Tony Blair converts to Roman Catholicism
In a free country, Mr Blair is of course at liberty to convert to whatever faith he wishes, but he will hardly find the grass greener on the other side of the Tiber. As His Holiness (that is Pope Benedict XVI, not Mr Blair) abandons the reforms of Vatican II, reinstitutes the Tridentine (Latin) Mass, reintroduces the sale of indulgences, and reaffirms the existence of Purgatory, many of the Roman Catholic bishops of England are in a state of rebellion. Indeed, some are even calling for reformation…
While it is for God to judge the heart of Mr Blair, it is not unreasonable to ask why now? Had he converted whilst he was prime minister, it would have assisted his church in the eradication of centuries of prejudice. Was he afraid to do so? If so, why? Was he advised not to do so? If so, by whom? Is this simply another example of Blair opportunism? It is, at the very least, more than a little impolite that the Middle East
But before the profession of faith and reception, candidates for conversion have to make a confession of sins. They are asked to inform the confessor that they are to be received into full communion. There has been much speculation about whether Mr Blair's confession would include any reference to the war in Iraq, or to Parliamentary policy on 'life' issues during his time as Prime Minister. What about his views on abortion, homosexual ‘marriage’, embryo research, the enforced closure of Roman Catholic adoption agencies, or his plans to force faith schools to take students who do not adhere to that faith? How can he reconcile these with the orthodox teachings of Rome?
While it would have been easy for him to profess the Nicene Creed, when it came to his formal reception he would have been required to swear: ‘I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God’. Only with a conversion on par with that of Saul could he have uttered these words in good conscience. To have done otherwise would make him a manifest hypocrite. But then ‘hypocrite’ is from the Greek word ὑποκρίτης (hypokrites), associated with hypokrisis, that is ‘actor’. Perhaps Mr Blair is simply pursuing his vocation, and (let's face it) there is far more theatre and spectacle in the Church of Rome than there is in the Church of England.
It is ironic that 'the most devoutly Christian prime minister since Gladstone' has done more to undermine Christian liberties than any challenge to the faith on these islands in more than three centuries. He is a spiritual fraud, and Rome is where his heart has always been: his professed Anglicanism was indeed simply a piece of theatre - a facade maintained for constitutional reasons.
As far as Cranmer is concerned, he can go, and good riddance - politically, spiritually, ecclesiastically, and theologically. But it is curious indeed that the Vatican would even want such a vain and corrupt dissembler in their ranks. He has failed consistently to adhere to the unequivocal teachings of the church he aspires to join, indeed, his record is one of consistently contending against the faith.
Yet Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said: 'I am very glad to welcome Tony Blair into the Catholic Church. For a long time he has been a regular worshipper at Mass with his family and in recent months he has been following a programme of formation to prepare for his reception into full communion. My prayers are with him, his wife and family at this joyful moment in their journey of faith together.'
Rome is welcome to him. The Church of England is best purged of such hypocrites.