Meghan Markle has been baptised into the Church of England with water from the Jordan. I cannot see that it much matters where the water came from but rather what on earth this ceremony was about. Ms Markle was also confirmed at the same time.
Baptism is a sacrament recognised by all the major branches of Christianity so clearly Ms Markle had not been previously baptised, nor have I read or seen a shred of evidence that suggests she would have sought the sacrament had she not been about to marry royalty.
Maybe Harry converted her but it has all the aura of ritual rather than an active search for salvation and, yes, that does matter because it plays into a view that is rapidly becoming widespread, which is that Church ceremonies are mere pageants.
Indignant brides fume when priests or vicars deny them secular songs and insist on hymns. Others get into a flurry when told they cannot wear off-the-shoulder, plunging necklines when marrying in Church. “He has no right,” cried one outraged groom when his bride was told she must present herself modestly before the Lord.
That just about sums it up. The Church, it seems, has no right to impose its own rules when people want to use it for a giant fancy dress parade rather than a solemn though joyful service. My brother, himself a vicar, used to talk about “four-wheel Christians”, which is to say those who come to church in a pram, a wedding car and a hearse with precious little attendance in between.
He took the same robust attitude towards the choice of music at funerals. I Did it My Way is a favourite of many deceased but he used to observe that it was rather more important to do it God’s way. As for Jerusalem, he used to say simply that the answer to the questions posed in the first verse was “no”.
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