Catholic World News

British lawmakers assured: Catholic royals not required to raise children as Catholics

April 23, 2013

Catholic Church officials in Great Britain have reportedly assured lawmakers that Catholics who marry into the royal family would not be expected to raise their children in the Catholic faith.

During debate in the House of Lords on proposed changes in the Act of Settlement—the law that bars Catholics from the line of succession to the crown—Lord Wallace of Tankerness reported that he had been assured Catholics marrying a member of the royal family would not be held to the usual requirement that their children be raised as Catholics. Citing the general secretary of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales, Lord Wallace said:

I have the specific consent of Msgr. Stock to say that he was speaking on behalf of Archbishop Nichols as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and can inform the House that the view taken by the Catholic Church in England and Wales is that, in the instance of mixed marriages, the approach of the Catholic Church is pastoral.

“Where it has not been possible for the 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,” Lord Wallace explained. He indicated that he had been assured that for the Catholic spouse of a member of the royal family, it would be regarded as “impossible” to raise a Catholic child.

Editor's note

This report has been corrected and updated, to reflect a statement by Msgr. Stock 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." See the corrected CWN story of May 13 here .


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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Apr. 24, 2013 1:22 PM ET USA

    Oh, the perfidy of those "shepherds"! How could they succumb to this travesty of true justice? The Catholic Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and True Church and they would give up the souls of children born for the sake of power and prestige? God help us!

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Apr. 24, 2013 8:07 AM ET USA

    So, the upshot of it all is no serious Catholics need to marry into the royal family for fear that said family might be tainted by Romish superstitions. Only nominal Catholics need apply.

  • Posted by: chady - Apr. 24, 2013 6:32 AM ET USA

    An interesting scenario has just occurred to me. What if a member of another European Royal family who was a Catholic wished to marry into the British Royal Family. The person presumably have their own line of succession to their own country's throne. Would the British 'Royal' they wished to marry have to give up their Anglican Faith and permit any of their off spring to be brought up in the Catholic faith?

  • Posted by: chady - Apr. 24, 2013 6:22 AM ET USA

    In 2008 Peter Phillips, the Queen's eldest grandson, married the Canadian Autumn Kelly in Windsor Castle's St George's Chapel. Mrs Phillips gave up her Catholic faith and converted to the Church of England. I suppose this political tinkering with the ‘Act of Settlement’ by the present coalition government is a ‘welcome step’ and makes Catholics in Britain feel more inclusive. At least they have a choice [?] of sorts Though I still can’t help feeling it’s a ‘sop’ to the Reformation establishment

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Apr. 24, 2013 6:06 AM ET USA

    Not to worry, folks. All this royalty nonsense will have been trashed before the end of this century, and hopefully long before that. No British Catholic should aspire to become a member of a family that is riddled with Freemasonry, or indeed support a head of state who, instead of abdicating in protest, signed into law a parliamentary act that resulted in the unjust killing of 7M of her future subjects.

  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Apr. 24, 2013 4:14 AM ET USA

    Impossible? Do you mean that the House of Lords would deign to tell a King or Queen that they could not embrace Catholism? And that the answer is important considering the problems that burden that land?

  • Posted by: filioque - Apr. 23, 2013 10:01 PM ET USA

    And why wouldn't the impossibility of raising children as Catholics be an impediment to a Catholic marrying a royal? If the Catholic bishops have just left it at this, they are seriously derelict in their duty. They are far from being truly pastoral.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Apr. 23, 2013 6:44 PM ET USA

    Oh for those bygone days of G K Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Ronald Knox, and John Henry Newman. They were made of sterner stuff clearly than the current crop of Catholics in England, clerical and otherwise.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 23, 2013 6:33 PM ET USA

    One staunch Archbishop/Pope, and there'll be discord. Besides, it's not about "Canon Law", really: it's for the sake of the child's soul, that they would be nearer to Christ through His church; it's also for the soul of the parent, who has the responsibility and obligation before God to raise the child in all that the parent knows of Truth. Canon Law and clergy are meant to be advocates for Catholics considering mixed marriages, as well as advisers to the affianced, and guardians of their souls.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Apr. 23, 2013 6:28 PM ET USA

    Well, I guess I would rather see this kind of a ruling than seeing pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage English, like Tony Blair, allowed into the Catholic Church.