Why wasn’t the Moderator allowed to welcome the Pope?

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Dave Coull,
Angus

The largest Christian denomination in Scotland is the Church of Scotland, which, unlike the Church of England, is presbyterian.  That means it doesn’t have bishops or archbishops.

Dave Coull,
Angus

The largest Christian denomination in Scotland is the Church of Scotland, which, unlike the Church of England, is presbyterian.  That means it doesn’t have bishops or archbishops.

The official position of the Church of Scotland is that “the head of the Church is Jesus Christ.  There is no Earthly head.”

That being so, a “moderator” or chairperson, of the General Assembly of the Kirk, is elected for just one year, and then replaced the next year, just in case any of them get any inflated ideas about their Earthly importance.  Nevertheless, the Moderator does act as a sort of figurehead at official events etc.

The present Moderator was supposed, along with the Queen, to welcome the Pope to Scotland.  He turned up at the Palace of Holyrood and was ushered into a side room by royal officials.  After a lengthy wait, he was told that his services wouldn’t be needed after all.

As folk will have seen on the television, the Queen was flanked by the Archbishop of Canterbury as she welcomed the Pope.  John Knox is not the only historical figure who would have felt sick.

Robert Wishart, who was Bishop of Glasgow for 44 years, from 1272, and who supported William Wallace, and then Robert Bruce, and was imprisoned in England, springs to mind.  So does Bernard, Abbot of Arbroath, who wrote a certain “Declaration”.

But these are just two of the most prominent examples.  The fact is, virtually the entire Catholic Church in Scotland spent many centuries fighting off claims of overlordship from Archbishops in England.

By what right does the Archbishop of Canterbury welcome anybody to Scotland?