While considered offensive in contemporary speech, it was a word in ordinary use until the mid-nineteenth century; it occurs frequently in Macaulay's History of England from the Accession of James II, and in other historical or controversial works from that period. It is also a legal term that defines ineligibility for the throne under the current law of the United Kingdom. Under the Act of Settlement enacted in 1701, no "Papist", nor anyone who marries a "Papist," may succeed to the throne of the United Kingdom.
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