If Blair really wants to be a Catholic…

Malachi recounts some of the searching questions his Bishop is likely to ask…

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  • kensei

    Link actually here:


    Might be wrong, I think there is a distinction between doctrine, like Transubstantiation or the Assumption, and teaching like not using condoms.

  • Lorraine

    Tony, when I was born some guy in a skirt and muttering Latin pronounced me a catholic: you may have my catholicism for a little knighthood.

  • Dewi

    I’m confused – like kids get made catholic within days of birth but adults have to undertake 30 years probation ? What’s that about ?

  • Cruimh

    I know a few people who have converted – it’s hard work for the average punter – but I reckon as with the annullment issue – fascinatng news on the Kennedy front – and with living i sin while in Public Office, corners can be cut for people with influence.

  • Prince Eoghan

    The last comment on Kensei’s link was a bit OTT! Still now that big Ian has had his near death experience and seen the light…so to speak. Perhaps that commenter could be used to fill Ian’s his boots at the speech making shenanigans on the twelth.

    He seems to tick all the right boxes anyhow!

  • Prince Eoghan


    It’s just to keep the bad eggs out, call it a bit of heavenly weeding ;¬)

  • The Dubliner

    It’s a bit like a group of believers in Santa Claus debating whether or not he wears a red robe. Some argue he does and some find the idea positively absurd, pointing to its Washington Irving origins in the early 19th century. None of them think it absurd to believe in Santa Claus.

  • páid

    The things folk do to get hold of ‘old firm’ tickets…..

  • curious

    Maybe Tony Bliar wants to become a Catholic so to overcome his guilt and confess to the Pope he made one big feck up taking the UK to war in Iraq.

  • snakebrain

    Is there an upper limit on the number of unnecessary deaths you can confess in one sitting? Or can you still stave them off till a later date with a hefty donation or a papal dispensation?

    Cherie must be proud though..

  • Dewi

    What is sad is that he felt it necessary to wait till he relinguished his job b4 he felt it appropriate to convert.
    No consitutional objections to Catholic Prime Minister so his thoughts must have been political.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>No consitutional objections to Catholic Prime Minister so his thoughts must have been political.<

  • Dewi

    I think that’s my point Prince – still political issues not constitutional.

  • I find all these posts about how one becomes a Catholic, and the glass ceiling against a British Prime Minister being one hard to fathom.

    In my experience, if I had wanted to become a Catholic, all I had to do was start attending mass. And if I wanted to be most proper about it, I could also start taking confession. There was no need for any declarations or an formal inquiry.

    And I don’t believe that Blair was stopped from becoming an RC while at No. 10 because of any constitutional convention against it. His lackey parliamentarians would have put up with it. Just look at how they have put up with his massive war crimes without batting an eyelash.

    Blair put off his ‘conversion’ because it would have ruined what little he has accomplished while as Prime Minister.

    Can you imagine even a ‘converted’ Dr. Paisley being persuaded by a Catholic PM to get on board the GFA? The Doc might have declared Unilateral Independence.

    And once Blair leaves office, everyone will now be taking about when he ‘converts’ rather than when he might be going to The Hague.

    The guy is a spin doctor without any inhibitions. Just ask Dr. David Kelly’s ghost!

  • abucs

    Not sure, but doesn’t the Prime Minister officially appoint the Anglican Bishops ?

    Might be a little awkward.


  • Dewi

    Yup – but there have been non – Anglcan Prime Ministers and ain’t been a problem.

  • As I recall, the PM has nothing to do with religious appointments. They are recommended by bodies in the Anglican Church, and approved by the Queen.

    For more on the hypocrisy of it all, see the column in today’s Guardian about the closet Catholic for over 30 years.

    How can he convert now? He is as Catholic as the Pope, maybe more so.

  • THF, isn’t there also a detail about baptism, in becoming a catholic? Seems they are a mite picky about who has officiated, and indeed whether it has happened at all.

  • Not as far as I know, Paul.

    My experience was that if I went to mass, performed the various rituals, etc., I was a Catholic – no questioned asked, or pronoucements required, though I can imagine it varies from country to country, and diocese to diocese.

  • Dewi


    Religious affiliations of Canadian Prime Ministers…..43% Catholic – and not many from “French Speaking Community Background”

  • Dewi


    Completely different story in USA

  • Prince Eoghan

    The Canadian link doesn’t work Dewi.

    Trow, I’m pretty certain that you have to be baptised no matter where you are. As someone not adverse to taking on the establishment Trow I’m surprised that the way John Reid went quietly into the night hasn’t rung any alarm bells.

  • Dewi


    Odd – looks the same this time

  • Dewi

    But works !

  • Prince Eoghan

    Thanks Dewi

    Interesting that almost all the Catholic Canadians PM’s were from the 1980’s onward, maturing attitudes perhaps?

    I remember when Paul Keating was standing for election in Australia as the incumbent, he had replaced Bob Hawke as the labour part leader and PM a la Brown. Anyway there were people that I am not so proud to call Scots agitating against him in my circle solely because he was a Catholic. Not that they were sectarian bigots mind you….strange that politics had never been on their radar screen previous to this election.

    Keating’s opening line in his victory speech was;

    “How sweet it is”

    I couldn’t have agreed more!

  • abucs

    Only ever one Catholic President in the US and he was bumped off !

    I can see why Tony might have waited. :o)

  • merrie

    What the Catholic Church has in abundance which nearly all Protestant churches do not is a mystical tradition – Teresa of Avila, John of God, etc. Learning to experience the mystical thing is the heart of the religion. The only protestant church with a mystical aspect I know of is the high Anglican church which has many Catholic practices.

    Most of the other things people have mentioned here are worldly practices; imho they are irrelevant to actual religious experirence. For instance, and skipping over to another religion, a mystically enlightened moslem would know that wearing a scarf is really irrelevant to achieving religious enlightenment but praying five times a day might be more useful. Most moslems insist on their womenfolk doing the former, while ignoring the latter unless it is convenient. Similarly the 40 day fast practised in Ramadan is flawed.

    Ironically, I have found the best explanation for the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception, abortion and IVF is in a book called “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche (not to be confused with The Tibetan Book of the Dead).

    The Catholic Church does itself no favours by simply saying “Thou shalt not” do this or that without giving any explanation. The only problem with the explanation regarding birth control and IVF given by Sogyal Rinpoche is that reincarnation is involved and no Christian religion would publicly acknowledge that. Since reincanation has been publicly denied since the conversion of that Emperor in the fourth or fifth century it would be difficult to say that it exists after all to a non-mystical world and to sceptical people who believe there is a “god delusion”.

    In a sense denying reincarnation is right in that a person called Fred Nurk would not be reborn again as another Fred Nurk in the same body. Rather his spirit would be reborn. Science hasn’t got around to understanding the spirit, and probably never will.

    Don’t know if it is the mystical part that would attract Tony Blair to Catholicism. Perhaps he has been a closet Catholic for quite a while and is waiting to announce his conversion after he resigns.

  • Can’t wait for Tony Blair’s First Confession 🙂

  • Turgon

    Prince Eoghan,

    I am not trying to be provacative but I do think that is a little bit paranoid about the glass ceiling (I guess I would). I would have thought the main problems with Blair converting in office would be about appionting Arch bishops of the CoE, as far as I know although the Queen formally appionts them it is on the PM’s advice. I suspect this would have been sortable though.

    I think the main problem would have been the pope’s stance on abortion etc and especially Iraq which would have brought up yet another embarrsing Iraq angle for Blair.

    As to Reid do you not think he just knew he would loose and loose badly and hence had no interest

    Disrealli was from a jewish background though my understanding was that his father fell out with the local synagogue and so had him baptised CoE, am happy to be corrected on this one. A sad irony about jews is that Bismarck the German chancellor (held up as a hero by the Nazis) thought extremely highly of Disrealli and after one conference where war was prevented in the late 19th century said “The old Jew he is the man”.

    Turning back to becomming an RC. I dont know Trowbridge. My understanding was that you had to be RC or CoE to take mass. For some reason I think anglicans are allowed (in England anyway) but not other protestants.

  • As I recall, the PM has nothing to do with religious appointments. They are recommended by bodies in the Anglican Church, and approved by the Queen.

    Blair was more interventionist in the workings of the Crown Appointments Commission than any PM since Macmillan, to the extent of making sure a few personal favourites like the obnoxious homophobe James Jones got preferrment. Williams’ appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury was definitely with the full support of Blair.

    And I wouldn’t minimise the degree of political interference even with less churchy Prime Ministers – George Carey was appointed to Canterbury ahead of John Habgood because Thatcher preferred a ‘sound’ Home Counties working-class boy made good to an establishment Oxbridge liberal.

  • merrie

    And what a mistake it was to appoint George Carey.

    Maybe they should get the Pope to do the next appointment….


  • I stand corrected about the PM’s role in high church appointments – what Gordon Brown intends to change when he takes over from ‘High-Church’ Emperor Tony.

    And this all goes to show that Blair’s Catholicism has not even been in the closet for these past 30 years.

  • Gerry Kelly

    Nice to see the late David Kelly mentioned. Let’s also remember all the Iraqi Catholics and Mandeans killed by this swine’s army.

  • abucs
  • Prince Eoghan


    Frig me! I’ve seen paranoia on here and I couldn’t compete, I am merely posing the question.

    >>As to Reid do you not think he just knew he would loose and loose badly and hence had no interest<

  • anon

    After Watching Ian Paisleys turn about I wouldn’t be surprised if he left the Free P’s and became catholic himself

  • X

    Paisley for pope! 🙂

  • Turgon

    Prince Eoghan,

    Fair enough. I was thinking about this afterwards. In terns of Reid I am not sure I was never that convinced by him (no not because of the religion bit). Is he not just too angry, too scary (too bald?) and a fire fighter lacking the vision thing. On a more general note I have heard it suggested the chattering classes have a problem with catholicism because it sticks to a set of social and moral issues unlike the CoE or for that matter the United Reformed which can be pretty wishy washy (at least in some circles).

    In which case it is not catholicism per se but the fact that practicing catholics might actually believe quite a bit of the social and moral stuff which might advise their view of politics. Also of course if Blair converted (or to use that excellent Northern Irelandism Turned) he might be expected to actually follow some social and moral teaching or be asked if you do not believe it why did you do convert. This would cause political embarrassment and that it an anathema to as media obsessed a man as Blair.

    By the same account I suspect some of the chattering classes would have been highly dubious about say Lord MacKay’s being in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

    To broaden it a bit I do not know all the details but the refusal of that school in the South of England to allow that girl to wear the sliver ring thing is fairly incredible. It does not seem that this rather small ring was likely to cause much problem. Is this a manifestation of a similar thing namely an objection to a version of Christainity which actually takes parts of the bible seriously even if they conflict with the moral ethos that secular society feels is appropriate. Sorry that is a bit waffley but do you see what I am saying?

  • Prince Eoghan


    I’m not sure if you are making a case (2nd para) for not allowing a Catholic PM. I’m sure a capable Catholic would manage just fine without recourse to Rome (if that is what you are hinting)

    I am British not by choice but due to having being born and living (at the moment) in this political entity. How in God’s name (crikey wrong phrase) should I be expected to give my loyalty to this political entity, whilst my co-religionists are denied the top job (monarch) and more than a hint of suspicion that by convention we are denied the top political job?

  • Turgon


    No I am not at all against a catholic being PM. Actually the moral positions an RC PM might adopt would not bother me at all. What I am wondering is about the way some sections of secular opinion tend to try very hard to keep religion totally out of politics. As such is religion viewed as okay provided you don’t let it inform any of your political actions (eg Allister Campbell’s comment about we do not do religion, or Blairs exasperation when asked if he and Bush prayed together).

    I recall a radio 4 programme suggesting the problem some secularists have is that some sections the CoE rarely take a controvertial line and always try to find compromise. The fear then is that catholics who might take a more traditional line might use their faith to inform their views on social policy for example which would be seen as unacceptable to parts of secular opinion. In Blair’s case to have actively turned would imply that he find RC teaching more appropriate than CoE teaching on say divorce, abortion, homosexuality. Then an interviewer could ask why convert if you don’t accept catholic teacing on say the above. Hence Blair would look like a hippocrite or his views might be suspicious to some elements of the liberal establishment.

    If, however, a PM was alraedy an RC then he / she could just kind of say they do not accept these bits but remain a catholic.

    I know I am not making perfect sense but do you see what I mean?

  • Prince Eoghan

    Sort of! It is a fuzzy subject. However your assertion that it is better to have CoE PM because they would practice a liberal-democrat type of politics made me laugh.

    I would imagine that we could all accept that religion is private. Issues concerning the country at large should not be a matter of religious conviction. And frankly I don’t see any reason why they would. A Catholic PM who has deep feelings over abortion would have to put the mood/need of the electorate first. I reckon we would all understand that! If the church feels the need to remind him that he shouldn’t take communion then I could understand that also.

    What are your thoughts on my opinion that Catholics are somehow regarded as lesser citizens/subjects by the constitutional and possibly conventional arrangements. Not mind blowing stuff, but still!

  • Turgon

    Prince Eoghan,

    I can see where you are comming from re constitutional arrangement but remember I cannot become Queen / king.

    I am not a woman (sorry feaceous)

    I am not CoE, I am not related to the royal family.

    I appricate your position and it is a respectable republican (in constitutional terms) one. I am not that totally sold on the monachy on theoretical grounds but I think that pratically all the alternatives are worse. Rubbish reason I know.

    Incidentally I can never be PM either. I am too stupid, not talented enough and too ugly for TV.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Incidentally I can never be PM either. I am too stupid, not talented enough and too ugly for TV.<

  • Where is the evidence that Emperor Tony is a Mason? I believe that you are confusing his connections to some Rhodes Scholars who are into being one himself. And would Mrs. Blair have tolerated it?

    And if Blair were a Mason, the Pope would have had more than a “frank discussion” with the wayward Catholic’s ways. He would have read out the riot act.

    And there is no prohition to an British Prime Minister being a Catholic. The Scots would not have accepted the Act of Union if this were the case.

  • DK

    Prince – not sure about that glass ceiling stopping you becoming deputy if you are catholic. Sure wasn’t Margaret Beckett deputy leader and even briefly actual leader. Then she was also foreign secretary – a major position. Her sister is a catholic nun.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Trow, DK

    If I’m being honest I believe that it was prohibited by convention, but am happy to accept that in this day and age old prejudices would not be high up on the agenda. Still don’t understand the non participation in the race to be labour party leader by Dr. J. Reid.

    >>And there is no prohition to an British Prime Minister being a Catholic. The Scots would not have accepted the Act of Union if this were the case.<

  • As I recall, PE, the Act of Settlement guaranteed that the English monarch would always be CofE, and the Act of Union insured the same for the King of Scotland. In return, by guaranteeing the Protestant character of the joint crown, there would be more toleration of who served under it – today there being no prohibition, either legal or conventional, of the highest elected official being a Catholic.

  • darth rumsfeld

    All that thunder and the tornadoes in England wasn’t global warming. It was the ghost of Blair’s grandfather, Brother Corscadden of Carricknahorna Loyal Orange Lodge in Donegal turning in his grave
    O tempora! O mores!

  • Prince Eoghan

    Mystery solved!

    Rather than waste his time running the UK John Reid is deciding on whether to take on a much more high profile job.