Terry Mattingly looks at the reporting on the royal wedding
No matter that happens today (the big US news is tragic), for millions of people the force of gravity in global news will pull toward St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
We are talking about a wedding rite in the Church of England, so royal wedding coverage has included all kinds of dishy details about liturgical issues rarely seen in the press. That has been the case for several months now for one simple reason: American actress Meghan Markle was raised as a Protestant by her mother Doria Ragland, while her father is an Episcopalian (and, thus, part of the global Anglican Communion).
Thus, an unanswered question still hovers in the background, because of silence from Kensington Palace: Precisely what kind of Protestantism are talking about, in Markle’s case? For a refresher on this drama, see my earlier post: “Royal wedding quiz: Must a ‘Protestant’ be baptized in order to become an Anglican?” In that post, I noted:
… The Church of England split off from the Church of Rome. For most people, especially low-church Anglicans, this (a) makes it part of the wider world of Protestantism. However, it should be noted that some people argue that (b) the Anglican via media — a “middle way” between Protestantism and Catholicism – is its own unique form of faith. The odds are good that some Anglican readers will be offended by my description of (a), (b) or (a) and (b). This is complicated stuff.
There continue to be clues that Markle was the “wrong kind” of Protestant, since she was baptized – Again? – before being confirmed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as an Anglican. How does that theological question affect the royal rite?
Read carefully this passage from an explainer piece in The Washington Post, that ran with the headline: “Why Meghan Markle, raised a Christian, still got baptized before her royal wedding.”
“Miss Markle did not need to become an Anglican in order to marry Harry in church, but at the time of their engagement last November she made clear she had chosen to be baptised and confirmed out of respect for the Queen’s role as the head of the Church of England,” the Daily Mail wrote.
The Church of England recommends that couples either include a Communion service during their wedding or take Communion shortly after getting married. That means that Markle, if she wants to take Communion with Harry (italics added by tmatt), did need to be confirmed in the Church of England or in another Anglican church, such as the Episcopal Church, which the Church of England welcomes to take Communion at its services.
Wait a minute.
Don’t most (or is it all, these day?) churches in the Anglican Communion practice what is known as “open Communion,” which means that it’s acceptable to receive Communion during Holy Eucharist, even if one is not an Anglican? (Yes, I am aware that some Anglican churches are more “open” than others, seeing as I once saw Communion given to worshipers’ pets during a St. Francis “Missa Gaia (Earth Mass)” at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.)
The norm is this: Worshipers are free to take Communion at an Anglican altar if they are Christians who have been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. With that in mind, keep reading the Post explainer.
Continue reading at GetReligion