THE ROYAL DIVORCE: Church Is Saved from Dilemma over Remarriage
Andrew Brown Religious Affairs Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
Officially, the Church of England will have no difficulty coming to terms with a divorced king who would become its supreme governor. Unofficially, it is heaving a huge sigh of relief that the Prince of Wales appears to have renounced remarriage.
Though the Church of England recognises divorce, in common with almost all non-Roman Catholic churches, it has no formal mechanism for recognising second marriages.
As to the question of the constitutional or theological position of a king and supreme governor who has a recognised mistress, no one in any official position in the Church was offering any opinion yesterday.
A minority of conservative priests still doubt whether anyone who has admitted adultery should succeed to the throne. Dr David Holloway, one of the leaders of Reform, an evangelical pressure group opposed to women priests and homosexuals, said yesterday he did not know if he could take the oath of allegiance to a divorced man.
Every time an Anglican priest is promoted or transferred to a new parochial post, she or he says: "I do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors, according to law: So help me God."
"The difficult word there is faithful." said Dr Holloway. "That doesn't necessarily mean promising to do what you are told. I think it refers to the Christian faith, and that, of course, brings in the whole question of the fittingness of leadership. Of course there is forgiveness for divorce and marriage sin but certain behaviours preclude people from certain offices. If he gets divorced, he is unfit to be supreme governor." However, when the question was first raised seriously, in 1992, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, declared that: "The Monarch is supreme governor . …