CATHOLICS SHOULD not, I think, over-excite themselves at the prospect of proposals to alter the monarchical structure of our government by amending the 1702 Act of Settlement, so as to allow senior members of the British royal family to marry Catholics. Nor, indeed, of the Church of England being disestablished.
The 1702 Act cannot be either appealed or amended by the Westminster parliament alone: it would require the approval of the parliaments of 16 other countries of which Her Majesty is Queen. It would also require the re
writing of the Act of Union with Scotland, which enshrines the 1702 Act.
Yet even if various parliaments were prepared to devote sufficient time to debating a matter which they are unlikely to consider of the first magnitude, and to enact the necessary legislation, that would provide no guarantee that the marriage of a Catholic to a royal could take place in a Catholic Church with a Catholic priest officiating, that the children of the marriage would be broughtup as Catholics, or that the Catholic partner would not be pressured to give up the practice of the Faith or even to conform.
The likelihood of the Church of England being disestablished is even less.
Parliamentarians will not wish to relinquish the control
that they presently have over
the Church and, for its part, the Church will not willingly surrender the 26 seats it currently holds in the House of Lords or the tremendous benefits it gains from being seen as the National Church perhaps, if one may say so, the only things that hold it together.
Peter F Turner Sydenham