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September 22, 2022
Arrangements made as teachers ‘rest and reflect’ again
September 22, 2022

Local priest reflects on the late Queen Elizabeth II

A personal reflection by Fr Robert Christo, Vicar for Communications

I remember the pomp and pageantry, and lining the streets as a young boy, when she came to Trinidad along with the prince. Thinking it through from a Christian perspective, I agree with many of the pundits and the commentators, with regard to her steadfastness and commitment to marriage, dedication to duty, resilience in facing trials, and love for country.

I just want to draw attention to the dimension of her life that touched me most as a Catholic: hers was a strong Christian faith. Perhaps not well known is she was a deeply religious woman.

I read recently that in her coronation ceremony, she highlighted that she received a Bible…it’s almost like an ordination…and she said it was the most valuable thing that she had received, the most sacred at that anointed moment.

I interpreted her coronation differently: it was more than just a moment for the monarchy. She had looked at the biblical aspect, the symbol, the token. When you are ordained as priest, you get the chalice and the bread. It was remarkably similar.

She was also anointed with the chrism from the Archbishop of Canterbury. It too reminded me of ordination in the Catholic Church and the reminder of service.

Despite the pomp, there was an acute sacredness. She was the head of Church. She once asked that all, regardless of religion, pray for her. It is something that we priests, and the bishops ask, to be guided in wisdom. Finally, she said that she will serve Him in all aspects of her daily life.

She can be honoured as an evangelist as well, an unpretentious disciple of the Christian faith. Once in her Christmas address, she expressed the hope that the listener would be comforted by the example of Christ who lay in a manger.

She also said in that message that God sent His Son, not to be served but to serve, which she attempted to exhibit in her life. There are all these gestures that may have gone unnoticed because of her ostensible role as Queen.

Noticeable as well, was her spirit of forgiveness. Prince Philip’s uncle Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma was assassinated on August 27, 1979, by Thomas McMahon, an Irish republican and volunteer for the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Queen Elizabeth met with then-Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in 2012. After that meeting in an interview Mc

Guinness said: “I regret every loss of life, including the loss of British soldiers and those who were close to the Queen of England…. I also head-on addressed this issue with the Queen and Prince Philip when I said to them that I recognised that they too had lost a loved one.”

Hers was a reconciliatory gesture. Even with Prince Harry and Meghan, she referred to them as much-loved members of the family. Forgiveness rather than retribution. In all of these I think she was faithful to the values of Christianity.

I know that there are those who are anti-monarchy and see only the reminders of Empire that brought displacement in many ways to populations under its colonial rule. While this remains a fact of our history, the parable of the wheat and darnel (Mt 13:24) may hold some truth with the Queen as individual, and her position of Queen. We cannot deny the goodness in her as individual. It is up to God to judge and separate.