Evangelicals say Charles and Camilla should have opportunity to repent -10/02/05
As Church denominations and groups issued statements of congratulations today on the news of the Prince of Walesís engagement to Mrs Camilla Parker-Bowles, the body representing one million Evangelicals in the UK suggested that the royal couple should have the opportunity in their implending service of blessing to express repentance and remorse. Pointing to "their documented adultery" the Evangelical Alliance welcomed the 'formalising' of Prince Charles' and Mrs Parker Bowles' relationship and suggested that the impending marriage represented "a serious move to put their relationship on a more moral footing." Joel Edwards, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance also suggested that the blessing service should "offer clear opportunities for expressing remorse for past wrongs and repentance for hurts caused in both their previous marriages." The Alliance said that the couple's previous divorces and adultery as well as "the nature of their extra-marital relationship up to this point" presented difficulties for many Christians, with respect to Charles' suitability to govern the Church of England should he become king. The organisation said it hoped Charles and Camilla would "take their church commitments and responsibilities seriously" in their married life. The Evangelical statement was a marked contrast to those put out by other church bodies. In a statement from Lambeth Palace, The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said; "I am pleased that Prince Charles and Mrs Camilla Parker-Bowles have decided to take this important step. I hope and pray that it will prove a source of comfort and strength to them and to those who are closest to them." In a similar two line comment, the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-OíConnor said; ìThe Royal Family, with their unique role in our national life, are always assured of the goodwill and prayers of the Catholic community. I know that Catholics will join with me at this time in praying for the Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker-Bowles and in wishing them every happiness.î The Revd Sheila Maxey, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church was similarly brief, and focused on forgiveness, love and hope. "In the midst of lives which often have more than their share of tragedy and failure, God continues to offer us the possibility of forgiveness, love and renewed hope" she said. "That applies as much to princes as to the many thousands of divorced people who remarry in our churches every year. We pray Godís blessing on the Prince and Mrs Parker Bowles as they enter upon this new chapter in their lives." The Free Churches Group also welcomed the announcement offering its "good wishes" to the couple. The Revd David Coffey, Moderator of the Free Churches Group and General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain said; "Our prayer is that in this step of making marriage promises Prince Charles and Mrs Parker-Bowles will be able to deepen their love and commitment to one another and find the opportunity for a new beginning. We have valued the charitable work that the Prince has undertaken in the past, particularly through the Princes' Trust, and we hope that the Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker-Bowles will continue to find such opportunities to serve the public together."