Britain's Prince Charles smiles during the Mey Highland Games in Caithness, northern Scotland August 6, 2011. Prince Charles,who holds the title of 'Chieftain' for the games, attends the annual event that takes place near Castle of Mey, which was the Queen Mother's official home in Caithness. (Photo: Reuters/David Moir)
Prince Charles expressed concerns over a bill that seeks to change the rules surrounding the Royal line of succession in Britain, saying that allowing royal members to marry Roman Catholics might undermine the Church of England.
The British monarch, who is currently in line to inherit the throne from his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, has stated that the bill was "rushed" and that it might have "unintended consequences," CBC reported. Only Protestants have been able to serve as king or queen since the signing of the Act of Settlement, passed in 1701.
The bill allows girls who were born before their brothers to keep their place in line to the throne, but it also removed a 300-year-old ban on royals from marrying Roman Catholics. The official British monarch serves as head of the Church of England, but Roman Catholic doctrine dictates that children from such a union would have to be raised in the Catholic tradition, which would constitute a conflict of interest.
Prince Charles expressed concerns about what will happen if the child of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, married a Roman Catholic and was then faced with a confrontation over canon law.
The Anglican Communion has made no objections to the bill so far.
"[The church's] role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of all other religions. Instead, the church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country," Queen Elizabeth II said.
British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has insisted that the bill will make no changes to the status of the monarch as head of the Church of England.
"They reflect old prejudices and old fears. Today we don't support laws which discriminate on either religious or gender grounds; they have no place in modern Britain and certainly not in our monarchy, an institution central to our constitution, to the Commonwealth, and to our national identity too," Clegg, who is an atheist, has said of the old laws.
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