As this expresses my views on the subject so precisely, I am re-publishing it.
There is a certain Spot The Deliberate Mistake quality to proposals to make the monarchy more egalitarian or (God help us all) "meritocratic".
The Act of Settlement is good for us Catholics. It reminds us that we are different, and it does us the courtesy of taking our beliefs seriously by identifying them as a real challenge.
I question the viability of a Catholic community which devotes any great energy to the question of ascending the throne while the born sleep in cardboard boxes on the streets and the pre-born are ripped from their mothers' wombs to be discarded as surgical waste. Far from being a term of abuse, the word "Papist" is in fact the name under which the English Martyrs gave their lives, and expresses the cause for which they did so, making it a badge of honour, to be worn with pride.
The Protestant tradition is a fact of this country's history and culture. No good purpose would be served by denying it its constitutional recognition. And we must never countenance alliance with those, such as Evan Harris, who wish to remove Christianity as the basis of our State. Parties, such as his or the SNP, that wish to abolish Catholic schools need not imagine that noisily seeking to repeal the Act of Settlement somehow makes their position any better.
As for male primogeniture, it, too, sends an important signal: that the male line matters means that fathers matter, and that they have to face up to their responsibilities, with every assistance (including censure where necessary) from the wider society, including when it acts politically as the State.
On matters such as this, we should listen to the voice of Recusancy, currently in the Commons (and it has been largely "reformed" - what an appropriate word! - out of the Lords) the voice of the gloriously anti-war Edward Leigh more than anyone. He has no time for this proposal, and rightly sees the whole thing as an excuse to bring the question of the monarchy to the floor of other Parliaments, particularly in Australia.
There is only one circumstance under which these changes could begin to be justified, namely that any Realm or Territory may leave the family defined by our shared monarch unless they were given effect, though not otherwise. Which is considering doing so?
Posted in response to St Mary Magdalen's blog by David Linsdsay
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