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CORRECTION: British bishops would encourage Catholic spouse in royal family to raise children as Catholics

May 13, 2013

Correcting a report that appeared in some Catholic news outlets (including CWN) last month, a spokesman for the Catholic bishops of Great Britain has said that Church leaders did not tell lawmakers that a Catholic marrying into the royal family would be released from the usual obligation to ensure that children were raised as Catholics.

“I wish to state clearly that neither I, nor the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, have ever, at any time, said to the British government that Catholics who marry into the royal family would not be expected to raise their children in the Catholic faith,” said Msgr. Marcus Stock, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Speaking before the House of Lords, during a debate on the Act of Succession, Lord Wallace of Tankerness said that he had received assurance from Msgr. Stock that the Catholic bishops take a “pastoral” approach to mixed marriages. Lord Wallace spelled out that approach by explaining:

…the Catholic Church will always look to provide guidance that supports and strengthens the unity and indissolubility of marriage. It is in this context, the Catholic Church expects Catholic spouses to sincerely undertake to do all that they can, to raise their children within the Catholic Church. Where it has not been possible for a child of a mixed marriage to be brought up as a Catholic, the Catholic parent does not fall subject to the censure of Canon Law.

The statement quoted by Lord Wallace referred to the Catholic bishops’ approach to every mixed marriage, not specifically to marriages involving members of the royal family.


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