A Scottish Protestant church has suspended the lord chancellor, Britain's highest-ranking law officer, from his post as a church elder because he attended the Roman Catholic funerals of two colleagues.
The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which has up to 5,000 members and 20 congregations, regards the Catholic Mass as idolatrous and the Pope as the anti-Christ. It acted after a court of elders heard that the lord chancellor, Lord Mackay, attended two Catholic funerals.
Mackay, 61, said that in attending the rites he did nothing "to indicate support for the doctrine of Roman Catholicism. . . . I went there purely with the purpose of paying my respects to my dead colleagues."
The lord chancellor is a Cabinet member and presides over the House of Lords, the upper house of Parliament, including the Law Lords, the highest court of appeal.