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Civil religion in the UK, Canada, Australia and the Commonwealth

By Norman Bonney,
Manchester University Press, October 2013

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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Need to review the religious role of the monarchy in the UK

Abstract of 'The Monarchy, the State and Religions: Modernising the Relationships' Political Quarterly, 81, 2, 199- 204, 2010, by Norman Bonney, emeritus professor of sociology, Edinburgh Napier University.

The current religious role of the UK monarchy, derived from medieval religious prejudices, requires fundamental review prior to the succession of the next incumbent of the throne. The line of succession is based on religious discrimination, outlawing Roman Catholic citizens from occupying the throne and disqualifying heirs to the throne if they marry a Roman Catholic.

The UK government and citizens needs to consider whether the monarchy should continue to be associated with the Church of England, with which only one in four citizens now identify.

Such a review needs to be thoroughly conducted well before the next coronation to take account of the very different circumstances in the country compared to the accession of Elizabeth II in 1952.