Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Catholic Burial for a Catholic Monarch

"To bury England’s last Plantagenet King, a man of considerable piety, as though he had been a Protestant would be an utterly offensive act," argues The Catholic Herald's William Oddie — I don’t mind where they bury Richard III; but having been denied Christian burial by Henry Tudor, he must now be given a Catholic funeral Mass. An excerpt:
    Whatever he was, he was England’s anointed king: and he was of course a Catholic. He was, in fact, austerely religious, a public benefactor and protector of the Church, a founder of charities, who throughout his life upheld a strict code of sexual morality, in marked contrast to many of his fellow courtiers. Had he not been toppled by the wretched Henry Tudor, there would have been no Henry VIII and no consequent apostasy of the Ecclesia Anglicana: we might still be a Catholic country, with a Catholic monarchy. His burial took place without any funeral rites at all: he was just shoved in a hole by the impious Henry. All this makes it surely unthinkable that he should be given a Protestant funeral service and buried in a Protestant cathedral. But that is what is now proposed: Leicester Cathedral is a post-reformation Cathedral. Richard himself wanted to be buried in York Minster, and that would be fine, as long as the funeral is a Catholic Requiem Mass. The historian Andrew Roberts thinks not only that “the bones of the last British [sic] monarch to die in battle now must be treated with dignity and venerated properly, as is only right for a former head of state”, but that like monarchs before and after him, Richard III deserves a burial ceremony in accordance with his former status. That means, he says, Westminster Abbey, where 17 English kings and queens are buried. He points out that Richard was anointed and crowned King at a grand, solemn and very well-attended ceremony at Westminster Abbey on July 6 1483, and thinks that he should be buried there with all the proper honours this summer, 530 years later.

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