(RNS) - Anglican Archbishop of York David Hope, has added his voice to those calling for the repeal of the 1701 Act of Settlement which bars Roman Catholics from the throne and prevents the British monarch from marrying a Roman Catholic.

In an interview with the Sunday Times (Dec. 26), Hope said, "I cannot really see why members of the royal family should not be free to marry whom they will. It is a very negative view of the Roman Catholic Church.

"We're living in a different age and a different climate, and the arrangements should reflect that. Some movement of accommodation is necessary bearing in mind the warm relationships between Roman Catholics and other churches in this country," he added.

Hope also called for a change in the coronation oath which the sovereign swears at his or her coronation.

Queen Elizabeth swore to maintain to the utmost of her power "the Protestant reformed religion established by law."

But Hope said he would be "far happier" if at his coronation Prince Charles promised to uphold the Christian faith rather than only the Protestant faith.

"The more partisan approach of earlier times needs to be reconsidered," he added.

Earlier this month the Scottish Parliament, which has no jurisdiction in the matter, unanimously accepted a motion asking the Westminster Parliament to repeal the 1701 Act of Settlement, which bars from the throne "all and every person and persons, are or shall be reconciled to or shall hold communion with the see or church of Rome or shall profess the popish religion or shall marry a papist."

A Scottish Conservative peer, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, Secretary of State for Scotland in the previous Conservative government, was unsuccessful at the beginning of December to obtain the Queen's permission to allow Parliament to debate a Bill to change the 1701 Act.

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