Religious Oaths in the French Coronation

I might support the Alliance Royale in France. One problem I found on their website:

À la couronne est attaché le serment de défendre la couronne contre l’ambition des puissants et de la garder fidèle à l’Église romaine.

To keep the crown faithful to the Roman Church, huh? While I do believe in restoring the Bourbons (whose current scion is Louis XX, Duke of Anjou) in a constitutional monarchy, and they are indeed Romanists, I see nothing attractive in being Romish on principle. This loyalty to Rome would seem to have its Protestant counterpart in Britain, but the British coronation order of service calls for closer attention:

Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel?

Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?

Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England?

These oaths appear in exactly their logical order. God’s law and gospel take the highest precedence, followed by the lawfully established Protestant religion of the realm, specified in England as the Church of England with its doctrine, worship, discipline and government.

Having read the religious obligations of the British crown, let us see their equivalent in France. As documented in Du sacre des rois de France, de son origine et de la Sainte-Ampoule (C. Ballard, 1825), 79–80, the last French king to have a coronation promised, in the name of Jesus Christ, these four things:

  1. de faire conserver en tous temps, à l’Église de Dieu, la paix par le peuple chrétien (‘to have maintained in all time, in God’s Church, peace among the Christian people’);
  2. d’empêcher les personnes de tout rang de commettre des rapines et des iniquités de quelque nature qu’elles soient (‘to stop persons of all rank from committing rapines and iniquities, of whatever nature they be’);
  3. de faire observer la justice et la miséricorde dans tous les jugemens, afin que Dieu, qui est la source de la clémence et de la miséricorde, daigne la répandre sur moi et sur vous aussi (‘to have justice and mercy observed in all judgements, that God, the source of clemency and mercy, may deign to spread them upon me and upon you too’);
  4. de m’appliquer sincèrement, et de tout mon pouvoir, à exterminer, de toutes les terres soumises à ma domination, les hérétiques nommément condamnes par l’Église (‘to apply myself sincerely, and to the utmost of my power, to exterminate, from all the lands subject to my dominion, the heretics specifically condemned by the Church’).

This is what we currently have as the basis of any revision. Most people today will recoil at the thought of exterminating heretics for what they believe, since it denies freedom of conscience, but I think there is something worth keeping in the fourth promise: as a supporter of orthodox religion, the king should indeed exemplify the best of orthodox faith, and by the justice of his ways he should persuade heretics to leave behind their denials of the truth. To a Protestant such as myself, this is the way to fulfil the law in charity rather than tyranny.


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