June 21, 2007


After 30 years as a closet Catholic, Blair finally puts faith before politics (Stephen Bates, June 22, 2007, The Guardian)

His spiritual awakening goes back at least 30 years, to his time as an undergraduate at Oxford, but due to political considerations Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism has been a long time coming.

He has been attending Catholic mass, often with his family but also occasionally alone, since long before he became prime minister. His wife, Cherie, is a lifelong and practising Catholic, and in accordance with church rules their children have been brought up as Catholics and were sent to church schools.

More than 10 years ago Mr Blair was slipping into Westminster cathedral and occasionally taking communion, until the late Cardinal Basil Hume told him to stop because it was causing comment as he was not a Catholic - an injunction that bemused him at the time.

Since then he has regularly attended services conducted by Canon Timothy Russ, parish priest of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Great Missenden, the nearest Catholic church to Chequers.

He is also known to have had discussions with priests such as Father Timothy Radcliffe, former head of the worldwide Dominican order, now at Oxford, and with Father Michael Seed, who has shephered a number of high-profile figures, including Ann Widdecome and, allegedly, Alan Clark, towards conversion. Fr Seed, an engaging if indiscreet figure, has claimed to have paid regular backdoor visits to Downing Street to talk religion, if not necessarily to advise the prime minister.

His Vatican ties make him an even more appropriate choice for Middle Easty envoy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 21, 2007 7:35 PM

Excellent pun.

Posted by: erp at June 22, 2007 7:34 AM

"...the late Cardinal Basil Hume told him to stop because it was causing comment as he was not a Catholic..."

How intolerant:

"A veteran Episcopal priest says she became a Muslim just over a year ago and now worships at a mosque Fridays – but that hasn't stopped her from donning her white collar Sunday mornings.

"I am both Muslim and Christian..."


Posted by: Rick T. at June 22, 2007 7:45 AM