Boris Johnson, Carrie Symonds Rebecca Fulton / Downing Street by way of Getty Images
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in the workplace since 2019, “recently came out as Catholic, to the concern of British Catholics, some parish priests, and parliamentarians,” and to the surprise of even some of his closest political allies, Catherine Pepinster reports at Religion News Service. Johnson was baptized Roman Catholic, his mom’s faith, however was confirmed in the Church of England at Eton and isn’t typically identified to be a churchgoing man.
On May 29, although, Johnson married his longtime girlfriend Carrie Symonds at Westminster Cathedral, the seat of English Catholicism, and the Catholic Diocese of Westminster then declared that husband and spouse had been each baptized Catholics and Westminster Cathedral parishioners. (Symonds is Johnson’s third spouse, however they had been allowed to wed in the divorce-hostile Catholic Church as a result of Johnson’s first two weddings had been civil and thus not acknowledged as legitimate below canon legislation, Pepinster explains.) The couple gave their child son Wilfred a Catholic baptism in September.
So, Johnson seems to be Britain’s first Catholic prime minister. And given the historical past of Britain since King Henry VIII, that is a really massive deal, University of London constitutional knowledgeable Peter Hennessy, who’s Catholic, tells Religion News Service. After lots of of years of post-Reformation discrimination, Catholics have slowly moved into positions of authority in current a long time, he mentioned, and Johnson’s “appointment as prime minister is the completion of the Catholic stealth minority’s rise to influence.”
Johnson is probably not the superb Catholic position mannequin, however his newly revealed faith is greater than only a curiosity. Britain is culturally secular, however “Roman Catholicism alone still has a contested place in Britain,” Pepinster writes. “By law, the monarch cannot be a Roman Catholic,” and “under the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829, no ‘person professing the Roman Catholic religion’ is allowed to advise the monarch on the appointment of Church of England bishops,” which is in the prime minister’s job description. Johnson will probably deputize Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland for that position, RNS reviews.
Jonson’s evident Catholicism might make coping with Northern Ireland’s growing Brexit troubles tougher, too, nevertheless it additionally creates one other particular — or “indestructible” — bond between Britain and the U.S., the place President Biden is barely the second Catholic elected president. Read more at Religion News Service.
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