Saturday, February 09, 2013

Richard III was a Catholic and should be buried in a Catholic church (Opinion)

Richard III may have been a murderer, or he may have been a much-maligned monarch. 

He was certainly one of the most controversial kings in English history, the last Plantagenet, and afflicted by scoliosis. He was also a Catholic. 

Now that his remains have been disinterred, he should be buried in a Catholic church with Catholic funeral rites.

The prospect of a  Westminster Abbey state funeral, or of his being moved to York Minster (more than 1500 citizens of York have signed a petition for him to be moved there) would have horrified this pre-Reformation Catholic. 

No matter what his links to York; no matter how tickled his vanity by the offer of a pomp and circumstance send-off, he'd expect a Catholic burial.

Anything else would shock him. 

He wouldn't recognise the unfamiliar rites of an Anglican state ceremony. 

He'd regard the established Church as sacrilegious, the work of a hateful Tudor who'd taken the divine right of kings too far. 

When the bodies of the Russian royal family were found in a mineshaft in the Urals, they were laid to rest– with a proper Russian Orthodox service celebrated in a proper Russian Orthodox cathedral. 

Surely this Catholic king should be accorded the same respect?

So no more talk of York Minster or of the Abbey. 

Let Richard III be buried in Westminster Cathedral. 

John Francis Bentley's red brick building in Victoria is little-known outside the country's four million plus Catholics – it could do with a celebrity occasion to boost its profile. 

What better way to achieve this than by the reburial of a proud king and humble sinner?

Richard III may not have lived as a Catholic; but he deserves to be buried as one.

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