Kate Middleton insults the Church

Many wry smiles and twittered Lolz at the news this week that Kate Middleton has been confirmed into the Church of England.

Is it appropriate for a British subject such as myself to comment on our Queen-elect’s faith choices? Probably not, firstly for reasons of deference, and also because to question such an act is to risk being patronizing and a bit sexist. If I express cynicism about Ms Middleton’s faith, then am I not suggesting that she is not her own woman?

In this case, I actually think some comment is justified. Faith should be a private affair, and had Kate chosen to have a quiet confirmation, with no associated press strategy from Clarence house, then the rest of us would do well to shut up. However, since the news has been released by her own media team, I see no reason why we should not raise a few questions about the act.

And anyway, the Faith of the Royals (and Kate Middleton will very soon be the very Royal ‘Princess Catherine’) happens to be a topic of public interest, public discussion, public concern. This is the way our country is constituted. Fact. Catholics are constitutionally demeaned, and should any future heir or near-heir to the throne marry outside Europe (very possible as the world and the Royals become increasingly cosmopolitan) the current system would bully the unfortunate spouse out of their original faith, in favour of Anglicanism.

And ‘bullied’ appears to be what has happened to Kate M. At the very least: ‘pressurized’. No-one who heard or read the news reports would have considered for a moment that this decision was taken by Kate Middleton alone. Rather, we are all entirely certain that this is a cynical and pragmatic act in order to sidestep a theological conundrum that, in Twenty-First Century Britain, is increasingly absurd.

Kate Middleton is not alone in paying lip-service to a religious faith, having previously demonstrated no interest in it. Couples routinely attend church for the minimum number of weeks specified by the vicar, before the picturesque parish church wedding will be sanctioned. Others even sign a statement, saying they will bring up any children of the marriage on the Catholic faith. And I’ve known a few people who have ostensibly converted to Islam in order to marry a Muslim, while demonstrating very little interest in, or knowledge of the religion itself.

I should not care about any of these instances of hypocrisy. After all, it is not my faith that is cheapened by these all-to-convenient faux-Damascene moments. But nevertheless, it still irritates me. In being so casual and opportunistic in their conversions, Kate Middleton and hundreds like her cheapen the covenant that the true adherents have with their church. With this confirmation, the message that Wills, Kate and the Royal Establishment have conveyed is that Church-going and church-membership is a mere accessory, a thing of necessary convenience like a new SIM card or an MOT. Something borrowed. For ordinary subjects to behave in this manner is hypocritical. For the future heads of the Church to do the same is gross negligence, a dereliction of duty, a desecration of the Church of England, cheapening an institution that is already weak and belittled. There is no better argument for disestablishment than a rushed and panicked Royal confirmation.

Perhaps I am being unfair. Perhaps Kate is being genuine, and the timing is just bad. After all, if being chosen as the next Queen of England doesn’t inspire faith in a Higher Power, what would?

7 thoughts on “Kate Middleton insults the Church

  1. Sometimes when things are undertaken for perhaps not the purest of reasons and maybe, as you suggest, could offend, they yet may have an effective outcome. I think this is what the Archbishop may be hoping for – I know from my own family history that my Grandfather would turn away no one from his chapel, for whatever reason they had come – they were visiting a friend, so came along for want of something better to do – they wanted some shelter, they liked the singing, or had come for free refreshments – he always had hope that they would feel something and gain from the experience and may be they would go back to their own concerns, better people – if by just a little bit – he had the faith, so maybe we should too.

  2. what a refreshing article which echos my thoughts and sentiments exactly! while I shouldn’t judge another’s choice, as a practising Christian myself, it can be disheartening to see people say they adhere to a particular religion merely out of pressure, obligation or duty. faith and a decision to be recognised as a member of it should be genuine and in my opinion ,be reflected in that person’s life not just out of tradition per se. while Kate may be a committed Christian at heart , I do have to say I agree with your thoughts and thank you for your honesty.

  3. It is amusing to hear non-christians mention that “Faith should be a private affair” but it is seemingly okay to publically discuss ones lack of ‘christian’ faith and judge the intentions of someone they wouldn’t have spoken two words to. Speaking about hypocracy…

    1. Re-read the article. I do think faith should be a private affair. However, Kate’s press team have made it public. Furthermore, the Established nature of the church means that the private becomes personal in the case of the Royals. It is there that the fault lies, it is that with which I take issue, and to do so is not hypocritical at all.

  4. Only God knows Kate’s heart. A deep human love can sometimes move people toward God who gave the love. Perhaps after the lived together outside of marriage, they came to want the blessing of the church NOT only for children but for the sake of God’s blessing on their union. I know a couple who had lived together who actually had a genuine conversion experience after the birth of their child…so moved were they by the wonder and awe of it all.
    William certainly had not had the example of a “consecrated union” where parents took the forsaking of all others to be a part of being faithful to Christ. No one here is “on his case”. He and Kate both live in a postChristian society where few if any of their peers follow the absolutes of Christian teaching regarding sexual morality.
    Be thankful they are taking the step toward Christ. Pray for their growth vs. musing about whether she took this step for the right or wrong reasons. You just don’t know. You can pray that she sits under sound doctrine…especially should England be lucky or blessed enough to get an Archbishop after Rowen Williams who is more akin to Archibishop Carey. (Hope that David Cameron and Queen Elizabether will think about the future of Christendom in their own kingdom.)

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