Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Remove anti-Catholic law - MacManus

I came across this interesting piece in The Blanket, by Father Sean Mc Manus, which hits out at the British Act of Settlement of 1700 which forbids a Catholic from becoming King or Queen.

Mc Manus firstly comments on the history of the 6 county statelet saying:

"The problem has always been about the British Government militarily backing up that sectarian, undemocratic entity. Now that it appears, under Tony Blair, the British government is no longer interested in being identified with a sectarian regime, there is a chance for the world to see clearly the remaining problem: Unionist reluctance to accept the concept of equality with Catholics. That is now the issue, and there's no way of denying it."

Fr Mc Manus then raises the issue of the Act of Settlement and what Tony Blair must do:

"To show his Government has abandoned all sectarianism. He must immediately remove the 'constitutional' basis for all Orange bigotry and sectarianism: the anti-Catholic section of the Act of Settlement of 1700, which is still in force today. Under this ridiculous, but malicious, Act, a Catholic is forbidden by law to become the King or Queen, and that if the Monarch converts to Catholicism or marries a Catholic s/he forfeits the Throne and 'the people are absolved of their allegiance'.

"That would be similar to the U.S. Constitution having a provision that would outlaw an African-American becoming President or marrying a Black person. And if the President were to marry a Black person his election would be declared null and void by the Constitution.

"It is, therefore, this wretched Act of Settlement that is ultimately behind all anti-Catholic bigotry in Northern Ireland because it provides Protestant/Orange extremists with motivation and justification. If the very top law in England, the Queen's own law, declares Catholics cannot be Monarch, therefore it follows Catholics are inferior, and, therefore, cannot be equal to Protestants.

"And the sad thing is that British Prime Minister Tony Blair, until now, has blocked all efforts to change this horribly anti-Catholic law because, 'it would be too much paper work and too expensive'!"

Whilst I do not agree with Fr Mc Manus that the Act of Settlement is behind all anti-Catholic bigotry in Ireland's north, I do agree with him that it is ridiculous that British law still forbids a Catholic from acceding to the British throne.

It is unacceptable for the British government to have such anti-Catholic sentiments in this day and age.


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