British Provide Excuse For Orange Bigotry

Posted By: February 03, 2006

No Kidding… The British Constitution Provides The Excuse
For Orange Bigotry

Irish News. Friday, January 27, 2006


CATHAL Mc Glade – ‘Who cares anymore if the British monarch
is a Catholic?’ (January 24 2006) – seems to think that
separation of Church and state doesn’t matter and
‘constitutions’ are unimportant.

Who cares if there was a provision in the US constitution
that forbade a black person becoming president? Cahal would
not… but I would.

For the same reason I care – and all democrats should –
that the British ‘constitution’ mandates that a Catholic
cannot become monarch.

The anti-Catholic Act of Settlement 1701, still operative
today, has a provision that only a Protestant can succeed
to the British throne and that, if the monarch becomes a
Catholic or marries a Catholic, he/she forfeits the throne
and – I kid you not – “the people are absolved from their

While this law may mean little to the average Englishman in
the street, it has always been of deep importance to
Protestant/Unionist/Orange extremists in Northern Ireland.

It provides the ideological and philosophical underpinnings
for their bigotry and sectarianism.

The deadly logic goes: if a Catholic by law can’t get the
top job, then Catholics are not equal to Protestants and it
is therefore okay to discriminate against them. Just as a
provision in the US constitution forbidding a black person
to be president would have had fuelled the flames of
racism, I believe this inherently sectarian law has helped
to fuel the fires of anti-Catholicism in Northern Ireland.

After all, the Reverend Ian Paisley and the Orange Order
have often affirmed that their loyalty is not just to the
British Crown but to the Protestant succession.

What do you think that’s all about? Furthermore, an
increasing number of people in Britain are shamed by this
archaic and anti-Catholic law – which is incompatible with
the Human Rights Act 1998 – and are demanding its repeal.
Included are: the British attorney general, more than 150
MPs, the cardinal of Scotland, the cardinal of England and
The Guardian paper.

Sadly, Tony Blair – the only British prime minister I’ve
been able to respect regarding Ireland (apart, maybe, from
Gladstone) – has refused to join the repeal ranks.

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849