Roman Catholic leaders are demanding that the new UK prime minister repeal the Act of Settlement.

British Roman Catholics are calling for Prime Minister Gordon Brown to include repealing the Act of Settlement on his list of sweeping government reforms. The act bars anyone who is a Roman Catholic from taking the throne, and reigning monarchs from converting to Catholicism or marrying a Catholic.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien told sources for the London Guardian that he intended to bring Catholic demands regarding the throne before Brown in their next meeting. O’Brien expressed disappointment that the prime minister had not put the issue on his list of reforms in Tuesday’s address to the House of Commons. The report indicated Catholic supporters had lobbied the prime minister prior to announcing his agenda.

The cardinal administers the east of Scotland diocese, which includes many of Brown’s constituents.

However, it appears Catholics have a shot at securing access to the throne. Several ministers of Parliament are Roman Catholic, and the Prince of Wales and the Queen are open to the idea, according to the Guardian, which itself has campaigned to repeal the Act of Settlement.

Repealing the act would have complicated legal ramifications, causing existing legislation to come under review and alteration, including the 1707 Act of Union. In addition, a Catholic on the throne of Britain would technically be the head of the Church of England.

British history contains centuries of power struggles between Britons and Catholic popes. England broke from the Vatican in 1534 under King Henry viii, establishing the British monarch as head of the Anglican Church. However, current trends indicate the pope is gaining the upper hand in England in more ways than one. Look for Catholic pressure in Britain to increase.

For more on this subject, read “Anglicans Submitting to the Pope.”

Source: is the official website of the Philadelphia Trumpet newsmagazine, published by the Philadelphia Church of God