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George can be Buddhist if he wants

Daily Mail, Oct 24, 2013

Says Archbishop of Canterbury in remarkable statement after Prince's christening

London, UK -- The Archbishop of Canterbury says he has no objection to Prince George converting to Buddhism.

<< Heir to the Brithish throne, Prince George

The Most Reverend Justin Welby, speaking one day after he led the christening of the future Supreme Governor of the Church of England, said the prince is ‘perfectly entitled’ to change his religion should he so choose.

The remark is likely to alarm traditionalists. However, it is in keeping with Prince Charles’s oft-repeated claim that he wants to be seen as ‘Defender of Faiths’ instead of ‘Defender of the Faith’, to reflect Britain’s multicultural society.

The Archbishop was asked by Channel 4 News what his reaction would be if George, the third in line to the throne, wanted to leave the Church of England to become a Buddhist.

He replied: ‘He’s perfectly entitled to be that, and we’ll cross that bridge if we ever get to it. Who knows?’
The remarkable statement came just  24 hours after he conducted the young prince’s christening at the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace.

Indeed, the Archbishop had chosen in his address to urge George’s parents and godparents to help the future monarch ‘make sure he knows who Jesus is’, imploring: ‘Speak of him, read stories about him. Introduce him in prayer.’

The Archbishop's comments will concern many within the Church, who consider him a leader who seeks to be 'all things to all men'

He made the comments to Channel 4 News when asked his reaction if George, wanted to leave the Church.

Prince Charles has already caused controversy within the Anglican Church by floating the idea that he could adapt his future title to embrace other religions.

The prince, who has a particular fascination with Islam, believes that by calling himself Defender of Faiths he will unite the different strands of society at his Coronation.

Earlier this year the Mail told how Prince William is not a regular churchgoer.

Although the 31-year-old future king was confirmed into the Anglican faith in 1997, he is understood to attend services of worship just a ‘handful’ of times each year.

Most of these are linked with official engagements or come on special occasions in the Christian calendar such as Christmas, or social occasions such as weddings and christenings.

Sources say William and his wife ‘rarely, if ever’ go to church privately on a Sunday morning, or at any other time. A senior aide admitted: ‘I’m not aware that he goes every week.’

While William is not alone in failing to attend – barely 8 per cent of those who go to church regularly are men of a similar age – his stance is in strong contrast to other members of the Royal Family.

The Queen is a devout Christian with a deep sense of religious duty, who attends Church on a weekly basis.

And for all his much-publicised interest in other faiths, Prince Charles is also a regular churchgoer. A spokesman for the Prince of Wales said he frequently attended Sunday service at a church close to Highgrove, his Gloucestershire residence, as well as in Scotland and Norfolk.

The monarchy has a unique relationship with the Anglican Church.

The sovereign holds the title ‘Defender of Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England’.

The monarch has been known by the title Defender of the Faith ever since it was bestowed on Henry VIII by the Pope in 1521 for his early support for Roman Catholicism.

Any change would, however, require Parliament to amend the 1953 Royal Titles Act, which came into law after changes were made for the Queen’s Coronation in the same year.

In his or her coronation oath the monarch also promises to maintain the Church – a vow that the present Queen takes very seriously.

Archbishops and bishops are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, who in turn considers the names selected by a Church Commission.

They in turn take an oath of allegiance to The Queen on appointment – as do parish priests – and may not resign without receiving royal authority.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has courted controversy before, notably for describing the naming and shaming of bankers in the wake of the financial crisis as ‘lynch-mobbish’.

In July the former oil executive said it was wrong to single out bankers for causing the worst recession for generations.

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