(Honi soit qui mal y pense!)
it all started with Henry VIII.
The title of the lecture, chosen by The Reverend Canon Patrick Curran, Chaplain of Christ Church Vienna, already emphasises the uniqueness of the English Nation, the Monarchy and the Established Church.
In 1604 Parliament passed an act requiring all clergy of the Church of England to take an Oath of Allegiance at their ordination to the diaconate or priesthood in which they acknowledged the King (or Queen) of England as supreme governor of the church in all spiritual and temporal matters. "I... swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, in Person, Crown and Dignity against all enemies, and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, and of the generals and officers set over me. So help me God."
Henceforth only Church of England Bishops sit in Her Majesty’s government in the House of Lords, others are excluded. Scotland’s Church of Scotland, whose government is Presbyterian and therefore has no bishops, does not recognise the monarch as “supreme governor” and despite being the Scottish National Church has no seat in the Upper House. The Roman Catholic Church is prevented by law from certain positions altogether: notably in the succession, then as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Prime Minister. Tony Blair, an Anglican converted to Roman Catholicism on the day he stepped down as Prime Minister.
The lecture and the discussion, which followed were indeed fascinating and deeply interesting but the question and answer session had to be cut short by our President Dr Kurt Tiroch after several anxious looks at his watch. The British Ambassador HE Leigh Turner awaited us at his residence across the road for the usual generous reception.
What a shame if for one reason or another you haven’t been there last night because you missed a truly enjoyable evening! Just look at the photos!