Letter: Church and state

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I entirely agree with Andreas Whittam Smith that the anti- Catholic provisions should be removed from the statute book, and I would suggest that abolishing the sovereign's role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England does not inevitably involve the disestablishment of the church.

In many minds, however, the role of the sovereign is inextricably linked with the fact of the church's being established, and Andreas Whittam Smith rightly points out the absurdity of having a Roman Catholic as head of the Church of England. The present situation is not entirely free from a similar absurdity, however.

In Scotland, the Presbyterian Kirk is the established church, and the sovereign is not its head, though Her Majesty is, ex officio, Presbyterian while in Scotland. The Kirk of Scotland and the Church of England are not in communion with each other, yet the Church of England can tolerate a Presbyterian as its head, while Her Majesty is on holiday at Balmoral.


Milton Keynes