous len said...

Thanks again Sam Vega, interesting points. May my God Bless you,
Getting back to Prince Charles 'defender of the faith'Perhaps 'defender of a faith' might be more appropriate!
Charles seems to be more interested in 'New Age' religion and practices than the Anglican version so I do not think Charles could possibly be anything but a detriment to the Anglican faith.

12 October 2010 at 09:50  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Mr Graham Davis, are you suggesting that we replace Charles Phillip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor with David Cameron on the throne?

12 October 2010 at 10:05  

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