Vatican: Tony Blair is ‘probable future president of the European Union’
In an interview with L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's daily newspaper, he reveals that his new-found faith had become the driving force in his life. He said he considers Pope Benedict's belief that God is central to politics, society, economics and culture to be ‘brilliant’.
But the Vatican also let it slip that they believe him to be the anointed one: the heir to Charlemagne; the future President of Europe.
Mr Blair has become increasingly popular with the Vatican in recent months, and Cranmer is not entirely sure why. A packed conference in Italy gave him an ovation for his speech about the ‘universality of Catholicism’ (well, there’s a mind-blowing revelatory tautology). The Pope's newspaper has been quite effusive in a superficial kind of way, calling the former prime minister ‘a gentleman, educated, smiley, courteous in a way few know how to be’.
All the qualifications necessary for modern political discourse.
Mr Blair spoke about his conversion and how important his new faith was to him. He recalled how, when he was a child, ‘in one of her rare moments of lucidity, during an illness, my great-grandmother – who was in many ways fantastic – told me, “Do whatever you want but don't marry a Catholic”. Which is exactly what I did.’
Mr Blair’s great-grandmother’s advice is, of course, still heeded by the Monarch.
He further revealed that his conversion was ‘a path I have followed for 25 years’, assisted, he added, by a crucial private mass held by Pope John Paul II in 2003. He said: "It was an episode which really struck me." He added, “Catholicism's universality is its appeal. If you are Catholic you can go anywhere in the world and take part in mass in any country."
The last people to understand this, he complained, were British journalists, who are still unprepared for religious, let alone Catholic, politicians.
"It's a shame but that is how it is. However, I can say that for normal people, as opposed to those who speak on TV or write in newspapers, it was never a problem."
It is interesting to read that Mr Blair considers journalists to be abnormal.
Cranmer knows one or two.