Royal jubilee celebrations
Sir, – Joe Kehoe’s reply (June 13th) to Paul Lenihan’s objection to a British monarch who cannot be a Roman Catholic was based on the Irish Constitution’s insistence that Article 12 of the 1937 Constitution requires any incoming president to utter a public declaration which makes reference to “Almighty God”. This seems a bit perverse!
The English constitution’s objection to the monarch being a Catholic is based on the 1701 Act of Settlement. This Act was not anti-Catholic per se, but sought to prevent James II or his Catholic descendants regaining the English throne. The short reign of King James had alienated large sections of the English, Scots and Irish and his flight from the field of battle in Ireland hardly inspired his Irish supporters.
At present there is a committee working on a new draft of the Act of Succession which will not discriminate against Roman Catholics as heirs to the throne. However, as the English monarch is also head of state in Canada, Australia and a myriad of other Commonwealth countries, the constitutional ramifications of amending the 1701 Act are formidable. The possible disestablishment of the Church of England is also a factor delaying the reform of the original laws of succession. – Yours, etc,