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Marriage to Catholic no longer a bar to British royalty

Catholic World News - October 28, 2011

The nations of the British Commonwealth have agreed to alter the rules of royal succession, allowing for a monarch to marry a Roman Catholic.

The new rules provide that the oldest child of the reigning monarch will inherit the throne—abolishing the longstanding rule that a son takes precedence over older daughters.

The ban on Catholics in the royal family will be lifted partially. British Prime Minister David Cameron explained: "Let me be clear, the monarch must be in communion with the Church of England because he or she is the head of that Church. But it is simply wrong they should be denied the chance to marry a Catholic if they wish to do so. After all, they are already quite free to marry someone of any other faith."

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster welcomed the change, and suggested that the remaining ban on a Catholic monarch was understable; he said that he could “fully recognize the importance of the position of the established church in protecting and fostering the role of faith in our society today.” Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond was less understanding, saying that it was “deeply disappointing” that a Catholic would still be ineligible for the throne.

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Show 6 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: WRY - Nov. 01, 2011 11:56 AM ET USA

    I don't see how this can work. A Catholic parent has a duty to raise their child Catholic. That would apply to the spouse of a monarch. The child, if he grows up Catholic, could not accept the throne because in doing so he would be pledging fealty to the Church of England, and in fact leading it. So as long as the monarch is the head of the English church, what this basically says is that a Catholic heir must in effect renounce his faith to ascend to the throne. Correct?

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Oct. 29, 2011 6:59 PM ET USA

    There is no bar to a Eastern Orthodox, Muslim, Atheist, Hindu, Zoroastrian, etc. from becoming a monarch and "Supreme Governor of the Church of England" only Roman Catholic. 477 years of division and intolerance continues.

  • Posted by: garedawg - Oct. 29, 2011 4:15 PM ET USA

    So what will happen if Prince Charles decides to become Eastern Orthodox like his father's family?

  • Posted by: BLRallo3059 - Oct. 29, 2011 12:57 PM ET USA

    Oh, have the British royals found a new boogeyman after 400-odd years?

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Oct. 29, 2011 12:39 AM ET USA

    So Cameron proves himself to be antidisestablishmentarian. And in the 21st century, yet. We are not amused.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Oct. 28, 2011 3:36 PM ET USA

    Ah, but Mr. Cameron! The Catholic Church isn't just "any other church." This is good news, but it will not have the consequences you intend.

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