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Parliament committee questions on allowing Catholics in royal family

December 07, 2011

A committee of Parliament has questioned plans by the British government to amend the law that bars Catholics from the line of succession to the crown.

The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee offered a generally favorable assessment of the changes, which would lift the longstanding rule that a British sovereign cannot be married to a Catholic. The new rules retain the requirement that the king or queen cannot be a Catholic, since the monarch is by law the head of the (Anglican) Church of England.

The parliamentary committee pointed out that the new policy raises new problems, since a monarch who married a Catholic would presumably be required by the Church to promise that any children—who would be heirs to the throne—would be raised as Catholics. Thus under the new rules, the children of a king or queen could be excluded from the line of succession in that scenario.

The committee also noted that the new rules, which stipulate that male and female children will be treated equally in the line of royal succession, raise questions about how the sexes should be treated in the inheritance of other titles to British nobility.


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