London, England, Oct 14, 2011 / 18:11 pm
The Catholic Church in the United Kingdom is giving a mixed reaction to plans to reform the centuries old law that prevents the British monarch from being Catholic or marrying a Catholic.
“The Act of Settlement amounts to iniquitous anti-Catholic discrimination,” said Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops of Scotland.
The U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron, revealed this week that he has written to the 15 other Commonwealth states where Queen Elizabeth is head of state with a view to reforming the Act of Settlement, which has been in force since 1701.
“This rule is a historical anomaly - it does not, for example, bar those who marry spouses of other faiths - and we do not think it can continue to be justified,” wrote Cameron.
However, the proposal does not include lifting the ban on Catholics ascending to the throne. The reason offered for this is that, upon coronation, the British monarch automatically becomes the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.