Anglican bishop calls for end to Royal ban on Catholics

 The incoming Church of Ireland primate, Bishop Alan Harper, said he believes the ban on Catholics becoming the monarch should be abolished. The Act of Settlement of 1701, bans Catholics, or those married to Catholics, from ascending the British throne. The Act states: "That all and every person and persons, who shall or may take or inherit the said Crown, by virtue of the limitation of this present act, and is, are or shall be reconciled to, or shall hold communion with, the See or Church of Rome, or shall profess the popish religion, or shall marry a papist, shall be subject to such incapacities. In an interview with the Irish Times, Bishop Harper, who is to succeed Dr Robin Eames, said the Act of Settlement of 1701 "belongs to its time and we should move on." In the past, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, has pointed out that under the act's terms, Prince William "can marry by law a Hindu, a Buddhist, anyone, but not a Roman Catholic" and still be king. But if the act is repealed there could be implications for the Church of England, because as well as being the head of state, the British monarch is also governor of the Church of England. Bishop Harper told the Irish Times that the disestablishment of the Church of England - separating church and state - was something it would "not only get over, but would be the better for it".

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