SHOULD THE MONARCH ALWAYS BE A PROTESTANT?

Tomorrow Montrealer Autumn Kelly will marry Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne (and the first of the present Queen’s grandchildren to marry) at Windsor Castle.

Recently the Sun newspaper ran a headline: “Royal’s girl to ditch Catholics.” The headline referred to the fact that Autumn Kelly, who grew up in an Irish Catholic family in Pointe Claire, had abandoned her ancestral faith and joined the Church of England so that her husband-to-be would not have to give up his place (number 11) in the line of succession to the British throne. The 1701 Act of Settlement bars monarchs or their heirs from becoming or marrying Catholics. In other words, it is part of the British constitution that the monarch must be a Protestant.

The irony here is that Peter Phillips has more chance of being hit by a double-decker bus that he has of ascending the throne from his eleventh position in line. Which begs the question why would Autumn Kelly apostatize from her faith to marry a royal who had little or no chance of ever becoming the monarch in any case?

This curious case leaves a blot on tomorrow’s royal wedding. There have been calls to abolish the Act of Settlement, which is deeply controversial among Catholics. Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O”Connr, the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales told the Daily Telegraph the Act was ‘clearly discriminatory against Catholics.” After all, Catholics pay taxes and fight in Britain’s wars. Supporters of the Act argue that, because the monarch is head of the Church of England, he or she must be Anglican.

After her engagement was announced Autumn Kelly’s mother was quoted as saying her daughter “is very proud of her faith.”  So proud, apparently, she was willing to trade it in for a sinecure in the bosom of the royals.

Do you think Autumn Kelly should have become an apostate to please her royal groom?

Do you think the Act of Settlement, barring Catholics from the British throne, should be repealed?

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17 Comments »

  1. 1
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “why would Autumn Kelly apostatize from her faith to marry a royal…”

    Because at the end of the day religion is meaningless. It’s a communal thing that isn’t taken very seriously by believers anymore (except for the fundamentalists – they’re crazy strict!).

    As I’ve said before – there’s a whole buffet of religions out there, each offering a ~slight~ variation from it’s closest relative… nobody actually obeys the rules (find me a catholic that DOESN’T practice birth control!). It’s really only symbolic these days.

    “Do you think the Act of Settlement, barring Catholics from the British throne, should be repealed?”

    I can’t see it mattering one way or the other…

  2. 2
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    Does God care? I doubt it. In the movie, “Oh, God,” John Denver (Jerry) tells George Burns (God) he does not belong to any religion. God: Neither do I.
    If Autumn Kelly becomes an Anglican, does she automatically begin to burn Catholics at the stake? Does she automatically begin to eat ham on Fridays? Does she sacrifice Christian babies during Passover? Does she wear a burkha, and throw stones at other women who don’t? Does she shave her head, and pass out flowers at airports? It is the height of hubris and presumption to declare that she becomes somehow lesser in the eyes of God, because now she kneels and prays in a different building, among different people, and follows a different missal.
    We are all God’s children. We do not all dress alike, eat alike, shelter alike, or worship alike, or, for that matter, presume to worship at all. (Good morrow, Joe Agnost!)
    All men are brothers. All women are sisters. All children are family. All life is precious. Let there be peace. No wonder Jesus wept. CTZen

  3. 3
    Chimera Says:

    The Act of Settlement was a result of almost two hundred years of going back and forth between Catholic and Protestant, depending on which monarch was on the throne at the time (and for the brief period when there was no monarch at all), and who was visting reprisals and retributions upon whom for what specious cause.

    It settled the argument once and for all.

    “…clearly discriminatory against Catholics.”

    So? What’s his point? He wants to start the religious wars all over again? Somebody should tell him to get himself a hobby.

  4. 4
    jim Says:

    He does have a hobby, it’s his missal. Yup. Did she give up her religion, then pack a calculator?.

  5. 5
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Could the Pope be a non-Catholic or the Garnd Mufti or Grand Rabbi of Jerusalem be other than a Muslim or a Judeaist? Let’s be logical here. As for believing in God you don’t have to be tied to an organized religion to do so. Spirituality and religiosity are different things altoghether.
    As for the future newlyweds, let them live their lives and religious ties as they see fit. In other words, why don’t we mind our own business?

  6. 6

    Tony Kondaks:

    We are missing your informative comments. Hope you’ll be back soon.

    Neil

  7. 7
    dez Says:

    I seem to have missed the point of this question completely.

    What does one’s religion have to do with being a powerless figurehead of a small European nation?

  8. 8
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Hi Neil,

    …although I read every new editorial you post, sometimes I don’t have anything to say or what I want to say has already been said better by the others. So I don’t post.

    Like today: dez’s comment is so right on, that there’s not much I can add to it.

    I will say this, though: Of all the so-called “Protestant” sects of Christianity, aren’t Anglicans the closest to being Catholics? I don’t know much about organised religions but I do remember reading once that Anglicans were the only ones who were allowed to marry in the Roman Catholic Church. Am I right about this?

    And if I remember correctly, isn’t part of the liturgy of the Church of England the phrase “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church”? And aren’t Anglicans/Episcopalians the only protestants that, like the Catholics, kneel in church?

  9. 9
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Tony, our Greek roots say that “catholic” comes from a greek word meaning “universal”. So any Church with a world wide membership is a “catholic” church. Not so long ago, when a Hollywood production required a marriage ceremony it was staged according to Catholic or Anglican liturgy because they are so much more spectacular.
    And yes, except for the authority of the Pope and dogmas promulgated after the Reformation by Rome, the two denominations are very close.

  10. 10
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    Perhaps one might think of the Anglican Church as Catholic Lite – all the religion, half the guilt. CTZen

  11. 11

    Tony:

    You are quite right in thinking the Anglican Church, particularly high Anglican (remember the church with the red roof near Place des Arts) is close to the Roman Catholic church. The main difference is that Anglicans do not accept the jurisdiction of the papacy.

  12. 12
    Anton Says:

    Do you think the Act of Settlement, barring Catholics from the British throne, should be repealed?
    Abosolutley N O !!!

    Do you think Autumn Kelly should have become an apostate to please her royal groom?

    It’s highly doubtful Autumn Kelly became an apotate to ‘please’ her royal groom. It’s highly PROBABLE, Autum Kelly did it to appease Herself, to get what ‘She’ wanted.

  13. 13
    dez Says:

    Anton,

    Just out of curiosity, what do you have against Catholics?

  14. 14
    Mike Campbell Says:

    Well things have not change since Thomas More’s days buit he refused to leave the church. Well, you have to give up your faith if you become the Prime Minister too. Oh, that right they do not not have a Billl of Rights there like we do here in the USA.

  15. 15
    Mike Campbell Says:

    Well things have not change since Thomas More’s days buit he refused to leave the church. Well, you have to give up your Catholic faith if you elected the Prime Minister too. Oh, that right they do not not have a Billl of Rights there like we do here in the USA.

  16. 16

    Mike:

    Thanks for your comment. Thomas More is a hero of mine.
    I do not believe a Catholic who became Prime Minister of Britain would have to give up his faith. Shortly after he left Downing Street, Tony Blair converted to Catholicism. Had he done so while he was still in office there would have been no problem.

    The British do not have a Bill of Rights but they have Magna Charta.

  17. 17
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    Henry The Eighth (the King, not the dude who married the widow next door) broke with the Pope because a) he couldn’t keep it in his pants and b) he wanted a son that Catherine of Aragon could not give him. He had plenty of bastard sons, but none of them could be king. So he started The Church of the Psychotic Bastard, and, upon sober second thought, and after lopping off Thomas More’s head, renamed it (the church, not More’s head) the Church of England. All because of the fire down below. Which, at the time, was as good a reason as any. CTZen.


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