The Queen's Jubilee




Transcript

This week our British brethren are celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee. Sixty years on the thrown, Queen Elizabeth has now reigned longer than any other British monarch other than Queen Victoria. It is not just the British who are celebrating this Jubilee but literally millions and millions of members of the British Commonwealth all around the globe who look to the Queen as their sovereign. This is significant, I think, not simply because she is the Queen of England but she is also the head of the Church of England. They don’t have the separation of church and state that we do in this country. So as the head of the church it is important that the Queen model Christian virtues and Christian life. Queen Elizabeth, I think, by all accounts has been just a pillar of Christian decorum, decency, and goodness which has been quite in contrast to the behavior of many other members of the royal family.

I recently was looking in my files and found this statement which I think was delivered by the Pope to the Queen that seemed very appropriate for this weekend as well and I thought I would read it to you.[1]

The name of Holyroodhouse, Your Majesty’s official residence in Scotland, recalls the “Holy Cross” and points to the deep Christian roots that are still present in every layer of British life. The monarchs of England and Scotland have been Christians from very early times and include outstanding saints like Edward the Confessor and Margaret of Scotland. As you know, many of them consciously exercised their sovereign duty in the light of the Gospel, and in this way shaped the nation for good at the deepest level. As a result, the Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years. Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike.

We find many examples of this force for good throughout Britain’s long history. Even in comparatively recent times, due to figures like William Wilberforce and David Livingstone, Britain intervened directly to stop the international slave trade. Inspired by faith, women like Florence Nightingale served the poor and the sick and set new standards in healthcare that were subsequently copied everywhere. John Henry Newman . . . was one of many British Christians of his age whose goodness, eloquence and action were a credit to their countrymen and women. These, and many people like them, were inspired by a deep faith born and nurtured in these islands.

Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny” (Caritas in Veritate, 29).

. . .

Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate. Let it not obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms; and may that patrimony, which has always served the nation well, constantly inform the example your Government and people set before the two billion members of the Commonwealth and the great family of English-speaking nations throughout the world.

May God bless Your Majesty and all the people of your realm. Thank you.

And I say amen to that, what appropriate sentiments on the Jubliee of the Queen’s rein this weekend.[2]



[1] This was an address delivered to the Queen by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. See http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2010/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20100916_incontro-autorita_en.html (accessed October 4, 2013).

[2] Total Running Time: 5:34 (Copyright © 2012 William Lane Craig)