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Sunday, April 05, 2009
Modernizing the Monarchy
I see that the 'The Palace' has been discussing some reforms to the position of the Crown under the 1701 Act of Settlement. One of the Act's provisions is to secure Protestant succession to the throne. Thus, (prospective) monarchs forfeit their hereditary rights should they marry a Roman Catholic, given Rome's strictures about mixed marriages which should, effectively be Catholic.
At the same time, the feudal precedence of male heirs, irrespective of their ages, in the matter of succession to the UK throne, is also under consideration. Public opinion in the UK is very much in favour of both sorts of reform. A BBC poll suggest that
89% of Britons are in favour of equal rights for women andIt appears that the changes, one day, will be made as a package. There is a possibility that the Vatican would lift its strictures about the upbringing of children only in the special case of those born to a reigning, or prospective, British monarch married to a Catholic.
You can read the BBC article here; so far, so good: it all looks pretty sensible, doesn't it? However, contrast this with the following.
A 9-year old Brazilian girl was recently given an abortion after years of abuse by her stepfather. The local archbishop excommunicated those associated with the surgical termination but not the abusing stepfather. Read more here.
Then, there's this:
One of the world's most prestigious medical journals, the Lancet, has accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting science in his remarks on condom use. It said the Pope's recent comments that condoms exacerbated the problem of HIV/Aids were wildly inaccurate and could have devastating consequences. The Pope had said the "cruel epidemic" should be tackled through abstinence and fidelity rather than condom use.Read the full story here.
Richard Dawkins was reported in the Daily Telegraph as saying 'The Pope is either stupid, ignorant or dim'. Dawkins himself denies that he said that,
I did not say the Pope is "stupid, ignorant or dim" – I hope I would never say anything so repetitive. My exact words were "stupid, ignorant or wicked."That's a bit more like it! (See Comment 3.)
With respect to the changes sought to the 1701 Act of Settlement, even the most committed of feminists would, I suggest, forgo the primacy of the eldest female child if it meant associating the UK more formally with the Vatican's extreme and idiotic misogyny. My vote goes against changes to the status quo until we have a married, female pope.
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