(CEN) Canada blocks Cameron’s call to reform the Act of Settlement

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The coalition government’s plans to reform the 1701 Act of Settlement, ending the ban on a Roman Catholic monarch in Britain, does not have the support of the Canadian government.

On April 20, Prime Minister David Cameron said Roman Catholics should be able to become King or Queen, or marry the heir to the throne. However, he noted that this reform was not in the government’s power, but required the agreement of those Commonwealth nations where the monarch is the head of state.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanadaEngland / UK

14 Comments
Posted April 29, 2011 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Ad Orientem wrote:

I am somewhat surprised.  I knew it would be tricky getting the assent of all the Commonwealth states, but Canada was not on my radar as one of the likely trouble makers.  I had Australia pegged to be the fly in the soup.  There is strong republican sentiment there and the Aussie PM has been quite forthright in calling for the abolition of the monarchy after the The Queen dies.

It looks like the codified bigotry of the 18th century will endure for a while longer.

Christ is risen!
John

April 29, 5:35 pm | [comment link]
2. Terry Tee wrote:

Surely this is to do with Quebec more than anything else?  They look to republican France more than monarchist England, and would use a debate in the Ottawa parliament and nation as a whole as a platform to toot their separationist horn.  The Canadian PM shudders at the thought, and thinks, better to leave hornets’ nests alone.

April 29, 10:11 pm | [comment link]
3. farstrider+ wrote:

There’s more to the Act of Settlement than the question of Roman Catholicism.  In truth, most of the debate surrounding the Act right now has to do with gender, not religion. This is the main issue for Harper, I think (and this is just what he has said). While changing the Act to allow for a more egalitarian process might seem “nice,” it will also confuse the lines of succession. No one likes confusion when it’s time to crown a new monarch…

April 29, 10:56 pm | [comment link]
4. WarrenS wrote:

Terry Tee, truly hilarious.  And you expect the caretaker PM of a minority government that has recently fallen to a non confidence motion and is desparetly trying to gain a majority in an election that is right around the corner to say what?  Back burner barely starts to describe where this “issue” is right now.

April 29, 11:37 pm | [comment link]
5. BlueOntario wrote:

Clegg’s vision is the complete transformation of Britain to a more democratic, equalitarian society that will be part of the world community, beyond, even some EU-centric order. One small step at a time, will do.

April 30, 9:05 am | [comment link]
6. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

I think UK politicians are inclined to forget that the monarch is head of state of 15 countries including Canada, Australia and New Zealand and head of the Commonwealth of 53 nations all of whom have a right to a say, if not a veto.  It is not just about us.

April 30, 9:36 am | [comment link]
7. Terry Tee wrote:

Pageantmaster, I think I am right in saying to you, welcome aboard the barque of Peter.  May his bark never bite (sorry, couldn’t resist it).  More seriously:  what you mention shows up the illogicality of the act.  The Queen is governor of the Church of England and not of the Anglican Church in Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc.  Moreover in those countries the dear old RC Church is often the largest denomination.  So in theory the Act of Settlement is one that could easily be altered from the point of view of those other nations where she is head of state.

April 30, 9:58 am | [comment link]
8. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

#7 Hi Father Tee.  I remain an unrepentant Anglican if that is what you meant, although the example you give of the Catholic Church is always charitable and an encouragement.  I think though that the alternative in many of these countries to a CofE monarch is not an RC one, but no monarch at all.  I think this is what the more thoughtful in England have picked up on.  Obviously the decision on the Act of Settlement is for the UK Parliament, but we ignore the veto of any of the other countries for whom the monarch is head of state at our peril, or rather the monarchy’s peril.  And of course when Pandora’s Box is opened, the issue of whether the monarch should be head of the Commonwealth comes into play.

I think things are reasonably safe with the Queen, provided our government does not tinker with the succession; but for the future, the picture is less clear, and is in part why yesterday’s events are important, when to many, the status of Charles and his consort is a problem.

But hopefully, HM will keep the show on the road for a few years yet - “long to rein over us” as the prayer/anthem goes.

April 30, 10:13 am | [comment link]
9. WarrenS wrote:

Pageantmaster, you’re right.  Canadians, in my opinion, could not care less about the religion of HRM or her position in relation to the CofE.  The issue is whether the institution of the monarchy should be retained at all.  If she converted to Islam, many (maybe most) people wouldn’t even take notice.  I’m not 100% certain of this, but I suspect that religious affiliation is totally irrelevant in the selection of the GG.

April 30, 10:33 am | [comment link]
10. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

#9 I think that is an interesting point.  I think though that what breaking the link between the monarch and the CofE would do, or even a Catholic or Muslim monarch, would be to break the bonds between the monarch and Anglicans here, and those abroad who continue to value the monarch.  When that happens, the unthinkable, becomes thinkable, and the old ties which used to secure the monarchy may be found to be no longer there.  This particularly applies I suspect to the older generations, in particular those brought up in the last war.

April 30, 10:43 am | [comment link]
11. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

I think the question may be not whether the CofE will survive disestablishment, but whether the monarchy would survive radical overhaul such as that proposed by the coaliition, in its role in other countries.  I am also clear that disestablishment will also be a disaster for the CofE, and will not benefit the Catholic church.  It would just be one more breaking of the link between this country and its institutions, and Christianity.

April 30, 10:46 am | [comment link]
12. Terry Tee wrote:

Pageantmaster, apologies for my error of memory - I recalled one of our regular UK bloggers saying during Holy Week that it was his last day in the C of E and erroneously I remembered it as you.  In retrospect I think it might have been rugbyplayingpriest.  But this is not relevant to any of the above.

April 30, 5:12 pm | [comment link]
13. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

#12 Father Tee - I too think it must have been RPP, Fr Ed Tomlinson.  Our loss, but Rome’s gain.  Indicative of the severe problems Rowan and our bishops have brought us to, when good priests who have built up congregations are leaving, and the majority of the world’s Anglicans won’t talk to Rowan or the ACC, although he continues to try to bluff it out.

The next thing will be disestablishment, because our government has given up on Rowan as well.

April 30, 6:53 pm | [comment link]
14. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

We are paying a heavy price for the mess that prat has made.

April 30, 6:53 pm | [comment link]
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