Let Charles III dissolve Anglicanism

Prof Timothy Wangusa

What you need to know:

  • ‘‘The Church of England has finally dropped its age-old mask”

It is hereunder humbly and passionately proposed by ‘yours truly’ here – hitherto an ardent adherent of the Church of Uganda, with the additional status of being an automatic citizen of the English-speaking Commonwealth – that King Charles III of Great Britain and the Dominions, ‘on which the sun never sets’, should in his capacity as ‘Defender of the Faith’ immediately and advisedly dissolve the Anglican faith – as headquartered at Canterbury, England. 

The reason for my extreme proposal is that Anglicanism has run its full course across five centuries, and has finally overwhelmed and defeated itself. The background to my making this claim is that I happen to belong to the generation of African students who attended high school in the years of pre-independent Uganda, who were taught zero African history and as much British and European history as could be pumped into our adolescent skulls. Part of that history comprised the European Renaissance and the Reformation – the latter beginning with Martin Luther (1483-1546) in Germany and King Henry VIII (1491-1547) in England.

In terms of sexuality and family, both Martin Luther and King Henry VIII reaped immediate or consequent personal and bodily benefits in the form of marrying the wife of their dreams. The previously celibate monk Martin Luther wedded the nun, Katharina von Bora, whom he had cravingly eyed for long – and he conveniently justified his breaking with the oath of life-long celibacy by quoting the scripture that enjoins believers ‘to stand free in the liberty with which Christ has made us free’!

Similarly King Henry VIII, upon breaking loose from the Catholic Church, immediately divorced his queen, Catherine of Aragon, and married his new heart-throb, Anne Boleyn. Thereafter King Henry VIII consecutively married five fresh wives, two of whom he respectively beheaded (including Anne Boleyn!) before insatiably marrying his next catch. But as sheer luck would have it, previous to divorcing Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII had goose-feather-penned a somewhat learned treatise in defence of the Catholic faith against Martin Luther’s ‘reformationist’ objections – for which Pope Leo X had in 1521 bestowed upon him the personal-to-holder reward of ‘Defender of the Faith’ (in Latin, FD = Fidei Defensor). 

And so: King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church in 1533 purely and initially because Pope Clement VII refused to grant him divorce from his wedded queen – not because the wayward king had a superb heavenly vision of reforming the Church upon the Anglo-Saxon isles!
During the rest of the reign of King Henry VIII, Catholicism in England dressed itself in the apparel of ‘a country in romance’.  After the demise of the king, when his daughter Queen Mary I (who reigned 1553-1558 after Edward VI, 1547-1553) attempted to return the country to Catholicism, hundreds of Protestant converts opted to burn at the stake rather than go back to Rome! In summary, something new had been born upon those islands – a nationalistic Christian denomination that would be baptised ‘the Church of England’.

With the two reigns of Elizabeth I (1558-1603) and James I (1603-1642) Protestantism became firmly rooted in England. Henceforth, Anglicanism and the Bible (translated into English during James I’s reign as the ‘Authorised Version’) would fare forward hand-in-hand with the Union Jack – as inseparable twins – across future centuries of British slave trade in Africa, British global colonialism, British Commercial Empire so vast that the sun could indeed never ‘set upon it’, and latterly the British Commonwealth as perpetually chaired by the British monarch of the day. 
Fast-forward to the recent vote by the Synod of the Church of England to bless same-sex marriages – and game up! The Church of England has finally dropped its age-old mask. Goodbye to the Old and New Testaments. Welcome to the Modern Times Testament - where sodomy provokes no heavenly fire-blast upon Sodom. Let King Charles III (through Parliament) dissolve the outworn Anglican theatre of the absurd.
Prof Wangusa is a poet and novelist.                  
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