Richard III, Chris Huhne and the Same Sex Marriage Bill

Yesterday we learned that the bones discovered under a Leicestershire car park were indeed those of Richard III — news greeted here with whoops of delight only a (lapsed) medievalist can muster. Now, of course, we have a liturgical conundrum. When the bones are re-interred, will they be reburied according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England or according to those of the Catholic Church — and if the latter, which rite will be used? Richard III knew neither the Novus Ordo nor the Tridentine rite, so I suppose a case can be made for the Sarum Rite or that of York, or even the Domincan rite, which I believe is currently used at Holy Cross Priory, Leicester (geographically closest to the place of original burial). I see there are already epetitions about the subject.

On the day when Parliament debates the Same Sex Marriage bill and the country begins to come to terms with Chris Huhne’s fall from grace, that does seem slightly arcane. It is, however, a reminder of how fleeting is political power but what a heavy responsibility those who wield it bear. I think Richard would want us to pray for his soul, however his remains are re-interred. I also think we should pray for our present-day politicians, whether they believe they have souls or not. How they live their lives, the standards they uphold, their personal shortcomings and failures affect us all and the decision they are about to make today will have consequences that long outlast them.


10 thoughts on “Richard III, Chris Huhne and the Same Sex Marriage Bill”

  1. You’re right with this one. Neither modern rites have hardly anything in common with what Richard would have known… As another lapsed medievalist and sort-of Catholic, I do find it strange how the Church still venerates saints who gave their life to preserve a style of worship that has all but been done away with. There were martyrs who died because they refused to stop kneeling for communion, which many people don’t do now, and nobody seems to care… whilst I don’t recall anyone who gave their life to prevent gay marriage but that’s all religious-types seem to talk about these days. I’d love to know your thoughts about this issue.

  2. Peerhaps an opportunity for delicate ecumenism; the appropriate rite would surely be medieval.. Sarum York or the Dominican- I did not know that their rite was in fact still medieval…..It would not be the first time that a Catholic Liturgy had been celebrated in an Anglican happens weekly in St. Albans Abbey. It is a fascinating find, for all concerned.
    We prayed at Mass today for all those who are in positions which could bring a dishonest response, and for those for whom the first lie leads to such consequences, and for all the Huhne set up; as we pray also for all whose intents are on a much greater scale evil, that they may be moved to change, and for a renewal of integrity for us all.

  3. I’d suggest that it is most likely Richard was originally buried according to either Lincoln Use (probably the geographical diocese at the time) or Franciscan (i.e. the papal use of the day) as he was buried within a Franciscan foundation.

    So perhaps the rites of the Church Catholic and English are appropriate whatever the might mean!!

    And as to praying for the souls of our politicians, they are doing well at proving the need!!


  4. Whatever rite is chosen, it must definitely be in line with Catholicism as he was Baptized as such. When our uncle’s WWII grave was found in a Dutch community cemetery a number of years ago, we had a R.C. grave consecration performed for that reason.

    As for venerating the Saints who were martyred, Lucy, we must keep in mind the culture and practices of their time, what seems strange to us nowadays is due to our lack of understanding of their age. Those who were martyred gave their lives for the glory of God. There are many things people don’t care about these days, but that doesn’t make the blood of martyrs any less precious in God’s eyes.

    I also disagree that gay marriage is all that “religious- types” talk about, rather social justice issues and evangelization top the list as any involved Catholic well knows, and as active Protestants will agree.

    There are a number of hot button topics repeatedly raised to discredit the Catholic Church, but if you get into it further, find out what work is being done, what is behind the belief system you’ll see there is more to it than that which pop culture presents.

  5. Thank you for all your comments. Part of me would quite like to discuss the various liturgical rites in a more academic manner; part of me would like to discuss hagiography in general; but mainly I am grateful to those of you who have read and prayed, since the praying was what it was all about, if you see what I mean.

  6. Praying for our enemies is something all Christians are asked to do, of course. Praying for those who are not enemies as such, but are people we just find hard to appreciate (or who don’t particularly appreciate us) is more of a challenge! And therefore all the more important, perhaps.

    Much satisfaction about Richard III here too, from another lapsed medievalist. (I’d love to know more about where and what you studied, although I don’t expect you to say: my own thesis was on late medieval nuns.) I wonder whether we should get too anxious, however, about which rite to use for his interment. Surely the prayers will reach heaven just the same.

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