Church divides on coronation

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The Independent Online
THE CHURCH of England is facing internal divisions over proposals that the Prince of Wales should have a multi-faith coronation rather than the traditional Christian service.

The latest proposals by a Sheffield-based clerical think-tank for changes to the royal ritual, including the involvement of other religions, is seen as a reflection of a desire for reform among influential figures in the higher echelon of the church.

According to sources within the church, many clergymen feel that a number of bishops want to separate the church from the state and they say that there is already a "process of creeping disestablishment".

The idea of reform has the support of leading figures in the Government and Prince Charles is also said to have indicated his wish that Britain should start to reflect its multi-faith culture.

He has said he wants to be "defender of faith" rather than "defender of the faith".

Yesterday, the Church of England stressed that the plan being discussed by the Sheffield group has not been commissioned by the church.

A spokesman for the church said: "There is a number of groups studying various proposals, but it would be wrong to say that this is in any way official."

However, the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Rev Richard Harries, has stated that other religious leaders "need to be much more than guests - they need to be clearly in the centre of things."

Dr David Jenkins, the former Bishop of Durham, has argued that the next reign should be instituted "not by a coronation but by an inauguration or installation".

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