Now he does do God…

FORMER prime minister Tony Blair has finally, but not unexpectedly, converted to his Donegal mother’s Catholicism. Blair, whose faith in God once found him exhanging religious literature with Ian Paisley, famously downplayed it publicly while in office, despite there having never been a Catholic PM in the UK. Many of the stories reporting the news claim the sensitive nature of the peace talks here may have played a role in delaying what many saw as inevitable. Fellow convert Anne Widdecombe has already questioned Blair’s credentials, after his backing for abortion, embryo research and Sunday trading. Perhaps Blair’s faith is as shallow as other aspects of his leadership? Ah well, sure God will judge him some day, if s/he exists!

  • RepublicanStones

    so Blair decides to join his mothers brand of original formula christianity, he must be heading straight for confessions as we speak !

  • DC

    Blair swaps Christianity for Christianity.

    Good for him.

  • republican stones
    It’s his wife’s brand of Christianity and it is not the original.The original Church is the Assyrian Church.The Eastern Churches welcome visitors with warmth and friendliness.

  • Danny O’Connor

    I have to say that I agree with Anne-You have to be a Christian ,not just profess it.
    But hey Gonzo- this so called multi cultural society allows anyone to be Prime Minister -just as long as they aren’t Catholic.

  • Danny O’Connor

    As far as I’m aware the esatern Christian Orthadox Churches are in communion with Rome.

  • páid

    “Tony Blair has finally, but not unexpectedly, converted to his Donegal mother’s Catholicism.”

    erm.. that would be his mam Hazel, not Fionnuala, from Ballyshannon, not Shannon, who played hockey not hurling.

    Catholic? In her choice of music, perhaps.

  • Danny
    The Eastern Oriental Churches recognize the Archbishop of Rome as an equal.There are no real concessions on the nature of Jesus the cause of the original schism.

  • blogman

    yeah. Mummys name was Corscadden and she was from a South Donegal strong protestant family. One with Orange links. Not sure how happy she’d be with a Romanist son and grand-weans.

  • Rory

    Having now been accepted into the One True Church can canonisation now be far behind? But under what title shall we, the faithful, pray to him to intercede for us?

    St Anthony of Baghdad perhaps?

  • rj

    Afraid you got the Ballyshannon Orange connection a bit mixed up, Gonzo.

    According to Brian Kennaway’s book, maternal grandfather was in the Order, and I have heard that maternal grandmother warned the young Anthony not to marry a Catholic.

    Now the real question arises for Martina Anderson. Given that Mr Blair has half-Ulster ancestry (ie is 50% local), and has made a very public ‘conversion’ (approved by the Pope, apparently):

    Is TONY BLAIR a Catholic?

  • Rory

    On an aside, if the Roman Catholic communion likes to be known as the One True Church – OTC for short, how should we refer to the Catholic wing of Anglicanism with its penchant for extremely flamboyant liturgy and ritual? OTT perhaps?

    What say you, Sammy Morse?

  • Twinbrook resident

    why anyone would want to unite with a church and this goes for all BRANDS of christianity, that professes love and respect but shows nothing but intolence to the poor, the needy, supports morally and financially some of the most despotic regimes worldwide, has no respect for the human rights of those who don`t profess their doctrine….

  • Nevin

    BG, where did you get the maternal Catholic reference?

    Blair was born at the Queen Mary Maternity Home[5] in Edinburgh, Scotland on 6 May 1953, the second son of Leo and Hazel Blair (née Corscadden). Leo Blair, the son of two English actors, had been adopted by a Glasgow shipyard worker named James Blair and his wife Mary as a baby. Hazel Corscadden was the daughter of George Corscadden, a butcher and Orangeman who had moved to Glasgow in 1916 but returned to (and died in) Ballyshannon in 1923, where his wife Sarah Margaret neé Lipsett gave birth to Blair’s mother Hazel above her family’s grocery shop. George Corscadden was from a family of Protestant farmers in County Donegal, Ireland, who descended from Scottish settlers that took their family name from Garscadden, now part of Glasgow. The Blair family was often taken on holiday to Rossnowlagh, a beach resort near Hazel’s hometown of Ballyshannon which is the venue of the main Orange order parade in the Republic of Ireland.

    You’ll find quite a few Corscaddens and Lipsetts in the 1912 Ulster Covenant.

  • Doctor Who


    “decides to join his mothers brand of original formula christianity”

    Again you use the language of the detestable Rocky McBatts, and again it only serves to show just how ignorant you are.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Widdecombe’s comments are interesting and scary :

    – the fact that Blair led the charge for an illegal war leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people is so insignificant next to the tenets of her faith that she does not feel the need to mention it;

    – she also believes that religious politicians are supposed to put the interests of their church ahead of everything else when they’re in power.

    I’m frightened that people like this are in the House of Commons.

    Danny O’Connor, apparently the trouble with having a Catholic PM is the issue of appointments of bishops in the Church of England. The only answer is to completely disestablish the CoE; or formally hand these powers back over to the Queen. The government and/or parliament should not be involved in the appointment of religious figures.

  • CS, Widdecombe’s second comment needs to be seen in the context of the Pope being head of state as well as head of church.

  • pfhl

    CS, Widdecombe’s second comment needs to be seen in the context of the Pope being head of state as well as head of church.

    – she also believes that religious politicians are supposed to put the interests of their church ahead of everything else when they’re in power.

    Nevin, I don’t think too many people will be shocked to realise that the Pope acts in the interests of the catholic church. I would say it would be in the job description. At least he is elected though unlike the Queen who also holds both positions.

  • pfyl, there could be a conflict of interest. For example, which state would a future PM feel more obliged to give his or her allegiance?

  • pfhl

    If he was the PM of the UK i think that is quite clear. Nowhere in my religion have i been asked to pledge my support to the Vatican state. I do take guidence from the pope in Religious Matters not political. Im not sure if you have took much time to look at what is expected of Catholics. Could you give me an example of a possible conflict of interest that the UK and the Vatican would have?

  • lib2016

    Ulster unionism succeeded for a while because they were useful to the British Conservative Party. Now they are dangerous ‘people of the night’ who couldn’t be trusted out in public by a party which is desperately trying to leave the tag ‘Nasty Party’ behind.

    Anyone remember the Orange riots a few years ago with the desperate messages on this site from the Unionist HQ under siege by the forces of law and order and stranded behind the Orange lines?

    That was the authentic voice of a party committing suicide.

    Is it really necessary to draw out the wake this long?

  • pfhl, the Irish bishops proffered ‘advice‘ on how to vote in the Nice Treaty; presumably something similar would happen in the UK on the EU and other matters.

    Some premiers may acquiesce to Vatican pressure, others may not:

    The outspoken Bishop of Kerry was controversially picked to replace the more liberal Ryan in Dublin. Media reports linked his appointment to the ongoing tension between the papal nuncio in Ireland, Archbishop Alibrandi and the liberal Fine Gael–Labour coalition under Dr Garret FitzGerald. Relations between Alibrandi and the coalition had broken down, with the government requesting that Alibrandi be removed because of his suspected closeness to Irish republicans in Sinn Féin and to the opposition Fianna Fáil party and in particular its leader, Charles Haughey. Critics accused Alibrandi of engineering McNamara’s appointment in the belief that the outspoken McNamara could help derail the coalition’s liberal policies on divorce and contraception. McNamara, as expected, took a far more outspoken stance of issues than had Ryan previously. While the coalition succeeded in liberalising the law on contraception, its efforts to amend the constitution on divorce were defeated.

  • lib2016, Unionism and Nationalism are aspirations to be accommodated here; they’ve each got something of the dark about them.

  • lib2016

    “they’ve each got something of the dark about them.”

    Nonsense, and dangerous nonsense at that. I was referring to the situation in which the British Conservatives find themselves. To get back on-subject.

    Unionists want to keep ties with a country with not one but two state churches and moreover their own record while in power was one of enormous religious sectarianism while Irish nationalists want separation of church and state.

    That doesn’t mean that church people should be disfranchised or forbidden from putting pressure on politicans. Merely that they should have no more rights than any other citizen.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Mistake now corrected about Blair’s mum.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    As Tony’s involvelment in Non Iron is no more – where such things matter particulalry to Prods – then its probably irrelavant if he converts one way or another. As he is the (poor) choice of middle eastern peace envoy, it is the strength of his Chistianity (irrespective of virgin births, holy ghosts, papal infallability etc) which is the relevant issue. Given that Israel was set up by British Zionist Christians he must be rightly viewed with deep suspsicion by Arabs of the region who have been shafted by Western Religious zealots and black gold dgiggers for decades. Tony probably fits the bill on both counts.

  • lib2016, considering our history of the past forty years (at least) I’m surprised you haven’t noted the dark sides of Unionism and Nationalism!!

    I’d have thought the Catholic Church in the RoI had far more say over government social policy than any of the churches in the UK.

  • pfhl

    pfhl, the Irish bishops proffered ’advice‘ on how to vote in the Nice Treaty; presumably something similar would happen in the UK on the EU and other matters.

    As you continue this post you tell us how the Vatican and irish bishops put pressure on the church over Divorce and contraception. These are religious issues. The catholic church has got every right to raise its voice on these issues as they are quite clearly religious issues for them. This would happen whether the Vatican State existed or not as it would still be opposed to Catholic Doctrine. Under your reckoning a catholic can not hold a position of power because the Pope will pressure him.

  • phfl, your post doesn’t make sense (to me).

  • pfhl

    CS, Widdecombe’s second comment needs to be seen in the context of the Pope being head of state as well as head of church.

    pfhl, the Irish bishops proffered ’advice‘ on how to vote in the Nice Treaty; presumably something similar would happen in the UK on the EU and other matters.

    I am still looking a reasonable explanation of your first point listed. You seem to suggest to me the catholic church puts pressure on its members to uphold the doctrines of the Catholic faith. What is the problem with this? Is this why there should not be a Catholic British PM? Can they not be trusted? How does the Vatican state influence this? I emphasize Vatican State as an independant state in an area of rome, not the catholic church which is worldwide. When has a Catholic leader had to show his loyalty to the Vatican rather than just the catholic faith that they profess? To me you have made a pointless comment on the Pope. You went on to justify this point by the actions of irish bishops in relation to matters which relate to catholic doctrine which they are in their right to do.

  • páid

    So let’s get this straight then.

    Blair once believed the men in cloaks handing out wafers were being symbolic about the body of a dead Jewish spiritual guy but he now believes it’s actually part of his body.

    And the churches have a bit more stained glass.

    Oh and knock out the last line in the Lord’s Prayer.

    I’m a Greek Orthodox meself.

  • lib2016


    The Catholic church in the South has far more adherents proportionate to the overall population than any single church in Britain has proportionate to the overall population there. It follows that its political clout is correspondingly large, though falling fast recently. Clout which it has of democratic right.

    My point is that Britain has not been able to complete the separation of Church and State which is increasingly the norm in countries which consider themselves to be democracies. The very idea of Catholic or any other bishops having seats in the Dublin Senate as a right is out of the question yet for some strange reason the practice continues at Westminster.

    Your point about the often malign influence of the Catholic Church on Dublin social policies is correct of course but lessening with time as the divorce referendum showed.

    As for your references to the ‘dark side’ of nationalism and unionism. One definition of spirituality is the quest to find something more important than our own narrow selfish ends.

    I suspect that the people who mis-used those ideals would just as quickly have mis-used any other ideals. Don’t blame the ideals for the men who hid behind them.

  • pfhl, you’ve missed out the reference to Fitzgerald. The Papal nuncio is the Vatican ambassador to Ireland and Fitzgerald was complaining about Alibrandi’s intervention in the political affairs of the state.

    In the time of John Costello the words of some government ministers portrayed the RoI as a ‘fiefdom’/province of the Vatican state.

    “The Irish Prime Minister had to forgo his rights and duties as the citizen of an independent nation and as a member of a democratically elected Government in order not to violate his allegiance to his Church. “As a Catholic, I obey my Church authorities, and will continue to do so,” he declared to the members of Parliament.” There is going to be no flouting of the Bishops on Catholic morals and social teaching,” confirmed the Irish Labour Leader, Mr. William Norton. “In Ireland a conflict between the spiritual and temporal authorities is damaging to national unity,” added Mr. MacBride, the Party Leader and External Affairs Minister, brusquely ordering his Ministerial and Party colleague, Dr. Browne, to surrender his office.”

  • lib2016, when I used the term ‘dark side’ I was thinking mainly of the barbaric actions of the respective paramilitaries rather than of churchmen conspiring with said paramilitaries.

    A few bishops in the House of Lords is small beer when set alongside the ‘hotline to All Hallows‘:

    “Accused of undue influence from the Church he not only failed to deny it but asserted he went looking for it – he makes the calls! In the wake of a report that exposed Church abuse and mendacity he brazenly declared the State’s almost personal affiliation to it and with such an open declaration that he more or less silenced critics. His admission of confessional allegiance exposed the fact that there is no organized force demanding a real – secular – Republic.”