Do British Catholics Sing 'God Save the Queen'?

Now I live in Detroit, right on the border of Canada. And I can tell you religious affiliation is a nonissue there. (Of course the queen in fact is the queen of Canada. But let’s not complicate things.)

Do English Roman Catholics sing ‘God Save the Queen’ with everyone else? I know during the reign of the first Elizabeth Roman Catholicism was a big deal. In fact, it could result in death.

But in the 19th century came the Catholic Emancipation Acts. So is it still a big deal?


To some Northern Irish Roman Catholics yes, to English Roman Catholics no, AFAICT.

In this far corner of the world, the early European settlers regarded themselves as part of the Empire, in a manner similar to Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. They sang “God Save The Queen” the same as their English, Scottish and Welsh antecedents, and (unless they were in the army), refused to sing “God Save The Queen” the same as their Irish antecedents.

When I was in state school, we didn’t sing at all (Australians didn’t do the anthem as much as Americans). The Roman Catholics sang “Advance Australia Fair”, the private schools sang “God Save The Queen”, and the selective (‘magnet’) high school my brother attended, combining both woke political correctness and conservative ruling class political correctness, sang both.

Yes, they do, except some in Northern Ireland. That’s on the extremely rare occasions any British person sings it. Hardly anyone knows more than the first couple of lines. I’ve never sung it - it’s not a thing, really.

I went to a Catholic boys’ school in Toronto, and singing God Save the Queen was not exceptional - on occasion sung following the national anthem. I never heard of a problem - unless you were extreme nationalist Irish the Catholic persecutions, as with the protestant persecution under Bloody Mary and the persecution of protestant dissenters by the Brits (which gave us assorted colonies in North America) - that’s all ancient history. Historically, several provinces have “Separate” school boards going back to the 1800’s so the Catholics (French and Irish) did not sully the fine protestant schools - and of course, local priests insisted on controlling what their students learned. Today it’s a historical curiosity.

In fact, religion is so “who cares?” in Canada, that I couldn’t tell you what denomination our politicians are. (Other than - if French-Canadian, Italian, Filipino, etc. odds are they’re Catholic; the defense minister with the turban or the head of the third party, with the turban - both have “Singh” in their name - pretty sure they’re Sikh. Everyone else, who knows? We have everything here and getting more diverse by the day.)

What amazes me and most other Canadians is how much attention people pay to religion in politics in the USA.

Yes this. I’m English, raised Catholic, and growing up I was not aware of any religious or political reason that we should not sing the national anthem.

But nonetheless we didn’t sing it, because no one does, because singing just seems really uncool unless you’re actually performing.

Also, FYI, the anthem is very rarely played anyway. International sporting events, the queen showing up… And that’s about it. The US is a bit of an outlier in this.

When I was a teenager, the anthem was played in cinemas at the end of every performance. Even then, most people ignored it and just trooped out. The BBC played it too, at around midnight when it closed down for the night.

These days the only time we hear it is when we win gold at the Olympics (a bit more often these days); on the Queen’s birthday, and the last night of the Proms.

The only person I know that is a committed Catholic is also a strong monarchist, so I am sure that she would happily sing along if she was in a situation where it was expected.

In my circle at least, the whole nationalistic, flag-waving, jingoistic attitude that seems to prevail in parts of the USA is rather distasteful. Only one step up from having huge pictures of ‘Dear Leader’ on every street corner.

I agree with the previous post, a lot of the ‘patriotic’ displays in the US seem over the top and simply out of place, and rather artificial.

That is not to say Britons are not patriotic, but they are more self assured in their national identity and just don’t need to go around crowing about it to try prove some nebulous point - unless we are playing rugby or cricket of course

Well, the more grown-up among us, are, if not self-assured, then at least comfortable with being vague about it, for sure. But there is a persistent minority who are more demonstrative, either in association with outright hooliganism and racism, or (for the more respectable curtain-twitching classes) insistent on not only making a show of themselves being patriotic but also on others doing so (or they’re not “really” British). The present government has recently been making itself busy launching odd “culture war” initiatives, partly to appeal to the latter, but also to tempt the left into criticisms that can be spun against them.

Well, of course they do. But it is always followed by the immortal line ‘she ain’t no human being’ :wink: .

Indeed, and the part of the Twittersphere that I follow (the non-Brexity bit) is rather incensed at the moment with the Government’s ramping up of the flag waving (I mean, have you seen the new Downing Street press room :nauseated_face: ).

I was struggling to think of when else I might have sung God Save The Queen - best I could come up with was the Girl Guides. They do like a bit of God and Country.

To the OP, there’s no correlation between GSTQ and anti-Catholic sentiment in present day UK, and the song came long after the Reformation. It’s just the national anthem.

When you can post a photo of Boris Johnson hugging and kissing the Union Jack then you can complain. Until then just take comfort that you haven’t gone quite over the edge. Yet.

Aside: The only version of your national anthem that I know the rods to is:

God save King Pendragon,
May his reign long drag on,
God save the King.
Send him most gorious,
Great and uproarious,
Horrible and hoarious,
God save our King.

You’ve got to give us points for this

Couldn’t just leave him up there, huh?

Seems to me the idea that it happens all the time in the US is a bit overblown. At political rallies where they are trying to out patriot the other guy? Sure. If you don’t go to live sports you won’t hear it much. Even televised sports don’t show the anthem unless it’s a big game with someone famous singing or they think there might be a protest.TV stations have stopped signing out at night so they don’t play the anthem then. The only time I was in a movie theater where they played the anthem before the movie what’s on military bases. In other countries I’m sure they think we’re singing it all the time but if you stay away from sports probably won’t hear it much. Most people can probably do a decent job singing along with the words but if they had to do it solo they would probably stumble. I’m trying to think of the last time I heard the anthem when I wasn’t at a game or watching the Super Bowl and I can’t do it.

Of course I haven’t been to a game of any kind for more than a year for obvious reasons so it’s been a while.

Until 1980, God Save the Queen WAS Canada’s official national anthem.

It’s not common to sing it here. On the [few] social occasions when it is played, it is enough to hear the melody. (and none of this one-hand-on-your-wallet stuff either).

There’s nothing in the lyrics of God Save the Queen about her being the head of the church, so why wouldn’t they?

Unless the whole Irish thing gets mixed in there, I guess.

Maybe not in Windsor, but where my wife is from (a small town in Newfoundland), it is not a non-issue.

There’s a United Church of Canada church, there’s a Pentecostal church, there’s an Anglican church, and there’s a Catholic church. And on Sundays, almost everyone in town is at one of them.

There’s no hostility on anyone’s part, but everyone knows what church everyone goes to. There’s some mild anti-Catholicism, but it never gets personalized.

In the second verse of the original lyrics, there was the line “Frustrate their papist tricks”. This was written during the most recent Jacobite uprising. The word “papist” has since been changed to “knavish”, but I believe that’s a fairly recent change. But I understand the second verse is rarely sung, so it’s not a big deal.

Bradbury wrote a story “The Anthem Sprinters” about Irish folks who made it a personal challenge to escape the theatre as fast as possible after the end of the movie, so they wouldn’t hear the song.