Scotland: calls for repeal of anti-Catholic law during Royal visit

 A senior Scottish Nationalist MP has called for the repeal of a 19th century law, which he says discriminates against Catholics. Mike Russell, a Scottish National Party regional MSP for the South of Scotland, said he was unhappy at the Catholic Relief Act's continued place in the statute books. In particular Mr Russell said he was angry that the legislation prevents a Catholic from becoming Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The SNP education spokesman made his call as the Kirk's General Assembly was opened by the Queen, who is this year's Lord High Commissioner. The Queen is currently visiting Scotland as part of her Golden Jubilee tour. Yesterday, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, she was joined by hundreds of worshippers at St Giles' Cathedral to mark the start of the Church of Scotland's week-long General Assembly. First Minister Jack McConnell greeted the royal party on the steps of the cathedral before leading them into the church. During the service, the Queen listened to a sermon given by the new Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Rev Dr Finlay Macdonald. He stressed that all faiths should work hard to understand and co-operate with each other, and said he thought it was imperative for the church to believe in its worth in today's society. Rev Macdonald said he would encourage people throughout Scotland to worship during his year as Moderator, as well as tackle topics such as sectarianism and racism.

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