The Catholic Mafia is all a-titter today over the fact that our law requires that anyone in line of succession to the throne shall not be a Catholic nor marry one (and if they do they are automatically excluded from the line of succession). Various Catholic worthies and the Pope’s Branch Office are falling over themselves to demand that we change our laws.

There are perfectly good modern reasons why the prohibition on those in line of succession to the Throne being prevented from being or marrying Roman Catholics should remain.

Firstly the Papacy, when it sees legislation being promulgated which offends its doctrines, concerning, for example, abortion or stem cell research, routinely threatens legislators with excommunication and consignment to whichever bit of Dante’s Inferno is currently in fashion. This happens all the time in Italy where the Pope’s Boot Boys, acting as if the Lateran Treaty of 1929 had never been, are sent in to deter Italian MPs from passing anything which offends His Holiness’ sensibilities.

Retaining this prohibition is essential to prevent a situation from arising whereby the Sovereign or his/her spouse is demeaningly threatened with some religious or spiritual punishment for doing no more than that which is the Sovereign’s constitutional duty. Was not the King of the Belgians forced some time ago to abdicate for a day to avoid assenting to some piece of legislation of which the Pope, the elected Monarch of a foreign state, disapproved? (How you abdicate for only a day is a bit of a mystery, but that’s the Belgians for you!)

Secondly the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has, with the full authority of the Pope, recently denounced the Church of which Her Majesty is Supreme Governor as being not a proper church at all, with all the implications that has for adherents of The Church of England in the eyes of the Vatican.

In all the circumstances it is not unreasonable to expect that anyone who might one day be called upon to take the Coronation Oath shall be bound not to be or to marry a Catholic.

Besides, what are we to make of a Church which routinely prays for the ‘conversion of England’? Or for that matter of a Church which routinely inflicts real misery and poverty upon its more ignorant adherents in the Third World by demanding they do not use anything other than methods of natural contraception approved by His Holiness The Pope (who is not married and, it is assumed, bereft himself of children and therefore both ignorant and untroubled of the problems of having too many of them)?

Do we really want to risk our Monarch being one too?