(ZENIT News/ London, 03.13.2023) Last Thursday, March 9, Charles III, King of the United Kingdom, received the so-called Privileged Bodies. The Privileged Bodies are culturally significant organisations and institutions that reflect the United Kingdom’s diverse society, drawn from the education sector, as well as incorporating science, arts, and religious institutions. Traditionally, the Privileged Bodies are given the opportunity to present Loyal Addresses to the Monarch, representing the key role they play in British society. This long-held tradition dates back as far as the seventeenth century and takes place to mark significant Royal occasions. In 2023, to mark His Majesty’s Accession, the 27 Privileged Bodies presented their Loyal Addresses to The King, serving to emphasise and reaffirm their loyalty to the Monarch.
Here is the address of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Catholic Archbishop of Westminster.
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On behalf of the Catholic community in England and Wales, I thank you for the privilege of offering you this expression of our highest esteem for Your Majesty and our assurance of loyalty to you in your service of our nations.
In doing so I assure you that there remains in our hearts a most special place for our late Queen Elizabeth. She is remembered in our prayers, with thanksgiving to God for the remarkable and unique role she played not only in the great events of the last 95 years but also in the lives of so many individuals and communities. We pray that she now has an everlasting place in heaven, embraced by the splendour and glory of God, to whom she was so devoted.
Your Majesty, we rejoice in your Accession. For so many years we have observed your desire and unstinting efforts to explore and enhance the well-being of the entire human family, through your commitment to religious faith, to the protection of the environment, to the relief of poverty, to the promotion of beauty in architecture and living conditions, and your steadfast opposition to religious persecution.
Your Majesty, at this solemn moment I wish to assure you that the Catholic community is profoundly supportive of these fundamental concerns. We strive to offer to our society, Your Kingdom, an education to young people that is rooted in faith and its consequent commitment to human dignity, expressive of service to those most in need and inspired by a vocational call to contribute to the common good and a shared prosperity.
Our faith demands that we have a particular concern for the fate and future of those fleeing violence and poverty, for those trapped in human trafficking and modern slavery, for those dedicated by their profession to the service of the sick and poor, among whom are many Catholics from numerous countries of the world. The Catholic community in our nations today draws together and holds together in a common faith people from different nationalities, languages, cultures and customs, helping them to find a settled way of life here and to be generous contributors to the common good. Our parishes and communities are places of rich human diversity, outreach and profound communion.
When you addressed faith leaders in September last year, you told us that ‘the beliefs that flourish in, and contribute to, our richly diverse society differ. They, and our society, can only thrive through a clear collective commitment to those vital principles of freedom of conscience, generosity of spirit and care for others which are, to me, the essence of our nationhood.’ These are values that the Catholic Church holds dear indeed.
Your Majesty, as you approach the solemn moment of your Coronation, and in all the kingly service that you will continue to give in the years to come, I assure you, with great confidence, of the support and prayers of the Catholic community in England and Wales. May God bless Your Majesty and your Queen Consort, preserve you both in health of mind and body and grant you every grace and blessing now and for the years to come.
✠ Cardinal Vincent Nichols