Thursday, 28 April 2011

Britain's Monarchy can be Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu or Bush Born Baptist but they can't be Catholic

A country that prides itself on its even handedness and sense of fair play, that opens its doors to all and sundry in need of state support, that invokes laws promoting homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia in its attempt to be 'forward thinking and unprejudiced' actually does not allow a Roman Catholic to become an heir to the throne.
 A massive throwback back to the Dark Ages!

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales profess to be ambivalent towards this inequality, not really concerned with a Catholic becoming an heir to the throne, happy to  maintain the status quo. Happy, also, for their Cardinals to be relegated to the back of the VIP pews when it comes to Royal Weddings.

But I find it distinctly unhealthy and an indicator of a hard core prejudice against Catholics. Nick Clegg (bless him) was all set to sort out the Act of Settlement and change it so that Catholics could join the ranks of those eligible to be king or queen  along with Seventh Day Adventists, Monster Raving Loony Born Again Christians and the Ba Hai Reformed Church members (who have been eligible for that honour since the Act was passed in 1701).

Now it appears that the Government is cooling down any notion of making any changes, well we have had 310 years of prejudice against Catholics, what's another century or two?

Whom, one might ask, has put the dampers on change? EF Pastor Emeritus claims that no less a personage than the Queen is behind it and I believe that he is correct.
Her Majesty has never evinced any love or even empathy for the Catholic Faith; she is Low Church Anglican and put a stop to a small private Mass that was celebrated regularly in the cell of St Thomas More in the Tower of London a few years ago; that seemed to be a spiteful act. She referred, patronisingly, to Cardinal Hume as "My Cardinal" and he also played the part well.

"A Papist on the throne? - Never"
 She has not gone out of her way, in any sense of the phrase, to embrace the British members of the Catholic Church as her subjects.

British Catholics, however, continue to show temporal fealty to the Crown and, by large, are a loyal and true bunch of people.

Of course, no self respecting Catholic would wish to marry or be born into the British Royal Family. They do not have a great record in terms of marital fidelity or sensible behaviour. I once stood for nearly two hours in the rain with a group of Special Needs students outside our College, awaiting the arrival of the Princess Royal. When she arrived her aide pointed out the group but she totally ignored them and swept past. All that was needed was a quick wave and all would have been fine.
I would like to be a Royalist but my support is waning fast and the fact that this state prejudice is likely to continue only contributes to my feelings that they should all get proper jobs like their European counterparts and start behaving with some decorum.

I also question the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission - shouldn't they be taking action against such bigotry?

But then I looked at the list of Commissioners and speculated how many of them were Catholic or, even, they are:-

Trevor Phillips OBE (chair)Baroness Margaret Prosser of Battersea OBE (deputy chair)Stephen Alambritis Ann Beynon OBE
Professor Geraldine Van Bueren
Kay Carberry CBE
Baroness Sally Greengross OBE
Baroness Meral Hussein Ece OBE
Dr Jean Irvine OBE
Kaliani Lyle
Angela Mason
Michael Smith
Simon Woolley

If you check their EHRC profiles you will find that many of them are Labour Party activists and a few of them are also supporters of Stonewall, the Homosexual Charity. Quite a few list trades unions as being their key interest. One also claims representation of black people - that's fine but why no evidence of Catholicism?

We are the only faith of any reckoning in this country after all! 


  1. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the Act of Settlement states that the monarch must be in Communion with the Church of England. That I think would eliminate the 'Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu' part of the post title and make doubtful, while not impossible, for the 'Bush Born Baptist' to be considered for the succession. Part of the 'job description' of the British Monarch is to be the Head of the Church of England, which makes it rather like those permissible 'exemptions' one finds in equality legislation.

  2. Yes, you are correct, Father but 'being in communion with the Church of England' is one of those phrases that may be taken a number of ways. It would certainly preclude Catholics as we would not enter into such an agreement but those of other faiths may feel less specific about it (and certainly, the Anglican Church does have an elastic approach to doctrinal and other issues, that's not meant to be insulting, just a fact).

  3. While watching (taped) the wedding this morning with my youngest son, he asked if anyone can be Catholic in Britain's royal family and I had to say no, but could not really explain why. He reckoned it has something to do with jolly old King Henry VIII . . . Good Lord. But, having read this, I can explain a bit why.

    My children have only just now realized what a Anglophile I am. Lord, have mercy.