Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Voices: Tony Blair explains his conversion to Roman Catholicism

Not that he needed to. He never ‘did God’ when he was prime minister, and ‘doing God’ now seems a tad hypocritical, even on a Sunday, even at Christmas, and even for the BBC. There are as many Catholics as there are Anglicans and Protestants who have a thousand questions about the former prime minister’s journey to Rome, not least because the Rt Hon Tony Blair MP pursued such a fundamentally anti-Christian agenda while in office that he was solely responsible for the mass exodus from New Labour of Christians of all denominations.

His excuse for postponing his conversion until after his resignation as prime minister is because there would have been a ‘palaver’ if he had acted while in office.

A palaver?

Well, Jesus said people will hate you because of him (even more than they instinctively hate politicians), and they might even kill you. So a bit of a ‘palaver’ might seem a small price to pay for ‘coming out’ in one’s faith. And speaking of ‘coming out’, does he really believe it would have been more of a ‘palaver’ for him to cross the Tiber than it was for him to appoint such an ‘out’ contingent of homosexuals to ministerial rank, leaving the nation not only bemused by the number of Scots running England but increasingly persuaded that heterosexuality was becoming distinctly passé?

But Cranmer just loves Mr Blair’s assertion that his conversion to Roman Catholicism was not a rejection of the Church of England.

There are a thousand reasons why one might reject the Church of England in its present state of terminal decline and inexorable decay, and quite a few things one could do to support it. But converting to Roman Catholicism is not only a rejection of the Church of England; it is an utter repudiation of its theology, ecclesiology and soteriology. Every silent falling away of a single member of the flock is a tragedy for which the leadership of the Church will ultimately be accountable. But Mr Blair made a very public and highly-publicised decision to convert to Rome, and that was a damning indictment of the Church of England, which he purposely shackled with Archbishop Rowan Williams, and then abandoned for orthodoxy.

Mr Blair batted away suggestions that he may have held off from converting earlier in his life for fear that Catholicism would exclude him from the highest political office.

But this is precisely what he did fear. He had been attending Mass for 25 years and was raising his children as Roman Catholics. If he believed that salvation is only to be found in the Roman Catholic Church, and he did not seek that salvation himself for fear that he might be viewed a ‘nutter’, which would in turn bar him from the highest political office, one wonders why priests, bishops and archbishops have fallen over themselves to associate with the man. He has placed his worldly status above his God, and his present regrets that he did not ‘do God’ more while in office ring awfully hollow.

By their fruits ye shall know them.

Abortion, the Iraq war, attacks upon faith schools, the closure of Catholic adoption agencies, iniquitous embryology and fertilisation legislation, civil partnerships, decreasing marriage tax breaks, 'equality' and sexual orientation regulations...

While Mr Blair insists that his ‘spiritual values’ were Christian, Christians of all hues observe a distinct diminution of the influence of Christian values during his term of office. And not only were they diminished, but on occasion overtly ignored and set aside.

Cranmer presumes that, since his conversion, Mr Blair has spent many long hours in the confessional.

That is, if he has had time to fit God in between being the Howland Distinguished Fellow at Yale University and a Middle East peace envoy. He is now persuaded that religious faith and economic and social globalisation are partners, and that ‘globalisation requires values to succeed’ because it involves ‘pushing people together’ into multicultural and multi-religious societies, such that ‘spiritual capital’ and ‘human capital’ fuse to produce multi-faith dialogue. And he declares, with no irony whatsoever: ‘It's the force of argument, and not of arms, that will cause us to succeed.’

Whatever ‘spiritual values’ these may be, with the exception of the latter, they are not recognisably Christian. They strike one as a kind of cosmic consciousness, an ecumenical multi-faith mish-mash of take-it-or-leave-it theology, developed by the Prophet Tony, and propagated by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation Dot Org for the lining of his pockets and the exaltation of his name.


Blogger Christian-Jedi-Alliance said...


The JEDI Faith Foundation Appeal

14 December 2008 at 11:19  
Blogger The Heresiarch said...

Are you sure he's a QC? When did that happen?

14 December 2008 at 11:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, he's not a QC. Cranmer, do your research!

14 December 2008 at 11:52  
Blogger Anoneumouse said...

Quality C***

14 December 2008 at 11:53  
Blogger Cranmer said...

His Grace has corrected, and humbly apologises.

Mr Blair just always behaved as though he were one.

14 December 2008 at 11:55  
Blogger len.allan said...

Mr Blairs( plainly a hypocrite)choice of catholicism as his chosen religion should be a source of some concern to catholics!

14 December 2008 at 12:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your grace ought to have read Clarissa Dickson Wrights biography where she tells us that when at the junior bar ( no Q.C. ) he was known as Miranda which might explain a lot

14 December 2008 at 13:00  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

May I respectfully commend the wit, wisdom and insight of His Grace in respect of this post.

The "fruits" of the Blair era indeed have been elevated to Cabinet rank.

(did I misunderstand the context?)

Seriously, Blair is a fraudulent copy of anything we know as "Christian". All you really need to do is to look at the people he surrounded himself with. He is about as Christian as Maximilien Robespierre.

As the father of spin, Robespierre declared:

"The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant."

14 December 2008 at 14:00  
Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

"By their fruits ye shall know them."

Looking at Blairs track record many Catholics must be left asking themselves why the Pope embraces Tony.

I think as time unfolds both Protestants and Catholics may find mutual ground in Christ, as they discover their 'official' Religions have duped them.

Then Britain can be Great once again under a true King. A King worth serving because he kneels down and washes folks feet. Not because he swans around being all official like.

14 December 2008 at 14:09  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Blair was always a Catholic and lied about it during time in No10, claims aide

FRom the Daily Mail

December 2008

Full details of how Tony Blair ordered Downing Street officials to lie about his passionate commitment to Roman Catholicism throughout his ten years in No 10 emerged yesterday.
Spin-doctor Lance Price said Mr Blair told him to kill off an accurate Press report in 1998 – months after he took power – that he had spoken candidly of his Catholic faith to an Italian cleric on a holiday in Tuscany.

‘He asked me to squash a story that he had told the Archbishop of Siena, “In my heart, I feel more of a Catholic,”’ said Mr Price, an ex-Downing Street deputy Press secretary.
Devout: The Blairs at a memorial service for Pope John Paul II in 2005
‘He said, “I don’t discuss my Catholicism with anybody.” In his heart he was a Roman Catholic throughout the time he was Prime Minister.

'He was worried it would blow up into a much bigger story, with people asking whether he would be beholden to the Vatican because as a Catholic you are supposed to believe that the Pope is infallible.’

As Prime Minister, Mr Blair, whose wife Cherie is a devout Catholic, repeatedly denied rumours that he had converted or planned to do so the moment he left office.

Soon after winning the 1997 Election, Mr Blair started taking Communion regularly at the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral.

In 2004, the Blairs’ family priest Father Timothy Russ told a newspaper that Mr Blair might well convert.

Asked about the report, Mr Blair said: ‘I am saying “no”. Don’t they run this once a year?’ In the event, he waited six months after leaving Downing Street to convert.

Mr Price said there were huge gaps in Mr Blair’s knowledge of Catholicism. ‘We said, “You do realise the heir to the throne can’t marry a Roman Catholic and still go on to be King?”

He was astonished. I thought it was something everyone learned at school.’
Yesterday, Monsignor Gaetano Bonicelli, who retired as Archbishop of Siena in 2001, told of his secret meetings with Mr Blair.

‘He knew a great deal about the Roman Catholic faith and I was not surprised when he converted,’ he said. ‘We saw each other four or five times, maybe more.’

He said he first met Mr Blair after the British consulate rang to say the Prime Minister was on holiday and wanted a Catholic priest to come and say Mass.

He sent a priest to a chapel on the estate where the Blairs were staying because they could not go to the village church for security reasons.

‘Then I was invited to lunch,’ said Monsignor Bonicelli. ‘We discussed faith. I got the inclination straight away that he wanted to convert.”

He said Mr Blair told him it was difficult for a Catholic to be Premier. ‘The priest who took the service told me later that Blair had taken Communion and that he was surprised that in spite of being an Anglican, Blair knew how the Mass worked.

‘I could tell Blair wanted to walk along the path of the Catholic church but he was unable to because of his position. When we met, everything had to be kept very quiet.’

Although there has never been a Catholic Premier, there is no constitutional bar. Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy are Catholics.

In BBC1’s Christmas Voices today, Mr Blair says he did not convert in office because it would have been ‘a palaver’ and he feared talking about his religious beliefs would lead to people dismissing him as a ‘nutter’.

He says: ‘It’s sad people feel you can’t talk about something that is important to who you are. Maybe I was too sensitive but I came to the conclusion that if I started talking about God it was going to be difficult.’

14 December 2008 at 15:14  
Anonymous Nelson said...

It comes as no surprise that T.B has finally come out of the closet, his time in office was always marked by spin, ineptitude and deception, not to say lies. It was obvious that moral fibre was lacking from the start, this weakness and his profuse apologies has been the mark of the man all along, regretablly we are all about to pay the price for his weakness. If I were the pope I would make sure my contract was in order before accepting this social climber into my church, or perhaps the age of the Borgias is about to make a comeback.

14 December 2008 at 18:31  
Blogger LancashireCat said...

As an English Roman Catholic, I am delighted to read your appraisal of Mr Blair's conversion to Roman Catholicism and is "heroic" self denial of his desire to do so whilst in office. Whilst a man's conscience and his confession are between him and his priest( and his God) as a public figure who, as you so clearly point out, promoted probably the most anti-Christian set of policies ever in any democratic state,it seems right to ask of him some explanation as to the gulf between belief and practice in his political life.
Unfortunately it seems to me that English Roman Catholicism is riddled with elitism and snobbery and has a very unpleasant cult of celebrity. I'm not wild about our Bishops either.

14 December 2008 at 18:39  
Anonymous John Knox said...

Mr Blair seems to line up with the English Bishops who turn Christian schools into, neither Roman nor Catholic, multifaith centres. Will this Church have a future after Benedict XVI?

15 December 2008 at 01:24  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Blair likes smells and bells and dressing up - acting is his real metier - he loves performing and deceiving - and has manipulated women and puzzled men

15 December 2008 at 06:17  
Anonymous John Reid said...

To become a catholic Blair would have to denounce his protestant roots. Being a catholic is incompatable with protestantism.
He must have taken classes and then bowed the knee to the church.

Well he gave up his own principals when he let his Mrs bring up the kids in idolitary.

Some might ask what principals does Blair have ?

15 December 2008 at 13:22  
Blogger Fidothedog said...

Had we a pope worthy of the name he would denounce Blair as an apostate and over his "we don't do God" stance.

Excommunicate him and his harpy of wife.

Lets see him spin his way out of that one.

15 December 2008 at 14:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace and fellow bloggers

Am I the only one who thinks the reason this banal story has arisen now is because he (Blair) is seeking to make himself look 'human' in readiness for when he (hopes) to pick up the EU President mantle; whilst at the same time is needing to alleviate his attention seeking and accolade deprivation?

15 December 2008 at 19:28  
Blogger len.allan said...

Catholics, protestants, sounds a bit like joining a club, which I suppose it is.
Did Jesus say become either of these?.
No, he said you must be born again, the only thing that matters.
Can the pope get you into heaven? Jesus said I AM THE WAY,THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE.

15 December 2008 at 19:28  
Blogger Theresa said...


I wasn't madly impressed with Tony Blair's 'conversion' and the fact that he wouldn't stand up for what he believed in, while he was in office.
However, churches are there for sinners. If there weren't sinners, the churches would be out of a job. We are obliged to take the good, the bad and the ugly until God says otherwise. And in terms of witness, is there anyone on this forum using their real name? So are we really in a position to condemn Blair? I don't like the guy, but it's God who makes the rules not us, and maybe just as well.

16 December 2008 at 02:52  
Blogger len.allan said...

T B is a chameleon.
A true politician, all things to all men.

17 December 2008 at 19:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But converting to Roman Catholicism is not only a rejection of the Church of England; it is an utter repudiation of its theology, ecclesiology and soteriology."

Serious question: how does the RC's soteriology conflict with the Anglican understanding?

18 December 2008 at 22:09  
Blogger len.allan said...

Catholics seem to believe that you must be a 'good' person to get into heaven.
They also believe there are ways to better your chances to get into heaven ie repentance of mortal sins,purgatory, or wearing a scapula when you die.many of these 'stairways'to heaven that you must climb in the catholic religion were and still are used as ways to control catholics by requiring them to go to church or priests to ensure salvation,also so they must do what the church says there is an overtone of never being able to be sure that you are saved and going to heaven.
In the christian, salvation is by Faith in Jesus Christ alone.
The most basic answer it is by faith or works of the law, one cancels out the other you cannot have both!.

19 December 2008 at 18:12  
Blogger len.allan said...

That of course should be scapular.

19 December 2008 at 18:23  

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