In seeking once again to blame the poor for poverty, UK work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has implied that several children of members of the royal family may be poorer than many living on the breadline with parents earning the minimum wage.
At present the symbolism of the Royal Maundy service in York ritualises economic inequality, the subservience of the Church to the Crown, and the sanctification of an unjust order, says Simon Barrow. Maybe a ritual re-ordering of it could help remind Christians, and the Established church, that we are called to oppose injustice and who who "act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus" (Acts 17.7)?
Catholics and leaders of the 16 Commonwealth countries where Queen Elizabeth II serves as head of state have welcomed an announcement by British Prime Minister David Cameron about changes to the royal succession that include allowing the monarch to marry a Roman Catholic.
Reading the church media over the past week, and probably for the succeeding one, would leave many people with the impression that the boundary between church and monarchy is virtually indecipherable. I find this elision of faith in God with a longing for worldly pomp and circumstance deeply disturbing.
Monarchy as an institution rooted in inherited wealth and pure eugenic privilege stands in contrast with, and contradiction to, the levelling Gospel of Jesus Christ, argues Simon Barrow. But a kind of mythology and ritualising in the popular imagination prevents both Christians and others from seeing what is really going on, and what is wrong with it.
My colleague Symon Hill's appearance on 4though.tv this evening (13 April 2011), arguing that the mutual inherence of an Established Church and the institution of monarchy compromises the Gospel message of freedom and identification with the least in society (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/14559), comes weeks away from the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.