Bad King James may yet have a Catholic successor : a momentous move from Gordon Brown

Now here’s a real constitutional turn-up of the first order in a Guardian exclusive. One of the last ancient acts of discrimination against Roman Catholics is to be repealed – the Act of Settlement of 1707 which barred Catholics from the throne after the little difficulty between King James and King Billy. Up to this moment, this was written off as far too complicated and obscure, while campaigners saw it as a totemic issue at the formal apex of the British State. It would also I guess make it that bit easier for the Republic to rejoin the Commonwealth, if that idea were to be mooted again. Along with the end of the Act of Settlement will be the end of male primogeniture, the right of a male to succeed before a female. What would be regarded in other fields as blatant sex discrimination was the subject of private members’ bills in the Lords, lately by Lord Alf Dubbs a former NI Labour minister, and before that one from Lord Jeffrey Archer before his own brush with the law. Both measures are constitutionally momentous. The politics of the repeal of the Act of Settlement are fascinating. Scottish Catholics who are an important strand of Labour – or were at least until recently – were particularly vociferous about lifting the royal ban on Catholics, but this was one trick Alex Salmond was keen to take. Brown may have forestalled him, if he survives.

Today’s move was trailed in Scotland earlier this year, where it will be seen, bluntly, as one in the eye against English supremacy and the established Church of England. Even if Brown falls, it’s hard to see how this Pandora’s Box can be closed again, once opened. It could also augur a much bolder programme for constitutional reform than was expected from Brown.

Update The Daily Telegraph’s Damian Thompson has spotted the Scottish Catholic connection

  • Garibaldy

    I look forward to the Orange Order’s response.

  • matt

    I don’t really see this as anything but symbolic – a pointless fuss, although I can understand the religious aspect the gender side always seems to me a bit ridiculous:

    “…the right of a male to succeed before a female. What would be regarded in other fields as blatant sex discrimination…”

    ‘in other fields’ – but sure that’s the point? It’s not like applying for a job as a Doctor or cashier at tesco’s is it? It hardly gets advertised in the Guardian, does it?

    The position is anachronistic [my personal view would is as long we stopped the cheques, took their houses bar one, they can stay ‘royal’ for all I care – I’m neither pro or anti]. People are okay with the ‘job’ being inherited and seemingly with the concept of being a ‘King’ or a ‘Queen’ but letting a boy bagsy the job before his sis?? Shocking!!

  • steve

    Gari

    Will they still sing GSTQ when its one of them uns?

    codeword: them, lmao

  • It may be a peculiar anachronism that nobody in their right mind would invent today – but really, a mostly self-financing head of state (she’s rich enough) isn’t such a bad idea. After all, she brings in more in tourist revenue than she costs in expenses for her public duties.

    And Tony and Gordon had to go along to the palace regularly to be quizzed on what they were up to – since parliament has conspicuously failed to hold them to account, it’s just as well someone did.

    And as for the argument that most of us are not eligible for the job – how many of us are likely to be in the running for President, if we do change the rules?

  • Dave

    It’s more the case that Browne expects the Lisbon Treaty to come into effect and wants to amend the Act of Settlement before the ECJ strikes it down, thereby giving the game away to UK voters about how much of their sovereignty they have transferred by ratifying the Treaty and what the actual consequences are.

    Her Majesty, witless pen-pusher, has signed her monarchy’s death warrant by granting Royal Assent to the Lisbon Treaty. The British have no idea that they have given away their own Constitution without the assent of the people – but all will become clear to them in due course despite the best efforts of the UK government to maintain the pretence of sovereignty when the pro-EU ECJ begins interpreting the provisions of the Treaty in accordance with its duty under Articles 1 and 5 of the EU Treaty to promote “ever-closer union” and when its judgements hold the status of instant EU law which takes precedence over UK law.

    As for Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth: keep dreaming and pretending that you even matter. We’ll be the first to exit the EU and we’ll watch as the UK and all of its fine history disappears as just another region of Europa in a few decades hence.

  • Dave
    Can a non-written Constitution be given away?

    The finacial crisis shows everyone where the real power is.

  • Regarding the financial crisis,according to recent reports the Queen is a bit short of lolly.

  • Dave

    “Can a non-written Constitution be given away?”

    I have no idea what you are talking about, but neither do you. Instead, I’ll take a guess at your meaning:

    Is this supposed to mean something? It is all written down. Law, contrary to what you might think, is not a body of folklore carried around in the heads of various justices and only learned through oral telling. It isn’t necessary to codify the statutes, principles, judgements, treaties, etc, that comprise the UK constitution into a single document before those statutes, principles, judgements, treaties, etc, are deemed to have legal authority.

    Unlike other models, the UK constitution was subject to the sovereignty of parliament. In 1972, under the European Communities Act, that sovereignty passed to the EU. A year later, in 1973, the ECJ in the Factortame case, confirmed that EU law has supremacy over UK law in all areas where the EU has competence. That means that if a UK law conflicts with an EU law, then the UK law is struck down. What little remains of UK sovereignty is to be transferred to the EU (and adjudicated upon by the biased ECJ), with the few token powers you have left being barely enough to qualify your government as having the power of a local council within the supranational superstate of the EU.

    Just as the European Communities Act removed parliamentary sovereignty from the UK, making its constitution somewhat moot, the Lisbon Treaty (AKA the Constitutional Treaty) will take precedence over what remains. You will see in the years ahead how much of your sovereignty vanishes as the ECJ interprets the Treaty and imposes its judgements on the UK as domestic law – and Browne has wisely proposed to amended the Act of Settlement to removed its religious discrimination before the ECJ strikes it down, since the British really can’t have a bunch of foreigners telling them how to run their monarchy, can they? Yes they can and they will have, but the trick is making it look like the UK parliament actually has the sovereignty to call the shots when the reality is patently otherwise.

    “The finacial crisis shows everyone where the real power is.”

    This is another meaningless statement. Corporations don’t exercise parliamentary sovereignty. Indeed, at the moment, they’re begging for the sovereignty of the US government to bail them out, being utterly powerless. 😉

  • McGrath

    The finacial crisis shows everyone where the real power is.

    Posted by Manfarang on Sep 25, 2008 @ 04:19 AM

    Hardly, if and when “democratic capitalism” (as George W referred to it tonight), fails and crumbles, the ones with the most guns is where the real power will be.

    Gloomy times ahead, and now they have kicked out a corner stone of unionism too!

  • Dave
    If Parliament is sovereign then referenda are not part of the British constitution.People vote at general elections.

    McGrath
    The Americans have the most guns.

  • pith

    Gari,

    Apparently GSTK was formalised as a national anthem by James II himself, so they’ll just be going back to the old times.

  • pith

    Sorry, “Steve” not “Gari”.

  • Democratic

    “Will they still sing GSTQ when its one of them uns?”

    Will youse-uns start singing it?….

  • About bloody time this specific bigotry against catholics is shameful.
    I am a lapsed catholic by the way.

  • RepublicanStones

    Ahh so Ruth Kelly must have ideas above her station eh?

  • steve

    Democratic

    Sorry man but I am neither Irish or Catholic, I am one of those silly Canadian buggers

    But no I quit singing that silly song when I was 10, 30 years ago, and I quit standing and pretending 29 years ago.

    It got me into no end of trouble as education systems do not appreciate dissent and non-conformance

  • Walker [edited by moderator]

    Such breathlessness for one of Gordon’s, possible, kite-floated, nutso hyper junior-aide suggested, fourth term ambitions. Other ambitions for Labour’s fourth term Brian can get equally excited about include, Gordon’s intention to be brighter than the sun, deeper than the oceans and higher than Jesus. Those three also have the added advantage of being substantially more likely to happen than the one Brian has peed his pants about.

  • Henry94

    According to the report they are planning this move for their fourth term. There is about as much chance of a Labour fourth term as there is of Prince Charles converting to Catholicism.

    So the news isn’t very exiting really. But it is a small step in the right direction.

  • Mayoman

    Democratic: no!!! because rule by an english monarchy, whether that be protestant, catholic, muslim or spaghetti monster, is what is wrong in my, and other republicans (not the small ‘r’), eyes. I think you may have pointed out a real difference between camps: unionists will have sectarian issues with this, republicans/nationalists will have just extactly the same sovereignty issues as before.

  • Mayoman

    Sorry, meant ‘note’ the small ‘r’, implying (hopefully!) that all republicans do not endorse violence.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]You will see in the years ahead how much of your sovereignty vanishes as the ECJ interprets the Treaty and imposes its judgements on the UK as domestic law – and Browne has wisely proposed to amended the Act of Settlement to removed its religious discrimination before the ECJ strikes it down”[/i]

    I think you’ve called this wrong Dave. This decision by Brown will ultimately put the ECJ under pressure to reform Vatican law in accordance with the Act of Settlement, because without the former there would never have been the later.

    For the Act of Settlement to be changed, Vatican canon law on the subject of spiritual and civil jurisdictions has to be changed.

    “The constitutions of princes are not superior to ecclesiastical constitutions, but subordinate to them.”

    “Constitutions (civil, we presume) cannot contravene good manners and the decrees of the Roman prelates.”

    “Whatever belongs to priests cannot be usurped by kings.”

    “The tribunals of kings are subjected to the power of priests.”

    “The temporal power can neither loose nor bind the Pope.”

    “It does not belong to the Emperor to judge the actions of the Pope.”

    “The Emperor ought to obey, not command, the Pope.”

    “We ordain that kings, and bishops, and nobles, who shall permit the decrees of the Bishop of Rome in anything to be violated, shall be accursed, and be for ever guilty before God as transgressors against the Catholic faith.”

    “The Bishop of Rome may excommunicate emperors and princes, depose them from their states, and assoil their subjects from their oath of obedience to them.”

    “The Bishop of Rome may be judged of none but of God only.”

    “If the Pope should become neglectful of his own salvation, and of that of other men, and so lost to all good that he draw down with himself innumerable people by heaps into hell, and plunge them with himself into eternal torments, yet no mortal man may presume to reprehend him, forasmuch as he is judge of all, and is judged of no one.”

    “It is not lawful for laymen to impose taxes or subsidies upon the clergy. If laics encroach upon cleric immunities, they are, after admonition, to be excommunicated. But in times of great necessity, the clergy may grant assistance to the State, with permission of the Bishop of Rome.”

    “It is not lawful for a layman to sit in judgment upon a clergyman. Secular judges who dare, in the exercise of a damnable presumption, to compel priests to pay their debts, are to be restrained by spiritual censures.”

    “And all heretics, of both sexes and of every name, we damn to perpetual infamy; we declare hostility against them; we account them accursed, and their goods confiscated; nor can they ever enjoy their property, or their children succeed to their inheritance; inasmuch as they grievously offend against the Eternal as well as the temporal king.”

    “Temporal princes shall be reminded and exhorted, and, if need be, compelled by spiritual censures, to discharge every one of their functions; and that, as they would be accounted faithful, so, for the defence of the faith, they publicly make oath that they will endeavour, bona fide, with all their might, to extirpate from their territories all heretics marked by the Church; so that when any one is about to assume any authority, whether of a permanent kind or only temporary, he shall be held bound to confirm his title by this oath. And if a temporal prince, being required and admonished by the Church, shall neglect to purge his kingdom from this heretical pravity, the metropolitan and other provincial bishops shall bind him in the fetters of excommunication; and if he obstinately refuse to make satisfaction within the year, it shall be notified to the supreme pontiff, that then he may declare his subjects absolved from their allegiance, and bestow their lands upon good Catholics, who, the heretics being exterminated, may possess them unchallenged, and preserve them in the purity of the faith.”

    “Those are not to be accounted homicides who, fired with zeal for Mother Church, may have killed excommunicated persons.”

  • Martin

    So when is Duke Franz of Bavaria moving his court in—

    [url]http://www.jacobite.ca/kings/index.htm[/url]

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “Posted by Walker, [edited by moderator]on Sep 25, 2008 @ 09:43 AM”
    Playing the man rules don’t apply to logins? Just asking…

    Note from moderator
    Yes they do

  • George

    Ulster’s my homeland,
    This decision by Brown will ultimately put the ECJ under pressure to reform Vatican law in accordance with the Act of Settlement, because without the former there would never have been the later.

    Afraid not, the Vatican is not in the EU and has absolutely no intention of joining so ECJ rulings have no jurisdiction there.

    Dave’s,
    as for your view that the ECJ could call the UK to task over its monarchy, I have never heard that one floated before. Under what new core competency envisaged by Lisbon would the EU be able to do this?

  • Doctor Who

    to republicanstones

    Nevermind Ruth Kelly getting delusions of grandeur, I would be more worried about Cherie Blair.

  • qwerty

    To “Walker is Useless” –

    My friend, you have hit the nail on the head here. Besides which, repealing the Act of Settlement will require legislation in all 15 countries were the Queen is Head of State. That’s also about as likely as a Labour fourth term.

    So, thankfully, it won’t be happening any time soon.

  • Mayoman

    Why thankfully qwerty? What is your objection to a largely symbolic (importantly symbolic), but ineffectual post being filled by a catholic? What difference would it make? Can you please explain why this ‘thankfully’ should not happen?

  • The people against this do not have a leg to stand on.
    If a serious politician comes out against this then they can never be taken seriously again.
    Mind you to see some one trying to justify this so glaringly specific bigotry against catholics would be amusing if it would not be also so sad.

  • Doctor Who

    While not giving a toss for the monarchy, I would like someone to explain how a Catholic monarch could be head of the Church of England.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    So there is a possiblity of a papists arse sitting on the English throne? LOL!

    It would be interesting to see them sing ‘God Save the King/Queen’ at Windsor then.

    Danny Boy would be immediately adopted I bet.

    There is no way Eire will rejoin the Commonwealth either!

  • Democratic

    No problem with the act of settlement being repealed – provided a Catholic monarch becomes merely a figurehead exactly as the current one is.
    It would also be wise to make sure the outdated Ne Temere rule or diluted version thereof will not in any way be applied to the new theoretical monarch’s children – otherwise we would only in effect be replacing the old croneyism with the new as it were….

  • Mayoman

    Greagoir: not even as a price for reunification?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]Afraid not, the Vatican is not in the EU and has absolutely no intention of joining so ECJ rulings have no jurisdiction there.”[/i]

    I suppose pulling out of the EU would have no direct effect on the Vatican and it’s laws against humanity. Until the wider world opens it’s eyes to this wholly immoral organisation, the Act of Settlement will have to uphold the civil and religious rights of our people. If not, we need a UK constitution.

  • Brian Walker

    “While not giving a toss for the monarchy, I would like someone to explain how a Catholic monarch could be head of the Church of England.”
    Posted by Doctor Who.

    Good question and part of the ramifications. It wouldn’t automatically mean disestablishment of the Cof E but must mean the monarch’s title “Supreme Governor” of the Church becomes an honorific and the monarch would cease to approve church appointments formally on advice from the PM. This would mean the removal of the last vestiges of the executive’s role in appointing bishops, which Brown has pledged not to use anyway. Bishops in the Lords are unaffected – unless the Upper House becomes wholly elected. In that event it would be hard to see what would be left of establishment. The Coronation Oath would also have to be redrafted ( which was bound to happen anyway). This will remain a wholly Anglican ceremony.

    This is all pretty abstruse stuff but as well as being an important component in the role of a largely symbolic Head of State, it makes a significant change in the role of Xianity in British public life and may lead to the other changes I’ve just mentioned.

  • It is about the consort of the monarch having the right to choose their religion.
    While the monarch is leader of the church of england then they would be protestant.
    Whether it is right to have the head of state as leader of one particular religion is another question.
    For now surely it is not too much to ask that this specific biggoted law aimed against catholic should be dropped.

  • qwerty

    “Why thankfully qwerty? What is your objection to a largely symbolic (importantly symbolic), but ineffectual post being filled by a catholic? What difference would it make? Can you please explain why this ‘thankfully’ should not happen?”

    Thankfully for a number of reasons. Firstly, the current situation actually keeps the Monarchy away from religion and politics. The mere fact that it is secured for one denomination only keeps us away from the possible controversies that would ensue from the position being potentially open. If you want to know what I mean by that, look at the 17th century. Look even at the controversy this year over whether Obama was a Muslim.

    Second, repeal would mean also repeal or at the very least amendment for the 1689 Bill of Rights and the 1707 Act of Union. It would also mean disestablishment of the Church of England. It would open a Constitutional and religious can of worms that is totally unnecessary and will consume volumes of legislative time.

    Third, there is no need to do it. I bet the millions of Roman Catholics and those of other faiths feel really discriminated against just because they can’t marry the heir to the throne. Yeah, right!

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Greagoir: not even as a price for reunification?”

    “What did Wilde say…”Some folk know the price of everything and the value of nothing!”

    In the secularist 21st century, having a monarch as head of state and the church is absolutely absurd!
    Probably it’s grand for some folk who love the glam of celebs lifestyles, royal weddings in magazines etc… but fairytales, princesses, priests, etc…are a thing of the past!

    (However I’d support 100% a visit of Elizabeth II as British Head of State to Eire ).

  • Wilde Rover

    Since the British monarch rules by divine right, has no one taken the time to consult God about any constitutional changes? Chain of command and all that.

  • I find it kinda comforting to see a developed polity still stuck in the late 17th century.

    One wonders what the young Jihadi makes of it all in Bradfordistan as he prepares for Martyrdom?

  • qwerty

    “This is all pretty abstruse stuff but as well as being an important component in the role of a largely symbolic Head of State, it makes a significant change in the role of Xianity in British public life and may lead to the other changes I’ve just mentioned.”

    Exactly why it would be madness to do start on the whole unnecessary and unpredictable process in the first place. I expect that it will be dropped once the repercussions are realised – not that we actually know that it is under serious consideration in the first place.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “I expect that it will be dropped once the repercussions are realise………..”

    You mean you really hope it will be dropped, for fear of the papists getting an arse on the throne!

    Allegiance et al will be fucked up then!

  • Mike

    G O’F

    “It would be interesting to see them sing ‘God Save the King/Queen’ at Windsor then.”

    Obsessed, much?

  • Mayoman

    Unless you hadn’t noticed, qwerty, there is controversy over what many people view as a bigoted situation. It just sounds to me that other legislature, quite simple stuff, would be passed at the same time to neaten up any implications arising extremely old Acts. It doesn’t sound like rocket science to me. As someone else intimated (I think!), any serious politician making a noise over this would sound like a bigot, given the very narrow function of the anachronistic position in question. In fact, it could show a progressive side to the UK that old antipathies are long gone. The line of ‘lets keep something rotten because something else rotten ‘might’ happen’ sounds like copping out to me.

  • John East Belfast

    It is clearly wrong in this day and age for such a ruling to exist and we are better off without it.

    However it’s origin has to be seen in its historical context and we also have to ask why it was not repealed long ago.

    I think the reason it can be done away with now – as oppsed to a hundered or even 50 years ago – is because the UK is now a secular country and nobody could care less what religion the Head of State is. They know little about Christianity and the struggle between Protestantism and Catholicism.

    However the other side of the equation – namely the Catholic Church – has not moved the same distance and I am not talking about secularism but about its attitude to control and its place in the world.

    Ulster is my Homeland’s earlier post documents the kind of laws that helped foster such a position in the first place.

    To secularists the Catholic Church’s view of the world is probably laughable and not to be taken seriously but as far as the symbolism of a constitutional monarchy is concerned the matter should not be easily brushed aside.

    True republicans would not be happy about an unelected Head of State in the first place but even for me the symbolism of that HOS believing (especially if they were a devout Catholic)that both they and their Kingdom were subject to another individual in another country sticks in my throat also.

    Therefore it should change but the Catholic Church needs to re-think and change its position and the role of the Pope also.

  • barnshee

    What`s the problem ?
    Separate the crown totally from the COI and bingo why can a Roman catholic not be king/queen??

  • Garibaldy

    JEB,

    The thing is that the list UMH provides was out of date by the 18th century, and is certainly out of date today. So it’s just a distraction. A bit like talking about Protestant Geneva’s less than tolerant attitude to heresey.

  • Fergus

    barnshee “Separate the crown totally from the COI and bingo why can a Roman catholic not be king/queen??”

    Even better, get rid of the shower entirely – let’s have a British Republic (or English, Scots and Welsh Republics)! Elected President as HoS. I would like to vote for one of the UK’s eminent scientists to fill this role.

    Disestablish the CoE too. We don’t need no state religion. Take the religous crap out of the 1944 Education Act as well (I think that’s where it says there is supposed to be a daily act of worship – since Thatcher largely ignored I think, but let’s cut the hypocrisy).

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]The thing is that the list UMH provides was out of date by the 18th century, and is certainly out of date today. So it’s just a distraction.”[/i]

    So what’s the point in keeping out of date laws?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]Even better, get rid of the shower entirely – let’s have a British Republic (or English, Scots and Welsh Republics)! Elected President as HoS. I would like to vote for one of the UK’s eminent scientists to fill this role.

    Disestablish the CoE too. We don’t need no state religion. Take the religous crap out of the 1944 Education Act as well (I think that’s where it says there is supposed to be a daily act of worship – since Thatcher largely ignored I think, but let’s cut the hypocrisy).”[/i]

    Fergus, I agree in that there needs to be reform, but I’d like it to be a bit more democratic than just simply making the whole country a Republic, etc. As it’s not illegal to be a British Republican any more, maybe British Republicans should be allowed the option not to pay tax towards the upkeep of the Royal Family. Maybe we should take that idea one step further and all British citizens can state which areas they would like their tax to go towards. What about expanding the idea even further and giving all British citizens the option of what they want their rates to go towards.

    Now that would be democratic and anyone still not content can go fuck off!

  • DK

    Dr Who: “While not giving a toss for the monarchy, I would like someone to explain how a Catholic monarch could be head of the Church of England.”

    Well the present situation is that the monarch can be any religion – except catholic – and still be head of the CoE. And isn’t the next in line a buddhist who believes in reincarnation?

    I think you have to go to the 18th in line before you get a catholic, but only 4th to get a female. So the relevence of this is much greater for gender equality than a left over from a seventeenth century religious squabble, long forgotten in england, but still fought over in ireland.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Pity Ruth Kelly has resigned, her opinion would have been interesting.

  • Garibaldy

    UMH,

    Things like no faith with heretic princes were repudiated in the C18th. So they are no longer in force as part of Catholic teaching. This was made very clear in the eighteenth century, in Ireland and elsewhere.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]Things like no faith with heretic princes were repudiated in the C18th. So they are no longer in force as part of Catholic teaching. This was made very clear in the eighteenth century, in Ireland and elsewhere.”[/i]

    Care to name what was changed Garibaldy, down to ever word. Please excuse my fanaticism, but the history of the Catholic Church’s reforms isn’t great. It’s merely a toning down of language with the same substance.

  • UMH re: your fanaticsim.
    get out more.
    You might meet a nice athiest.
    You might learn about a taig called Darwin LOL

  • manichaeism

    A constitutional monarch should have the right to follow their own conscience when it comes to religious beliefs. The same as everyone else. Of course there should be checks and balances to ensure that their beliefs can’t be imposed on their subjects. I don’t know much about the British constitution but my guess is that those checks and balances already exist.

    What would have happened if at some stage Elizabeth II had decided she would like to be a Catholic? Have to resign I suppose.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]UMH re: your fanaticsim.
    get out more.
    You might meet a nice athiest.
    You might learn about a taig called Darwin LOL”[/i]

    Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, you and aye could see more of each other.

  • qwerty

    “Well the present situation is that the monarch can be any religion – except catholic – and still be head of the CoE. And isn’t the next in line a buddhist who believes in reincarnation?”

    Not actually correct. The Monarch is required to me a member of a Church in communion with the Church of England.

    “Will they still sing GSTQ when its one of them uns?”

    No because God Save The Queen would not even be the national anthem if this change goes through. If it becomes possible for someone of any faith or none to ascend the throne, then the national anthem would in theory be arguing for God to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.

    Again, this just shows what a pandora’s box would be opened by this.

    I think these ‘reformers’ should go and read these words from the Act of Union:

    “…and it being reasonable and necessary that the true Protestant religion, as presently professed within this kingdom, with the worship, discipline, and government of this church, should be effectually and unalterably secured: therefore Her Majesty, with advice and consent of the said Estates of Parliament, does hereby establish and confirm the said true Protestant religion, and the worship, discipline, and government of this church, to continue without any alteration to the people of this land in all succeeding generations.
    …and all and singular other acts of Parliament now in force for the establishment and preservation of the Church of England and the doctrine, worship, discipline and government thereof shall remain and be in full force for ever.”

    Does it not say “for ever”? 😉

  • PJ Cahill

    Who gives a hoot. The fact that the UK still has a Queen and all that at the expense of the taxpayer is a disgrace and joke.

  • Mayoman

    “does hereby establish and confirm the said true Protestant religion”

    Aren’t presbys and other protestant superstitions/religions always banging on about the catholic church saying this?

    Of course, its all still a smoke screen: secular state, bigoted head of state. Needs sorting, thats clear to any non-bigot!

  • Nathan

    I don’t believe our politicians would ever seriously consider re-membership of the Commonwealth, in the same way that we would never ever consider re-membership of the UK.

    Forgive me but the idle masturbation surrounding such topics doesn’t help matters, particularly when there are real diplomatic issues (e.g the impending Queen visit to Dublin) which need solving.

  • Mayoman

    Nathan, isn’t a ‘tinkered with’ commonwealth (any oath of allegiance by countries removed? — I don’t really know what countries have to agree to, to be part of this ‘club’, can anyone enlighten me?) a possible solution to reunification? A united Ireland, in the commonwealth (possibly amended), allows a ‘british’ dimension, while giving sovereignty to the ‘indivisible’ Irish people. I could hold my nose at being in the ‘club’ to allow that british identity within this island to be recognised and to be able to feel they have a connection maintained. The sovereignty issue is far more important.

  • Realist

    “I would like someone to explain how a Catholic monarch could be head of the Church of England”

    The Church Of England is a Catholic Church.

  • McGrath

    The Church Of England is a Catholic Church.

    Posted by Realist on Sep 25, 2008 @ 07:10 PM

    Both a catholic and a reformed church.

    Catholic, as it views itself and an unbroken continuation of the apostolic church, and reformed as it doe not regard the authority of nor is it in communion with the Vatican.

    Its all truly bizarre, the Peep O’Days existed to secure protestant ascension, yet excluded Presbyterians.

    Seems like its what ever label suits.

    Wouldn’t mind getting rid of that anthem though, only because is it so dreary.

  • Doctor Who

    fergus

    “Disestablish the CoE too. We don’t need no state religion. Take the religous crap out of the 1944 Education Act as well (I think that’s where it says there is supposed to be a daily act of worship – since Thatcher largely ignored I think, but let’s cut the hypocrisy).”

    I kind of agree with you but I wonder why you didn´t mention the Catholic church´s involvement in education, presumably you want to see an end to it. I guess you just forgot to mention it.

    realist

    Please for Christ´s sake do we really have to go through a lenghty and pointless discussion about the reformation, Luther, Henry VIII, Cranmer etc. etc. etc. The Church of England is independent of Rome with it´s own prayer book. By modern definition a Catholic is someone who belongs to the RC church and an Anglican is someone who belongs to the CofE church, that´s all that needs to be said on the matter.

  • Danny O’Connor

    The Cof E would need to be de-established,CofE bishops would have to leave the house of lords.
    Personally I think this law is outrageous,there is nothing preventing other faiths,however,it is a rare thing for me to agree with UMH, but he(or she) is right,elect a president and if they are not up to the job ,you can get rid of them in 4 or 5 years.the alternative is nutty charlie.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Doctor who
    There are many eastern Catholic Churches that are not Roman.

  • Steve

    Danny

    They call those Orthodox churches or Ukrainian Catholic.

    i had a couple of cousins married in a Ukranian catholic ceremony and its every bit as long and as boring as the rest

  • Dave

    Mayoman, the unionists are a tad sharper than you are. While it would no doubt amuse them (and quite a few southerners such as myself) to see you and your appeasing ilk kiss regal arse in order to see the border removed the country reunited as part of the British realm (losing the plot by a long way), pretending to be more British than the British themselves won’t fool anyone. British people will always rightly conclude that their identity will be better preserved by remaining as part of the United Kingdom. Beside, child, they are intelligent enough to understand that ‘sovereignty’ means the power for Ireland to vote itself right back out of the Commonwealth five minutes after they sign on the dotted line. And if you remove the power to do that, then you must do so by treaty, in which case you are no longer sovereign, so your argument falls flat on its pug face. Retain your dignity, child.

  • Danny O’Connor

    I was thinking more of the Chaldean,Assyrian,Maronite etc.

  • Although a Southern Catholic who considers a ban on someone becoming Head of State in a country on the basis of their religion sectarian and offensive, I don’t quibble with the notion that the Head of a Church ought to be a member of that Church. In that context, solutions could include either separating the Crown from the Anglican church altogether, e.g. the Archbishop of Canterbury could take over the latter instead, or at least when the monarch is a Catholic. But the marriage-ban is just sectarian and inexcusable plain and simple. Having said that the UK is not the only country that needs to face up to its responsibilities to disavow sectarianism. The Scandinavian monarchies all deny Catholics succession to the throne aswell, and it’s quite plausible that the Charter of Fundamental Rights will lead, if Lisbon passes, to the ECJ striking down these lithmus-tests anyway. But those on this thread suggesting that could happen with the UK are, imho, wrong, as the UK has and optout from the Charter. While internal affairs for the countries involved, it would nonetheless be a positive development for Northern society if the UK ended this sectarian discrimination, in terms of the signal in favour of greater mutual interfaith tolerance given by such a move.

  • Doctor Who

    Danny.

    I once used the term Roman Catholic on this forum, and was told it was inapropriate (still don´t understand why, so as not to offend I use the term Catholic, if I need to refer to other religions, I will do so by using their modern and recognisable names e.g. Greek Orthodox etc.

    I am fully aware of the origins of the word catholic.

  • Brian Walker

    mayoman, There is a basic distinction between membership of the Commonwealth and those Commonwealth countries of which the Queen is head of state. The Commonwealth is a club and membership is consensual. eg Pakistan has been suspended several times during military rule and is now restored after the elections. Zimbabwe withdrew ( and will probably be invited back after Mugabe).

    All countries have been recognised as completely independent of the UK since the 1931 Statute of Westminster. Republics were allowed membership after India became one in 1948. Ireland chose to cut its “external association” with it in 1949.

    Countries retaining the Crown have their own oaths of allegiance but increasingly for new citizens these either exclude the royal references or add the name of the country and its people.
    The Irish Free State oath abolished by de Valera that caused so much grief was an oath to the 1922 Free State constitution (Article 17).

    It read:

    I … do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established, and that I will be faithful to H.M. King George V, his heirs and successors by law in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of nations.”

  • Ian

    In discussing the possibility of Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth it is important to note that six counties of Ireland are already in the Commonwealth.

    So in the event of reunification of Ireland one of three possibilities will occur:

    (1) Northern Ireland leaves the Commonwealth – with Unionists already having to swallow the pill of a united Ireland, that would seen as rubbing salt in the wound, an inflammatory attempt to eradicate any semblance of British identity. So surely inconceivable.

    (2) Only six counties remain in the Commonwealth. An inherently partitionist approach, reinforcing the border and therefore anathema to Republicanism.

    (3) The Republic rejoins the Commonwealth.

    So if you believe in the inevitability of a united Ireland, then logic dictates that you also believe in the inevitability that the Republic rejoins the Commonwealth.

  • RepublicanStones

    Ian as a united Ireland is inconcievable for many unionists, I doubt the fact that the north will no longer be a memeber of the ‘We Colonized You’ Club, will be anything near as tough to take.

  • Ian

    RS,

    I agree it would be a largely symbolic matter.

    It’s not as if symbolic matters ever take on any significance in northern politics is it?

  • Fergus

    Realist,
    Sorry I dropped out of the discussion, jsu seen your comment:

    “I kind of agree with you but I wonder why you didn´t mention the Catholic church´s involvement in education, presumably you want to see an end to it. I guess you just forgot to mention it. ”

    Well I was referring to the law of the land imposing religious worship in schools in the UK (which still applies AFAIK, although widely ignored).

    As for “faith” schools, I’m agin all of them. That’s another, but I suppose related arguement, which has appeared on Slugger quite a few times. I strongly favour universal secular education, if you want to teach ’em about sky fairies do it at home, Papist, Prod or whatever. However, would it be possible/desirable to ban “faith” schools? I think not. It may, however, be possible to withdraw state funds from them (I would. UK AND RoI, I’m looking at you!). But that is another issue that has been “debated” on Slugger.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “……I will be faithful to H.M. King George V, his heirs and successors by law in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of nations”

    Bloody awful, isn’t it!

  • Mike

    Danny O’Connor

    “I was thinking more of the Chaldean,Assyrian,Maronite etc. ”

    The Assyrian Church isn’t Catholic – the Chaldean Church is its breakaway Catholic mirror image, in a fairly similar way as is the Armenian Catholic Church to the Armenian Apostolic Church, or the Greek Catholic Church as to the Greek Orthodox Church.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “So if you believe in the inevitability of a united Ireland, then logic dictates that you also believe in the inevitability that the Republic rejoins the Commonwealth.”

    This would be put to the people in the form of a referendum and I doubt very mush if the majority of people living in EIRE would vote to rejoin the commonwealth and turn back the clock.
    Maintain course,…full steam ahead!

    The Republic of Ireland’s relationship has never been better with England today, and indeed far much better too than when we were a part of the UK.

  • JT O’Sullivan

    “The Republic of Ireland’s relationship has never been better with England today, and indeed far much better too than when we were a part of the UK. ”

    the last part of the sentence is the understatement of the year

  • Nathan

    Mayoman,

    RE: 07:08 PM comment

    I’m don’t particularly think there is any need for reunification at this time, to me its just another abstract ideal which some southern politicians very occasionally speak about.

  • sunny southeast

    When people like Ian goes on about rejoining the commonwealth is it:
    A precondition for irish unity

    B A way for the republic to join the UK as some people such as the southern unionist wish.

    There is a lot of southerners who think the idea of a united ireland is as welcome a good idea but unlikely. The republican ideal to me is like going to mass on christmas a pretense to keep relatives happy. But it seems over in england there occasional worship of the monarchy is beginning to fray as well it leaves northern ireland with symbols of identity having less resonance as well as scottish nationalism on the rise. Makes me ask the question why join a club on the verge of disbanding?
    Also if the act of settlement is repealed and lo and behold a catholic becomes monarch( even better a gay catholic with his/her partner in a legally binding civil partnership) how would the more religiously minded protestants/unionists/loyalists react which would come first there religion or politics. Anybody care to guess.
    P.S “God save the Queen” the anthem in that case unwittingly becomes a double entendre

  • OH! Er Missus

    Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, you and aye could see more of each other.
    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Sep 25, 2008 @ 05:56 PM