Feast of Blessed Charles, King and Martyr

Today many Anglicans remember the one day that didn’t make the cut in Holy Women, Holy Men. Our sanctoral kalendar will probably soon include those who renounced their Christian faith and Jews, among others. (Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing but positive appreciation of Judaism, which is why it makes no sense to me theologically to posthumously add Jews to our Communion of Saints, which presupposes Christian baptism.) For reasons unknown, the good people on the Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music did not include Charles, who is commemorated today in England and by many Anglicans around the world. In fact, I would guess that of all the blessed ones considered for inclusion in the kalendar, Charles is the only one with an active devotional society — both in the England and in the US.

I won’t defend Charles as perfect, because no human is perfect. But he did inspire many through his sacrifice, and that seems sufficient reason to me for us to count him as a martyr (literally, a “witness”) of the faith. J. Robert Wright makes the case here. You can watch a corny depiction of Charles’s last minutes here. My hope is that General Convention will add Charles to our kalendar. Frankly, any possible objection to Charles is trivial compared with the potential objections of dozens of those proposed for inclusion in the trial Holy Women, Holy Men. Our current standard seems to have shifted to “if someone, anyone, likes N., let’s include them.” So lots of people find inspiration from Charles. Let’s include him.

If anyone is even the slightest bit interested, I would be pleased to rant further about why I voted against Holy Women, Holy Men and why I hope it does not escape its trial phase.

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8 Responses

  1. Ren Aguila says:

    Please do. I read HWHM and did not like it either. Honestly, it gives more fuel to the fire of reasserters.

  2. Laura says:

    Oh, do rant. I would love to hear it.

  3. Matt Gunter says:

    As I said on the floor at GC, it’s problematic when the very guidelines proposed by SCLM and adopted by GC 06 to guide the selections for HWHM were ignored and some guidelines hastily rewritten in commitee to make allowance for some of the anomalies.

    It makes us look either sloppy or unserious.

  4. HWHM is just in a trial phase? Hallelujah – there’s still hope of deliverance.

    I’ve got the same portrait of Blessed Charles Stuart (as we referred to him today at Mass at S. Stephen’s) as a refrigerator magnet, by the way.

  5. Malcolm says:

    I once had (and may still have somewhere) a 1918 Canadian BCP with an inscription from the Church of St. Charles, King and Martyr in Woodrow, Saskatchewan.

    There is an argument to be made that this Charles, defender of the Church from Presbyterianism, is the only person formally canonized in the history of the Anglican Communion.

  6. Bob Chapman says:

    Paul tells us God’s word is written on the heart of everyone. Some do what they ought because of what is in their heart. That doesn’t mean these people are meant to be an example of faith for all of us.

    In some cases, these non-Christians doing what is written on their hearts stands in witness against the Church Militant here on earth.

    That doesn’t mean we should hold these people as examples of faith and life for everyone to follow.

    While I believe that some of these non-Christians are united with God on death (as if any of us are ever separated from God in life), we know there can be more–should be more–in our lives.

    Christians seem to be imperialistic, not evangelical, in approach to other religions.

    If evangelical, we would be drawing all people to use, just as Christ drew all people to him. As imperialists, we just decree that you are one of the fold, whether you wanted to be in the fold or not.

    There were times we forced baptisms on non-Christians while they lived. In some cases, it was to receive food and care. In some cases, it was to keep living. But, it was forced.

    Today we know that forcing baptism is bad press. So, we wait until after death and baptize their memory.

    I’ve seen Christian churches that have included symbols of other religions around the altar, because all are one. (I’m looking at you, St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle.) Did you bother to find out if most of the followers of these each of these religions wanted emblems of their faith to figure prominently in the celebration of the our Holy Eucharist?

    No wonder people are repulsed by Christians in the world. We just move in and take over imperialistically, rather than live evangelically.

    Fr. Scott, do you have anything to add?

    And, my King Charles–the only person declared a saint by Parliament–rest in peace and rise in glory with the rest of the saints.

  7. Lizette says:

    I am somehow relieved to see this conversation. I have been concerned for a while that the key theological concept missing from HWHM is ecclesiology, the communion of saints is why the church comes before the world in the intercessory prayers, it is larger because it includes the living and the dead. Has there been any conversation with the larger US Jewish community over adding observant Jews to the Christian sanctoral cycle?

  8. Bob Chapman says:

    Here is a picture I took at the Eucharist during the 2005 Convention of the Diocese of Olympia at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle. I felt like it was imperialistic to have those banners behind the altar.


    Those banners were not put there just for the convention. They were hanging there for a while.

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