British bishops resist move to allow monarch to marry a Catholic

CANTERBURY, England — A royal row has broken out between Church of England bishops and Prime Minister David Cameron’s liberal-minded … Continued

CANTERBURY, England — A royal row has broken out between Church of England bishops and Prime Minister David Cameron’s liberal-minded coalition government over a planned bill to change ancient laws governing the royal line of succession.

The government wants to pass the proposed Succession to the Crown Bill in time for the birth of a baby to Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton this summer.

The new law would ensure that if the first royal baby is a girl, she will become heir to the throne rather than have to yield to a male sibling.

The bill would also change a law passed in 1701, when a French invasion aimed at restoring Catholicism to Protestant England seemed certain, that stipulates that the British monarch cannot marry a Roman Catholic.

Prince Charles, who is next in line to the throne, has expressed concern about the proposed changes, according to unnamed friends who briefed a royal watcher at the Daily Mail.

The conservative tabloid carried a front-page story on Monday (Jan. 7) that reflected Charles’ anger that the bill was being rushed through the House of Commons without proper consultation with Buckingham Palace.

According to the paper’s senior correspondent, Simon Heffer, Charles’ main concern is that one of his descendants might marry a Catholic and have a child that is brought up as a Roman Catholic.

Were the child brought up as a Catholic and assumed the throne, there would be a constitutional crisis because the reigning monarch is also Supreme Governor of the established Church of England.

Now, former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey has entered the arena, telling the House of Lords that Charles’ concerns “need to be listened to very carefully.”

“The government’s instincts to allow female heirs to succeed are wholly right but to avoid any unintended consequences of the proposals for the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church there must be much greater consultation and discussion,” Carey said.

The Church of England leader in the House of Lords, the Rt. Rev. Tim Stevens, said on Tuesday that the lack of full communion between the Church of England and the Catholic Church “effectively renders a Catholic heir incapable of being the Supreme Governor of the Church.”

“So clearly that’s a more complicated issue than it appears at first sight,” Stevens said, adding that any threat to the established status of the Church of England was something bishops “would have to resist.”

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  • OldUncleTom

    Perhaps the UK would be well-advised to consider abandoning that final vestige of the “divine right of kings”, and separate church and state completely.

    It may have had practical political considerations when the Vatican was a potent political force in the world, but that has not been the case for centuries now. There are no Catholic countries left that a Pope could unite against England, since all the world’s modern nations are secular today.

    As far as leaving aside male succession, that is long overdue. Almost all the great English monarchs have been wormen anyway.

  • tony55398

    It would make sense to elect a Bishop to be head of the Church of England, rather than a King or Queen.

  • Secular1

    Is this fellow Charles for real? This is 21st century. What indispensable function does this family perform that British nation cannot do without or cannot be performed by any other individuals? This family has first of all accumulated all its wealth through nothing but stealing and unjustifiable appropriation. In addition, it has been mooching off of the public trough for at least past 50 years, if not longer. In fact I would say their justification to mooch off of the public trough ceased from the time Britain turned into a nominal monarchy.

    That they will be maintained on a continuing basis and laws are being considered on how to maintain them in that moocher state demands that they take whatever charity is being dispensed to them. Instead the gall of this family to impose its prejudices and bigotry into law is appalling. I think the parliament must just do away with this family’s privileges to mooch off at the pubic trough, once in for all. Let the 1000 or so royal family to find work and work from 9 – 5 like all others.

    The so called anglican church was born of the loins of Henry the VIII. There wasn’t any philosophical differences between the anglican church and the RCC. Both are just the same institutions, peddlers of fairy tales and superstition. So the peddlers of fairy tales should just stick to fairy tales peddling and not meddle in the affairs of the state. Do these clown not realize that they are in the 21st century.