Scottish cardinal accuses UK of "state-sponsored sectarianism"

Edinburgh Cardinal Keith O'Brien says that a refusal by new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to repeal the Act of Settlement that prevents a Catholic from becoming monarch amounts to "state-sponsored sectarianism".

Writing in the Dublin-based newspaper The Irish Catholic, Cardinal O'Brien says that the Act is "an outstanding example of bigotry in the United Kingdom" and accuses the British government of "undermining attempts to tackle sectarianism".

He says: "it is difficult to see how one agency of the State, such as the Scottish Government can promote the idea that discrimination on religious grounds is wrong, when another part of the State, namely an Act of the Westminster Parliament expressly permits and promotes just such discrimination."

Michael Kelly, Deputy Editor of The Irish Catholic said: "there is a perception that there is no longer any anti-Catholic bigotry, when the reality is it exists and has state support in Britain.

"Sectarianism also goes to the heart of the new Northern Ireland Executive with First Minister Paisley refusing to discuss ecumenism with Catholics," he said.

Mr Kelly went on: "It's interesting to see the outcry from some quarters when the Vatican issues a document about the Protestant churches, but these same commentators have nothing to say on such naked anti-Catholicism.

"The pope is accused of being a barrier to ecumenism, I would've thought calling the pope the antichrist and refusing to allow a Catholic to become King or Queen of Britain is a pretty big barrier to ecumenism," Mr Kelly said.

Scottish Cardinal condemns 'State-sponsored sectarianism' (Irish Catholic, 11/7/07)
Article by Cardinal O'Brien (Irish Times)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cardinal Keith O'Brien (St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh)
St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh
Gordon Brown (Wikipedia)

British Lib Dems call for end to Catholic monarch ban (CathNews, 28/5/07)

12 Jul 2007