May 8, 2023 / 8:28 a.m.
The Bishop of Orihuela-Alicante, Msgr. José Ignacio Munilla, affirms that in the protocols of the Spanish Royal House, religious signs have been increasingly separated, in a reflection following the coronation of Carlos III of England.
In his introductory comment to the Sixth Continent program that he directs every Monday and Friday on Radio Maria Spain, the prelate shared some considerations in light of the obvious religious symbols present at the ceremony held last Saturday.
Among others, Bishop Munilla cites that it was the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, the Very Reverend Justin Welby, who placed the crown on the new monarchs and that both were “anointed with oils brought from Jerusalem.”
The bishop points out that the anointing was performed behind some screens to express “intimacy” with the Creator and “that God anoints Kings.”
On a positive note, the prelate points out that “those who organize such a ceremony are not ashamed of their religious roots.”
This is considered significant when compared “with the secularism that we live in Latin countries”, of an “anticlerical” nature, where, in his opinion, a ceremony of this type would be “unthinkable”.
Religious symbology in the Spanish Royal House
In this sense, he stopped to analyze the case of the Spanish Royal House, the oldest in Europe, whose origins date back to the 8th century.
Bishop Munilla specifically assures that the protocols of the Royal House have been modified so that “it is not present at the times when religious blessings are made.”
The prelate elaborates on the issue by pointing out: “In the protocols that have been implemented, more and more religious signs have been separated from the protocol of the Royal House.”
The bishop describes a ceremony like that of Carlos III in Spain as “unthinkable” due to the “anti-clericalism of our cultural context.”
In fact, the ceremony held on June 19, 2014 in which Felipe VI was proclaimed King did not have any religious symbol, as it did in 1975 with his father.
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Philip’s coronation did not have a votive Mass of the Holy Spirit either, as was the case with his father.
The then Secretary General of the Spanish Episcopal Conference and today Archbishop of Granada, Msgr. José María Gil Tamayo, then defended the “normality” of the change, due to the “non-denominational” nature of the State according to the Constitution.
“In the Spain of the 21st century, the concept is different than in the coronation of King Juan Carlos, when it was still a confessional state and the Constitution had not been approved,” said Bishop Gil Tamayo in statements to public television.
Another example of the withdrawal of religious references in the official acts of Felipe VI is the suppression of the Cross of San Andrés and the symbols alluding to the Catholic Monarchs, the yoke and the arrows, from his royal banner – compared to that of King Juan Carlos. .
Nor was there any religious allusion when the then Prince of Asturias swore the Spanish Constitution before the Cortes in 1986 upon reaching the age of majority.
However, it has been maintained that the King’s annual institutional message takes place on Christmas Eve. And the Kings, together with the Princess of Asturias and the Infanta Sofía were present at the Easter representation in the Madrid town of Chinchón this year.
Catholics and Anglicans
On the other hand, the Bishop of Orihuela-Alicante qualifies as “positive” that for the first time in 500 years a Catholic Cardinal has attended the coronation of a British King together with the Pope’s Nuncio.
Indeed, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, was at the ceremony together with the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Msgr. Miguel Maury. “It is a positive fact, because we all know how the Anglican Church was born”, added Bishop Munilla.
The Church of England was founded in 1534 by Henry VIII, who failed to get the Pope to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, daughter of the Catholic Monarchs.
Latin and Anglo-Saxon secularism
The analysis of the prelate does not stop at the mere presence of religious symbology, but questions whether the deep meaning it should have is assumed.
In his opinion, these references in the coronation assume “that the King is an anointed of God, that it is recognized that all human authority ultimately comes from the authority of God.”
But he wonders if this essential meaning of the rites is shared by the thousands of people who have applauded the ceremony.
“Signs were made, but without us having to believe at all that the signs that were made are assumed in what they mean by the entire population that applauded them,” he details.
In his opinion, this is explained because there are two kinds of secularism.
One “Latin”, which consists of “pursuing any type of fact or religious sign”, of which he gave as an example the anti-religious violence during the Spanish Civil War.
And another Anglo-Saxon, which means “staying with the aesthetic, but emptying it of content”. In this sense, he stressed how the president of the United States, Joe Biden, attended a Catholic Mass before taking office to then “repeal all pro-life laws and unleash the entire abortionist and LGBT agenda, entering into a whirlwind ”.
For the prelate, if there is a form of religiosity that can be called “spirituality yes, religion no” as in the New Age, there is also a trend that proclaims “religion yes, God no.”
In it, “religion ends up being a formal environment, an insurmountable pageantry” supported by people who say “I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in this ceremony.”
In Spain, he adds, there are also these kinds of people “who say ‘I don’t believe in God’, but want to defend the rights of the Catholic Church for the contribution it makes to history, to the people, to our identity, etc.” .
For the prelate, “declaring yourself a Catholic or declaring yourself an Anglican not believing in God is keeping the shell and throwing away the contents.”