Cardinal Keith O'Brien has said that he considers the provisions in the Act of Settlement of 1701 which prevent Catholics from succeeding to the throne are hampering efforts to curb sectarianism.
I can't think of any rational and reasonable argument against that position. I remember being horrified as a 10 year old that Prince Michael of Kent had to give up his place in the line of succession because he married a Catholic. It just seemed so unfair. Ok,so he was never going to get anywhere near the throne,but the fact that someone is excluded from being Head of State on the basis of their or their spouse's religion is so wrong.
Now, I don't actually think that being born into a particular family should give you the right to be head of state at all, but I'm very much in the minority on that one. We're going to have the monarchy for at least my lifetime and probably well beyond. In that case, it's vital that the discriminatory constitutional anachronisms surrounding it are binned.
I wonder, though, if Cardinal O'Brien would agree with me on the other barrier which I think needs to come down. That is that the throne passes to the firstborn male heir. I think we just need to make it the firstborn child. And we need to make that change before Kate and William start having kids. If they have a girl first, then a boy, the debate will inevitably become personal and that would be quite destructive. As it is, the system is sexist and enshrines in law that a female is somehow subordinate to a male. That's just not approrpiate in the 21st century.
I think that the Government should actively pursue this with the Commonwealth Heads of Government to make sure that they all agree, or as many as possible of them agree to make the change. Both Nick Clegg and David Cameron agree so they actually need to make it happen.