This morning I was angry. ANGRY! Fuuuuuuu-ming. I have been upset before when it comes to institutionalized religion, but this time I read the story of all stories, coming from the church (this time around: Church of England).
Why, you ask? Well, better read the following letter first:
As you all might know, I have always been interested by history. So, it will be no surprise to you, I was over the moon when The University of Leicester announced they found the remains of a King, who passed away over 500 years ago. Richard III, last of the Plantagenet brothers, last king to die in battle. Found in a carpark. Even a scriptwriter couldn’t make this up!
After a lot of scientific research, which is already debatable and a legal battle where to re-bury Richard III, on the 7th August (yes, I do remember this date by heart as it is the same date Henry Tudor arrived at Milford Haven 529 years ago) Leicester Cathedral announced the reburial date of the late King. Via twitter, Leicester Cathedral mentioned to me seats within the Cathedral at the burial where “by invitation of the Dean only”.
Little did I realise, this invitation came with a pricetag. The church calls the buying of these seats a “donation”. 100k has been raised so far by the cathedral, to fund their new ambulatory.
I have read another blogpost stating it was very normal for churches in Richard’s time to make money out of such affairs. And yes, granted, once upon a time you could wash away your sins by giving money to your church. Pay as you go!
However, people, newsflash. First of all: welcome to the 21st century. Morals have changed. What was correct then, might actually not be now. Second of all: Richard’s church was not the church we know now: Church of England. When Richard (catholic) died, Henry VII became king, who in turn fathered the son (Henry VIII) who separated himself totally from Rome and the pope. In essence, he founded the Anglican church and his daughter Elizabeth and later James I pushed forward with the Anglican agenda. What is so very important about protestantism/Anglicanism was the fact that people adhering to this branch of Christianity, were sick and tired of all the wealth, pomp, malpractices, money grabbing, etc etc. A pure faith, back to the essence of believing, giving, caring, for the community.
You see, THAT is exactly what made me so angry this morning. What the C of E is doing, is so far away from the core business a church should be doing. Caring for its community. They sell seats in order to improve their own interior, they USE an annointed King as a cash cow to make the church look wealthier?
So yes, pretty and properly pissy I was today. But I thought, hang on, online ranting is all good and well, but can’t I use this frustration (Leicester Cathedral is good at frustrating people, let me assure you) to do something good? I have seen so many reports and interviews about the English poor. I have visited Leicester and have seen first hand the community there is in dire need of help. Beggars on the streets, and so on. I am sure this only scrapes the surface. So, I went to look for the local foodbank. And you know what? They are located around the corner from the Leicester Cathedral.
The lovely Rachel Markham, communications and fundraising officer at Charity link, emailed me with a few suggestions on how to donate! You can also find these suggestions here: http://www.charity-link.org/get-involved
I donated a few ££, I don’t have much, but I did this to honour a King who was denied a proper burial. A King who was denied his version of the story and a King who now will be used as a money generator for the already well off. I donated because I feel the Leicester community is currently let down by the one authority who, in essence, should care most of all. If even a church doesn’t step up to do the right thing, we should all show them the “path of righteousness.”
Angry, but redirected to do something positive. Fellow Ricardians, friends, followers on twitter. I know times are hard for many of you. But if you can spare a few pounds, this foodbank changes lives. And I tell you from the bottom of my heart: as a single parent of two, who used a similar foodbank, it really is the truth. For England, for Richard?