The Chair of the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, Graham Allen MP, today drew attention to the Committee’s report on the Rules of Royal Succession:
“The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee examined the implications of allowing the monarch to marry a Catholic in its report on the Rules of Royal Succession in 2011. The Committee noted at the time that Catholics are normally obliged under canon law to bring up as Catholics any children from an inter-faith marriage. It commented that one possible consequence of allowing a monarch to be married to a Catholic is that the monarch’s children could be brought up in a faith which would not allow them to be in communion with the Church of England. This would prevent them from acceding to the throne.
“The Committee also noted, however, that this requirement of canon law is occasionally waived through papal dispensation, and indeed has been waived for members of the royal family. An heir to the throne who was considering marrying a Catholic could seek this dispensation before proceeding with the marriage. The Monarch and Parliament could also prevent the marriage from going ahead if they so wished, as for any royal marriage.
“Overall, the Committee welcomed the proposal that would allow a member of the royal family to marry a Catholic without losing their place in the line of succession. The existing provision is anomalous in discriminating solely against Catholics and those who wish to marry them. The report noted that the proposal does, however, raise questions about the future role of the Crown in the Church of England. I believe that these questions need to be carefully considered.”