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This week an inaugural Mass was held for Pope Francis (this has replaced the old Papal Coronation) and many European Monarchies either went themselves or sent representatives. For the UK The Duke and
Duchess of Gloucester represented Her Majesty the Queen. I thought this would be a good time to examine the Crown Bill that is being debated in the House of Lords this month. (see article in the link)

As stated in the Bill there are three major changes that are being voted on…

  • removing the first born son preference and allowing an older daughter over a younger brother to become a monarch
  • allowing anyone who marries a Roman Catholic to remain in line
  • limiting the requirement that all descendants of George II must obtain the monarch’s permission to marry to the six people nearest in line to the crown. If the monarch’s approval is not given then the married couple and their descendants lose their place in the line of succession.

The focus of this blog is the abolition of the requirement in the 1701 Act of Settlement that those in line to the throne would lose their place in succession upon marrying a Catholic. While I think this is along over due change it does create a problem and that is the source of the debate in the House of Lords.

The problem is that the sovereign is also the Head of the Church of England and must be in communion with that Church. That does make sense. I don’t think the UK would be happy with a monarch that is Head of the Church of England but also a Roman Catholic. So where does one draw the line? That is the issue at hand.

I think disestablished the monarch from the Church of England is not an option…at least at this time…so there must be a point where the monarch must remain Catholic. In my opinion, the monarch should be allowed to marry a Catholic as long as they raise their children in the Anglican faith.